Starcraft: the Legacy of RTS
by Kavish Gandhi
Ever since Sun Tzuâ€™s The Art of War, military strategists have plotted to create the perfect battle plan. In recent years, new video games called Real Time Strategy (RTS) games made it possible for all of us to be armchair generals. In these games, you can control thousands of soldiers and citizens, how they are trained, where they go, how/when they attack, buildings they defend, and the resources they collect. In these games, a player must use his/ her mind to succeed and must learn to balance the army with the general welfare of the people, buildings, and city to win the battle.
In many Real Time Strategy games, the player maneuvers troops and constructs buildings to control specific areas of the map. In addition, they can use their troops to destroy enemy buildings and troops. The formations and morale of the soldiers can sometimes be a factor in how well they fight. To train soldiers, the player must gather resources by building a base and constructing farms, lumber camps, and mining facilities. In addition, the user, in most games, must advance their technology to enable them to construct more advanced buildings, buy more advanced weapons, and train more advance troops.
Some examples of RTS games are Command and Conquer, Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, and, of course, StarCraft. Command and Conquer was the first RTS game to allow multiple players to compete online. Age of Empires utilized a 3D engine to allow movement in every direction. It also allowed players to complete several campaigns and construct their own maps. Age of Mythology was similar, also utilizing so-called god powers. However, the most innovative and popular game was StarCraft. Why was it is so popular? As Phil Jamsri said, â€śit is basically a war and defense game.â€ť Letâ€™s find out.
In the first StarCraft, the plot revolved around three different species that were fighting for dominance in a sector of the Milky Way Galaxy. The three races are the Terrans, the Zerg, and the Protoss. The Terrans are exiled Earthlings that can adapt quickly in any environment whereas the Zerg are aliens whose sole goal is to achieve genetic perfection. Lastly, the Protoss are a humanoid race with a philosophical way of life. They have advanced technology and mental abilities. In the three part campaign, the player acts as a member of all three species and attempts to reach objectives that are, truth be told, sometimes hard to achieve.
Now, you may ask, why is this game so compelling? â€śI love how gruesome it is,â€ť said Jamsri. There are several factors that make StarCraft stand out. David Lim commented that â€śthe graphics are good and it has a [cool] monster.â€ť First, and most importantly, the species are incredibly diverse. The units move in unique ways, have different levels of attack, and have to be used in distinct ways. A master of using one race may be a novice at another. In addition, the races are balanced; no one race is better than another. Furthermore, the graphics in StarCraft are incredibly good for a 3D RTS, even though theyâ€™re pure pixel. Additionally, no troop ever becomes superseded throughout the course of the game, a benefit that many games lack. Finally, StarCraft requires much more strategy than other RTS games; scouting is very important and conservation of troops and resources is necessary for success.
RTS games are considered by many to be the future of the video games. They unlock the inner strategist in all of us while still allowing us to kill and destroy. Overall, if youâ€™re an avid video game player who has become sick of the endless shoot-em-up in Call of Duty and similar games, you should try StarCraft and other similar games; their fast-paced, strategic gameplay is the perfect exercise for both the mind and the killer instinct in all of us.