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Suggestion: Make a pure turn-based combat RPG


Revolver

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The problem was, it *WAS* representative of the NWN OC. I'm repeating myself here, but I think it's a problem with real time RPGs that designers feel like they have to waste the player's time w/ meaningless combat. However If the NWN OC had an equal amount of combat as Fallout, the game would be over incredibly quickly and be just as unsatisfying. I agree that the style of combat makes little difference if the game is well designed- as shown by HotU and fan made mods. I just see more real time developers falling into that trap.

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@pulp

Well, I think you'll take the point and agree that we can only base our discussions on past implementations, and not other hybrid - or otherwise - combat systems that we haven't actually seen yet. Or rather, seen implemented successfully. Till then I'll just reserve judgement on whether it's conceivable to have a hybrid RT/TB game.

 

I don't like being forced to micro-manage also, and that usually comes up for me when I'm up against really low level enemies (like nasty rats). Turn base then does become a chore. But I'd argue that that might be more a function of game design rather than a fault of the combat system *shrugs*.

I don't think we have to base our discussions solely on past games at all. That's kind of the point of this type of discussion, to debate the merits of different aspects of systems in previous games, and their faults and advantages, and to suggest new features or modifications we'd like to see.

 

I do agree that the level of fun from a particular game is largely dependent on that game's design, rather than whether it's real-time, turn-based, or something in between.

 

 

@Zantetsuken

I think you mean RTWP instead of RT up there, otherwise you're making a false statement, as RT cannot have the same amount of options as TB on its own.

 

RT is always hectic, with or without pause. There's no way to prevent it. The ability to pause doesn't make it less hectic. When you unpause, it resumes its hectic nature.

I don't understand the first statement. How is it impossible for the designers to put the same options into a RT game that they could put into a TB game? Also, I don't see how RT is hectic by nature. That's more a function of game design and how much is happening in an encounter. You can design the same encounter in any system; TB can be just as hectic with enough enemies thrown in. The only difference is that in TB, it would take a lot longer, and proceed much slower.

 

The chance of error is possible, and unstopable, in most (if not all) TB games. You can "walk into a mistake" by deficient planning, you can do a certain action which has no possible escape or cancellation, such as attacking; you can't pause to cancel actions in TB, as they're carried out automatically.

 

Pause does allow you to cancel it. In all RTWP systems I've seen to this day, thats what happens. By pausing, you can cancel pretty much everything you're doing. In RTWP you can pause to avoid delivering a blow, for instance; or pause and backtrack if you see a mage firing an area-effect spell such as Fireball; or having a mage start casting a spell, notice the enemy launched a protection against that spell, pause and order him to run away, effectively terminating the spell he was about to launch and allowing him to run away. Thats the "escape method", as it can let you flat-out cancel things. Prime candidate: all IE games.

For the first paragraph, my point was it's much harder to walk into a mistake in TB. When you only have to consider the movement of one character at a time, it's easier to avoid mistakes in the first place. A pause would be overly redundant.

 

It's been awhile since I've played Neverwinter Nights, but how I remember it, you weren't able to cancel actions instantly. If you decided to cancel a spell, the character would still go part way through the actions of casting, before being able to start something else, and often would wait a second or two before going into the next action.

 

As for your examples of reacting to something else that's happening, such as a spell being cast, or drinking a protective potion or something. In TB, these things would either happen before or after you have to decided your action. As I said before, RT with pause adds more places for thing to go wrong, but also gives you another tool to deal with them.

 

Yes it does. Note the difference between "happening in real time" and "showing how it would act out in real time". TB is a simulation of combat which shows in detail what is meant to happen in RT. It doesn't need to happen in RT to show how it would happen.

The animations for a particular character can be exactly the same, and it's possible to make a system where you can give the exact same orders in TB and in RT. The difference is in a RT based system, you have to react to other things happening at the same time your character is moving. If everything else is static during your characters' turns, then it's not a very good approximation of what they'd be doing in real-time.

 

That might be a flexibility to some, but I see it as a flaw. Running into more difficulties is useless if you have the ability to easilly escape them and the ability to easilly handle everything and everyone in your party. The lack of challenge it creates by adding pause isn't really making up for it.

For this, I think it mostly depends on the implementation.

