Category Archives: Video games

How Video Games Make You a Quantum Physicist

By Doc Von Derwin

Video games are often regarded as a waste of time, despite being a billion dollar economy-boosting industry that provides escapism in the same manner as movies and music, and which I would argue qualify as an art form. But beneath the entertaining surface, behind every compelling zombie apocalypse narrative and bullet-time slow motion headshot, there is a hidden experiment that can be found in almost every video game that makes the player a quantum theorist.

Let’s point to one of my favorite games, Bioshock: Infinite (if you have not played this, go do that now and let me know what you think, I genuinely want to know). Bioshock: Infinite uses quantum theory to explain the plot, the setting (a floating city), and the existence of its gameplay mechanics. A pair of scientists discover the ability to create tears through time and space, which leads to the discovery of alternate timelines and – in a manner of speaking – time travel. As they groove through time and space like a 1912 version of Bill and Ted, they end up bestowing a main character, Elizabeth, with the ability to create tears at will, allowing her to bring weapons or machines to a location instantaneously. As we find out, those items already exist at that location in a different reality; she is not conjuring them up out of thin air but rather is opening up a tear to another reality and meshing it with their current one.

Here is a bit on Quantum Theory. The idea of Quantum Theory is that there are infinite timelines with infinite possibilities. These timelines diverge over any action, such that there is a timeline where I do not write this article and read a book instead. When I play the lottery with a one in a million chances of winning, I exist in a reality where I lose, but there is one reality where I win despite losing in 999,999 other realities. Bioshock uses this to explain how the main character, Booker, is able to die in combat then come back. We see one Booker die by making the wrong decision in combat which leads to his death, then are moved to another reality where Booker makes different decisions that lead to victory. The death of Booker ends the timeline entirely, so we continue the rest of the game in another timeline where Booker is still alive and able to move the plot forward. What the makers of the game probably did not intend is for this to be able to apply to all games.  Every time Master Chief dies in Halo, we jump to a different timeline and continue the plot but with different actions.

In addition to Bioshock’s accidental explanation of save points in video games, the theory can also connect games in an interesting way. All games can technically exist in the same universe, but the players see only a particular section of a particular timeline which has been generated by certain actions. With The Last of Us, we see a timeline where cordyceps cause a brain infection in humans thus creating the fall of civilization, while Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare demonstrates a reality where that didn’t happen and the characters from the Last of Us are living happy normal lives. As I run through the depiction of Seattle in Infamous: Second Son, I am seeing an alternate version of Seattle because the existence of superheroes changed ideas of architecture. This is why it looks nothing like downtown Seattle.

This further gives meaning to why we play games. Somewhere across all the infinite universes is a timeline where the video game we are playing is a reality, meaning you are experiencing a real world scenario. Games are preparing you for a potential reality and arming you with the extra knowledge you need to stop the Covenant from destroying planet Earth. Games that are set in the past are like timeline history lessons, where we get to learn from the errors of focusing more energy on nuclear technology like in the Fallout series, or the advantages of a new evolutionary track where Bandicoots are better than humans at out-running boulders and are allowed to be named Crash. So the next time anyone dismisses video games as a waste of time, you can tell them you’re actually a quantum theorist and you like to be prepared.

Podcast Lost in Games Episode 3!

Episode 3: On this weeks episode, we discuss how story and gameplay coexist. Does a good story make bad gameplay something worth dealing with and vice versa? This weeks guests are Bryan Whiting, Terran Jendro, and Caitlin Johnstone.



Dream Remake: Mortal Kombat

Warning: You are entering a zone of extreme nerdiness and fan boy passion

In 1992, ninja assassin disguised as a game developer, Ed Boon, delivered unto us a game so violent that the ESRB rating system was invented to keep the video game world from being the wild west of pop culture. That game was Mortal Kombat. In 1995 we got a film adaptation of the same name that could quite possibly be the first and only successful video game movie, just to have it ruined by the diarrhea hurricane that was it’s 1997 sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. What made the first film so enjoyable for fans was its embrace of the wacky lore of multiple realms, vengeful ninja story lines, and mystical powers that contain no logical sense what so ever. In 2010, Kevin Tancharoen released an 8-minute short film as a pitch for a more realistic depiction of the Mortal Kombat universe. This brilliant reimagining of the franchise would allow Tancharoen to do to Mortal Kombat, what Christopher Nolan did to Batman. This caused me to suffer from a disease only know as Fan-Boner Extremis. Unfortunately for me, when the Kevin Tancharoen was given a YouTube series instead of a feature length film, the original lore was included which caused its logic to spin out of control once again, but now with a strange serious tone that absent of any fun. This wasn’t a terrible depiction of the MK universe but it could be described a less fun retelling of the video game series. The point of movie or series adaptations is to have the source material “adapted” to the new media form which provides the fresh spin people like myself enjoy seeing. If I wanted a whacky Mortal Kombat, I would have played the video games. Right now, I know what you’re thinking, “Doc. How do we fix it? How do we make a Mortal Kombat movie ground and set in the real world?” Here’s how:

