Liefhebbers van RTS games zijn dit jaar goed verwend, titels als Age of Mythology en WarCraft III doen de strategische harten van veel RTS spelers sneller kloppen. Maar ook 2003 (wat alweer begint over 5 weken ) lijkt een goed jaar te worden voor RTS fans. Zo hebben we Rise of Nations van Big Huge Games. Het spel lijkt veel op Age of Empires en Empire Earth, maar heeft ook zijn eigen gezicht. Veel RTS games zijn namelijk best complex, iets wat standaard gamers afschrikt. Ook Rise of Nations heeft zijn moeilijke punten, maar kan ook makkelijk gespeeld worden, zo laat Big Huge Games ontwerper Doug Kaufman weten:Ogre: There have been a few real-time strategy titles, such as Empire Earth, which have tried to cover the entire expanse of Human history with such complexity that players had a hard time understanding the game play mechanics. Rise of Nations seems to have a similar scope and size. Do you think average people will be able to pick up Rise of Nations and be able to figure it out without too much difficulty? Doug Kaufman: “World history in under an hour” has been our motto from the beginning of the project, and these exact concerns were raised before we even began work. The fundamental design concept was based on answering such questions as “Will the player have enough mental bandwidth to handle this task?” and “How can we have things like diplomacy that appear to require popups without interrupting the game?” and “In what ways can we simplify repetitive or mechanical tasks in order to leave brain room for a more global, time-spanning strategy?” We've found so far in usability testing that, while the game is of course complex, it is not needlessly so, and if you choose to play at a very simple level, you can. The complexities come not in being able to play the game, but in being able to play the game well. Rise of Nations lijkt echter wat gecompliceerder dan Empire Earth te worden, aangezien het spel facetten van Civilization en Age of Empires combineert. Of deze mix een succes zal worden weten we begin volgend jaar. Meer info, screenshots en artikelen over RoN vind je op de officiele site.