AMD’s Mantle could make RTS games awesome again

I’m not a complete pillock you know. When my head is struck with blunt force hard enough, my cultured and more civilised side comes out, resulting in a switch of genre preferences that has me favour real-time strategy over brutish first-person shooter games. And Mantle tech might make that genre a firm favourite again.

Making DirectX and OpenGL feel more antiquated with each and every passing day, the new API from AMD and DICE is already looking pretty, purdy and gorgeous for those of you with powerful enough rigs and massive levels of patience playing Battlefield 4.

And now Oxide games has been tinkering away with that technology, resulting in a new game engine built specifically for real-time strategy titles. And the results look staggering. Dubbed the Nitrous engine, it can handle up to 5000 AI/Physics-driven objects on the screen at any given time, simeltaneously.

“Take the most complex scene you’ve ever seen in StarCraft II and multiply it by 10,” Oxide founder Dan Baker said to Engadget. Don’t believe them? Here’s a proof of concept for Star Swarm, which shows the engine in action.


And that engine has already been contracted out, with three upcoming strategy games making use of it according to the video. I’ve always felt that the one thing missing from strategy games these days was scale. We’ve pretty much reached the ceiling of gameplay for RTS titles already, and while games like the Total War series have thrown hundreds of characters onscreen, the visuals have still left a lot to be desired.

But games that make me feel like I truly am sending in wave after wave of men to die, thousands at a time? That’s the kind of game that I want to play, that makes my foolproof technique of throwing as many troops as possible at a player until they run out of ammo or hit their automatic kill limit.  And then I can finally move my digital brandy cabinet five feet closer to the front.

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Author:Darryn Bonthuys

Because he's the writer that Lazygamer deserves, but not the one it actually needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can't take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a loud-mouthed journalist, a watchful procrastinator. A dork knight.
  • Admiral Chief in Vegas

    Ahhhhh, good news indeed!

  • General JJ Raven (John)

    RTS games are awesome! ;)

    • Lardus-Resident Perve

      Agreed!

  • That Tall Twit Norm

    Nitrous… oxide #facepalm

    • RuskiSnajper

      yeah, i thought about that too

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Supreme Commander used to make my old PC buckle due to the number of units. So badly that I couldn’t play it unless I was zoomed out to strategic view. Good times.

    • General JJ Raven (John)

      There were some seriously programming issues in that game. Still an awesome game though. Not as good as Total Annihilation and not as good as Planetary Annihilation either. But many hours were spent on it.

  • ZombieDogma

    Even with all the particle effects and lighting, static spaceships are a very different beast from animated models, there’s lots of things you cna do to make them computationally cheaper. Space is also very cheap place to render a battle.

    I’ll wait for the games to come out first. Space: Total War anyone?

  • Matewis Jubilai

    What are the odds that one of those 3 is in the 40k universe? My kingdom for Dawn of War 3
    I want to launch 10 drop pods filed with dreadnaughts and terminator armour space marines into the middle of a Tyranid assault and have my force commander send xeno scum flying with is power hammer.

    • General JJ Raven (John)

      I think I just had a mind-orgasm.

      • Admiral Chief in Vegas

        Clean-up, aisle 4…

      • Matewis Jubilai

        40K sure can do that :) I want to see a scene like this come to life:

        • Matewis Jubilai

          or a 40k Apocalypse scene

          • Lardus-Resident Perve

            Epic!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            I bet my single Ork grunt figurine feels seriously outnumbered about now.

        • General JJ Raven (John)

          Man, oh man. Makes StarCraft look like pre-school.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      MOAR W40K!

      • General JJ Raven (John)

        Next Steam sale I’m buying the Warhammer Pack.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          DOW1 has the best intro video ever. I never skipped it.

          • General JJ Raven (John)

            Agreed.

          • Matewis Jubilai

            Best part for me: Dreadnaught blasts an orc mid air, does a 45 defree clockwise turn and unleashes a torrent of hot lead into the orc position…

    • Lardus-Resident Perve

      DoW 3 FTW!!! I have said numerous times that when (if?) DoW 3 gets made, I will upgrade my PC to run it at full specs!

    • That Tall Twit Norm

      And a horde of Orks coming in screen from the left?

  • Matewis Jubilai

    Speaking of which, when are we getting our re-releases of Homeworld? I still have to beat the first one – got stuck on the asteroid level…

    • General JJ Raven (John)

      That game was so great. And it had such an awesome storyline for an RTS.

    • El Capitan del Blade

      Well, It is entirely possible that Gearbox are one of the companies on board with nitrous to make Homeworld… They’ve been waiting “For the right time” maybe that time has come, in the form of Nitrous

  • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

    Looking very cool

  • Lardus-Resident Perve

    Ooooooh SHINY!!

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