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turns vs. real time

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Which to use - turn based or real time? I am thinking of a Fallout2/Ja2 type of game.I find in turn based games the random factor seems to strong. When playing them I spend a lot of time reloading - when the roll goes against me. I wonder what other people think about the merits and demerits of the two modes of game.

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I think this question is a bit like asking ''Which is a better tool, a hammer or a wrench?"

It depends on whether you want to drive a nail or tighten a nut.

Turn-based works well for games where the player has a lot of choices to make. For example, in a fantasy RPG, a character might have dozens of possible spells to use in a combat. This would be unworkable in an RTS game because by the time the character opens the spellbook, scrolls through the choices, chooses a spell, checks to make sure he has the mana, and casts, the other player''s warrior has chopped him into hamburger. In turn-based, the player can take as much time as he needs to make these decisions.

On the other hand, it is hard to work up the same level of adrenalin in turn-based as you can with RTS. Imagine the intensity of a Starcraft battle with 30 or 40 different fighters - now think of doing that turn-based. It would be boring.

So think about the type of game you want to design, and the effect you want to create for the player. Then choose the tool that best allows you to build your idea into a reality.

Regarding the random factor, I think that the difference between the two types of game is that the results of a ''die roll'' are more obvious in turn-based games because you tend to focus only on a single combat. In a turn-based game like Fallout you see the results of just one character against another and if your attack whiffs you are more likely to remember it and think the game isn''t well balanced. But if you tracked the results of all the combat in the entire game, it would probably be fairly even.

With RTS, using the Starcraft example, if you have 20 zergs or whatever vs 20 humans, the game is tracking combat results for all the different attacks that are going on at once, but you don''t notice the random factor in each different attack because you are watching the whole battle. So you focus less on the individual attacks and more on the overall picture where things are more evenly balanced.

Again, the question is which effect do you want someone playing your game to experience. That''s the right one to use.

Hope this helps!

Woof,
Rex

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It might differ from person to person for a given game, too. So, when in doubt, try to implement both and give the player the option, and let them make the game that is fun for themselves.

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Thank you for the "number of choices" idea. As to the random problem in turn-based, I was thinking of situations in real time where you can quickly get out of the way if your attack fails but in turn-based you gotta stand there and take it like a man - if the roll goes againt you. OK alls fair in love and statistics but if your hero gets his head blown off! Now in poker the ups and downs are taken care of by your bank-roll and if your computer game involves large numbers of fighters, none of which are very significant in themselves, the same thing is true. But once you have a small number, or even just your hero, you cannot apply the poker bank-roll principle. What happens is you reload from where you carefully saved - the reload becomes your bank-roll.

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Just gotta say I really liked the poker/bankroll analogy, but one could say that in most turn based rpgs the health of the unit is the "bankroll" and just as in poker occassionally a series of bad-beats can clear it out, savegames effectively provide an unlimitted bank-roll, like playing in a no-limit tournament with free re-buys.
Incidently I''m a fan of turn-based, but as some people have said previously it can be overly slow, but turn-based does not have to be slow. My game, Prelude To Darkness, uses a tactical turn-based approach. It took us a _lot_ of play-balancing to get combat to be at the right speed. Move rates vs attacks per round vs damage vs number of enemies and party members, etc...
Another great approach that used in Combat Missions: Beyond Overlord and is basically a more advanced system of the Bard''s Tale or Wizardry combat systems, i.e. give orders then execute round and see results, repeat. This adds a lot of tension as you wait to see how well things pan out during each "action" phase.
Finally, there is no need for turn-based games to be random. A system can be implemented to always provide the same result given a set of circumstances, i.e. a pseudo-random system. Assuming the player did approximately the same thing every time, the results would be the same, reloading would be possible, but a change of tactics would be necessary, not just a hope for a better roll.

good luck,
-mat









mat williams
Lead Programmer, Designer
Zero Sum Software
www.zero-sum.com

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quote:
Original post by Thathmew
Finally, there is no need for turn-based games to be random. A system can be implemented to always provide the same result given a set of circumstances, i.e. a pseudo-random system. Assuming the player did approximately the same thing every time, the results would be the same, reloading would be possible, but a change of tactics would be necessary, not just a hope for a better roll.

That is implemented in JA2, if you reload a game when you have began a fight, and exactly do same thing, you have exactly the same result.
It''s why in JA2, i never save without have a character who have least some action point to spend for change the random seed.
This system work but not preserve the game of wild reload...

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quote:
Original post by gaussuk
Which to use - turn based or real time?
I am thinking of a Fallout2/Ja2 type of game.I find in turn based games the random factor seems to strong. When playing them I spend a lot of time reloading - when the roll goes against me. I wonder what other people think about the merits and demerits of the two modes of game.

1. It would be trivial to code a save-game feature that ensured that reloading a game to have a second try at a failed action did not give you a chance of success. (Hint: save the random number seed in the save game file.)

2. The fact that it''s turn-based doesn''t necessarily make the game more random. Perhaps that''s just your experience with certain specific games, but there''s no need for it to be that way. Chess is turn-based and has no random factor. The game is what you make it.

I like both styles.



[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files ]

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quote:
Original post by Kylotan
1. It would be trivial to code a save-game feature that ensured that reloading a game to have a second try at a failed action did not give you a chance of success. (Hint: save the random number seed in the save game file.)



I really like that idea. I hadn''t thought/heard of it before but it makes so much sense. I''ve heard complaints before about the "save-game bankroll" problem; ie: takes away from the immersiveness of the game.

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