The Tournament is an Underground Street Fight (not the game street fighter):

The key to the success of its game series was its unique characters. Each character had incredible powers but was usually an over-the-top example of extremely good or extremely evil. For the game, that’s all we need when we can distract ourselves by upper cutting people through the ceiling. A modern movie adaptation can’t use these pieces without feeling ridiculously campy, and we really need to see the moral ambiguity and emotional conflict of when Jax rips the arms off of Reptile.

The tournament, as depicted in the game series, is a fight to see who controls Earth realm. Participants from Nether Realm, Outworld, and other metal band names all want it to expand their control. While if any of Earth’s warriors win, Earth Realm stays safe till the next tournament. What kind of messed up reward structure is that? Now let’s scale it down and add a bit of logic.

The Deacon City is rotting from the inside out with gang violence and criminal activity. The criminal syndicates with in the city are growing strong and taking more control of the city each day. When a rival gang is wiped out their territory becomes open, and rather than having a war across 4 different syndicates, all gangs agree to have a tournament financed and organized by the leader of the Brotherhood of Shadows, Shang Sung. Each gang provides 4 fighters, and the last team standing wins.

Who is participating in this tournament:

Little is known about the Brotherhood of Shadows. All we know is that they have nearly limitless funding. Informants have revealed that they are buying up tons of weaponry from the Black Dragon clan, and that there is someone above Shang Sung who is the really mastermind with an unknown motivation. Their known accomplices are the unlikeliest group of criminals that would be expected. First is a cannibal who was born with his skin inside out. His scaly completion led him to adopt the name Reptile. Next is a plastic surgeon who went insane and turned the knife on himself. He sharpened his teeth to fangs and inserted sharp pieces of steal into his forearms. He now goes by the name Baraka, an ancient African word that means “The Devil’s Servant”. Then there is Devin Ermac, who is a recent escapee from Deacon City Insane Asylum. A master of 7 different martial arts styles, who was locked up for multiple personality disorder. Each personality clamed ownership to a different style of combat. Lastly is Quan Chi. The newest player in this gang of misfits but the most dangerous. He was specifically chosen to work alongside Shang Sung to assist in fulfilling the will of the Brother Hood of Shadows.

The Black Dragon clan has been plaguing Deacon City for years. Their leader, Kano, has been moving weapons in and out of the city. The Black Dragon has been arming two warring factions, the Lin Kuei and Shirai Ryu, and is single handedly to blame for the increase of gun violence within the city. What makes them an even bigger threat is Kano’s right hand man, Kabal; Kano’s childhood friend and personal assassin. After barely surviving a car bomb, Kabal wears a specially designed life support that was personally developed by Kano. He is loyal, lethal, and hard as hell to kill.

The Lin Kuei is a Japanese gang similar to the Yakuza, and Deacon City is their most prevalent location for criminal activity. They have had their hand in everything; racketeering, drug trafficking, etc. They are rivals to the Chinese crime syndicate, the Shirai Ryu. In response to the deadly war between the 2 factions, the Lin Kuei formed an elite team of assassin’s, all with codenames to conceal their identity. There is Sektor, a demolition specialist and an expert with explosives; Cyrax, an interrogation specialist known for capturing enemies and sawing off limbs for information; Smoke, a master of stealth and camouflage; and their leader Sub-Zero, an assassin who utilizes a liquid nitrogen system that runs through the sleeves of his jacket and releases the gas from his palms. He is known for freezing an enemies arm or leg and ripping it off in one motion.

