Microsoft closed Ensemble Studios (the maker of Age of Empires). And EA canceled "Command & Conquer: Generals 2" as of October 29, 2013.
Sadly, beside Star Craft 2 (its SciFi theme is not for everyone) no triple-A RTS games are in active development :( Back in 2000 there was the last RTS hype and one had troubles to find a new roleplaying game.
As more and more players are moving back to PC/notebooks and tablets that all have better navigation interfaces than the bad controllers, I hope RTS games come back :)
There is a UserPatch that is in active development, adding such things as widescreen, multi-monitor support and fixing tons of bugs that have existed for 14 years.
Of course there's also the new HD version, which is in active development, but also kind of bug-ridden. A popular AoE2 caster and commentator by the name of ZeroEmpires has a nice quick video on the current AoE scene.
AoE2 is still a triple-A RTS game, even after more than a decade of abandonment ;)
e; 0ad is really nice as well. Actually, I've not played it a lot at all, but from what I've experienced it's better than Age of Empires 3. It lacks some of the strategic aspect of AoE2 but wins in other areas (such as, not having archaic graphics, and supporting monitors > 1280x800 out of the box.)
I think kickstarter is a decent chance of filling the gap - there are a lot of RTS fans who are dissatisfied with SC2 for a variety of reasons and don't like Dota.
Once the game is actually ready, and not in Alpha, the pricing will become sane.
It's the opposite of the e.g. Minecraft model where alpha was cheap.
Let's not forget to mention the Spring RTS open source engine:
which has some really good free games (usually based on Total Annihilation).
Also new currently in beta (it has already been mentioned), Planetary Annihilation: http://www.uberent.com/pa/
As is always the case for games the available screenshots/media don't reflect the actual gameplay. I suggest you give it a try :)
You'd think there'd be way more awesome RTS's for tablets, given the controls can work so well. The situation right now seems to be kind of stuck between the Farmville/Clans type stuff from the Facebook world, and tower defenses.
The brilliance of WC3 was the named-game system that allowed people to host whatever and fill games instantly. Battle.net was much more social-friendly too, and the editor itself provided a lot of power, but was not insanely difficult to figure out. I found the custom games in SC2 were of quite low quality just because of how much work it took to do anything.
The display felt like it was making the units, buildings and scenery seem too small and I was often squinting. This caused tension to build up in my neck and head, which caused some frustration.
Although it feels low-energy, it's fast paced. I had 1 wave that I could repel but they almost wiped out all of my units. The 2nd wave sure did.
It wasn't totally obvious that I could upgrade units through buildings, but I got that much eventually. The resources are up in the upper left hand. I guess I need 3 resource types? Not quite sure what the elephants were for or how to get them to offload.
Couldn't tell if there was advantage to one race over another.
Over all it was kind of fun. I think i'll play again.
But it's fun. It seems like it's kind of complicated but not in a way that is overwhelming.
I was always fascinated at games like this one as to how perfectly they are a use case to OOP paradigm. All objects are sharing a common object, and the player can create, destroy objects, do stuff on the objects ( call their methods ). Objects can upgrade to different versions. Objects exchange information with themselves or even battle among themselves! Really cool perspective, isn't it?
OOP is a perfectly serviceable model for developing games like this, especially if you use modern OOP i.e. heavy on composition and interfaces as opposed to the byzantine inheritance hierarchies of the 1990s.
The pro-ECS propaganda always contrasts ECS with said 1990s Java style OO, correctly pointing out that inheritance (alone) does not allow clean modelling of certain game world entities.
That being said, I think it's hard/unproductive/awkward to implement ECS in a non-OOP language. ECS is basically composition taken to the max, OOP languages give it much needed structure.
It's used in Unity because it's a flexible approach to developing games.
Also 3 articles about this topic:
Search for "optimized the entity-component system, a core part of the engine" on this page: http://play0ad.com/0-a-d-development-report-13/#more-3342
In 0 A.D., entities (units and buildings and other world
objects) consist of a collection of components, each
of which determines part of the entity's behaviour.
Entity template XML files specify the list of components
that are loaded for each entity type, plus initialization
data for the components.
Have a look at the source code: http://svn.wildfiregames.com/public/ps/trunk/source/simulati... and other code there: http://svn.wildfiregames.com/public/ps/trunk/source/simulati... and there: http://svn.wildfiregames.com/public/ps/trunk/source/simulati...
(I used Google to find the related code)
If you have trouble using this release on Macbook Pro with Retina display (OS X 10.8+), the following worked for me:
1. In Displays preferences, scale down the resolution (so text is bigger) by one setting.
2. Run the game. For me, it appeared, full-screen, in a small portion of the screen on the bottom-left side. When I moved my mouse above that portion a few inches, I figured out how to get the game to think my mouse was over the buttons (fortunately they have hover effects). I had to move the mouse to a Y-position a few inches up on the screen from where the button actually appears (but the X-coordinate was correct).
3. Adjust the settings so the game runs in Windowed mode. Save setting and close the game entirely.
4. Return resolution to normal.
5. Re-run the game. Worked fine then.
To mention another decent open source strategy game project, I'd say Widelands is to Settlers what 0 A.D. is to Age of Empires.
Feel free to join us on #0ad or #0ad-dev on quakenet if you have any questions.
I don't know about now, but when I tried it a month ago, it lacked an options menu. Clicking "options" on the main menu opened a dialog with placeholder text. Maybe they've added one now, but I didn't see one skimming the updates list.
I started playing the first Age of Empires such a long time ago. After Age of Titans (my favorite of all -- the God powers added a lot of fun), I didn't like as much the new ones.
Being an average player, I got the most fun watching recorded games from top notch players, so I hope this will be a feature if not in there already.