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Op Ed

Tiny Little Frogs - RTSís arenít dying. Theyíre waiting. By Stardock CEO Brad Wardell.
The third phase games can be broadly described by the technology under them: 64-bit memory, massively multithreaded. And these 3rd phase RTSs will be breathtakingly beautiful to look at, have amazing scope and micro AI (sophisticated rules for units interacting with one another without human involvement) that is astounding.

Publishers arenít approving these designs not because there isnít demand. There is. The problem is you canít make a game that only a fraction of the player base can currently play.

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11. Re: Op Ed Feb 8, 2013, 21:19 draginol
jdreyer wrote on Feb 7, 2013, 22:04:
I agree with Oro. What could be so revolutionary that it requires 4 cores as standard? Brad, give us a clue (Brad sometimes hangs out here)! And given the lead time it takes to bring these to market, now is the time to get started, no?

Hi JD,

In terms of cores. RTS's are very parallel processing intensive (unit AI, physics on a large scale). A game like FarCry 3 only has to manage a few units in memory.

Pretty much every next generation design I've seen for an RTS involves increased scale, better graphics, etc. We're out of memory / CPU to do that.

I remember in Sins of a Solar Empire people wanted the ships to have turrets (become Homeworld had them). Gamers often ignore the difference between having 1 ship with physics and 1000 units with them.

Even SupCom had to cut a lot of corners to do what it did. Its maps, unlike TA, were largely 2D with effort made to give the illusion of 3D because it would have totally bogged down having that kind of scale and dealing with trajectories, etc. on a single core.

The cool designs coming up (which you will see over the next couple of years) will involve thousands of units fighting high fidelity battles where the player is managing armies because the units themselves will be able to have sufficient smart AI (CPU is always the AI coder's bane) to have them operate as combined arms groups.

What game designers have been doing in recent years is working within the limits to create squad based RTSs (CoH) and of course we saw the birth of MOBA games which allow for a very limited number of high fidelity units (but still with very limited physics).

In short, we need more than 2G so that we can be visually competitive with other game genres that only have to make a handful of units pretty and we need more cores so that we can do more parallel processing (physics, massive pathfinding, massive collission detection, unit AI, etc.).

Hope that helps.
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