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View Full Version : Real-time w/ pause VS Turn-based in tactics games



Vimat
15-02-2012, 09:17 AM
This thread was sparked by a discussion in the comments on the JA:BIA Wot I Think about developers not making turn-based tactics games any more. I can see a few reasons.


Turn-based has a few problems: the major ones being that the more enemies you face, the less time the player is in control
and being able to stuff like relay-race items around or getting "stealth kills" by sprinting to enemies because of wonky timelines. Both of these problems requires extensive balancing to work around which requires extra work

The benefits of turn-based games are things like having better AI and physics calculations but that brings extra work for the developers to implement.

So I guess the biggest reason few developers make turn-based tactics games nowadays is that it's too much work and that since most players dislike having control taken away from them it's easier to make a RT game with a "broader appeal"(ignoring that the players that like tactics games is quite often also the players that like turn-based).


Now personally I like the beginnings of turn-based games before the problems of giving the player a challenge leads to huge swarms of enemies which makes the ratio of in control vs not something like 1:10 .


I have played JA:BiA and actually like the tactics part of the game if one excuse some interface problems.

Now I would prefer this discussion(if it takes of) to focus on aspect directly related to real-time vs turn-based and not things like "real-timed is dumbed down because you don't have time to think", yes a lot of real time games are dumbed down but that is not a thing inherent in real-time-ness


Note: any mention of real-time refers to real-time with pause.

Flint
15-02-2012, 09:36 AM
Taking control away is actually the reason I dislike real time systems, pause or not. Real-time tactical squad management is a complete chaotic mess to me and often leads me to feel that I'm not in control of my squad in the slightest*, whilst turn-based allows me to stay in touch with my team and act accordingly to the situation. It may result in long enemy turns but it's not a huge negative thing for me that'd affect my enjoyment.

*depends on group size though, I spose. I managed to survive DA:O fairly nicely thanks to the small group size (and heavy pause abuse to the point it more or less became turn-based).

alh_p
15-02-2012, 11:48 AM
First off, this is hard to keep away from JABIA and only on the thread subject. My views on this are based primarily on player interface/control.

My own experiences may have hit the sweet spot of real-time (pausable) games. I really enjoyed the BG/Icewind dale series and DA:O too. My main experience of true turn based games is Fallout and Fallout tactics (I played this in turn based as the RT mode was pants).

On JABIA, I'm only a couple of ‘missions’ in, having played the demo (which was hard, as cautioned by the the devs) and with no previous JA experience. The rest of the game aside, I have no real issues with their version of pausable RT –bar the need to queue individual shots. I like the clarity of the graphical presentation of orders on the screen and order queue, the complex range of options and the way orders can be synched (with other mercs’) and easily modified too.

Perhaps FO:Tactics is the only game’s real time mode I’ve really disliked. I can’t remember if I really tried to get my head round it either though.

Broadly, I appreciate the control available with turn based games, but I do get frustrated with the time it can take when not in an intense all-out fire fight but straight-jacketed by the game/UI (e.g. when having to cycle through an entire squad or on screen but un-engaged enemies).

RT pausable games in my experience don’t really have a control disadvantage here –you get all the time you need to think and can pause when you like, although there can be some inefficiencies when you interrupt a character mid auto-triggered action.

So IMO, as long as game’s RT system doesn’t degrade control significantly, I’ll generally prefer RT to Turn based due to the greater flexibility and potential time saving. It can get pretty annoying (and take ages) when you have to clunk into TB mode to kill a couple of rats in FO 1 or 2…

Bhazor
15-02-2012, 11:56 AM
I think that done right RTWP could have more tactical depth than turn based. Placement is more organic, you can set up simultaneous attacks (hit guy with fire ball as companion pins him in place with a hold spell), timing is a greater factor and as was mentioned before you can't exploit the timeline for "stealth" kills.

