The game itself is quite simple as RTS games go, but there is a lot of complexity underneath the surface. It is of course based upon managing an economy while fighting other players with the eventual goal of domination as all RTS games are, but Evolution RTS goes about things a little differently.
The minimap is a small bird’s eye view of the entire game map. It will show you units on radar and their appropriate team’s colors. Orders such as move, attack, fight, etc, can be given on the minimap. Middle clicking anywhere on the minimap will instantly cause your game camera to be centered on that spot.
The resource bars show the amount of income that you have at any given moment. They also show your total storage amounts, how much overflow you are sharing with your allies, and how much resource drain you are experiencing. The white bar depicts your metal resource and the yellow bar depicts your energy resource.
The commands menu shows an overview of the current state of your selected unit(s). Commands with a colored bar underneath them can be toggled to different states. For example, in the illustration above the unit is on hold fire. Toggleable fire states are “Hold Fire”, “Return Fire” and “Fire at will”.
The unit build menu will be a central focus for the majority of the game. This is where you select what to build, and once you have clicked on a build picture, you will then need to place the structure. Factory buildmenus are very similar, however clicking on a unit in a factory buildmenu adds a unit to the buildqueue. Pay attention to the greyed out buildpictures. A greyed buildpicture indicates that there is not enough power available in the vicinity for the specified unit or structure to be built. The left and right arrows at the bottom will allow you to navigate multiple pages of buildings or units to build. Hover your mouse over a buildpic and useful information will appear in the tooltip.
The tooltip window displays important information about your currently selected units and anything that you hover your mouse over. This includes buildmenu pictures, command menu items, map features (trees/rocks/etc) and the map itself (will display terrain information). Be careful to pay attention to tooltip information as it can be quite helpful in your understanding of how something works.
The players list allows you to do many different things. It looks tiny, but it can do a lot! It shows a listing of your allies, enemies, and spectators. Next to the player name are several symbols. The first is your CPU usage. THis is listed as a percentage. If your cpu usage is too high (generally because of an underpowered system), you could cause the game to slow down for everyone. The second is a “ping” indicator. Ping is the time it takes for a command to make a round trip from your computer to the server and back. Pings are listed in milliseconds. Generally you will want to make sure that your ping is at most 300 – 400. The lower your ping, the more responsive the server will feel to you. The buttons shown are for requesting units and resources from your allies. Hovering your mouse above any of the symbols or buttons will cause a little helper tooltip to be displayed showing you relevant information.
The economy in Evolution RTS is based upon two resources (Metal and Energy) with a third facet (Power). Metal is obtained by placing Metal Extractors on the map upon patches of metal. Energy is obtained by building powerplants and fusion reactors. Power is obtained via powerplants and fusion reactors in a limited radius.
When building metal extractors (Commonly referred to as “MEX”) you will immediately notice that upon click on the build picture for a metal extractor, the entire map surface will be marked with indicators for resource locations. Metal is used to produce units, whether they be Engineers for expanding your base, or attacking units, all require a certain amount of metal.
Metal makers are buildings that convert energy into metal. In Evolution RTS, a single metal maker will produce +0.5 metal income at the cost of -10 energy drain. By default, your metal makers will shut themselves off and turn back on automatically if you start running low on energy.
As previously mentioned, powerplants not only provide energy, but the also provide a teching resource called “power”. We will get to power requirements next, but for the moment lets focus on energy. Energy is used for various functions within the game. The main function is that energy is used to power your units and defenses weapons fire. For each shot fired, that unit will drain a small amount of energy from your storage banks. If your storage banks of energy have been depleted, the unit will fail to fire. Some of the larger weapons require energy to stockpile a specific weapon of destruction, most notably, nukes. The energy consumption of these weapons is huge, and you will need a lot of energy structures to make sure that you have plenty of energy for your units to fire and your weapons of mass destruction to build.
Basic Powerplants provide +1 Energy and +1 Power
Geothermal Powerplants provide +7 Energy and +7 Power
Fusion Reactors provide +10 Energy and +10 Power
Power is often referred to as a resource, but in actuality it isn’t a true resource. It is more of a teching requirement. There are no levels of tech trees in Evolution RTS, there is only the power that is required to build. You will notice that soon after starting a game, several items on your commander’s build menu are darkened. This means that you cannot build those items because there is not enough power available in the area to do so. As an example, the Light Defensive Turret requires +4 power in order to be built and to fire. This means that before you will be able to build a light turret, you need to have power in the area, and in order for it to keep firing, it must constantly be provided power (and energy). If it’s power requirement is lost, the defensive turret will cease to function.
Power requirements are listed in the tooltip (Bottom left of the screen) when you select a unit or place your mouse cursor over a build menu item.
The word communism is used to describe an economy function. It is important to know that when you are playing a teamgame, the metal income from every metal extractor is shared between each player. What this means is that if you place a metal extractor on a patch that gives 0.5 metal income and you have one ally, both players will receive 0.25 income instead of a single player receiving 0.5. However, metal income from metal makers is not shared.
The hover plant is the “bread and butter” factory of units. What that means is that you will find the most variety in the hover factories. Hover factories feature 2 types of raiders, 2 types of skirmishers, 2 types of artillery and the only base assault unit in the game. Hovertanks are limited in what types of slopes they can traverse but can skim over the surface of water whereas all-terrain units must go around and amphibious units must go under the water. However, hovertanks do not possess any advanced innate abilities unlike all-terrain or amphibious units.
The amphibious factory produces units geared for moving stealthily under water and are excellent for surprise attacks. They are also slightly faster than their hovertank counterparts. All amphibious units posses stealth which means that they will not show up on radar, but they will show up on sonar. Additionally, the light amphibious raider can attack underwater units and structures as well as hovertanks traversing the surface.
All-Terrain units are once again, exactly what they sound like. They move quickly on 4 legs over any terrain except water, however, they are slightly slower than hovertanks. All-Terrain tanks have the ability to cloak their units (-2 energy) and even their factory (-20 energy). Units will be forced to decloak upon attacking or building. All-Terrain units are perfect for surprise attacks over geographic obstructions.
Aircraft often play a fundamental role in warfare. They are very fast and agile, have the ability to strike nearly anywhere at any time, but generally are fairly fragile. Aircraft are also more expensive to produce than their land based counterparts. Aircraft have very specialized roles in Evolution RTS. As examples, the air scout is extremely fast and difficult for enemy anti-air to shoot down. While it is simply a drone that provides line of sight and radar information, that information may alter your attack plans at a critical juncture, or it may unveil the nuke that your enemy was trying to conceal, giving you the chance to get some bombers in there and take care of it. Aircraft represent flexibility in the face of battle, use them well.