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All About Real-Time Strategy

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Shacker mittense, known in more physical circles as Trent Polack, has written an apparently still yet to be completed overview of the real-time strategy genre, delving into the genre's past and present, as well as into various peripheral games that have contributed to the genre in meaningful ways. Polack discusses key innovations that have shaped the genre's evolution in part 2, and highlights his picks for the all time greats in part 3. The most interesting segment is probably part 1, a history of the genre dating back to 1983, largely because many of the games it covers are unlikely to even have been played by modern RTS gamers more familiar with the Blizzard line.
There are various early games that are believed to have contributed to the idea of the real-time strategy game as we think of it today; the first one being Stonkers was released in 1983 (developed and published by Imagine Software). Stonkers was released for a platform that, in all honesty, I never even knew about until I did some preparatory research for the series: the ZX Spectrum (and with the breathtaking graphics of Stonkers that can be seen in the first screenshot below this paragraph, I think I know why). In the game, players controlled various types of units (infantry, artillery, etc.) and focused entirely on the combat aspect of the game; while attempting to eliminate the enemy, though, players had to be mindful of each unitÂ’s energy, and attempt to conserve it to ensure that your supply units donÂ’t run out of munitions to supply the units before a new shipment of energy arrives.

Polack's voice has a tendency to get slightly unfocused at times, but on the whole his examination of the RTS genre is interesting and informative, with an extremely comprehensive approach to research and preparation--though our own Maarten may take issue with the lack of Command & Conquer discussion!

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From The Chatty
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    October 2, 2006 11:58 AM

    Great write-up. It was great seeing Dune 2 and Warcraft again... I put so many hours into both games it was ridiculous... Dune 2 especially will always have a special place in my heart.

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