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Fumarole
13-01-2012, 11:31 PM
Please don't let this devolve into what we've all read many times before.

I'm interested in knowing if anyone would be interested in playing a simultaneous turn-based RPG in the style of Frozen Synapse. Either single- or multiplayer, I think this could be quite a good system if done well. I also wonder what the hardliners like Wizardry would think of such a game.

An ideal setting would be Shadowrun, with its mix of science and fantasy. It leaves plenty of opportunity for melee and ranged combat, with magic as a kind of spoiler/unpredictable element.

Does anyone know of a game like this that already exists?

Kodeen
13-01-2012, 11:38 PM
Having not played Frozen Synapse, would you mind giving a brief explanation of what you mean by simultaneously turn-based?

Malawi Frontier Guard
13-01-2012, 11:52 PM
I also wonder what the hardliners like Wizardry would think of such a game.

I can help you with that:


Simultaneous turn-based combat doesnít really exist. Itís just real-time combat with a planning stage. Turn-based means each player or each character takes it in turns to perform actions. If characters move at the same time itís just an implementation of real-time gameplay.

There is nothing that would prevent a game like this from existing. You could easily place deeper mechanics to configure your units as well as additional actions to perform during battle on top of the Frozen Synapse model and make it work. It would all come down to good game design, of course.

You have to admit that your definition of your kind of game is quite generous. There are many, many possible designs in this framework.

Heliocentric
13-01-2012, 11:59 PM
Wow.... Its great to know that "taking turns" doesn't exist. Also, Solium Infernium is not a turn based game, glad that was cleared up.

FFS?
simultaneous turn-based RPG?
http://www.shrapnelgames.com/Illwinter/DOM3/DOM3_page.html
Its a strategy game, but its breath smells like freshly roasted RPG.

Fallout tactics multiplayer was a bizzare mix of real time and turn based.

Wizardry
14-01-2012, 12:01 AM
Wizardry is simultaneous "turn-based".

TailSwallower
14-01-2012, 12:15 AM
There is that new Shadowrun game (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/10/25/cliffhanger-talk-shadowrun-online/), but at the linked article they don't mention the type of combat it's going to feature. And the new Jagged Alliance is going to use this sort of system, right?

There's another game currently being developed that's going to be quite similar to Frozen Synapse in regards to combat, but they're putting more emphasis into art and design (I love the art design in FS, but they obviously went for something stylistic to keep things simple). I signed up for the mailing list a while ago so I could keep up to date with it, but can't remember the name. RPS have had some coverage of it, so I'm sure someone else will chime in with the name.

But as for actual RPGs with that type of combat... I'm not convinced it's the best fit. I think it works really well in purely tactical games (especially when MP is the focus), because the battle you're in is all that matters at the time, but it seems to me that there's so much more going on in RPGs. Could just be my personal bias/experiences though.

Anyway, I'm interested in seeing what happens with simultaneous turn-based combat in games, because it might convince some devs and publishers that good old fashioned turn-based is still a viable design.

Wizardry
14-01-2012, 12:23 AM
But as for actual RPGs with that type of combat... I'm not convinced it's the best fit. I think it works really well in purely tactical games (especially when MP is the focus), because the battle you're in is all that matters at the time, but it seems to me that there's so much more going on in RPGs. Could just be my personal bias/experiences though.
I agree. RPGs are more about telling your characters to perform specific actions in the game world rather than shifting groups around in broad strokes. Positioning and movement is key in a purely tactical game, while RPGs tend to be about doing the right actions at the right time (cast a spell, drink a potion). That's why I believe turn-based combat is better suited to CRPGs.

Roufuss
14-01-2012, 12:26 AM
There is that new Shadowrun game (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/10/25/cliffhanger-talk-shadowrun-online/)

As someone who adored both the SNES and Genesis Shadowrun RPGs, you wouldn't believe the amount of joy I just felt. "A new Shadowrun game? Could be an RPG and not an FPS? I've waited years for this!!"

That joy was crushed the instant the link loaded. I don't think I'll ever get a proper single player Shadowrun RPG again which is a shame because it is such a rich universe.

That SNES Shadowrun RPG was way ahead of its time compared to other RPGs on the system.

sabrage
14-01-2012, 01:16 AM
That new Shadowrun game looks worse than Microsoft's abomination.

apricotsoup
14-01-2012, 01:44 AM
I had planned out and started working on something very similar that had to be cancelled for some actual paid work.

The rpg elements were of a similar mind (but more in depth than) necromunda or blood bowl.

I think there's a lot of scope for it but it's certainly not something that'd be easy to pull off.

Drinking with Skeletons
14-01-2012, 02:15 AM
I agree. RPGs are more about telling your characters to perform specific actions in the game world rather than shifting groups around in broad strokes. Positioning and movement is key in a purely tactical game, while RPGs tend to be about doing the right actions at the right time (cast a spell, drink a potion). That's why I believe turn-based combat is better suited to CRPGs.

But there's no reason that a game in this style couldn't go into that level of management. I'm not sure it would be a good fit, as it seems like it would be extremely complex and unwieldy, but the potential is there.

The real problem I have with a simultaneous-turn RPG is that the trait I value above all others in an RPG is the idea of player control: the idea that the character(s) I create are unique to me and my playstyle, and my experience is dictated by how I approach the game. My playstyle should be supported within the game (within reason, which is a whole other discussion), though that doesn't mean it won't be markedly better and/or worse in certain situations.