 

 

I think I mentioned before that in an RPG, I think combat should not be the focus of the game. It should be a legitimate way to solve problems, and to exercise character skills, but there are much more important elements to the game. In most TB games in the past, combat becomes more important to the game, because of it's turn-based nature. You have to give your characters orders every turn and wait for enemies to act, every turn. RT with pause allows you to keep any possible tactical option you could want, all the developer has to do is put it in the game. But it also allows you to go through combat much more quickly and fluidly than turn based, even if there is a speed slider. You would still have to give orders every single turn, and you don't have the ability to queue orders. That's mainly why I would prefer RT with pause, TB makes combat far too important.

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I don't understand the first statement. How is it impossible for the designers to put the same options into a RT game that they could put into a TB game?

 

Ok, i'll more or less repeat what I said before. A purely RT system has to be as streamlined as possible in terms of options and in terms of interface to use said options. It needs constant player input for combat and cannot afford to have the player always reaching for the interface, losing time fumbling for icons when the character is involved in non-stop battle. Since RT combat is always requiring the player to be active, it needs a small amount of fast-using, but reliable options, and can't give a plethora of options which bog the player down in endless interface buttons or skill trees.

 

Thats why I said that you probably meant RTWP instead of RT as the pause would allow players to access the interface at their leisure.

 

Also, I don't see how RT is hectic by nature. That's more a function of game design and how much is happening in an encounter. You can design the same encounter in any system; TB can be just as hectic with enough enemies thrown in. The only difference is that in TB, it would take a lot longer, and proceed much slower.
I'm not refering to game design, I'm refering to its very nature. Everything happening simultaneously and unstoppably is more hectic than TB. Thats just how it is. Intense activity (often leading to one having little to no control over) is hectic. Considering that RT combat is also usually faster and more confusing, it becomes even more hectic in certain situations.

 

It's been awhile since I've played Neverwinter Nights, but how I remember it, you weren't able to cancel actions instantly. If you decided to cancel a spell, the character would still go part way through the actions of casting, before being able to start something else, and often would wait a second or two before going into the next action.

 

NWN is but one of the RTWP games out there, and is an exception. And in this case, from what I remember, that happened because of bad programming and trying to have the animations fit in with your actions. Volourn will correct me, I'm sure :p

 

As for your examples of reacting to something else that's happening, such as a spell being cast, or drinking a protective potion or something. In TB, these things would either happen before or after you have to decided your action.
Thats the point of TB. Planning. If you fail to escape something or succeed to avoid it, its all based on how you planned. I can't see how pausing to avoid suffering consequences to bad decisions be an improvement over tactical planning, or how its good combat. In fact, thats precisely the point. In TB you'd suffer if you made a bad choice. In RTWP, the possibility of failure is quite lessened. An example (which is only to present the gist of it, its not meant to be accurate):

 

TB situation, part 1: You enter a room where a wizard engages in combat, and you decide to engage as well. In his first turn, he draws magical power for a magical surge spell. You are not sure if the spell will be a direct-hit spell (like Magic Missile, or Chromatic Orb), or if it will be an area-effect spell (like Fireball). Nevertheless, he wasted his turn drawing magical power, and you decide to advance towards him in your turn. His next turn however is devastating as he launches a maximized area-effect spell using himself as the epicenter of unleashed magic, and you die. You failed because of your wrong decision.

 

TB situation, part 2: Like before, but you decide to stay where you are in your turn. The wizard unleashes the spell, but you were not in its area of effect. You survived, and the next turn you advance towards the wizard. You lived longer. You succeeded (or at least, lived for a few more turns) because of your correct decision.

 

RTWP situation: You see the wizard and decide to attack him, so you click on him to have your character attack. As you approach him, you see him gathering magic energy. Considering it to be devastating, you automatically pause the game. You just paused the carrying out of your bad decision to rush headlong into him, and with the game paused, can now decide to run away to avoid being hit. You succeeded because you avoided any consequence to your wrong decision, and somewhat "correct" it before it could bring bad results.

 

If everything else is static during your characters' turns, then it's not a very good approximation of what they'd be doing in real-time.

 

Thats why its an abstraction of combat, not a die-hard anal realistic simulation. Again, it doesn't have to happen in real time to show how real time would work. If turn-based systems were invalid in depicting a real time sequence of events, the turns taken in chess games wouldn't be considered valid, then.

