Generals 2

Dackel's Blog: What would make Generals 2 a worthy sequel?

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# 1Dackel Feb 3 2012, 01:20 AM
Not so very long ago, another C&C title has been announced by Electronic Arts. Once again, fans around the globe raise hopes for a great game. Many had been disappointed by the recent titles of the series, especially by Tiberian Twilight. What makes Generals 2 so interesting to me is the fact that it will be the successor of my most favourite RTS game: Generals: Zero Hour (ZH). Having the name "Generals" in its title, however, doesn't make the game necessarily to a good follow-up. In the following, I will point out what I individually love about ZH and what Generals 2 should have in order to be a worthy sequel in regards of competitive gameplay.

When you enter a multiplayer game, your primary aim is to defeat your opponent. In an ideal world, you beat him because your skills are beyond or you have gained experience in previous games that make you tactically superior. Equally, you should lose if you are the worse player. A game should permit a player to gain additional knowledge at any time making him a better gamer. Obviously, if you have played 1000 games more than your opponent, you want to be able to beat him easily and not feel like an idiot. Likewise, if you lose, you want to be able to analyse why you have lost and what you can make better the next time. This is the main motivation to keep playing.

The possibility to improve is the prerequisite for every competitive game. Nobody wants to lose due to bad luck, bugs or poor game mechanics. One wants to get rewarded for the time invested in a game. Comparing ZH with C&C3, the range of improvability was very different. While you could still perfect your gameplay in ZH after having played for three years, in C&C3 your possibilities were very limited after a while. In ZH, you rarely lost a game and wouldn't blame yourself for your failure. On a top level of C&C3, however, one may have noticed that the build order combined with scouting problems has been the decisive factor for the final outcome of the game. In the end, the reason why I lost WCG to Apollo in 2007 and won in 2008 was largely because of a more or less fortunate choice of my build order.

So what has given ZH so much depth making it to a fun game and a competitive experience? Just as every other C&C title, it is easily accessible. Nevertheless, it contained many "little things" which made it feel complex and provided micro opportunities. Many units had their own character and were only effective if handled adequately (e.g. Humvee, Missile Defenders). Many units in C&C3 felt stiff and boring or weren't microable well (e.g. due to the reverse bug). Consequently, I am looking forward to see units which feel diverse, fit in the rock-paper-scissors system and are actually controllable.

From a competitive perspective, the biggest problem of C&C3 was the lack of scouting opportunities. Regularly, one had to take decisions without a basis. Either you couldn't scout at all because your enemy destroyed your scout or you scouted but couldn't find sufficient information to have a secure foundation for your following decision. One reason for this was the "hidden" MCV system. You couldn't see what your opponent was building until the structure was placed. Is your opponent teching up or creating a second war factory? When you found out, you had already built your structures or units and couldn't react anymore. In Zero Hour, you saw your opponent teching up and could launch countermeasures immediately. All in all, I consider the dozer system much more flexible and hope it will be part of Generals 2.

Apart from the gameplay features listed above, I love the game due to its realistic universe guaranteeing an authentic atmosphere. More importantly for its long-term success will be an ongoing multiplayer support, which lacked of ZH big time. Not only I wish for a good working in-game ladder (Westwood Online) and lobby system, but also for a continuous patch support. Seeing that the game has already been developed longer than the latest C&C titles and that it is yet to be developed for one more year, I am confident that Generals 2 can be a successful continuation of my most favourite RTS game. They may have a conservative developing policy and do not experiment too much.

Add your own thoughts as to what would make Generals 2 a worthy successor to the original.


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# 2methuselah Feb 3 2012, 01:38 AM
Thanks for taking the time to do this my friend. For more of Dackel's fine work please visit his website at http://www.dackel.cc/

If you found Dackel's Blog in the forum please ignore the discussion thread link. Sorry about that tongue.gif

Enjoy!

