Game Previews

Dust Front – A Classic RTS with Grand Strategy Elements

Developed by solo indie dev Dmitry Charankо́v (aka RtsDimon) out of Russia, Dust Front RTS brings classic real-time strategy gameplay into the modern era with elements of grand strategy, procedural world generation, and non-linear campaigns. After 9 years in development as a passion project, Dust Front aims to recapture the magic of genre classics like Command & Conquer and Dawn of War while providing new twists and challenges.

Set on a planet devastated by war, Dust Front tasks players with leading the Emperor’s forces to regain control over a forsaken land. But what compelled the Emperor’s offensive in the first place? Can you defeat the mutants, fight off the technologically advanced robots, and crush the rebels? Or will you turn traitor against the throne? The choice is yours in this deep RTS with branching story outcomes.

Dust Front is a classic RTS with grand strategy elements and a non-linear campaign. The action takes place on a planet devastated by many wars and upheavals, where under a thick layer of soot and concrete buried remnants of humanity’s former might.

You are the Viceroy of the Emperor, your troops take to the battle lines of Dust front to regain control in a once forsaken land. What has forced the Emperor to go on a full-scale offensive? Can you defeat the mutant infestation, deal with the robots, and crush the rebels? Or will you turn the guns against the campaign by becoming a traitor? The decision is yours.

Dust Front RTS

Gameplay

At its core, Dust Front RTS delivers solid real-time strategy mechanics reminiscent of the great RTS games of the 1990s and 2000s. Players construct bases, gather resources, build armies, and lead them into battle. An arsenal of tanks, aircraft, infantry, and support vehicles are at your disposal. Managing production, economy, and tech trees is essential.

Dust Front RTS is a single-player only game. The developer has said that his aim is to build an immersive and complete single-player experience, eschewing multi-player to focus on creating the best possible campaign experience.

Base building is freeform, letting you construct customized strongholds and defensive networks. Various resource nodes are scattered across maps, requiring you to secure a diverse logistical footprint. The unit cap increases through tech upgrades, enabling larger and more varied armies over the course of matches.

While the gameplay foundation draws from genre classics, Dust Front builds on this with new features. Procedural map generation and systemic interconnected mechanics provide replayability and challenge. The global war features territory control, garrisons, army strike groups, and simultaneous turn-based movement – adding strategic depth beyond individual battles.

Three factions each have superweapons capable of tipping battles and altering strategic initiatives. Economic and technological competition between territories affects production and resources in a simulation of total war. All of this comes together to create engrossing gameplay with meaningful choices.

Campaign

Rather than a linear, pre-determined campaign, Dust Front RTS incorporates emergent narrative elements driven by procedural generation and player decision-making. Territories produce random events such as merchant arrivals or mercenary recruitment opportunities. How you engage with these events and opportunities shapes your faction’s path through the global war.

With up to a dozen different endings, no two playthroughs will be exactly the same. Your actions dictate relationships between the primary factions, influence the spread of territory control, and determine ultimate outcomes. An emphasis on challenge and asymmetric battles where enemies have superior numbers keeps tension high throughout. You can make strategic use of veteran units, special abilities, and resources to prevail against the odds or outnumber the enemy in mobility and overwhelm them with better unit exchanges.

The campaign layers economic strategy, army management, tactical battles, and steering of overall narrative direction together into a dynamic whole. Each choice can have cascading effects that ripple through the rest of your playthrough. Plot outcomes emerge from your own decisions and performance rather than following a predefined arc. There are several overlapping story-line threads to the non-linear narrative.

The procedural generation system ensures maps, events, and challenges are different every time. Game difficulty has been balanced to maintain intensity and sometimes situations can feel hopeless. Dust Front RTS doesn’t attempt to please players, and mistakes will be punished. However, there are always paths to victory for clever strategists even when confronted with overwhelming force.

Setting & Visuals

The planet where Dust Front RTS takes place was once home to great human civilizations. Now resources are scarce, ruins litter broken cities, and the planet’s inhabitants struggle for basic survival. Under thick layers of ashes and concrete lie buried remnants of humanity’s former triumphs. You lead the Emperor’s forces to bring unity by any means necessary.

The visual presentation aims to match the bleak, desperate tone of this post-apocalyptic setting. Battlefields are scarred by wreckage, craters, and abandoned ruins telling stories of past struggles. Units are detailed with military precision across factions. Zoom in to see each vehicle and soldier rendered with care and attention to gritty aesthetics. Dynamic weather like acid rain and lightning storms make battle conditions unpredictable. The environments feel alive and dangerous alongside the smart enemy AI.

Development Background

Dust Front RTS represents the passion project of veteran developer Dmitry Charankо́v, an experienced technical artist and freelance 3D graphics contractor.

The concept emerged from a desire to recreate the experience of playing childhood favorite strategy games like Command & Conquer. Blending classical mechanics with modern production values and taking inspiration from genre evolutions like Dawn of War, the project grew in scope over time.

As a solo developer, Dmitry handled all programming, art, writing, design, and other aspects. This focused creative control shows in the tight integration of all gameplay elements. The cohesive vision aligns sandbox freedom with challenging scenarios and emergent narratives.

Release Plans

Currently, Dust Front RTS is not in early access or available for preorder. Follow developer updates on Steam and join the official Discord server linked on the Steam page to get notified as the release approaches.

As a solo developer project, no firm timeframe has been set. But with the core gameplay, visual presentation, and nonlinear campaign coming together in recent years, Dmitry aims to launch Dust Front RTS on Steam in the next 1-2 years depending on progress.

For strategy gamers craving the bold experimentation and challenge found in classics like StarCraft, this indie passion project aims to deliver just that. The blend of procedural generation, emergent narrative, strategic meta-campaign, and asymmetric blood-and-guts RTS combat creates an exciting proposition for PC.

Watch Steam and Discord for launch updates. Wishlist now to support this ambitious solo developer effort to push the RTS genre forward with a brutal, strategic, sandbox war for planet conquest. If the in-depth mechanics, smart AI, strategic variety, and gritty dystopian tone come together as planned, Dust Front RTS will become an instant strategy hit.

If you wish to know more about Dust Front RTS consider dropping by the official Discord server. Additionally, you can check the FAQ page on Steam here.

Avatar photo

Wordsmith
Meet Al, the intergalactic wordsmith hailing from the wilds of northeast England. Al is a dedicated father of three adventurous boys, navigating the cosmic chaos of parenthood with style. When he's not busy herding his young padawans, Al dives headfirst into the thrilling worlds of science fiction. When the universe beckons, Al transforms into a strategic mastermind, conquering galaxies in real-time strategy games. Join him on his cosmic journey through words, wonder, wine and the occasional strategic triumph right here on Eat Sleep Game Repeat.

Discover more from Eat Sleep Game Repeat

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue Reading

%d