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Damage Is Fire
Who knew ramming put stones on fire?
Whenever structures in RTS games are damaged, the damage is usually represented by a tiny flame that burns perpetually in the corner of the building, which grows as the damage increases. The fire represents the damage, but does not (usually) damage the building further. Sometimes this trope will also apply to vehicles, which start smoking and sparking when damaged.

Being on fire is basically the standard way to communicate "this thing is damaged" to players.

See also Shows Damage.


Examples:

  • Critically damaged components in some MechWarrior games will smoke and burn.
  • In Age of Empires, the flames are bigger than the building.
    • Some of the buildings are obviously made out of stone. The most likely scenario for fire destroying a stone building is that the fire would burn down wooden supports; the unsupported stone would then collapse. However, in Age of Empires, it just looks like the stone itself is on fire.
  • In Starcraft, Terran and Protoss buildings display this, with Terran buildings burning orange and Protoss buildings burning blue-white, even in a vacuum. Unusually, Terran buildings will take additional damage if their health bars are red, and will eventually burn down if not repaired. Zerg buildings bleed instead of burn because they are Organic Technology, and will slowly repair themselves over time.
    • Justified for Terrans. Due to No OSHA Compliance, their buildings are haphazardly constructed and tanks or lines for volatile chemicals are easily damaged. Combat can easily cause said damage.
    • Averted with Starcraft II units. Killing a biological unit with a Roach or Baneling (which have an Acid attack) will cause that unit to literally melt away. Killing a unit with fire (Hellion, Firebat, and Battlecruiser) will cause them to burn to death.
  • Rise of Nations
  • Warcraft. Particularly noticeable in Warcraft 2, as a growing flame in the middle is the only visible effect of damage to a building.
    • This could get funny when you set a gold mine on fire by shooting arrows at it. World of Warcraft comes around, and suddenly it turns out that all of those rocks that weren't gold were actually Made of Explodium.
    • In the Warcraft Real-Time Strategy series, hitting a building with cold or water elementals will still set it on fire.
    • Warcraft 3 has buildings that will explode and leave a pile of cinders...from being whacked by steel axes. Bonus points for structures made entirely of carved stone and steel.
  • Spore
  • Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds (then again, it runs on the AOE engine...)
    • and Star Wars: Empire at War, though not that noticeable (or for everything).
    • The Rebel Fortress structure in Galactic Battlegrounds produces a flame approximately the size of an Imperial AT-AT walker when it's being torched.
  • Command & Conquer
    • Also slightly averted: Flames left behind as the result of a building or vehicle's destruction will damage anything placed on top of them until they burn out.
      • Also, the buildings usually have different graphics displayed depending on how damaged the buildings are, in addition to the fires. So the damage is not only represented by the flames.
  • Just Cause does this with vehicles. If it's on fire, you'd better jump out quick.
  • Team Fortress 2: Sentry guns smoke and spark if damaged; at higher damage levels, the smoke becomes fire.
    • Likewise the Bioshock turrets and security bots.
  • Mass Effect does this with your vehicle.
  • Supreme Commander
  • Robot Wars
  • Total Annihilation: Kingdoms - however, a burning building will be further damaged by the fire.
  • Grand Theft Auto 3 and up implement the vehicular version, where the car begins to smoke as it is damaged. However, once it catches on fire it becomes a time bomb with a very short fuse.
  • Gears of War - Your vehicle, though since the health in the game is the Walk It Off type your mechanic is repairing the thing.
  • In The Godfather game, vehicles will catch fire once they have taken enough damage, while a bombed building will be on fire.
  • Constructor has tenants of houses politely inform you that their abode is filled with smoke and burning to the ground, complete with 40 foot flames shooting out of said domicile.
  • Hogs Of War has this, and it extends as far as to your flesh-and-blood characters, who explode upon losing all their hitpoints (even from drowning) and leave a pair of smoking boots behind.
  • Prototype uses this trope for vehicular damage but averts it for buildings.
  • Brütal Legend uses this.
  • Taken to its logical conclusion in Golden Eye 1997 (64). If you shoot a box enough, it Explodes and is partially deformed. Shoot it more and It'll explode again and look like it's falling apart. Shoot it MORE and it will explode AGAIN! finally being reduced to a few blackened remains.
  • Most shmups, such as Raiden, use this for large enemies and bosses, as well as destroyable scenery.
  • Played amusingly straight in Singles 2: Triple Trouble, a cheap knockoff of The Sims. It makes sense that a stove would belch smoke if it needed repairs... But can anyone explain why the bathroom sink does the same?
  • In Dragon Quest I, both of your offensive spells, Hurt and Hurtmore, are fire spells. When Dragon Quest II came out, the English translation turned one of the new offensive spells, Woosh, into another fire spell called "Infernos." Starting in Dragon Quest III, more varied forms of magical attacks appeared.
  • Fire Emblem 10 technically plays this straight, but usually it's directly stated that the bandits or other enemies ARE burning down the structures in question.
  • Aztec Wars
  • Battle Realms. Buildings just get more broken when damaged by normal attacks. It's possible to set buildings on fire with certain units to deal damage over time, with the size of the flames is proportional to how much damage its taking per second, not by how much it has already taken.
    • Stone buildings can catch on fire, but they go out almost instantly.
  • SimCity. This city simulation has no combat and thus no hitpoints. Fires in this game will destroy buildings if they are left burning too long.
  • Netstorm has buildings burning after some damage threshold. They don't get worse, but you can't repair anything either.
  • In Homeworld, when ships are damaged below about half health, ships start shooting flames. Presumably, this is due to the damage control teams desperately trying to keep the fire from spreading by venting the flaming compartments' atmospheres into space, so it's a justified example.
  • Averted in The Settlers II, where buildings can't be damaged at all, but are destroyed or razed on occasion. This results in a fire and smoking ruins afterwards, indicating that razing actually happens through burning.
  • Knights of Honor: When pillaging, laying a siege, or battling enemy forces, the units/structures/castles are replaced with burning flames.
  • Majesty
  • Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds uses varying amounts of smoke and flame to indicate damage, not only to faction units and structures but to literally everything destructible, which includes civilian buildings, bridges, trees, lamp posts...

Cut the FuseThis Index Is On FireDynamite Candle
Crippling OverspecializationStrategy Game TropesDefog of War
Age of Empires IIImageSource/Video GamesAge of Mythology

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