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# 3Vivo Feb 3 2012, 06:16 AM
This was good to read, thanks Dackel! :-)

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# 4Green_ZERO Feb 3 2012, 11:41 AM
QUOTE(Dackel @ Feb 3 2012, 10:50 AM) *

In an ideal world, you beat him because your skills are beyond or you have gained experience in previous games that make you tactically superior. Equally, you should lose if you are the worse player.

Nobody wants to lose due to bad luck, bugs or poor game mechanics.


This is one of the biggest problems with Kane's Wrath, the support powers were heavily broken while many units were either too versatile or woefully useless. It's far too common that I see far superior players, with greater micro capabilities, have their tactics shattered by a less capable player.

I was a huge fan of Zero Hour and I look forward to Generals 2, hopefully it will be able to live up to expectations.

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# 5.~FroG_OwNz~. Feb 3 2012, 13:32 PM
Generals 2 will be great, and it should bring back alot of familiar faces smile.gif

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# 6AgmLauncher Feb 3 2012, 14:00 PM
Good read. I can't wait to see Dackel back in action behind a REAL RTS game biggrin.gif One without silly attacking-with-base-defenses-that-grow-back-like-weeds gameplay.

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# 7methuselah Feb 3 2012, 15:12 PM
Anyone interested in seeing Dackel in action should check out the Zero Hour World Series. Keep an eye on the Zero Hour portal for updates but he has officially signed up so it should be interesting to watch him do battle again.

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# 8AgmLauncher Feb 3 2012, 16:21 PM
This world series is gonna be awesome biggrin.gif

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# 9·Emperor´'`Ravenheart´'` Feb 3 2012, 16:35 PM
Not expecting too much from Dackel, I really doubt he can keep up with the top players with just one month of playing. Hoping for some interesting games through livestream tho

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# 10methuselah Feb 4 2012, 16:20 PM
I might take that bet. How far are you predicting he'll get?

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# 11·Emperor´'`Ravenheart´'` Feb 4 2012, 18:31 PM
He's spotted in a pretty good side, no big names that are predicted to go into finals directly. I'd say first two matches are rather easy for him (unless he gets horrific genluck or makes bigger mistakes), third match is the first actual challenge. He's most likely facing GooGle, who's been ranked in the top 3 for several months in CW and possesses the highest amount of games (700) from January CW. GooGle tends to fall into robotic play though, and as that round is off-TD, Dackel should have the opportunity to outsmart him.

Other possibilities as opponents for this round are Opsnyder and Abruzzi. Opsnyder's been rather inactive for a longer period, but was at the "top of newschool" when he was active. Although not as long inactive as Dackel, I'd assume this pair would have somewhat equal matches. Abruzzi has reached decent rankings in both CW and tournaments, and several top players consider him underrated. I've no idea how their games would turn up, but my guess would be that the scale tips for Dackel.

Either way, Dackel has somewhat good chances to reach semi finals if he plays well enough. At this point he'll face someone from the lower bracket, making him lose with a 99% certainty. The players most likely for him to face are SiZe, Rage or ExCaL. ExCaL is consider as the #1 ZH player all-time, champion of numerous CW months and tournaments. He has also been inactive as of late, so he's not the person I expect seeing in the semis. Size is considered the current best player by quite a few individuals, also the winner of WS 2011. He had easily positive head-to-head records against every other top player in January CW, beating ExCaL 14-8 and Rage 21-17. Rage is a solid player, usually at the top of the rankings in 1v1. He was on fire during January though, going on a streak of 70 wins during which he had a 7-0 score against SiZe.

Any of these players should have no troubles defeating Dackel in semis. He might still reach the 3rd place, although the competition will be hard there as well, facing KaRRo, HawKy or Sex`iie. KaRRo tends to be inconsistent, and I'd expect for him to lose earlier on. Both HawKy and Sex`iie got somewhat campy style of playing. If Dackel is forced to fight late game against either of them, I don't see him having too many chances of winning.

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# 12methuselah Feb 4 2012, 18:41 PM
QUOTE(Moonlight Shadow @ Feb 3 2012, 11:35 AM) *
Not expecting too much from Dackel


QUOTE(Moonlight Shadow @ Feb 4 2012, 13:31 PM) *

Dackel has somewhat good chances to reach semi finals


I'm not expecting much from him just that he get to the semi finals of the biggest Zero Hour event of the year laugh.gif

I'm just having fun with you, I actually enjoyed your handicapping. You should consider talking to MrX and doing something similar for the entire event it would be a good read.

