There is a certain expectation people have of web games: they should be simple and easy to get into with no tutorials or learning curve. The Strike Tactics core game, being true to the classic RTS form (don't give me any of that control point or MOBA shit) is anything but. On top of microing your army and controlling production, you're also base-building and managing a full-fledged economy system with dozens of workers and multiple resource types. It's a lot to take in for your average drooling Random Internet Nobody, who stumbles upon the website, slouched in his computer chair with one hand in a bag of cheese doodles and the other on his mouse.
With this problem in mind, I started working on a new survival game mode which does away with difficult eco-management aspect entirely. The purpose of the game mode is to introduce combat mechanics in a fun and easy way, and to essentially baby-feed new comers a big chunk of the information required to play the core game competently. Players who master the survival game mode will learn a lot of principles behind RTS such as unit types, unit counters, production and microing. That's not all there is to this game, but it is a lot! I started working on this new game mode Sunday and finished the prototype today. I'm quite happy with it so far.
You start out with a small army and face waves of enemy units. You earn ore for each enemy you kill and use the ore to purchase more units from any of the 4 production buildings in each corner of the map. You face a different kind of enemy in each wave and the waves gradually become more difficult. Sometimes waves spawn together in one big group. Sometimes, they spawn scattered all around the map. You can only build new units in-between waves but a list of the wave order is displayed in the right-hand side, allowing you to prepare for future waves.
My goal here is for you to be on the edge of your seat for each successive wave. You actually need to micro your army effectively or you will take massive casualties, and will not have a big enough army to face the more difficult waves. In the video, I stopped microing properly around wave 30 because I didn't want the video to be too long (it ended up being ~30 min). You can see how, even though my forces seemed to reach critical mass, they were utterly destroyed in less than 2 waves without proper micro.
It is crazy how the design philosophy of this game has gradually shifted away from a steam-roller-type RTS and more into a micro-intensive RTS. This happened somewhat organically, mainly because of 1) the low population limit designed to encourage engagements and 2) the physics-based combat which allows your units to literally dodge bullets. You can face 10 bullfrogs with an army of 10 bullfrogs, and destroy them all without a single casualty. This is great because it makes the battles much more engaging. You're not just watching units fight, you're actively participating. Granted the micro is not as intense for the more advanced units (with faster bullets), the 10 bullfrog example nonetheless illustrates just how important micro is.
The survival game mode will be available for free (you don't need to purchase an account), but you are limited to 1 map and no multiplayer (at least that is the plan now). The game mode will be cooperative multiplayer and available on any 4-player map for people who have purchased the game.