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I just answered to this argument several times. The goal of the game is defined by the game, not the player. The moment the you define the goal then you become the game designer.

If the goal of the game doesn´t involve time in anyway, and ingame time is not a resource, you can just add time as a value just because in your life it´s convenient. IF YOU DO that, then you have become the game designer, and the software a toy.

First, I would like to point out that by your rather strange definition, all good RPGs are toys rather than games because they are designed in a way that deliberately allows the player to define his or her own goals. Want to be a goodie two shoes who pauses a world-saving quest to rescue the kitten of some child from a tree? You can do that. Want to be a meanie who steals the child's candy instead? You can do that too. Want to solve quests by talking rather than fighting? This one is rarer, but in a good RPG, you can make avoiding violence your goal and succeed more often than not. The ability to define one's own goals is a hallmark of a good RPG, whether RTwP or turn-based or something else.

 

That said, let's consider RTwP and your insistence that to play optimally, one must pause the game every half a second or so. What exactly is being optimized here? What is the goal of an RTwP fight? We don't know what it will be in Pillars of Eternity, but I'm reasonably certain that in this respect it will resemble the IE games so what I'm going to says will be based on Baldur's Gate 2 because that's the game I remember best. The goal of the combat part of the game is to defeat enough enemies in a particular section (dungeon, wood, underwater city, etc.) to accomplish some objective (slay a monster, retrieve an item, find a way to a specific destination, etc.) and return to a safe area (your stronghold, an inn, an allied camp, etc.) where you can recuperate. As long as you can do that without losing any characters or wasting non-renewable resources that are best used elsewhere along the way, you have performed optimally.

 

So, back to the question of what exactly is being optimized by pausing every half a second. The practical difference it makes is that you wind up with slightly more renewable resources at the point where you reach the safe area. For example, if I play normally and finish a quest with about 50% of party health and 20% of party spells remaining, playing with maximal care might result in 70% of party health and 30% of party spells. This looks like it's better, but since you return to 100% capacity upon reaching the safe area, it's a transient effect and optimizing for it is completely pointless. Of course, you can do so if you want, much like you can play an entire game without using the Fireball spell or whatever, but this is a goal you set for yourself, not something the designers set for you.

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Waterd has pointed out a very critical question that is central to the game, but has not been answered - how much time is the most fun to spend thinking about decisions? I can pause every 0.5 seconds and take hours to make my decision, discuss them with other people as well. But that wouldn't be fun. And it would make every combat scenario trivial and devoid of risk of loosing. And I can't just not use the pause feature because I would be missing out on tons of features. 

 

 Here's what it's like to be us talking to waterd:

 

 If you want to play 'optimally' (under the very strange definition of optimal made up by waterd), the only way to do it is to pause after one frame of video and spend the rest of your life deciding what to do next and to designate an heir who will take the best action noted by the previous player, pause in the next frame of video and repeat - each player must also eat healthy foods to optimize his/her lifespan in order to have more thinking time about their single frame of video otherwise there is a chance they could have come up with a better solution had they lived longer.

 

 The reason why you must play this way is that there is a non-zero probability that you will figure out a better way to play if you spend your entire life contemplating the one frame of video. If you decline to play this way you putting up a strawman and talking about irrelevant things like human lifespan, playing for enjoyment rather than absolute optimality, the only thing that matters.

 

 Of course, it goes without saying that TB games have the same limitation. If you don't contemplate your turn for your entire life, you may not take the optimal action but at least you get spend your life contemplating a turn instead of a frame of video which does seem like it would be a little bit more fun (but fun is irrelevant to the discussion so stop talking about irrelevant things !).

 

 Of course, in the real world, reasonable people might figure out the rules, understand the strategies to win, and beat the game having fun in the process (but, wait! That wouldn't be fun because there is a non-zero probability that they could have found a better solution (then again, there you go with that 'fun' strawman again - stop it !!1!!!11oneone!!)).

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Real world people probably also have the added requirement of wanting to finish the game during their own lifetime, which makes this strategy non-viable and therefore not optimal.

