A continuation on a Halo RTS.

I wrote this as opne post, but it’s more than 10 000 characters.

As the subject suggests, I would like a continuation on the RTS aspect of the Halo franchise, either as Halo Wars 2, or an entirely new game.

Let’s take a look at Halo Wars:

I haven’t been able to find a source on the claims, but a time after Halo Wars’ release, I read on the Halo Wars community forums that 90% of the disc space was used for full HD CGI cut scenes. There are 15 CGI cutscenes, that’s basicly one per mission.

They range from about 50 seconds to 6 minutes. However, considering how much storage space a blu-ray has, I don’t think that the claim about 90% of the disc space being cut scenes is far from the truth. It’s more than 15 minutes, heck, more than 20 minutes for sure. So yes, highly possible.

Ah, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong by the way.

90% out of the 8.5 - 8.7 GB a dual layer DVD can store today is quite a lot. I’m not sure what storage capacity Halo Wars DVDs are at. 7.65 - 7.83 GBs were used soley for cut scenes, doesn’t leave much for the game itself. Less than a Giga Byte.

That is if the 90% claims are true. Even 80% and 70% on cut scenes leave little space for the game itself.

What about the game? It’s a basic RTS with two sides, ground and air units, unit upgrades and very limited base building. One unit type counters another unit type, unlimited recorces and neutral buildings providing bonuses to you and your team.

  1. Two sides is fairly easy to balance I would assume but a small number these days.

  2. There’s nothing wrong with ground and air units, that’s the basic setup.

  3. Unit upgrades is essential as well, unless another solution can come into play.

  4. Limited base building isn’t really a good thing in my book.

  5. Rock Paper Scissor gameplay, can’t really say much about that, it’s in most RTS games. Atleast the older ones.

  6. Unlimited resources, I do like it. It is something that can break map controll and the need to expand.

  7. Neutral buildins is what lifts up map controll, altough, I don’t think that the bonuses offered are worth enough in order for you to actually controll that area. The limited base building kills it off even more since you can’t build anything there to keep controll and use your units for other things.

  8. Cover spots. Campaign and a few MP maps featured a system where you could put infantry units in cover behind debris as well as up in sniper tower.

That’s about it. Here’s my opinions about it all.

  1. Two sides with the limited units they have offer little variation even with the different leaders. They don’t offer that much variation and everything boils down to basicly a few strategies. Mass special units, Leader Rush or get the most powerful units and steamroll the other team.

  2. Air and ground is enough, I haven’t played that much Red Alert but I hear that it’s well pulled of in those games, but when we look at other games such as the Tiberian side of the C&C franchise, no water units. Starcraft has no water units, Warcraft 2 had, but they changed it back in Warcraft 3, it’s only campaign and a few multiplayer maps that feature water units, but on those there’s cheap air transport available as well for ground units.

  3. Unit upgrades, I’ve only played one game that didn’t feature upgrades, but in that game it worked. I can’t see that other games as they are built would manage without it. It’s essential.

  4. Limited base building is bad in my book, the strategy in building placement was thrown in the trash here. It’s not fun being limited to a rectangular box with seven building spots plus four turret spaces. I can’t place turrets at key places or guard that bottle neck with them. Sure, I can do it with units but they move around and in Halo Wars I couldn’t order them to stay put, unless it was a Cobra. Units have better things to do than sit around guarding a spot, turrets are made for that kind of thing. Strategic placing of buildings is essential as well when you want units to get to a key position fast or if you want to limit enemy movement in your base. Heck, even rush and build a unit production building outside of an enemy base would have worked. Yes I know the Elephant was available, but only to Cutter.

  5. Not really much to say in this area.

  6. Unlimited resources worked in this game because of the limited base building and the pre destined expansions. However, the current system wouldn’t work with free building. I’ll get back to that later though.

  7. Neutral buldings has been done before, but I feel that Halo Wars didn’t really feature enough of them in the MP maps. They didn’t either provide a “proper” enough bonus to be bothered with, except the generators. Some were barely even featured in the MP maps.