The Shirai Ryu is a recently destroyed Chinese syndicate. Only one man was left alive, Hanzo Hasashi. After barely escaping death from the attack on his clan, Hanzo finds out that not even his wife and child were spared from this deadly attack. After time recovering and healing his wounds, he seeks the man responsible. All he knows about the man in charge of the attack was that he was able freeze people and objects with his hands. With his family and clan dead, his territory becomes the location up for grabs in the next Mortal Kombat tournament. He decides to adopt the mantle of “Scorpion”, the name of an ancient warrior from his home village.


Who are our Heroes:

The main story will focus on Sonya Blade, a rookie recently added to the Deacon City Criminal Task Force lead by Jax Briggs. She is the third member with the other being Kurtis Stryker, the best shooter on the force.

Intel has revealed that the tournament will be happening within the city. Their mission is infiltrate the tournament, and confirm its destination so a SWAT team can breach the location and arrest all the killers in one fell swoop. More intel has revealed that Hanzo Hasashi has been sent an invitation to compete in the tournament. Hanzo is recruited by the Deacon City Task Force to enter the tournament after being given evidence that Sub-Zero will be there. Together, they enter the tournament as the new Shirai Ryu.

The following events focuses on what happens to Sonya as she has to mentally cope with brutally killing people in one-on-one fist fights and staring down death at every turn. The city is being held ransom by Shang Sung leaving her no choice but to push aside her faith in traditional justice by commit violent acts in the name of protecting the city. Not to mention Sony has the added pressure of seeing her superiors Jax and Kurtis fall in the line of duty and leaving her to be the last bastion of a better future for the city.

This Scorpion/Sub-Zero side story is actually best kept to its video games routes. Sub-Zero has actually been framed for the death of Scorpions family as part of a much more elaborate and sinister plan. Our movie demonstrates the hubris that falls upon Scorpion for fighting only for revenge. Scorpion’s pursuit of Sub-Zero only leads to his self-loathing and dishonor as he finds he has been so easily manipulated the man who really killed his family. After an epic fight between the world best assassin’s Sub-Zero exposes proof that he wasn’t responsible for the killings and that Scorpion’s only reason for living is a lie. Scorpion finds no justice and only has himself to blame.

This is the movie we could have got 5 years ago, which is a movie I would spend money on time-and-time again. Of course, movie executives would not run the risk of making a film that places a realistic spin on a violent game franchise, which robs us of ever seeing Jason Statham as Kano, the robotic-eyed gun runner, or Lateef Crowder as the murderous fang-toothed plastic surgeon who has amazing martial arts skills for no explainable reason, or even a sequel movie that has Chris Pratt as Johnny Cage, the cocky actor who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately for me, this is a movie that can only exist in my own head, making me the biggest fan of my own fan fiction.

Warframe Community Article

WarframeWarframe. A one sentence description of it could sound like “a free to play third-person mission based co-op space ninja shooter” but even that doesn’t do the game justice.

A game is so much more than what one does in the game or what the game lets you do; games are defined by its community. We all make judgements and assumptions about games based off of the community that has chosen to make that game theirs. Games like League of Legends are well known for their toxic community. A player may spend more time worrying about what kind of teammates they’ll que up with instead of what roles are going to be fulfilled and what the battle strategy is.

Warframe is a game that tends to have an overall welcoming community that does not mind helping guide both new players and seasoned vets in making gameplay decisions. There are members that make it their specific goal to guide the new players in discovering the parts of the game that aren’t completely explained in the tutorial mission. There are also high-level discussions between long time players about what items or tools work best in the highest tiered missions as well as great theorycrafting about the lore and the story behind the game play.  No one says no in Warframe, instead they say things like “I haven’t tried that before,” “lets see how that works” or “this is an interesting mechanic, let’s explore further”.

This type of welcoming and thoughtful community is heavily aided by the developers (Devs). The Devs created an in-game organization called the Guide of the Lotus (the main in-game helping hand voice in the head character) specifically designed to make players that want to help new players easier to spot and to give them better resources to help them with.  The Devs also are very active on the game forums: reaffirming theories, discussing bug reports, or asking for input on new design concepts. This allows players to feel connected to the people that make the game they enjoy so much. Often times there is a large gap in communication and face time with some developers of large companies and it makes it feel like the player is forgotten or alienated. But in Warframe there are numerous live streams throughout the week players are able to put a face to each of the Devs and understand that they (the Devs) also play the game that they make. This is a big deal because it lets the community know that the Devs see the players side of any problem.