For example, if I play normally and finish a quest with about 50% of party health and 20% of party spells remaining, playing with maximal care might result in 70% of party health and 30% of party spells. This looks like it's better, but since you return to 100% capacity upon reaching the safe area, it's a transient effect and optimizing for it is completely pointless. Of course, you can do so if you want, much like you can play an entire game without using the Fireball spell or whatever, but this is a goal you set for yourself, not something the designers set for you.

You could even argue that having 30% spells remaining is actually less optimal, since any remaining spells are effectively lost resources.
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I just answered to this argument several times. The goal of the game is defined by the game, not the player. The moment the you define the goal then you become the game designer.

If the goal of the game doesn´t involve time in anyway, and ingame time is not a resource, you can just add time as a value just because in your life it´s convenient. IF YOU DO that, then you have become the game designer, and the software a toy.

First, I would like to point out that by your rather strange definition, all good RPGs are toys rather than games because they are designed in a way that deliberately allows the player to define his or her own goals. Want to be a goodie two shoes who pauses a world-saving quest to rescue the kitten of some child from a tree? You can do that. Want to be a meanie who steals the child's candy instead? You can do that too. Want to solve quests by talking rather than fighting? This one is rarer, but in a good RPG, you can make avoiding violence your goal and succeed more often than not. The ability to define one's own goals is a hallmark of a good RPG, whether RTwP or turn-based or something else.

 

That said, let's consider RTwP and your insistence that to play optimally, one must pause the game every half a second or so. What exactly is being optimized here? What is the goal of an RTwP fight? We don't know what it will be in Pillars of Eternity, but I'm reasonably certain that in this respect it will resemble the IE games so what I'm going to says will be based on Baldur's Gate 2 because that's the game I remember best. The goal of the combat part of the game is to defeat enough enemies in a particular section (dungeon, wood, underwater city, etc.) to accomplish some objective (slay a monster, retrieve an item, find a way to a specific destination, etc.) and return to a safe area (your stronghold, an inn, an allied camp, etc.) where you can recuperate. As long as you can do that without losing any characters or wasting non-renewable resources that are best used elsewhere along the way, you have performed optimally.

 

So, back to the question of what exactly is being optimized by pausing every half a second. The practical difference it makes is that you wind up with slightly more renewable resources at the point where you reach the safe area. For example, if I play normally and finish a quest with about 50% of party health and 20% of party spells remaining, playing with maximal care might result in 70% of party health and 30% of party spells. This looks like it's better, but since you return to 100% capacity upon reaching the safe area, it's a transient effect and optimizing for it is completely pointless. Of course, you can do so if you want, much like you can play an entire game without using the Fireball spell or whatever, but this is a goal you set for yourself, not something the designers set for you.

Nailed it!

 

Waterd, I understand the desire to optimize your actions. Trust me, I do. I'm currently pursuing an M.S. studying under a professor whose research deals with making optimal decisions. No joke.

 

But you're taking it further than most. Games are meant to be fun, and that's a part of optimizing play. If your sense of fun requires you to pause every 0.5 seconds to play as optimally as possible, and if that's something you'd rather not do, than PoE (or any RTwP game) is not for you. That's a decision you'll have to make. For most of us though, RTwP does not preclude playing optimally enough to have an enjoyable experience. :)

 

Speaking of, if you're a fan of difficult turn based games, I'd recommend you check out XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Within. Play it on Impossible Ironman. Fantastically difficult experience that punishes every mistake. :)

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My optimal play is not made up. It´s the same used on games that are analyzed at top level like Chess and poker. I could link you to articles done by pro players in poker to see for yourself. People are never like ¨Well you should Limp J3s because you know, otherwise you are there waiting boring for 2 hours before playing a hand, and who is willing ot do that? pff, limp that J3s, is optimal¨ No, it doesn´t work that way, human will to get bored, human free time in real life , human willing to spend money are not factors accounted when analyzing what is the optmal play. The fact that you want to include them is a very very personal thing you want to make. But actually nobody in any game that tries to find optimal play actually does.

 

So it´s not ¨my strange definition¨ is how is used by people that try to improve at games.