  8. The cover system and the sniper towers were barely used in MP and later on in Campaign. It can be somewhat compared to the Ghuta in Reach. In the mission Nightfall you encounter two massive native creatures called Ghuta. It’s a one minute encounter with the creatures in the whole game. It has a simple AI, a model, textures, sounds, a conversation between Jun and Kat about it and animations. Yet you encounter it once in the whole game. It’s not usable in Firefight, doesn’t appear in MP. So I asked myself, why bother putting time and money on something that’s encountered once in the game? I don’t know. The cover system is more or less the same. It’s a nice idea that could have been usable in so many ways both in single as well as multiplayer. The developers however apparently forgot about it.

Other things I had “issues” with was that the maps were kind of small, it only supported max 3v3 Multiplayer, the unit variation was small and some units were even useless and the campaign some parts of the campaign didn’t make sense.

I don’t know if it was systems that limited the max player count, but I would have liked to see atleast 8 players.

As far as unit goes, I can’t say that there were many to choose from, then those that existed, were mostly useless. As far as Infantry goes, you had ODSTs, Jackal Snipers and Hunters, and you had to be Cutter to get ODSTs. Sure, Flamethrowers were useful, but only in close quarters and they rarely got that close anyway. Grunt squads were only useful in Sniper towers, and I put Jackals in those. I did destroy a Scarab with a handful of Grunts once though, using plasma grenades, other than that, I found little use for them in other matches. It was a “Reinforcement” match, where you couldn’t build units but got them in waves.

Campaign, well you spent two or three missions in every place then you left.

Three missions on Harvest, then you left
Four missions on Arcadia then you left
Three missions on the outside of the Sphere World
Two missions on the Spirit of Fire
Three missions inside the Sphere World.

Harvest I understand, it’s where the war started. Then on Harvest you find a Cartographer pointing at Arcadia. The Covenant goes there, you go there. It’s obviously important because the Covenant went there. Once you’re there you rescuse a few civilians and destroy a Scarab. There’s really nothing Forerunnery there expect for the Scarab part, and that isn’t explored for more than 30 seconds into a cut scene in which Anders gets kidnapped and off you go to save her. The Forerunner cartographer pointed at Arcadia but the reasons are never explained. The Covenant wanted to build a Scarab. Couldn’t they build it somewhere else? Without linking it to Forerunner stuff? Why Arcadia?

Okay, so then you’re on the outside of a Forerunner world, you see the Flood there and you battle it. I assume that the Covenant let it out by mistake, or was it free from the start? Nothing is explained about it. Felt more like it was put in the just to because it’s a Halo game. Anyhow, you have your first encounter with the Brutes here as well. It’s a small band of Brutes, it’s also the only place in the whole Campaign you encounter them. They are responsible for the invasion of Harvest, yet you don’t see them on Harvest, only once in a tiny spot on the HUGE planet faar away from Harvest. This feels like they just had to use the models they designed to put into MP, and they designed the models becuase the books explained that they were a part of the war, excellent. Two things that were forcefully put in the game without any explanation whatso ever.

When you’re on a Forerunner installation you can’t miss the Sentinels, these I don’t have a problem with. They are part of any Forerunner installation. They didn’t however really play a big role like they did in the FPS games. So I can’t help but to get that same feeling again. Something that was forced into the game just because it’s a Halo game.

Halo Wars was fun while it lasted, but I think it could have been better.

Now I’m going to talk about what I would like in a new Halo RTS.

1: More Factions, skip the Leader “sub-factions” and bring out “The Flood” and “The Sentinels” as playable races. It brings more to the table and if done right, will be good. Warcraft 3 is a good example of that. There’s plenty of unused Flood material in the other games, as well as ideas for Forerunner stuff.

2: More units, and usefull ones as well. I wouldn’t had cared if both the Covenant and the UNSC had Sniper units. Rocket Marines instead of Marines with the ability to use Rocket Launchers. Heck, Bungie brought you the Grenade Launcher as well, throw that into the fray. One unit but several skins, I’ve seen pictures of the Halo 2 scarab in Halo Wars, yet the one we got was the Halo 3 version. It could have been an upgrade or a Starcraft 2 solution. One unit and two visually different versions. In addition to the two extra races I want, there’d be plenty of units to use. Overall though, more units per race than Halo Wars had, and usefull. All units doesn’t have to be damage dealers or healers. There are other options.

