RTS Game General Guide

RTS (real-time strategy) games are a subgenre of strategy games where the gameplay happens in real-time as opposed to being turn-based. Games take place in individual matches where teams of players or individual players can go up against each other. These kinds of games often include mechanics like resource, unit, and production management.

Resources need to be gathered whenever possible and kept track of because they will fund most of the other actions in the game for you like creating units and structures. Players will often target the places they know you are getting resources from so they can disrupt your resource generation, and subsequently your production capability.

Unit management is another staple of the RTS genre. Without units, you aren’t going to be able to defend your structures or attack your enemies. Both ground, flying, and sea units have been seen throughout the genre and offer various ways for you to counter opposing units. RTS games will typically offer different kinds of races to play as or technology trees to choose from to increase unit variation and strategic possibilities.

Managing the production of your units is extremely important in RTS games. You don’t want to overspend your resources and end up not having any on hand to counter a surprise attack of a particular kind of unit, but at the same time, you don’t want to get caught without a large enough army and be trying to create units while your opponent is destroying your base. Learning when to produce units and of what type with consideration of your opponent’s strategies is a pivotal skill for this genre.

RTS players have to manage both macro-level functions and micro-level functions. There is an entire economy at the tips of their fingers and potentially huge armies that they are going to need to move around the map. More-so these armies might need to be managed on a micro scale based on what units you need to position where and whether you have a small squad positioned for flanking. There are tons of factors and responsibilities an RTS player oversees that require a level head and multitasking skills.

Popular RTS Terminology

There are many different terms used by MOBA players to abbreviate situations or terms that are persistent throughout the genre. Some of the most commonly shared terms are:

  • Squishy – Easy to kill.
  • AoE – Stands for “area-of-effect”. Used to refer to abilities or anything that effects a specific area.
  • APM – Stands for “actions per minute”. Measures how many actions a player takes between keystrokes and mouse click every minute and can indicate how good a player is at micromanagement.
  • Build Queue – The chain of units or research developments that are backed up in a production structure.
  • AI – Artificial Intelligence.
  • Protections – The defensive stats of a unit.
  • DPS – Stands for “damage per second”.
  • Fog of War – The limited visibility of your units that prevents you from seeing things that aren’t nearby.
  • Garrison – A structure that can store units.
  • HUD – Stands for “heads up display”. These are any of the graphics overlayed on the game screen that deliver information to the player.
  • Minimap – A small representation of the game map, usually directly placed on the HUD.
  • Siege Unit – Unit that specializes in taking out enemy defenses.
  • Stealth – The concept of a unit turning invisible.
  • Tech – Short for Technology