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Uthred
25-11-2011, 10:47 PM
What would you consider to be the quintessential elements of the western turn based tactics genre (as represented by X-Com:EU, Jagged Alliance, Silent Storm, etc.)?

What elements do you consider to be essential and how far would a game have to stray (either by reducing elements or adding in new ones) before you conisdered it a different genre?

Do you feel that the platform is an element of the genre? i.e. does it have to be on the PC or could it be on a console, smartphone or (god forbid ;)) something like Facebook?

Malawi Frontier Guard
25-11-2011, 11:28 PM
Impressive graphics and a good story are quintessential elements of western turn-based tactics.


But more importantly, tell us about this game you're making. You piqued my interest.

Wizardry
25-11-2011, 11:45 PM
Impressive graphics and a good story are quintessential elements of western turn-based tactics.
what am i reading

Malawi Frontier Guard
26-11-2011, 12:02 AM
I make joke.

Kaira-
26-11-2011, 12:03 AM
Impressive graphics and a good story are quintessential elements of western turn-based tactics.

You forgot romances.

Heliocentric
26-11-2011, 12:08 AM
what am i reading

The inverse of the right answer.

What would you consider to be the quintessential elements of the western turn based tactics genre (as represented by X-Com:EU, Jagged Alliance, Silent Storm, etc.)? The genre has 3 components of design.
Incomplete knowledge:
A player cant have complete overview of a turn based game, even if only distant enemies or an opponent health some elements of the game must be obscured from the player, or you can start to apply mathematically right tactics with no risk assessment.
A mechanical system:
While crap may befall the player, a bad accuracy/damage roll, an absence of critical hits or a weapon failing the player must have means to limit the role these risks play, whether by specialising their equipment/units or simply applying their units in a manner than supports them.

Go beyond Rock, Paper, Scissors:
Unit interactions should be layered, not simply A beats B, B beats C and C beats A, but "C laying in ambush in terrain Y while B offers indirect fire support and A ambushes" beats "squad A advancing on high ground with B providing tactical strikes and C flanking".




What elements do you consider to be essential and how far would a game have to stray (either by reducing elements or adding in new ones) before you conisdered it a different genre?
Cut and paste at will, genre is artifice designed to advise, not constrict.



Do you feel that the platform is an element of the genre? i.e. does it have to be on the PC or could it be on a console, smartphone or (god forbid ;)) something like Facebook?
I would love a good Multi platform Strategic Warfare game, imagine solium infernium on mobile? Totally plausible, but most mobile developers end up targeting the lowest denominator.
Facebook too carries its own "most people screw it up" health warning, I don't want or will i play games that offer micro transactions that effect any part of balance, EVER.

Nalano
26-11-2011, 12:08 AM
You forgot romances.

complete with PG sex scenes!


Go beyond Rock, Paper, Scissors:
Unit interactions should be layered, not simply A beats B, B beats C and C beats A, but "C laying in ambush in terrain Y while B offers indirect fire support and A ambushes" beats "squad A advancing on high ground with B providing tactical strikes and C flanking".

The term for that is "soft counters."

Heliocentric
26-11-2011, 12:12 AM
The term for that is "soft counters."

Yes, but hard counters are acceptable to be present, but not ONLY hard counters. The machine gun nest is hard countered by the tank, it doesn't make it a bad element. (I wasn't implying you don't think this, just highlighting the point)

SirKicksalot
26-11-2011, 12:13 AM
My favourite is Silent Storm, and it's my favourite because the physics simulation and destructible environments added a lot of options. I seriously have trouble enjoying such a game when the world doesn't react to my actions as it should react.

The interface should SCREAM the important information at me. I want big neon exclamation marks above the enemies when they're alerted, I want an animation to point at the area a sound comes from and to draw its trajectory on screen and so on. I want to be informed that all that happens and the challenge to be only to react to it, not to remember exactly where did I hear those footsteps after I rotate the camera. (I like rotating the camera because it allows finer control, so I hope your game is 3D lol) Of course you should hide enemy patrols, rooms full of enemies, MG positions and whatever, but when my character is in the range where that info becomes available, MAKE IT OBVIOUS AND IN ALL CAPS please.

I basically want Silent Storm. The platform doesn't matter. If it's on PC it should have a windowed mode so I can play it at work:P

Nalano
26-11-2011, 12:18 AM
Yes, but hard counters are acceptable to be present, but not ONLY hard counters. The machine gun nest is hard countered by the tank, it doesn't make it a bad element. (I wasn't implying you don't think this, just highlighting the point)

Well, CoH, to me, improved a genre where SC2 didn't, because CoH added a large array of soft counters to the while system and SC2 still relied on the old formula.