The Devs make a strong effort to go and meet the players wherever they are. They attend conventions all over the world holding panels and hosting after parties so players can feel connected and engaged with the Devs. They’ve been to Seattle’s PAX, New York’s Comic Con, Germany’s GamesCon, and even to a small convention in their hometown of London, Ontario. There is always a Question and Answer part in any of the panels or after parties, and this gives players the chance to get a direct answer and have ongoing discussions with the Devs in person.

All these things are to say, simply, that Warframe the game is heavily reliant upon Warframe the community for its continued success and expansion. It relies upon the min-maxers to find cases of op or broken weapons or enemies. It relies upon the content creators to craft an album of breathtaking art and sculptures helping maintain in the game and outside of the game. It relies upon the explorers to find new areas and holes in the maps and new vantage points or hiding spots. It relies upon the fan-boys and girls to come out to Cons and show the Devs how much of an impact they’ve had on their lives. And it relies upon having a community that loves the game so much they can’t wait to invite new players and show them all the wonderful and exciting things in store for them.


A game you come to for the gameplay and stay for the community.

Extra Life: A Brief Primer


If you’re a fan of the podcast, you’ve probably heard us (me) talking about the big Extra-Life Event coming up. Hopefully you’ve gone into the show-notes for the link to our extra-life team, but if not you’ll get it again. For those you who join us primarily on the blog, you have no idea what I’m talking abut and that’s what we’re here for now.

Extra Life is a charity that mobilizes thousands of gamers every years to help raise money for local Children’s Hospitals. Started back in 2008, the community has managed to raise over $14 Million for their local hospitals and this is one of a dozen major charity events and programs that the gaming community takes part it. The marque event of the Extra Life campaign happens on Saturday November 7th in a mass culmination of 24-hour gaming marathons. Much like the Relay-for-Life the idea is to raise funds and donations while providing entertainment.

So what are we going to do? Well, it’s all still up in the air but our rough plan is that we’re going to go live around 10am on Nov 7th and I go to bed around 10am on Nov 8th. Seneca will be around a bit on stream, making food (recipes forth coming) and playing games. We’re going to have former guest and friend of the show Joedor_ hanging out from something like the Start of the stream to bout 4pm when he goes off to do his own stream. Everything else, is a mess that we’ll figure out. Come watch us (me) slowly go insane and have fun, pass a few dollars on for the kids and get some entertain in the process.

Check out Our Team, and Donate!

You can watch us on Twitch!


Lost In: Game Length – Are Games Too Long?

Promo Art for the Tomb Raider reboot

Hey ya’ll, I’m back for another piece and this time we’re going to talk about game length.

We live in an era of unparalleled technological advancement. Video games were born as a by-product of this era and though their origins were humble, they have always been in the forefront edge of technology. For most of it’s history Graphics were the benchmark that the industry held itself against. The most photo-realistic car for someone to drool over [Watch the Video, it’s ridiculous]. Or perhaps the best generic Nazi to shoot. Through it all, we saw rapid forward advances in the fidelity and technology… until now. Sure games still look better but now, graphics aren’t a real benchmark. Art design has become more important and so games found a new benchmark. Now, a game’s true “awesomeoness” can be measured by how much of a “Fully Realized Open World” they can make. These days, that phrase doesn’t just mean map that lets you wander anywhere but a proper simulation where the squirrels plant acorns that grew into saplings that dragons burn down all well you wander the world without load screens, This has led to what I like to think of as the “100-hour minimum”, its the point where you have to hit in order to prove your game pushing the limit. The Witcher 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Batman: Arkham Knight, Metal Gear Solid V, just to name a few from this year There are countless other games that hover in-between 40-60 hours, which is just about the industry standard for normal games these days. 100 hours. That’s the 4 Days and change solid of your life, sunk into one game. 40-60 hours is a work week. This is often a considered great deal for the consumer, 60 dollars is a lot of money after all. Especially for us Millennials scrambling between random part-time and retail jobs, one game can last months.