 

But it also allows you to go through combat much more quickly and fluidly than turn based, even if there is a speed slider. You would still have to give orders every single turn, and you don't have the ability to queue orders.

 

Maybe I misunderstood what you meant, but are you implying RTWP has turns? :p

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Ok, i'll more or less repeat what I said before. A purely RT system has to be as streamlined as possible in terms of options and in terms of interface to use said options. It needs constant player input for combat and cannot afford to have the player always reaching for the interface, losing time fumbling for icons when the character is involved in non-stop battle. Since RT combat is always requiring the player to be active, it needs a small amount of fast-using, but reliable options, and can't give a plethora of options which bog the player down in endless interface buttons or skill trees.

 

Thats why I said that you probably meant RTWP instead of RT as the pause would allow players to access the interface at their leisure.

I meant exactly what I said. A real-time system can have every option a turn based system can have, but to make use of them, you need to have a pause function.

 

And a real-time system also doesn't need to have constant player input. Just look at Dungeon Siege. Although that's a terrible game, and a terrible combat system, it does show that you don't need constant player input or much input at all in RT.

 

NWN is but one of the RTWP games out there, and is an exception. And in this case, from what I remember, that happened because of bad programming and trying to have the animations fit in with your actions.

I think it's exactly how they wanted it to be, precisely so you couldn't easily use the pause feature in the way you fear.

 

Thats the point of TB. Planning. If you fail to escape something or succeed to avoid it, its all based on how you planned. I can't see how pausing to avoid suffering consequences to bad decisions be an improvement over tactical planning, or how its good combat. In fact, thats precisely the point. In TB you'd suffer if you made a bad choice. In RTWP, the possibility of failure is quite lessened. An example (which is only to present the gist of it, its not meant to be accurate):
It's possible to plan just was well in RTWP. It's also possible for encounters to be designed with this in mind.

 

From your example, it seemed like the exact same in both systems. In TB you decided whether or not to move forward or not after the wizard drew his power, in RT, you did the same thing. How is the pause escaping the situation, if in your example, you have the exact same choice made at the exact same time in regard to the wizard's actions?

 

But it also allows you to go through combat much more quickly and fluidly than

turn based, even if there is a speed slider. You would still have to give orders every single turn, and you don't have the ability to queue orders.

Maybe I misunderstood what you meant, but are you implying RTWP has turns?

I was saying real-time with pause is more fluid than turn based with a speed slider, because in turn based, you have to give your characters new orders every turn. Instead of RT with pause systems, where you have the option to just let them continue attacking a target without reiterating the same orders several times.

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@Greatjon:

 

1) Well, adding pause to a real time system is making it so its no longer a standard RT system. Almost the entire RT concept - that of constant interactivity and reflexes - is taken away. RT thrives on action and reflexes. When you add to it an option to pause and consider what to do, its no longer pure real time, but something else (RTWP). The idea of real time is that it happens in actual real time - no downtime, and no pauses. Adding a pause feature changes the system considerably (if not dramatically), and refering to it as if it was still pure RT is in my opinion a wrong appraisal of it because the change infused into it changes the whole point of having something in real time.

 

2) I shudder to think DS is an RPG at all :ph34r: But even considering it an RPG, look at it this way. Its true it shows you don't have to be constantly interacting with it in combat - but notice how that heavilly detracts from the combat experience for most players? Notice why its combat sucks for many people? There is almost no involvement, and that's bad. It shows precisely why constant interaction in an RT combat system is needed.

 

3) Possibly, but if that is the case, its damn weird it took them that long to include it in their games. BG series allowed for this, after all, and the system is basically the same.

 

4) As for my example, not quite. The whole difference in that situation is that in TB, you wouldn't be able to stop doing something if you felt it was wrong. In RTWP, you can, precisely of the pause. In TB you have to live with your decisions, and you can't stop executing a possibly counter-productive action by pausing: if you make a mistake, its yours. RTWP becomes more lenient in this matter. I can't see the challenge in being able to prevent potentially wrong decisions from being carried out. Another example. Imagine your girlfriend asks you a life-changing question (kinda like "Do I look fat on this dress?"). Suppose you have the option to say "Yes" or "No". Suppose that you begin to say "Yes", and notice her facial features are starting to change into that of a psychotic killer. You then pause your life, and choose the correct option - "No" :lol: You noticed you were going to fail, or that the action you were about to do could prove to be hazardous, but prevented it by pausing, and corrected your intention, and gave the right answer.

