The Nightstar Zoo

My favorite RTS game.
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Author:  bizzybody [ Fri Dec 17, 2004 1:04 am ]
Post subject:  My favorite RTS game.

Last night I was extremely bored, so I dug out an RTS game I'd bought a couple years ago.

The game is "The Outforce", by o3games (now Starbreeze). It's a very nice game, except at the time the guys making the game were a bit underinformed about the computer game industry and signed a really bad contract with their publisher. The game had to be "ready" no matter what by a specific date. Thus it shipped with a campaign for only the Terran race and the Terran units were identical in capabilities to the two alien races, so just the graphics and names are different. They didn't have time to do different things with them like Starcraft has.

So, being so bored, I set up a six way skirmish match, me VS 5 AI players in a free for all battle.

I played nice by not using anything the AI never uses* in a skirmish game.

About 5 hours later, at 6 AM, I'd won. The totals showed that both I and the last AI had each racked up over 11,000 "kills". I didn't add up the rest
but it looked like it could've been 30~40,000 total. The first AI to bite it only got 343 kills. (Sometimes even on "Hard" this game's AI can be really stupid.)

I really like this game, would be nice if there were some other gamers around to get together for a LAN party.

One extra nifty thing is that unlike most other RTS games, The Outforce has no group size limit. Want to put 153 Hawk fighters in a group? No problem! With games like Starcraft or Star Trek: Armada you're stuck with 8 or 10 or maybe 12 units to a group. They're so easy to beat! With ST:A, I can take on the maximum number of AI players, all set on "hard"
and allied together, and stomp them flat with only three full capacity groups of the biggest ships. I leave one at the base for guard duty then roam around the map with the other two until the AI gives up on trying to attack my base, then it's all over shortly with my three groups going.

The campaigns are a bit harder in most RTS's since they're usually set up for the AI side to use most or all of the available units, plus as the human player you usually have to start from a bare bones situation.

Out of the RTS games I've played, I'd say the AI in The Outforce is one of the best. It will send some quite large groups against you and if you fall behind it can keep up a steady stream of attacks. It is also smart enough to not send every attack to the same place every time. If you leave any spot undefended you can eventually expect to be hit there. The pathfinding is also pretty darn good. Such a pity that the publisher wouldn't let the game's release wait until it was really ready to go. :(

*With a few Assault Modules hooked to Towships, protected by a fighter screen and some Turbine Lasers hooked to Towships, it's easy to walk over the AI by using that as a mobile force with a very long bombardment range. Towships can also be used to "sling" laser and missile turrets at the enemy or even toss Nemesis bombs at the defenses when there's a warp jammer stopping it from being used to attack remotely. Another towship tactic is a suicide charge where you just wade in with a line of them dragging turbine lasers, followed by a couple Nemesis bombs followed by a couple dozen Minotaurs and Centuars (or the Crion or Gobin equivalents). Towships can also be used to quietly pull apart walls/hedges/barriers your human opponent has built (also useful in several of the campaign missions). Your system won't alert you to an attack because nothing's being fired upon. :) Anything you can build, except for resource extractors, can be towed. If you don't like the default location your base starts in, hurry up and build some towships and move it. Beaten the player to your "southeast" and the two AI's "north" of you aren't sending much down that way? Tow all those expensive turrets to the north side!

Author:  Dark [ Fri Dec 17, 2004 2:00 am ]
Post subject: 

Ever play C&C:Generals? That was a rather nifty game...

Author:  Vorn the Unspeakable [ Fri Dec 17, 2004 5:52 am ]
Post subject: 

And how about Total Annihilation?


Author:  Attilla [ Fri Dec 17, 2004 1:08 pm ]
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What of Rise of Nations? I find that a rather nifty game also.

Author:  Luha [ Sat Dec 18, 2004 2:01 pm ]
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Vorn the Unspeakable wrote:
And how about Total Annihilation?


To this day I still lament losing my only copy of it.

Author:  Attilla [ Sat Dec 18, 2004 3:06 pm ]
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I lament never finding the expansion

Author:  The General [ Wed Dec 22, 2004 7:40 pm ]
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The only RTS I ever didn't suck at was Starcraft (actually I eventually got the hang of WIII too). Most of the fun with either is in the level editor.

Author:  bizzybody [ Sun Dec 26, 2004 2:12 am ]
Post subject: 

I e-mailed Starbreeze and asked whatever happened to the mapmaking tutorial that was "almost ready" for The Outforce and that some of the people who'd worked on it had posted on the message board that they were looking into releasing the source code.

The reply was positive, said they'd see about releasing it all in January 2005.

Yay! Just what the gaming world needs, a really good RTS game engine that'll be fully open for modifications. :)

I'd be happy with just some new maps to play, maybe even campaigns for the Crion and Gobin races. Knowing how to find the "other" secret level and how to beat the not too secret Level 11 would be nice too. I dunno what the deal there is, blow up all the enemy stuff (which is extremely hard as it all has about 500% more damage points than the other three races' stuff) then KABLAMMMM!!! There's this huge shockwave that destroys everything on the map and MISSION FAILED.

Author:  noodleboy [ Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:19 pm ]
Post subject: 

feh. Two words: Empire Earth. giant robots + cavemen + WWII + gulf war(s)= awsomeness. plus AOE style game play with 3-d graphics. SCORE!

Author:  Attilla [ Wed Feb 02, 2005 1:46 pm ]
Post subject: 

Noodleboy: Rise of Nations has that without the giant robots, but with territories and a great singleplayer campaign, and the 3D graphics in EE were a bit boxy for me.

Author:  Kazriko [ Wed Feb 02, 2005 2:57 pm ]
Post subject: 

None. I do not enjoy RTS games in the least, and prefer TBS and TBT games. (although I tolerate RTT games.)

My favorite strategy game in general would be Galactic Civilizations.

Author:  noodleboy [ Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:41 pm ]
Post subject: 

eh. i played rise of nations. found it a little slow-paced. if i want micro management i'll play simcity. And graphics don't make the game. gameplay makes the game. And empire earth has a great singleplayer AND multiplayer.

Author:  Dark [ Fri Feb 18, 2005 12:37 am ]
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Rise of Nations wasn't a traditional RTS, really...And micromanagement? That was an extremely smooth system...award winning, anyhow...

Personally I have problem with hero units. Sodding heroes...(WIII and LoTR:BfME) I hates them! If I wanted an RPG I'd play an RPG...Or, well, Diablo would be a more accurate approximation.

Author:  pinkbunny [ Fri Aug 12, 2005 8:56 am ]
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is ok

the sieges are the best part, the rest is ok

Author:  MineFelinePossesseth [ Fri Aug 19, 2005 6:11 pm ]
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Vorn the Unspeakable wrote:
And how about Total Annihilation?


Total Annihilation! Total Annihilation! Total Annihilation!

I can't think of a single other game that has such... obsessive fans. The mod developers for this game are STILL working on it. Hell, there's even an open source engine replacement for it being built now, by the name of .TA: Spring.

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