Maybe I’m starting to get old [haha says me at 22] and, gods forbid, growing up but these 100-hour games are starting to become untenable. I have too many other demands on my time these days to feel good about playing through Mass Effect 3 as non-stop as possible [it was finals week] until I burst a minor blood vessel in my eye and finished the game [and aced my finals, cause yyeaaahhhh]. On top of that, most of these open world games demand your time in a fairly significant way. Play sessions seem to be intended to be  in the 3 to 5 hour length and story beats are portioned appropriately but even at regular 5 hour play sessions, you’re chipping at the behemoths 5% at a time. With a more industry standard 30-40 hour game that percentage sky-rockets to 16-12% respectively but even then, its hardly scratching the surface. I don’t have a lot of 5-hour time-blocks free and those I do, I try to wedge social events –board game nights and D&D nights– and chores into. Or writing. Or Homework [ew]. Ninety percent of gamers won’t finish any given game’s campaign but we keep making them longer!

Maybe I’m starting to get old [haha says me at 22] and, gods forbid, growing up but these 100-hour games are starting to become untenable. I have too many other demands on my time these days to feel good about playing through Mass Effect 3 as non-stop as possible [it was finals week] until I burst a minor blood vessel in my eye and finished the game [and aced my finals, cause yyeaaahhhh]. On top of that, most of these open world games demand your time in a fairly significant way. Play sessions seem to be intended to be  in the 3 to 5 hour length and story beats are portioned appropriately but even at regular 5 hour play sessions, you’re chipping at the behemoths 5% at a time. With a more industry standard 30-40 hour game that percentage sky-rockets to 16-12% respectively but even then, its hardly scratching the surface. I don’t have a lot of 5-hour time-blocks free and those I do, I try to wedge social events –board game nights and D&D nights– and chores into. Or writing. Or Homework [ew].

Now, I want to dig into the Witcher 3 realllllyy badly and Metal Gear Solid V sounds like fun game but I know that as my life is right now spending money on them is just going to add them to my pile of shame (my backlog). I also know that when X-Com 2 comes out, I’m going to probably put 20-80 hours into it. The Beauty of large 4X (Expand, Explore, Exploit, Exterminate) Strategy games is their inherent flexibility in play session. Sure, I’m going to play my entire Saturday irresponsibly because JUST ONE MORE TURN but I can make satisfying progress in a 30 min session squeezed between work and school. However, as far as story-based game go, I lament the slow death of the 8-10 hour campaign. The kind of game that takes just one or two sittings to burn through, leaving you with a well-crafted narrative paced completely and deliberately.

Last of Us, the Tomb Raider reboot, the Call of Duty or Halo Campaigns, are all these nice easily digested stories. These campaigns last around 15 hours, 14 hours, 3-6 hours respectively. Their campaign lengths all sit within  two or three steady play sessions and are paced much more naturally because of it. You get to experience the whole emotional arch of the story in a weekend or two of game play rather than stretching it out over two, or three, whole months. We need to respect these smaller campaign lengths because they offer richer, more tightly mapped narratives than their giant cousins in packages we as an industry can reasonably expect to people to complete. Really, I just absolutely loved Tomb Raider. Like irrational loved it for it’s shortness.

Thanks to anyone who made it this far listening to me ramble on about why games are too long these days. I know many people disagree and I love these behemoth games just as much as the next person but we’ve passed the point of reasonable length.

Lost in: Act of Aggression and complex RTS’s

Let’s preface this with: This is not a review. I’m not sure we’re ever going to get into that messy formalized review structure that sites like Polygon and Giant Bomb are dealing with. For two real reasons. One: review scores are messy imperfect things that cause problems. And Two: I don’t expect to have time to play games the proper length needed and this site isn’t just about games. So instead you’re going to get us talking about games and pieces we like or don’t. And sometimes these may sound like reviews.

All of that out of the way, let’s talk about Act of Aggression, Eugen System’s newest Real-Time Strategy, RTS, Game and how it shows a coming problem for the genre. Like so many, Act of Aggression . Eugen System’s, aside from being a Bond villain-worthy name for a company is with a history of RTS under their belt, including one of my personal favorite popcorn RTSs, R.U.S.E. and one my least favorites, the Wargame series. Act of Aggresion is a slight half step between the two series, not remotely as cartoon-like and over the top as R.U.S.E. but not quite the highly detailed war simulation of the Wargame series. With heavy Command & Conquer influences visible, the fact that it is a step back from Wargame — which lacked enough of a tutorial to make it penetrable for me, much less a newcomer to the franchise –is welcomed but the game fails in the same place as Wargame does. They both want the player, the lone single officer with a creative brain (well any brain) to manage complex, evolving military situations down to the micro-level.