 

You can't correct errors midway like that in TB. :rolleyes:

 

5) Too much automation for my taste. That makes me abstract myself from my characters, and I don't feel involved in battle.

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speek engleesh :angry:

How about asking what things mean instead of trying to claim others don't speak english or aren't speaking anything at all, when its you that doesn't understand it? Just a thought.

 

RT stands for Real Time. TB stands for Turn-Based. RTWP stands for Real Time With Pause.

 

A is for An... no I'm not going to imitate that Crosby photoshoped image. <_<

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CAN SOMEONE TRANSLATE ALL THIS GIBBERISH??

 

JRPG = ?

RTWB = ?

FDLKWFSDFJ = ?

 

speek engleesh :angry:

Heh, I'll try

 

JRPG = Japanese role playing game

RTWP = real-time with pause

 

 

Generally whatever works is fine for me.

 

Some new angles on the debate:

 

1. TB has the advantage of letting the player watch the animations. There's nothing else to do during the sequence except watch what's going on, so players notice watch what's moving. If many heads are being blown off at the same time players are less likely to notice (apreciate?) the animations.

 

2. As mentioned, RT or RTWP gives the player to react immediately to a situation - ie cancelling a long spell when they see a different threat/opportunity present itself compared to TB which doesn't. IMHO this isn't necessarily a bad thing. In a real situation we do the same - we react to situations as soon as we get new imput so I don't see how this could be a bad thing. It certainly doesn't decrease strategy, quite the opposite in fact.

Spreading beauty with my katana.

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@Zantetsuken

 

1,2) My idea of real-time isn't at its base that everything is happening without stopping; rather, that everything is happening at the same time. From this perspective, constant interaction and good reflexes are not the key concepts behind the system.

 

And I didn't say that Dungeon Siege in an RPG, I just said it has a combat system.

 

3) Why is it so weird? I was under the impression that the built the NWN engine from the ground up. How is it weird that they would introduce new game design elements?

 

4) I still think the RT and TB versions of your example were exactly the same. In both RT and TB you have to make tactical decisions. The information that you base this decision on comes at different times depending upon the system. In TB you have all the information before you make the decision. In RT, more information becomes available as the scene unfolds. You still have to make the same decisions. You still have to live with the results of the actions you chose.

 

For the latter part of 4, you would still have to live with the beginning of the first answer, there's no way to change that.

 

You don't need to be able to change things midway like that in TB, because all of the information that you're acting upon took place before you have to make the decision.

 

5) In my experience, being bored or frustrated by combat has much more often been the cause of my losing suspension of disbelief. I prefer combat to have its place, but not to get in the way. For me, TB fails this test.

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@Atreides

 

1) I don't think that's enough of a reason to choose the basis of the combat system upon, although I don't really think you meant it as one. Just how many times do you want to have to watch the same animations over and over again?

 

2) That's kind of what I've been trying to say. Perhaps I haven't been communicating my ideas as clearly as I'd like.

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@Greatjon:

 

1,2) I'd wager RT is basically both things at the same time: simultaneous events, and non-stop. After all, its what real time is. When you look to how time passes in real life, its the same. Unless we're erecting certain conditions for things in real life to take turns, it passes by like real time.

 

3) I think its weird because NWN's system basically had the IE system has a foundation; and if those elements in NWN were actually supposed to work that way, and weren't programming problems, then they could have made an appearance in BG with minimal programming effort.

 

4) The main event where the difference strikes is the time of execution. TB does not allow actions to be interrupted during their execution phase. Actions in it are basically automatically.

 

As for the latter part... well, only if she listened :D

 

5) Then in this point, we're back to preferences. :)

 

@Atreides:

 

Yeah, TB really helped in the appreciation of Fallout's critical deaths. Goodbye lungs and half the head!

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@Atreides

 

1) I don't think that's enough of a reason to choose the basis of the combat system upon, although I don't really think you meant it as one. Just how many times do you want to have to watch the same animations over and over again?

Certainly didn't mean that's the sole reason I'd prefer TB (I actually prefer RTWP). Just something that nobody's raised before in the usual RT/TB debates that get rather predictable.

 

Besides that yeah - the same animations get boring after awhile.

 

On the same note, RT action makes combat feel "alive" rather than a board game.

