During my formative PC gaming years, the RTS was king. With every new game I could get my sweaty little hands on, there were dramatic leaps as some of the best developers of the day conjured up new systems, more elaborate conflicts and started to flex their storytelling muscles. There was the rivalry between Westwood and Blizzard pushing things forward, and then around them so many experiments, like the mind-bogglingly massive battles of Total Annihilation and Age of Empire’s attempts to make a Civ-scale RTS. Then Homeworld arrived, and it was like staring into the future.
Westwood’s Dune 2 was the RTS that really founded the genre, though it wasn’t the first one. It took three years for it to spawn a challenger, which came in the form of Blizzard’s Warcraft. It didn’t change a whole lot, aside from the setting, but then Westwood responded with Command & Conquer and the competition began. The genre started to evolve rapidly, but in the mid-90s there was no way I could have imagined where things would end up just a few years down the line.
“All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can’t get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer.” —IBM Manual, 1925