The RTSC Games List

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Sci-Fi: Near Future RTS Games
If there's any game that's set in the not too distant future, there's a 99.999% chance it'll run on these formulaic rails: a dystopian, polluted and drained Earth, beset by environmental catastrophe (or post-nuclear wasteland) is ruled over with an iron first by a small cabal of soulless, hi-tech, bio-tech or replicant mega-corporations dueling for what's left, or squabbling over the replacement planet they've just found. In fact, the regularity of globalised capitalism ruling with an iron fist over a sullen and defeated Earth seems to betray a rather pessimistic outlook on life. Its usually the nearest RTS gets to being cyberpunk.

Dark Reign (1997)

Auran's Dark Reign sat somewhere between StarCraft and Total Annihilation and was part of the huge flood of RTS titles that appeared in 1997. Its a 2D strategy game but with many of the advanced command systems used in TA, as well as many interesting features that took it well beyond the usual guns and armour thing. Terrain and some nifty commands could change unit movement and behaviour of units dramatically.

Dark Reign 2 (2000)
The sequel is a true 3D strategy title by a completely different developer, Pandemic. Pandemic also produced Battlezone II, a blend of first person action/strategy where you control a small squadron of armed vehicles.Back

Earth 2150 series

Earth 2140, Earth 2150 and now Earth 2160 are all part of an ongoing series where a dystopian Earth is falling apart and people are basically squabbling over the leftovers. Earth 2150 caused a small stir by being one of the first RTS's to incorporate weather conditions and time of day as part of the strategy. It also allowed unit customisation, and demanded a strong managerial and logistical bent to keep your campaign going.Back

Ground Control series (2000)

A futuristic 3D tactical title from Sweden's Massive Entertainment, emphasizing tactical action without any "tedious" economic stuff. Two forces, a large corporate entity known as the Crayven Corporation battles the fanatical religious Order of the New Dawn for possession of a distant planet containing a secret. Fast, furious squad level that has a unique (to RTS) net gaming feature: net gamers can drop into a Ground Control netgame at any time, deathmatch style. While aging a little bit these days, it still barrels along at high speed.

Expansion: Dark Conspiracy (2001)

Ground Control II: Operation Exodus (2004)
A well received sequel that built on the original, featuring (then) cutting edge graphics.Back

KKND (1997)

Krush, Kill 'N' Destroy, by Australian developer Beam Software, is a basic sort of game that came with the deluge of RTS's when the genre was "discovered" in 1997. Its your standard, post-apocalyptic end game: survivors versus mutants, but with a sillier tone.

Expansion: KKND: Extreme (1997)

KKND2: Krossfire (1998)
A superior sequel, although that isn't saying much these days. This is a game that shows its age, and lacks the consistency of interface design and user friendliness that most new games depend on to survive in the market these days. KKND2 feels like it was designed before the concept of the "rush" became all pervasive on the nearly arrived gaming services like Battle.Net or the long-extinct Mplay. You can basically wipe out another player in one stroke by destroying a single harvester unit. There's little or no way to defend against the tactic, and its all but impossible to recover from.

KKND2 came with three sides, following the old three way convention: monstrous mutants, upright militaristic humans and shiny cyberdudes.

Its very much a product of its age, highly derivative and I suspect you'll either get the Mad Max flavoured Aussie humour or it'll fall flat on its face in front of you. To give you some idea of what I mean, I have it on good authority that the title of KKND2 was originally going to be Caravan of Carnage. Alas, bad Ewok jokes would probably have just led to legal trouble back then. KKND2 was Beam Software's brief moment in the sun - I'm not really sure what ever became of them. Why, there's even some rabid fans petitioning for a KKND3, , and lamenting the quiet desolation as the last version slips away to the lands of abandonware...Back

Shattered Union (2005)

Developer Poptop sets the stage for this hex based strategy turn based title by having a second American Civil War and then pitting the five surviving factions against each other. The Confederacy, California Commonwealth, Pacifica, Great Plains Federation, New England Alliance and (of course!) the Republic of Texas fight for total control of what used to be the continental United States. This is another turn based strategy game that resolves its conflicts with real time combat set in a three dimensional environment. This is more like the old Battlechess than an actual RTS. Even old hex games are getting immersive facelifts these days!Back

Warzone 2100 (1999)

Weblink to Warzone 2100

One of the very first strategy titles to be fully rendered in 3D, Eidos Game's Warzone 2100 has all the usual economic, research and strategy elements with a few extras tossed in. You can design your own units from researchable components to produce hundreds of different unit variations.The only problem with all this is that your units still look like tiny little painted matchboxes on a small tabletop. Warzone's original developer, Pumpkin Studios, has gone bust, and the fan base has huddled the tanks in a circle in an effort to keep the game alive.

Since then, after many owners, trials and tribulations, a fan group known as Pumpkin-2 managed to successfully petition the publishers for the game's original source code and make Warzone 2100 part of the Open Source movement. It spent some time at Strategy Planet (last news item posted in 2006) before moving across to its own website. Most of its multiplayer is organised across IRC and it still relies on old OpenGL graphics libraries to function. Being Open Source, Warzone 2100 is still being actively worked on. You can download the latest beta version of the game for free, here, Current version in May 2012: 3.1 Beta 10. (Apparently version 2.3.9 is stable.) You can peruse its forums here.Back

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Last modified Sat, May 26 2012 by Lindsay Fleay