 

all good RPGs are toys rather than games because they are designed in a way that deliberately allows the player to define his or her own goals.

 

I already gave examples of games considered RPGS that do not do that, like fire emblem and Mansion of madness.

 

What exactly is being optimized here? What is the goal of an RTwP fight? 

 

I already answered those questions. Optimizing is maximizing the chances of succeeding. RTwP do not have goals per se. However in the case of PoE combats are obstacles in achieving a goal. So the goal of the fight would be to get the result that will help us the most to complete the goal of the game.

However results are defined in terms of success. Optimal is that which has achieved the most chances of success.

For example, if I play normally and finish a quest with about 50% of party health and 20% of party spells remaining

 

   If you are thinking in terms of final results, then you are not thinking properly of the problem. that was not the result, the question is what EV your actions had when you made it, the resources you actually have when you finished the actions do not directly correspond to that ev so is mostly quite useless to analyze that.

If your actions lead to the same chances of reaching your goal, then I agree that it doesn´t make the difference, but if some actions lead to 95% chances of completing the goal and another to 87%, then one was better than the other.

 

 the only way to do it is to pause after one frame of video and spend the rest of your life deciding what to do next and to designate an heir who will take the best action noted by the previous player, pause in the next frame of video and repeat

 

I´m glad you are understanding, thats the reason games need timers too.

 

The reason why you must play this way is that there is a non-zero probability that you will figure out a better way to play if you spend your entire life contemplating the one frame of video. If you decline to play this way you putting up a strawman and talking about irrelevant things like human lifespan, playing for enjoyment rather than absolute optimality, the only thing that matters.

 

I´m glad we are starting to understand each other.

 

Of course, it goes without saying that TB games have the same limitation. If you don't contemplate your turn for your entire life, you may not take the optimal action but at least you get spend your life contemplating a turn instead of a frame of video which does seem like it would be a little bit more fun (but fun is irrelevant to the discussion so stop talking about irrelevant things !).

 

Clearly my job is done he. Is true that TB have the same limitations, and that´s why it´s bad that singleplayer Turn based games mostly lack clocks per turn (with some very notable exceptions, lucky for me, almost all multiplayer turn based games do have clocks, go figure). In turn based games though is easier to add a clock. That is why board game timers are sold. I use them also for my CRPG games without timer.

The problem is that I have to decide how much time to assign to the game, since the designers don´t specify, which I think it´s terrible. However I generally use the 1 minute per turn rule that has been suggested in some games in the past, i even saw that recommendation again in mansion of madness. The true is that most turn based games i know that use clock recommend 1 minute per turn, so i transfer that to most of my turn based games. It´s ideal? no, I wish the game designer would do the work for me, but I live with it, if you want to talk about pushing turn based games to have better clock systems, im all there for you to help support the cause, it would make my life esier.

 

Just recently I had the complain for Auro, which is a turn tactical game based on rougelikes (http://www.auro-game.com/) that it doesn´t have timer. The designer told me that his idea is that players do not spend more than 20 seconds on each move. He says he is considering implementing the clock for the game,, well for now im going to restrict to that, i try to not take more than 20 seconds per turn. I wish it was implemented on the system, but oh well, I can kind of live through it, however i still criticize the decision.

It is however the job of the designer to tell us the time we have to think for each turn.

The fact that Ive had to become designer in many of the games i play do not excuse the designer for not doing his job, IF he wants to create a game. If he wants to create a toy, sure go ahead.

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Anyway im not sure what good this conversation is for me, The idea was to ask if there is a plan, it seems there isn´t. So im arguing that there should be a plan to solve this problem? yes but with who? lets say that i convince everyone here, so what? Unless im talking with some designer about the issue or im given an answer of what the plan is or designer explanation of why there is no plan to solve this issue, I think this conversation is fruitless.

So for now im done.

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 the only way to do it is to pause after one frame of video and spend the rest of your life deciding what to do next and to designate an heir who will take the best action noted by the previous player, pause in the next frame of video and repeat

 

I´m glad you are understanding,

 

 (That was easy - I thought you would try to deny that this was a logical consequence of your argument.) Yes, I think everybody here understands your argument.