Theres nothing to prevent real time games employing all the same rules and complexity as a turn based system.

c-Row
15-02-2012, 12:21 PM
Though I can see why people would want to play JA:BIA turn-based, I would like to add that real-time movement and the absence of FOW worked fine in Commandos.

Wizardry
15-02-2012, 04:50 PM
Though I can see why people would want to play JA:BIA turn-based, I would like to add that real-time movement and the absence of FOW worked fine in Commandos.
That's because Commandos is a puzzle game and not a tactics game.

crekkerpulian
16-02-2012, 02:09 AM
First off, this is hard to keep away from JABIA and only on the thread subject.
http://www.slowliving.info/song3.jpghttp://www.slowliving.info/song2.jpg
http://www.bookunion.org/14.jpg

Fumarole
16-02-2012, 06:04 AM
Real-time tactical squad management is a complete chaotic mess to me and often leads me to feel that I'm not in control of my squad in the slightestI feel the same too, especially when so much is happening at once that I can't keep track of what the greatest threat is.

Vimat
16-02-2012, 07:39 AM
First off, this is hard to keep away from JABIA and only on the thread subject.


http://www.bookunion.org/14.jpg

Sure discussing games with these aspects are okay but when complaining about RTvsTB keep to problems inherent in the systems and not for example bad ai and no fog of war since while those are often used together with RT they are not inherent in the system.


Personally I fell like I have more control of the information and actions when playing a RTwP game because I can adjust my units when necessary to get a better view. And I understand things better when they happen as a whole instead of happening as separate actions that may or may not have anything to do with each other, which actually makes it easier for me to understand simultaneous actions better than sequential, so the informations things I believe is mostly up to preference.

alh_p
16-02-2012, 10:27 AM
Given the massive venting that goes on about TB games on the front page, I'm (pleasantly) surprised that the discussion here isn't more acrimonious. Maybe it's already passť.

Hillbert
16-02-2012, 02:21 PM
For my money, the best system used was the "Freeze Time" system used in the original Space Hulk game. It was possible to pause and issue orders but the time available to do this would reduce as you used it. (and slowly build up again when in real time)

It added a nice air of tension whilst retaining the ability to accomplish more complicated manoeuvres/tactics than would be possible with a pure real time system.

Zephro
16-02-2012, 03:56 PM
Personally from my Grognard point of view I prefer things that play out in real-time. Either pausable real-time or real-time turn resolution like Frozen Synapse or Combat Mission. Turn based is fine for the boardgames I play but I want the computer to take on all the extra simulation to iron out gamey things that bug me when I play tabletop wargames.

Eg: 2 cavalry units 18" apart, each can charge 18". Whoever goes first charges and gets a charge bonus, when you think actually in "reality" they would have both charged and met in the middle roughly. So to deal with that you add a "counter-charge" rule so that player 2 can operate during player 1's turn. But then you find that unit 2 counter charges and wipes out unit 1, but then in his turn he gets to move 18" so that he's now moved 27" and you have to add an extra rule... etc. etc.

Just having the PC simulate action in real time (actually it's just tiny time slices) eliminates these annoying immersion breaking errors and leaves me free to think of actual tactics not learning a load of counter intuitive rules.

Basically it's the same as the stealth kill mentioned above. You end up gaming the system rather than digging into a simulation.

EDIT: I grew up on Close Combat as my favourite tactical game rather than X-com, as the above stuff annoyed me about X-Com compared to Close Combats elegance.

Vimat
16-02-2012, 04:38 PM
For my money, the best system used was the "Freeze Time" system used in the original Space Hulk game. It was possible to pause and issue orders but the time available to do this would reduce as you used it. (and slowly build up again when in real time)

It added a nice air of tension whilst retaining the ability to accomplish more complicated manoeuvres/tactics than would be possible with a pure real time system.

Since I like player freedom I dislike putting such limiters in the game and would prefer it not being bound by resourced but I haven't played with such as system so I don't really know. Is it legally available somewhere?