Page last updated at 22:03 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 23:03 UK

A strategy game with a difference

By Daniel Emery
Technology reporter, BBC News, Cologne

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Daniel Emery learns how to hoodwink the enemy in the real time strategy game Ruse

Organisers expect more than 200,000 people to visit this year's gamescom, the annual games convention in Cologne, Germany.

While the games industry uses the E3 Expo in Los Angeles to unveil new games, they use the gamescom to showcase them to the public, as well as giving people a hands-on experience with some of their new titles.

One such publisher is Ubisoft. While their public booth sported giant plasma screens and attractive young women in tight football shorts, behind the scenes they were letting people try their hand at some of its forthcoming titles.

One of those is Ruse, which made its big debut at the E3 Expo this year and takes the basic concept of a WWII real-time strategy (RTS) game and adds an extra dimension of deception.

Set on a map measuring more than 5000 square kilometres and containing tens if not hundreds of units at any one time, the game lets you control one of six different factions - British, American, German, French, Russian, and Italian - as they battle it out for control of the map.

Trickery

But unlike traditional RTS titles, which allow you to uncover the world and see exactly what is going on, Ruse lets players see all the units on the map, but does not distinguish between real and fake units.

The trick is to find out which ones are real, rather than diverting resources into attacking wooden or inflatable units.

There are still some basic RTS elements in the game: resources are collected by various supply depots, allowing players to build barracks, tank factories and airports and thereby to construct an army.

In addition, the game allows players to fortify towns and strong points, forcing the enemy to either clear them out or try and go around their flanks - although the lack of cover leaves them vulnerable to air attack.

Players can also spend their points on various deception options, from enforcing radio silence, making units harder to spot, to building a decoy base, replete with fake vehicles. These can dupe the enemy into diverting resources to attack, in turn leaving them poorly defended for the player's real forces to hit.

The developers have also produced a version that works on the IntuiFace touch-screen platform, although the number of gamers who can afford the £12,000 kit is likely to be small.

Ubisoft say Ruse should be in the shops in the early part of 2010.



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