 

 I hope it is safe to assume that you understand that the idea of spending your entire life contemplating a single frame of video and having your heirs execute your optimal action (and repeat) is ridiculous.

 

 When you say: <ridiculous nonsense> therefore games need a timer. 

 

That isn't an argument for games needing a timer (or, rather, it isn't an argument that will convince anybody).

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Anyway im not sure what good this conversation is for me, The idea was to ask if there is a plan, it seems there isn´t. So im arguing that there should be a plan to solve this problem? yes but with who? lets say that i convince everyone here, so what? Unless im talking with some designer about the issue or im given an answer of what the plan is or designer explanation of why there is no plan to solve this issue, I think this conversation is fruitless.

So for now im done.

Why would anybody make a plan to account for a situation that realistically never occurs? That's just a waste of money and time.

 

You so far have failed to even convince that there is an actual problem, rather than just a theoretical one with no real world application.

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Mansions of Madness is not an RPG. It's a board game with RPG elements, in the same way that Call. Of Duty is not an RPG. I've never played fire emblem, so I can't comment on that.

"Wizards do not need to be The Dudes Who Can AoE Nuke You and Gish and Take as Many Hits as a Fighter and Make all Skills Irrelevant Because Magic."

-Josh Sawyer

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My optimal play is not made up. It´s the same used on games that are analyzed at top level like Chess and poker. I could link you to articles done by pro players in poker to see for yourself. People are never like ¨Well you should Limp J3s because you know, otherwise you are there waiting boring for 2 hours before playing a hand, and who is willing ot do that? pff, limp that J3s, is optimal¨ No, it doesn´t work that way, human will to get bored, human free time in real life , human willing to spend money are not factors accounted when analyzing what is the optmal play. The fact that you want to include them is a very very personal thing you want to make. But actually nobody in any game that tries to find optimal play actually does.

 

So it´s not ¨my strange definition¨ is how is used by people that try to improve at games.

I've never played anything but the most casual poker so I don't understand what you mean, but I have played chess at a competitive level. The chess equivalent of your starting point in RPGs is a position where you have already won. In other words, the RPG has to be winnable -- it's no fun if a player does most things right and still loses. In such a position, there is no well-defined "optimal" play in chess; as long as you don't screw up to the point where you've turned your winning position into a draw or a loss, you're OK. In fact, the most common "optimal" path for such positions is whatever wins the game fastest.

 

I already gave examples of games considered RPGS that do not do that, like fire emblem and Mansion of madness.

Yes, but I said "good RPG". :) More seriously, RPGs have evolved with time starting with more or less straight dungeon crawls then adventures with a linear story then a not-so-linear story and finally highly non-linear adventures with multiple ways of doing things. The type we're after in PoE is the latter.

 

I already answered those questions. Optimizing is maximizing the chances of succeeding. RTwP do not have goals per se. However in the case of PoE combats are obstacles in achieving a goal. So the goal of the fight would be to get the result that will help us the most to complete the goal of the game.

However results are defined in terms of success. Optimal is that which has achieved the most chances of success.

Fine -- but then it makes absolutely no sense to pause the game every half a second. I guarantee you that with competent play, your chances of success are basically the same (~100%, barring random number generator weirdness).

 

If you are thinking in terms of final results, then you are not thinking properly of the problem. that was not the result, the question is what EV your actions had when you made it, the resources you actually have when you finished the actions do not directly correspond to that ev so is mostly quite useless to analyze that.

I don't know what EV means, but I believe that I have framed the problem properly. The combat part of the game can logically be divided into sections between rest points. When making any action, it is necessary to consider where in a given section you are -- it wouldn't do to blow the heavy munitions on some introductory goblins or rats or something of the sort.

 

If your actions lead to the same chances of reaching your goal, then I agree that it doesn´t make the difference, but if some actions lead to 95% chances of completing the goal and another to 87%, then one was better than the other.

This is what I'm telling you though: there is no meaningful difference. The randomness in the IE games (and presumably also PoE) is not like what it is in poker; it is constrained by the central limit theorem so with proper play, you should win ~100% of the time.
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