PicoRTS - classic RTS playable in the browser

Hi all,

I created an old-school RTS inspired by original C&C and Warcraft II.
It’s a hobby project I was working on in my free time for the last 2 years.
It runs in the browser and uses BabylonJS for rendering. Initially I used just canvas and 2D graphics - switching to BabylonJS was a breeze and it’s great how easy it is to adapt it to existing code structure.
The game is currently called PicoRTS, as it’s pretty minimalistic but I might rename it in the future.
It has both multiplayer and AI opponents. Maps are randomly generated so they are different each time.
No need to register or anything, just go to the web page and play.

The game is fully playable at the moment but is still in development and requires some polish.
On the start page there is also a link to youtube video with a tutorial I created 2 weeks ago - it’s already a bit out of date as in the video during the sample battle units need to be issued orders in order to defend the base, now units attack nearby enemies automatically.

The game works most smoothly in Chrome. I don’t have a Mac and haven’t tested on Safari.
All logic is run server-side, even if you play against AI, so you need to be online and have a decent latency to the server which is currently located in Germany. So I think for people from other parts of the world than Europe the game can be a bit laggy.

Here is the link:
http://rts.picowar.com

And a screenshot:

Any feedback is appreciated.

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I had some Dune 2 vibes as well!!

good job!

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I lost miserably :slight_smile:

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Thanks @Deltakosh :slight_smile:
I should probably make Easy skill setting easier or introduce another one for people who play for the first time :wink:

I was literally zerg rushed!!! :smiley:

To be honest, I didn’t quite figure how it works (in just 2 minutes). But then 2 minutes is probably the average time you have to create interest. May be a small tour or intro to the game rules?
Note that I’m a long time gamer. Else, it’s really cool to see that people are still willing to put so much effort in a game. And, FYI I tested on MAC (old an new) and it all seems to work perfectly.
GL with your project,

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Thanks @mawa for your feedback,

I think that’s one of the problems I need to solve. It’s quite hard with strategy games that they have a learning curve.
There is a link to a youtube video with a tutorial on the main page but it’s 15 minutes long.
I think it could be shorter as it’s aimed at total newbies to the genre who never played any RTS before. I think a more realistic audience would be people who already played similar games and understand concepts of base-building, resource-gathering and so on so I should probably make a super short video showing how these things work in this particular game and maybe embed it on the main page instead of just providing a link.

To be honest, I didn’t go to the video (sry for the time you certainly spent on it). I might do later on, though if i have some time and fancy it. But let’s face it, most people won’t. It looks like you spent a lot of time and effort doing something that actually works (and works well). May be now would be about the time to focus on how you can better engage your audience? Else, again great (quite amazing in fact) effort. And just to make this clear, I’m not really a noob in RTS or base building;) but things like when you are hovering a building to create and you don’t know what it is or what is does or how long it will take to build before you actually create it is kind of problematic. And then again, I’m not sure everyone will want to go through the video (which in 15mins probably explains all this).

@mawa yes, sure, I totally get your point. And it’s exactly what I want to focus on now - finding a way to get people to play the game.

I wasn’t suggesting that you are noob in RTS :slight_smile: - quite the opposite - I said that the tutorial should probably assume that people understand basic concepts of the genre and this way it could be shorter. You undertand base-building but you still struggled as you didn’t know what to build and what building does what - that’s probably what the tutorial should focus on.

Regarding building names - they are displayed once you click the building icon (clicking it just selects it and until you choose where to build it you aren’t charged for it) but I already got feedback that they should be displayed as soon as you hover so I will definitely change that as you are the second person who finds it confusing :slight_smile:

I think what may also be probably confusing is that you need to build a mine on resources and these resources aren’t always immediately visible when you start the game - the map is randomly generated and it always generates some resources near start position but sometimes they aren’t in the area that is immediately visible and you need to explore a bit (like 1-2 squares into the black shroud) around to find them. I think if you don’t know what to look for it may be confusing as you try to build a mine, which is first building on the list, and you cannot place it anywhere.

All in all I think I should make shorter tutorial, embed it on the start page and also add some hints to the interface (maybe even have more intrusive messages describing what to do which can be disabled but are on by default if you are playing first time?). Thanks again for your feedback, it’s really useful.

I know, no offense really. Just wanted to make clear that I have played this genre for…well, let’s forget about the time;)

Sounds more intuitive to me (personal opinion)

Yes, this comes with the lack of explanation in the GUI. Else, it’s normal that a resource cannot be immediately seen on the map or comes only later in game.

Sounds like a good idea.

Cya later and have a great WE,

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Is there a github repo? If love to be able to contribute

The game is not open source currently. I am considering open sourcing it but I haven’t made my mind yet (argument for is that I don’t plan to make money on it anyway and someone can find these sources useful, argument against is that this game needs to be hosted on a server anyway).

There are many ways to contribute to a project. It doesn’t necessarly have to be open-source. What about a discord for a start, try n see if people would eventually engage in your project. It will be hard over time to fix all yourself and then maintain it (as you say there are also costs for the server and server monitoring/maintenance). At this stage, I think I would also take a time to try figure the future of my project… GL and let us know when you have made a decision,