That quality, nebulous as it is, takes a real hit when you add randomness to the equation, and simultaneous turns by nature create randomness. You can't respond to matters as they happen, but can only try to predict what your opponent will do and hope that what they are doing isn't going to interrupt your own plans, which, again, are based on you guessing what they will do. It's hard to course-correct in that situation, and the game will become dictated by classes/skills/whatever that are best able to provide the versatility necessary to consistently succeed. That kind of tier mentality--of identifying and using only the most effective implements--kills my enjoyment of competitive fighting games, and I can't imagine it doing any favors for the RPG.

JackShandy
14-01-2012, 02:21 AM
Roguelikes have been simultaneous turn-based for years. It seems to work alright.

Snargelfargen
14-01-2012, 02:40 AM
The Baldur's Gate series is effectively a simultaneous turn-based game as well, unless you go nuts with the spacebar.

Wizardry
14-01-2012, 02:59 AM
Roguelikes have been simultaneous turn-based for years. It seems to work alright.
Yes, but that's because each of the simultaneous "turns" is as fine grained as each individual action in a "regular" RPG. Moving a step forward in a rogue-like might make all enemies take a turn and move a step. The problem arises when each simultaneous "turn" takes a longer period of game time and is comprised of multiple individual actions. It's also why Wizardry/The Bard's Tale/Wasteland's combat system works for an RPG. You choose individual actions at any one time instead of linking a bunch of actions together and letting the computer simulate the result.

Ritashi
14-01-2012, 04:35 AM
But there's no reason that a game in this style couldn't go into that level of management. I'm not sure it would be a good fit, as it seems like it would be extremely complex and unwieldy, but the potential is there.

The real problem I have with a simultaneous-turn RPG is that the trait I value above all others in an RPG is the idea of player control: the idea that the character(s) I create are unique to me and my playstyle, and my experience is dictated by how I approach the game. My playstyle should be supported within the game (within reason, which is a whole other discussion), though that doesn't mean it won't be markedly better and/or worse in certain situations.

That quality, nebulous as it is, takes a real hit when you add randomness to the equation, and simultaneous turns by nature create randomness. You can't respond to matters as they happen, but can only try to predict what your opponent will do and hope that what they are doing isn't going to interrupt your own plans, which, again, are based on you guessing what they will do. It's hard to course-correct in that situation, and the game will become dictated by classes/skills/whatever that are best able to provide the versatility necessary to consistently succeed. That kind of tier mentality--of identifying and using only the most effective implements--kills my enjoyment of competitive fighting games, and I can't imagine it doing any favors for the RPG.

You could definitely get around that by allowing the player to pause and re-adjust their game plan at any point. It would change the feel away from Frozen Synapse by a bit, but it would arguably still fall into simultaneous turn based. It could be viewed as just a variant on real time though, and not entirely incorrectly either. Wouldn't work for multiplayer but the topic is about an RPG anyhow.

Wizardry
14-01-2012, 05:35 AM
You could definitely get around that by allowing the player to pause and re-adjust their game plan at any point. It would change the feel away from Frozen Synapse by a bit, but it would arguably still fall into simultaneous turn based. It could be viewed as just a variant on real time though, and not entirely incorrectly either. Wouldn't work for multiplayer but the topic is about an RPG anyhow.
That's real-time with pause. Darklands did it first followed by Baldur's Gate. The issue with that is real-time tactics gameplay still plays a part. You can micro individual units, aided by the pause, as you can act at any time during a traditional turn. You can issue unlimited orders during a turn. If you play Baldur's Gate and then go back to something like Champions of Krynn you'll notice just how much of an effect it has on the gameplay. The two games have similar rules (2E AD&D v 1E AD&D), but both have a completely different feel. Baldur's Gate feels more chaotic and often you feel like you're fighting the game engine, whereas Champions of Krynn feels completely fair and makes you feel like you are communicating directly with the rules and not through a third party (engine).

Fumarole
14-01-2012, 06:21 AM
Having not played Frozen Synapse, would you mind giving a brief explanation of what you mean by simultaneously turn-based?This WTF Is... does a better job of explaining the game than I could.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jJrUY27O0Y

On further consideration, I don't think a multiplayer version would be much more than an action game (Space Hulk would be quite interesting in this style now that I think about it; not enough competitive games have asymmetry), but I really think a single player game could work with less shooting and more stabbing.

c-Row
14-01-2012, 09:49 AM
I think one of the problems with the Frozen Synapse-kind of system in an RPG would be that it might drag on for too long and take out the pace of the game if two large groups clash together. You can already see there are match recordings in that WTF Is... video running 20 minutes and more. Also, rather than one-shot kills you can deliver with a shotgun or automatic in FS, you would have a bunch of (N)PCs with swords and spells doing damage over time, thereby adding even more time it takes to take even one single character down. You might get around that problem by cranking up the difficulty and introduce one-hit kills as well, but why bother about armor then if it doesn't really help keeping my characters alive?



Space Hulk would be quite interesting in this style now that I think about it

Definitely. In Space Hulk, the combat wasn't just a part of a larger game, it was the game, so there is less of a problem regarding taking out the pace from it. Also, one-shot kills.

TailSwallower
14-01-2012, 11:29 AM
Space Hulk comes up in conversation a lot around these parts, but I never played it. I also don't think I could go back to it - it's beyond the graphical boundary that I can happily enjoy games at. My loss I suppose.

Heliocentric
14-01-2012, 11:41 AM
Wizardry is simultaneous "turn-based".

Hoisted by your own petard?

Fumarole
14-01-2012, 07:16 PM
Space Hulk comes up in conversation a lot around these parts, but I never played it. I also don't think I could go back to it - it's beyond the graphical boundary that I can happily enjoy games at. My loss I suppose.Try the top-down 2D version, it has aged well.

Here's a screenie:

589


One of my failed missions:

588

Heliocentric
14-01-2012, 07:29 PM
The amiga version is bestest.
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/03/31/retro-space-hulk/