MGs and mortars are soft counters to infantry where light vehicles are hard counters. AT guns and recoil-less rifles are soft counters to light vehicles where tank hunters are hard counters, etc.

Heliocentric
26-11-2011, 12:24 AM
Well, CoH, to me, improved a genre where SC2 didn't, because CoH added a large array of soft counters to the while system and SC2 still relied on the old formula.I like how it wasn't just hard or soft counter, like an engineer squad was countered hard by a tank, but 2 land mines changed that around 180. If that vet 3 rifleman squad scavenges a panzershrek it suddenly hard counters a panther.

But this is turn based games, where hurry and attention focus have no place, but a suggestion anyone making a turn based game, make sure you play the newest advance wars on the DS, its my personal favourite multiplayer turn based strategy game.

Nalano
26-11-2011, 12:34 AM
I like how it wasn't just hard or soft counter, like an engineer squad was countered hard by a tank, but 2 land mines changed that around 180. If that vet 3 rifleman squad scavenges a panzershrek it suddenly hard counters a panther.

Well, unless the guy's good with kiting, at which point the panther whittles down the riflemen while they keep missing with the 'shreck. (and certain games like Total War Shogun 2 have "kiting" as a possible "behavior," reducing the amount of necessary micro while keeping things real-time)

archonsod
26-11-2011, 01:21 AM
A player cant have complete overview of a turn based game, even if only distant enemies or an opponent health some elements of the game must be obscured from the player, or you can start to apply mathematically right tactics with no risk assessment.

That largely depends on the nature of the game. Rebelstar II didn't hide anything from the player for example. A mathematically correct formula was still not guaranteed to work however, or at least it wasn't guaranteed to perform better than a riskier strategy (admittedly in part because the objective was something more than "kill everything on the other side").

While crap may befall the player, a bad accuracy/damage roll, an absence of critical hits or a weapon failing the player must have means to limit the role these risks play

You can make a good tactical game about managing risk rather than mitigating it. It's just as valid to confront the player with things which may go wrong and then make them juggle that rather than devise ways to avoid or change it. I'd point to Blood Bowl as an example - the role of those risks is actually the central mechanic of the game, it's how well a player understands and plans for them that determines victory rather than their ability to limit them as such.

Kelron
26-11-2011, 01:34 AM
The single most important element that makes a tactical game enjoyable for me is positioning. It needs to really matter where I put my units, games need to be won or lost over it. It might seem obvious, but it can get overlooked.

Take Dragon Age as an example (I know it's not turn based, but it's what came to mind). The combat is superficially similar to D&D, but mechanically it has little in common and is much less satisfying. Why? Because it uses an MMO like system that places the emphasis on activated skills and makes the position of your characters irrelevant. Block a doorway with a fighter to keep your mages safe? Unless you activate "Taunt" enemies will just run straight past you.

Look at Chess. Both sides have the same units, they can't raise their tech level to make pawns more powerful. Combat isn't a dice roll or a comparison of numbers. Knights don't have a special "charge" ability that alters their behaviour. These elements can be included in a tactical game, but they're optional. It's all about where you move your pieces.

Blood Bowl - the tackle zones exerted by your players dictate the movement of your opponent. Dice come into play, but except in extreme cases they don't decide the game. Good positioning lessens the impact of a bad roll and lets you take advantage of good rolls.

JA2 and Xcom - It doesn't matter how well equipped your team are, if you make the wrong move you can find yourself taking fire from unseen enemies or being stuck in the open with no cover. You have to think ahead, think about where your units are going to end their turn, what directions are covered and whether you have enough AP left to fire if an alien comes round the corner.

Uthred
26-11-2011, 03:46 PM
But more importantly, tell us about this game you're making. You piqued my interest.

Ha I'm not making a game, trying to put together a post-grad research proposal and I'm trying to get my thoughts sorted out on what I mean when I'm talking about the genre, or more honestly, distracting myself ;) Though it has been a revelation that I need blue-lit Christophe Lambert-esque love scenes.

hamster
26-11-2011, 04:55 PM
quintessential elements, eh. That would definitely include cussing at the game when you miss a 70%+ roll; succeeding a 15% roll but dismissing it from mind; and frowning when your hit chance is 65% point blank to the target.

oh yeah and the genre is dead on anything not on iOS/android.

Uthred
04-12-2011, 12:54 PM
quintessential elements, eh. That would definitely include cussing at the game when you miss a 70%+ roll; succeeding a 15% roll but dismissing it from mind; and frowning when your hit chance is 65% point blank to the target.

oh yeah and the genre is dead on anything not on iOS/android.

Is there really that much available on mobile platforms? I know there's Xenowar but I thought that was more or less it (for western turn based tactics shit anyway, I know there's a handful of eastern srpg's)