3: Atleast 8 players max. I’d love to see 10 or even 12, but 8 is the least I could go.

4: Free building, so to speak. I want to be able to put my buildings where I want to, and an “unlimited” amount of them.

5: Keep the unlimited resources, but don’t make it available through buildings. One idea I had about this is a “Maintenance Tunnel”.

Story wise it’d be tunnels that go below the surface. In them there’d be humans transporting goods to the human faction, Covenant troops transporting goods to the Covenant, the Flood would gain resources through the humans and the covenant in the tunnels and the Sentinels would use the tunnels to gain access to their powersupply and goods.

In the tunnels, all the factions would fight, but that is something you wouldn’t have to worry about, only a “logical” explanation of how everyone can use the same resource tunnels.

Spread out over the maps there would be entrances to these tunnels, and in order to gain acces to them you’d have to build a specific building over it and then send down a set amount of infantry units. Then you’d start getting resources from that entrance. The more entrances you have, the faster the income. Depening on what kind of troopers you sent down, you’ll have access to the tunnel different periods of times. Weak troopers would be able to keep the enemy occupied for shorter a shorter time than and stronger units for a longer time. When that time is up, the troopers are dead and you have to send down more. They then take some time to recover that part of the tunnel, when that is done, you start getting resources from that part again untill those units die.

So it’d function like any other resource field in other RTS games. This way we can have “unlimited” resources and still have free building.

6: Bigger maps, both to supports more players, as well as providing more paths and so on.

7: A more extended and “improved” cover system. Why not be able to build sniper towers, energy gates and cover overall? Even for units. Imagine building a Scoprion cover. It’d be a big blue circle in a box with three thicker walls. You’d place the Scorpion inside it and it’d act like a turret. You could place other vehicles there as well of course, but just as an example. Then with the other races there are other possibilities.

8: Logical weapon choices for units. A Shotgun isn’t something I’d give to an ODST, they could have gotten a BR. Or weapon choices based on the distances. BR at the max range to medium range, then switch to shotgun, but keep the damage, only visual changes.

9: Unit upgrades, more than in Halo Wars. Like upgrading weapon models and getting new stats based on that. Could even be so that you can upgrade weapon models and ammo, then if you upgrade a weapon it might change ammo so the previous upgrades are invalid. Get it? I haven’t decided about that yet. Upgrades can be a big area if you wish to. I could easily see Spartan IIs going from Mark 4 to Mark 6 armor. Then Spartan IIIs with their SPI armor and so on. The Flood would have evolution things and The Sentinels would download schematic upgrades.

10: Campaign levels on all sides. We know that the Flood can use allies when needed, as seen in Halo 2 and Halo 3.

You could first play as the UNSC battling the Covenant, then you play as the Covenant when you search for Forerunner artifacts, they accidentally activate some sort of security system that releases The Sentinel faction. The Sentinels go on a rampage on both the UNSC and the Covenant. The UNSC and the Covenant decides to ally up against the common threat to look for a way to shut down the Sentinels but they again accidentally release The Flood. You then take the roll as The Flood, first you fight the Alliance, then join them as the Sentinels become too much of a threat for all three of you. You make your way to some sort of controll room. Then you encounter a Monitor of some sort, which explains a couple of things. The Flood betrays the Alliance, The Covenant gets pissed at the Monitor and leaves the Alliance and left are the Humans and The Sentinels, which you take controll of to battle the Flood and the Covenant.

Well, something along those lines so you get to play the campaign as all sides included.

11: A custom game search as well as a proper Ladder system for MP.

12: A powerfull map editor. Yes, I said it, a RTS map editor for a console game. Call me crazy and insane but Halo has more or less been a game with inovation, so why not have some sort of inovation when it comes to console RTS gaming, and put a powerful map editor in, like the one SC2 has, or even more powerfull. How would programming it in work? Chat Pad. Bungie made Forge World, and that is really good, so I believe that you can make a proper map editor for without problem for a gamepad with a chatpad.

