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Insights from the gaming industry

Real Time Strategy Games

Real-time strategy (RTS) is a subgenre of strategy video games where the game does not progress incrementally in turns.

In an RTS, the participants position and maneuver units and structures under their control to secure areas of the map and/or destroy their opponents' assets. In a typical RTS, it is possible to create additional units and structures during the course of a game. This is generally limited by a requirement to expend accumulated resources. These resources are in turn garnered by controlling special points on the map and/or possessing certain types of units and structures devoted to this purpose. More specifically, the typical game of the RTS genre features resource gathering, base building, in-game technological development and indirect control of units. The term "real-time strategy" was coined by Brett Sperry to market Dune II in the early 1990s.

The tasks a player must perform to succeed at an RTS can be very demanding, and complex user interfaces have evolved to cope with the challenge. Some features have been borrowed from desktop environments; for example, the technique of "clicking and dragging" to select all units under a given area. Though some game genres share conceptual and gameplay similarities with the RTS template, recognized genres are generally not subsumed as RTS games. For instance, city-building games, construction and management simulations, and games of the real-time tactics variety are generally not considered to be "real-time strategy".