Why Create an RTS?


Adam’s Short Answer:

I am a table top war gamer and love tactical games.

The Long Answer:

I’ve already talked about the hardships we’ve had to push through to try and get our toes wet in this genre.  I always knew it was going to be a tough genre to start off with, but passion drove me to continue.


I used to love strategy war games.  I didn’t get a home computer until the mid 90s so I missed a few of the earliest games in the genre.  I played almost all of the classics from that time though.  I cut my teeth with Lord of the Realms 2, picked up Age of Empires and blew through the single player campaigns, spent hours crushing my friends in Warcraft 2, blew apart bridges in Command and Conquer, and then the big one hit.  Starcraft brushed the other games aside and consumed my nights and weekends.  It had an engaging story, totally different factions, and depth that I wouldn’t fully grasp until months later.

I often tell people that it was Starcraft’s level builder that started my career as a programmer.  I pretty much had no idea what I was doing, but I wrote some pretty complicated conditions for a barely playable RPG.  It was probably for more terrible than I remember, but who cares it was awesome.


A few years later I started playing table top war games.  Incredible fantasy miniatures, a huge rule book, and straight in real life head to head gameplay.  It is an awesome genre of gaming and I highly recommend everyone try it.  I started off by trying out Chainmail, a reintroduction of the game that started Dungeons and Dragons.  After that it became a full blown hobby.   Learning a new game was only the beginning, buying, assembling, and painting an entire army made it feel like your own.  From then until now I’ve played a lot of table top games, but the big stand outs are Confrontation and Warlord.  Confrontation was notable for it’s customizable armies and tons of cheese, it’s the game where I discovered how much of a number cruncher I could be.   Warlord was a stand out because of it’s simplicity, low price point, and overall balance.  Warlord pulled me in and I got to know a few people at Reaper Miniatures through their forum by giving feedback almost daily.

I contributed so much that they asked me to help out with the design of Warlord 2.  They wanted to remove some complexities, tighten the gameplay, and rebalance the game. This is an awesome highlight in my life.  Debating with other designers, and supporting or arguing against every idea presented all while trying to create the best game possible.  It was a grueling and long process and I truly believe it’s one of the best games ever made.  It’s well balanced, easy to learn, and has layers of tactical depth.

Shortly after Warlord 2 was published I decided that I wanted to continue designing and creating games.  I had spent the last 20 years playing strategy games, then creating within them, and now I had helped a team create one, so it seemed logical to make the next step and create one all my own.  So combining my programming experience with my game design experience seemed like the right decision.

When I thought about what kind of game I wanted to make, the decision seemed so simple.  All of my experience had guided me towards RTS.  The genre seemed to be missing the games I used to enjoy and lots of new platforms seem ripe for strategy and war.

Cairn had begun.

One thought on “Why Create an RTS?

  1. also had my beginnings in Starcraft’s level editor. Creating my own Protoss campaign that never went anywhere. Also it was filled with ripped off themes and characters… kinda like all Metzen related material, come to think of it. Yet, those were the days.

    Creating triggers was a blast with the old editor (also a pain in the ass, but a rewarding pain in the ass).

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