How would that work? Map editors are separate programs for RTS games. Well, the game case could contain a DLC code for a Map Editor program, so you would download it straight to your xbox. Or there could be a work around of course.

With a powerful map editor, how is DLC going to work? Expansion sets with new units, buildings, textures and so on. Or no DLC at all.

13: If all else fails, put the Campaign on one disc and the multiplayer part on another disc. I’d happily pay even 80 Euros for a Standard edition for this game. Then again, I’d probably cough up enough cash to buy the most expensive collector’s edition. That’s me though.

14: As far as controlls go, why not bring the Voice command thing from End War into the fray? Sure, End War has it as an option, this RTS could too, I was thinking of using it more for Unit Group assignment and Group Selection, then fast movement to bases or marked spots that you marked.

Halo CE, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo: Reach brought quite a big FPS audience to the Console world, CoD did as well. I doubt that a Halo RTS properly made like the one I described would fail in bringing a big RTS audience to the console world. I would play it, I know I would.

Thoughts? Other than tl; dr and Cool story bro?

Right off the bat I agree with and can add a few things. The Flood and Forerunners should definitely be factions.(The Forerunners are controlled by a Monitor maybe). Also I’d like to see more units. Such as a mongoose as the UNSC starting scout vehicle. it would start out completely unarmed. The first upgrade would give you a Marine on the back, the next upgrade would a be a speed boost with a better engine, and finally the Marine on the back would get a Rocket Launcher. Warthogs would be made in the Factory at that point. I would like to the see the building that appeared in the Demo show up as well. And finally, the biggest item on my wishlist. Space battles.

> Right off the bat I agree with and can add a few things. The Flood and Forerunners should definitely be factions.(The Forerunners are controlled by a Monitor maybe). Also I’d like to see more units. Such as a mongoose as the UNSC starting scout vehicle. it would start out completely unarmed. The first upgrade would give you a Marine on the back, the next upgrade would a be a speed boost with a better engine, and finally the Marine on the back would get a Rocket Launcher. Warthogs would be made in the Factory at that point. I would like to the see the building that appeared in the Demo show up as well. And finally, the biggest item on my wishlist. Space battles.

Wow, someone read it and responded, awesome :smiley:

Well yes, as I see it, Monitors are on most Forerunner installations so it’d only be logical to have one controll the Sentinel Faction.

As far as vehicles go, I was thinking that they could use another system.

A vehicle factory would produce the vehicle, but not the drivers, gunners and passangers. Same goes for Air unit factories. When a vehicle is done, it’s put on a “parking” space outside of the building, and then you can put infantry units capable of driving in it. Then additionally, the vehicle factory could have a building spot, like the ones ones in Halo Wars, on which you could build other buildings as well, such as some sort of Armory, another vehicle factory, or a barrack.

Two vehicle factories connected would speed up the build rate of one unit, as two factories can work on one unit.
An armory connected would enable you to research vehicle related upgrades
A barrack would make it so that you build atleast a driver at the same time as you build the vehicle. You could additionally fill out all the seats directly from the barrack.

So if there was, some sort of Troop Transport, you could fill it before it was even done.

Also, once a gunner and a driver is put into a vehicle, they can’t be retrieved, passangers can however.

The same would go for the Covenant. The Flood and The Sentinels could have similair systems, but not exactly the same, as they are different.

So, to get a Mongoose with a rocket Marine, you’d need a Barrack with a connected Armory, then a Vehicle with a connected Barrack.

You research the Rocket Launcher in the Barrack - Armory, then you build the Marine in the Vehicle Factory - Barrack.

Warthogs should have all their versions available.

Chain Gun hog against intantry
Gauss against vehicles
Rocket against air
Troop Transport for troop transporting.

Upgrades could be engine upgrades, armor upgrades as well as weapon upgrades.

For the Covenant Grunts, Elites and Brutes could be drivers, all with different stats and so on. They would then have upgrades related to their Faction, shield upgrades and so on.

The Sentinels could have different kinds of AIs and The Flood, well that’s a hard one.

How would you like Space Battles to work? Like the two maps where you are on the ships?