Think about it, these games put you in the General’s seat (or at least a Major’s seat) but ask you to do the one thing good officer’s never do. They ask you to micromanage everything, from flying the rescue helicopter to telling a squad to run to the next building for cover when they get flushed. In the real world, it’s tantamount to suicidal and you’re going to get good men and women killed. In Act of Aggression, you have to do it.

This isn’t Act of Aggression’s fault anymore than the lack of peripheral senses in First-Person Shooters is Call of Duty’s fault. They’re inherent limitations of the technology we currently have. But here’s the thing, military from the dawn of antiquity has understood that nothing can get done without good subordinates. The centurions, sergeants and other NCOs of the times could be, and still can be, argued to have far more importance to a military’s success than the generals, majors and other ‘brass’. Sergeants keep the cogs oiled and figure things out.

Act of Aggression has a feature that I absolutely adore, even if its just far too specific for me to worry about in a serious skirmish (which is why I’ve been playing against easy AI). The game lets you take wounded enemy soldiers (its a chance thing) as prisoners who can be used for a steady trickle or burst of rarer resources, depending on the faction of course. Aircraft or vehicles that get shot down/destroyed have a chance of spawning a pilot who is equally capture but will run for home if no enemies are around. Healing injured infantry returns them to the fight, a mostly worthless endeavor given the weight of tanks and artillery that get thrown around. But downed pilots grant you a 200 dollar bonus for being safely returned. More importantly, they’re downed pilots of mine and I’m going to everything I can to pull them out. You get access to helicopters that can carry infantry and the number of times I’ve launched rescue strikes to pull out my downed people borders on silly but I love doing it.

The problem with this mechanic is nothing about it is automated. Sure your pilots will slowly run back to base on their own but that puts them in massive danger. So you order a helio to pull them out and it flys over to pick them up, you go put out three other fires that started while you giving the order and maybe start an attack somewhere else. All this while the helicopter has picked up the pilots and is patiently hovering over the spot, waiting for more orders. Never mind that it should be high-tailing it back to base to get these poor bastards to safety, never mind that enemy anti-air is all over the region. It patiently just sits for you until its shot down or you remember it and order it to race for home. But even then your troubles aren’t over, because while it takes time to fly back home, you’re off doing a dozen other things that a cadre of half competent sergeants could do. One damaged tank siting slightly outside the repair radius while the rest of its squadron is fully repaired? Yeah, managing that is your job. Did a napalm strike just chase a bunch of your infantry occupying a bank out it? Well you’d better be right on top of that cause they’ll just stand outside the building roasting to death (or being shot to death, or blown up or any number of other bad things) until you tell them otherwise. Did they evacuate the building and survive (some of them) the napalm strike? Better tell them to reoccupy the tactically vital building they’d just been inside of because they’ll wait forever. While you’re doing all of this, guess what? That rescue helio that pulled out all the pilots? It’s hovering over base waiting for you to tell it to disembark them and then give them the order to run back into your HQ.

Everything in that last paragraph is a lot of fun, I have some other issues with the urban combat but every individual piece is great. But when you tie them all together and add economy, and combat micromanaging and macro-management of build queues, resources and build zones, it becomes more than one person should ever handle. The military has ranks for a reason. Ranks have jobs and they do their jobs so the ranks above them (or below them) can do their jobs. Games like Civilization strip out the micromanagement and tactical levels as an answer while the Total War series splits them into to separate but integrated pieces, and even its far more limited RTS elements suffer from this requirement that you the players does everything. They’ve answered this with a pause and queue order commands but it disrupts the feeling of being a commanding officer when you have to tell your elite legionnaire century that after they scale the walls they should run the 20 yards further along to engage the enemy guarding the gatehouse. Other games, like R.U.S.E. and Starcraft simplify both until the player can grasp it all.

In the end, I think the RTS genre is going to have push the edges of AI in games if they want to play at being a holistic war simulator instead of war-light like chess and Go. RTS makers need to understand that delegation and specific roles are why/how modern militaries function and not try to throw everything onto the player’s plate. Something as simple as letting two players control the same faction and base, something Starcraft and Halo Wars do, can go a long way to letting all those complicated matters become manageable but the only real solution is to give the players virtual subordinates smarter enough to do their jobs, something we’re not quite too.