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History of Real-Time Strategy Games

Real-time strategy (RTS) games are arguebly the most popular genre on PC and rightly so, as they are highly competitive and long-lasting due to the many different ways an RTS can be played. Today I want to provide you with a hisory of RTS that will give you an idea of where it all started.

RTS games are still a fairly new genre compared to others because early computer strategy game revolved around turn-based strategy, which whilst fun does not offer the frenetic thrills you can expect from an RTS. The following is a discussion of the most influential RTS games:

Herzog Zwei– Surprisingly enough what is now considered the first RTS game was in fact released on the Sega Megadrive back in 1989 instead of the PC. The game focused mainly on split screen multiplayer action, (Yes that’s right a split screen RTS) where each player had a main base with several support bases, the maps also consisted of neutral bases that any player could capure and use to their advantage. What made Herzog Zwei work on the console is the control of a single unit only, with all other units acting as support,a rather ingenious move that could be implemented in future console RTS games.

Dune II– After Dune II was released the RTS front suddenly became quiet until late 1994, when Warcraft: Orcs and Humans was released by Blizzard Entertainment. This game moved away from the sci-fi aspects oof Dune II and into a magical fantasy world that was thoroughly entertaining. There are two resources to be harvested in this game; lumber and gold. The two would have to be managed successfully inn order to build a mighty war machine. The units on both sides were essentially mirror images of each other, however they still looked distinctive from each other.

Warcraft: Orcs and Humans– After Dune II was released the RTS front suddenly became quiet until late 1994, when Warcraft: Orcs and Humans was released by Blizzard Entertainment. This game moved away from the sci-fi aspects oof Dune II and into a magical fantasy world that was thoroughly entertaining. There are two resources to be harvested in this game; lumber and gold. The two would have to be managed successfully inn order to build a mighty war machine. The units on both sides were essentially mirror images of each other, however they still looked distinctive from each other.

Command & Conquer– Westwood responded to the release of Warcraft in 1995 with the release of Command & Conquer, which was a spectacular evolution of the Dune II formula. Command & Conquer could have been released under a different name but Westwood decided it was time to make a fresh game without a license attached. Command & Conquer follows the story of a charismatic batle between GDI (Global Defence Inititive) and the Brotherhood of Nod, led by the ruthless Kane. The game made use of cut-scenes, which were rather cheesy but proved a hit with gamers.

Conclusion– There you have it these are the most influential games in RTS gaming history and all except Herzog Zwei have spawned various sequels and clones. In this day and age developers often merge RTS elements into other genres and it is not difficult to predict that this trend will continue as more advanced technologies are released allowing for more creative expressions from software developers. The genre may start to re-emerge on consoles, as attempts made recently have been more successful, Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars being a good example.



Source by Sam Vaughan

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