Spreading beauty with my katana.

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@Zantetsuken

 

1) I think it's a little different when you look at it from the perspective of designing a game. In that case you can define what you want real-time to mean, and it doesn't have to include constant interaction and good reflexes and the roads to success and enjoyment within the system.

 

3) Perhaps you're assuming too much on the minimal programming effort. Nine times out of ten when I've seen a developer comment on such a suggestion, they disagree.

 

4) I don't see how this is an advantage. How does making actions proceed automatically, taking away the option to react to additional input, add tactical options or make the game any better?

 

5) Yes, preferences indeed. Something you haven't commented upon this far, unless my memory is failing, is whether you think one or the other is better suited for RPGs, and what your take on TB stealing the focus of the game is.

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You can design a game to work well in RT, but when it comes down to the quantity of enemies a user can interact with in RT vs TB, then TB will always win hands down. And not only the quantity, but the quality of that interaction will also be much higher. Compare the quality of combat of Civilization with the combat in Rise of Nations and it becomes apparaent. Rise of Nations was well done but the quality of strategy was much different.

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You can design a game to work well in RT, but when it comes down to the quantity of enemies a user can interact with in RT vs TB, then TB will always win hands down. And not only the quantity, but the quality of that interaction will also be much higher. Compare the quality of combat of Civilization with the combat in Rise of Nations and it becomes apparaent. Rise of Nations was well done but the quality of strategy was much different.

 

 

There's no reason that TB necessarily has an edge when it comes to quantity of enemies. It's just as easy for designers to throw hordes at the player in either case. TB may be easier when it comes to the player dealing with large amount of enemies, but I wouldn't say that's essentially a good thing. There has to be at least some semblance of realism in the system, rather than allowing the player to weave their way through impossible situations on their turn. Carefully avoiding attacks of opportunity and readied actions while their adversaries are frozen.

 

I would say that not only was the quality of Rise of Nations much different than Civilization, it was also much better, with many more options and possibilities. The tile based nature of Civ is very limiting, as is its combat system. Unless you like your battleships getting sunk and your tanks destroyed by spearmen.

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@Zantetsuken (way back)

What I meant was that you can't do the amount of actions/decisions in RT without Pause that is necessary for fluent gameplaying hence giving unfair advantage to (usually lacking) AI especially with huge masses of controllable troops (most RTS are just isometric FPS :)).

 

A pause solves the problem but then the problem is the quality of AI and the implementation of eg. D&D turnbased ruleset to a realtime environment which will never satisfy the HC fans.

 

TB OTOH eliminates much of the human error making the combat too pre-calculable and sometimes allows the use of TB-cheese eg. start combat, move out of cover, shoot, return to cover.

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^It certainly could, but it would be spammed out with the speed of things happening. With RT you're forced to take it slowly so you might as well read the descriptions which generally are worth reading. However that's not to say such descriptions would be useless in a RT game. It could be used for descriptions/situations etc.

 

Again, each system has its pros and cons.

Spreading beauty with my katana.

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Not really. NWN, for instance, has 2 feedback windows, one for comnbat happenings; and the other for dialogue. Since you don't talk much in combat; you could always have stuff like that in the dialogue box...

DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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Usually while things still going on people wouldn't take the time to read the descriptions, say when somebody bites the dust. They'd concentrate on finishing the fight off.

 

In TB you have nothing better to do so naturally your attention would be drawn to what is happening, say whether the only thing moving on the screen - ie animations or the descriptions.

Spreading beauty with my katana.

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For NWN and BG combat, I only have time to see the combat roll and damage. Unless you want to pause and scroll all the way up to see the messages, its not going to work to well- and even then, its not the same as the instant gratification of seeing the message right after the attack and having time to read it.

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For NWN and BG combat, I only have time to see the combat roll and damage. Unless you want to pause and scroll all the way up to see the messages, its not going to work to well- and even then, its not the same as the instant gratification of seeing the message right after the attack and having time to read it.

You must read slowly... or I read extremely fast...

 

In NWN, I registered every over-head text display and all the combat notes, nearly every time. Many times, having, *critical hit* *sneak attack* and *knockdown* all flying overhead with my rogue, while I viewed the combat feedback.

 

Granted the message you posted is longer, but it could stay there longer, and missing 2-3(at most, I figure) attack rolls, or savings throws sets, is not that major.

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