Any armchair commander will tell you that good time management is one of the essentials to winning a real-time strategy game. Whether it’s rushing ashore on Dog Green sector and pounding the Germans on D-Day, or gathering enough villagers to rebuild your castle and advance to the Industrial Age, time is one of the most critical elements of a battle.
One little-known fact is that out of every match, players send nearly 25% of their time just scrolling around the map. This is a limitation shared by nearly all RTS titles: there simply isn’t enough space to display the battlefield in its entirety.
Given today’s 3D releases, the problem gets exacerbated. Gamers spend more time zooming in and out of the battlefield, rotating the camera and generally rushing from area of the map to another. While fighting on the frontlines, they need to get back to base to retrieve their follow-on forces, marshal reserve and defense units in case of an attack, and ensure that the production buildings keep pumping out a steady supply of reinforcements.
Which is why a bigger screen is a key element to improving your RTS performance.
Thanks to the bigger virtual real estate, the screen covers a lot more of the battlefield. This means that you spend less time scrolling from one edge to another, and more time spent on actually building your base and defenses, managing your units, resources and production, and micro-managing the fine aspects of the battle.
Consider two players: one with an 18-inch and one with a 24-inch monitor.
Player A has a resolution of 1024 x 768. This shows him 1/12th of the map area, with the rest shrouded in the fog of war and of cheap monitor blindness.
Player B has a resolution of a whopping 1600 x whatever. At any single time, he can view approximately 1/8th of the map. This means he needs to do very little scrolling within the confines of his own base. With a single dragbox, he can encompass entire armies and group them for battle. In the same vein, he has an advance warning of any approaching hordes as he has a farther view of the battlefield.
Bottomline: large monitors are not only for milsim pilots or virtual racers. If you want to get your game on as a general, invest in a bigger screen. Heck, you can even invest in a video wall controller and a pointer stick, if that’s what it takes to crush those Orcs from the field of battle.