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# 13·Emperor´'`Ravenheart´'` Feb 4 2012, 18:53 PM
But... That would mean... Like... Doing some actual WORK... n1qshok.gif

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# 14methuselah Feb 4 2012, 19:13 PM
You saw right through me laugh.gif

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# 15foofightersrule Feb 6 2012, 23:02 PM
Oh, he's going down in round 2 tongue.gif
Nice read Dackel, I'm so looking forward to gens 2!

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# 16methuselah Feb 7 2012, 02:12 AM
QUOTE(foofightersrule @ Feb 6 2012, 18:02 PM) *
Oh, he's going down in round 2 tongue.gif


haha! I like your confidence, best of luck in the tourney!

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# 17Specovik Feb 11 2012, 14:55 PM
Hmm - agree with everything cool2.gif

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# 18Prof.Phallus Feb 13 2012, 22:12 PM
Hey Dackel, I wonder whats your opinion about the number of armies.
Was ZH great despite of 12 playable factions or was it great because of this?

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# 19TitanCracker Feb 21 2012, 11:50 AM
hmmmmm
1-give us good pathing for units like how it is in starcraft 2
2-give us the abilty to surround enemy units like in starcraft 2 where u can use zerglings to surround and kill or lings to surround and freeze ur enemy while raches and hydras eating them aparts
or where u use ranged units like stalkers or marines
or even roaches smile.gif or almost any unit ingame smile.gif
3-give us somthing like fuel for tanks or ammo for infantry i would like to see that thought it was removed in most moderen RTS games and that makes me sad sad.gif
with making the unit needs ammo or fuel it do not mean by any way that a soldier shoots 5 shoots on an enemy infantry and then run back home to reload NO! that would suck up what i mean that just have an ammo that is normal not tooooooo much and not toooooooo nothing like for each infantry the enough ammo to kill a 5 enemy infantry units smile.gif
4-give us quality and quanity smile.gif most games of now days are just about quanity same for generals 1 smile.gif
and some players thinks if it is quality over quanity it ould be better but no it cant be coz that will drag us to one thing which is fast tech and thats a normal thing it self
but what i want to see is both u can win with quality and with quanity


hmmmmm i think thats what makes a RTS game a good RTS game smile.gif
sry for succkie english btw

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# 20AgmLauncher Feb 21 2012, 15:11 PM
QUOTE
2-give us the abilty to surround enemy units like in starcraft 2 where u can use zerglings to surround and kill or lings to surround and freeze ur enemy while raches and hydras eating them aparts

Melee combat is not really possible in a modern combat game in all honesty. It works for SciFi and Fantasy because you can do whatever the hell you want in those genres, but a game based on modern military/tactics/combat has no room for melee units (aside from terrorists, but that's not the same behavior as physically surrounding and stopping other units).

One thing Generals 2 will desperately need to borrow is SC's energy system. For example stealth comanche spam is almost inherently impossible to balance in ZH. If you nerf them so that they're balanced when you have 10-15 of them, then they are not a viable opening because a few early gatts can stop them.

- Can't make them more expensive, since you rely heavily on the first two to fend off gatts/troopcrawlers
- Can't make them take longer to re-stealth because then you'd lose your first two too easily
- Can't make them do less damage, because that's the same thing as above
- Can't make them have less health, because that's the same thing as above

What does work, however, is an energy system that prevents them from staying perma-cloaked. You can keep them cloaked when you need to approach a target, and then they'll naturally uncloak when they attack, but you won't be able to keep them flying around a base indefinitely. At some point they will run out of energy and will have to retreat. And then if you give the faction energy infusers, you can let comanches remain cloaked while in a defensive posture so that opening with comanches is viable.

Energy simply solves TONS of problems, and I hope that's a balancing handle that Generals 2 has.

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