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turn based or real time

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In this thread I''d like to hear some opinions on pro''s and con''s of turn based strategy games and real time strategy games. I personally prefer turn based strategy, like Civialization, Alpha Centauri, Master of Orion, Panzer General, and many more. However, it seems that real time strategy games are more popular these days. Is it because of the multiplayer aspect? Turn based games suck in multiplayer cause you gotta wait a long time to process a single turn. Other than that, I think turn based strategy is more "strategical" - it''s less about "super fast mouse clicking skill" and "I know all the hot key combinations". Turn based strategy gives player more time to carefully choose what to do and the player doesn''t need to worry about getting attacked while doing his turn, or worry about some units going out somewhere without his notice. What do you guys think?

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Turn based takes more strategy and is more realistic, but real time requires faster reflexes. Depends on what you like. I think both of them can work in multiplayer as long as you set a time limit for each turn in a turn based game.

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The fun of a real time game - for me, at least - is that you have to act under pressure. This captures some of the essence of a real battle.

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

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I prefer turn-based for ANY game that has multiple units under the player''s control.

RT is very dependent on decent AI. If the units have inactive AI, then the player must do everything. In some cases, the units won''t even respond when attacked, and will just stand there and be killed.

On the other hand, if the AI is too active, the units will go racing off to attack, often times destroying the player''s strategy. Plus, the player begins to feel like he''s not involved in the game...the units are destroying everything that moves before the player can even respond.

Getting this balance right is very difficult. I can only think of a few games that accomplished it.

Turn-based games mean the units are totally under the player''s control. They do exactly what the player wants; the player wins or loses based on the player''s skill and tactics.

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I think the main reasons for RTS games being more popular is simply that most people don''t have the time and/or patience for TBS. While I like very complex, intellectually challenging games and don''t particularly mind if a session takes many hours, virtually none of my friends enjoy this in a game. A game of Alpha Centauri (still my favorite) will usually take several days of multi-hour sessions to complete, and that''s not what people expect of a computer game.

It''s probably not multiplayer implementation difficulties that make the audience for multiplayer TBS smaller, but rather the fact that the audience for TBS games in general is smaller. But awkward multiplayer implementations doesn''t help, of course.

Besides having a smaller potential audience, a good TBS game is arguably more difficult to design. Allowing the player to analyze his actions for a relatively long time makes the game mechanics much more obvious in a TBS. This presents some interesting challenges for the designer; any flaws in the game mechanics and AI will be more easily discovered and exploited. While a solid, well-balanced design is important for all games, a novice TBS player will be able to analyze details in much the same way that expert RTS players do.

Players also expect a pretty high degree of depth and realism in a TBS game. These expectations will usually translate into a need for complexity. When you add more complexity to the game, the design and balancing problems will be even harder. One problem is the amount of control to give the player: give too much control over details, and the game will be a micro-management nightmare. Give too little, and the game will feel like a simulation. Either way, the player gets frustrated.

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I prefer how Turn based games require more forethought and require a deeper level of thinking, but I also like real time for the immersion factor ( it feels like the battle is really unfolding).

In terms of gameplay each has their advantages but I think real time is more popular due to what spock said about the time-crunch factor, and the more immersive feeling one gets from battles happening on the fly.

I think you can create a hybrid game that captures both the feeling that you must act under pressure, limit time, and also introduce the immersion factor of watching battles unfold in real time. What I had in mind is basically a turn based system where you give orders to units. You have a pre-alloted amount of time to order all of your units and if you exceed this time, all units you did not get to will simply hold position and defend. Once the order giving phase is over, the battles unfurl in real time, and you can try to influence units actions, but it will not be automatic.

What's really at issue here is the player's attention. Both the span of his attention and the focus of it. Turn based games offer a situation where the player who is easily bored will become frustrated. However, if a player has a short attention span, you can not offer so many things that he has to focus his attention on that you overwhelm him with choices (i.e. trying to manage an economy while building an army AND fighting on two fronts simultaneously!!). Game designers who do not factor in attention span AND attention focus will surely create a game that will only frustrate the players.

[edited by - Dauntless on September 11, 2002 7:53:15 PM]

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Alpha Centauri was also my favorite game. Too bad my game CDs got stolen

As Dauntless mentioned, one way to do multiplayer TBS games is to set a time limit on how long each game turn lasts. All players can move at the same time, so it''s like every player is doing his turn at the same time. Battles can be initiated in the middle of a turn, but they are resolved only at the end of the turn. What do you think is a reasonable time limit for each turn? 2 minutes? heh

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G''day,

Has anyone played Battle Isle: Andosia War? This game shows a great mix between RT and TB. You move your units and what-not in a turn based fasion, and when the other player is moving his units you build your base in real-time. I think they did it very well and the game was only really let down by some annoying bugs. I suggest you all have a look at least at the demo for a way of mixing the two together.

I would suggest thinking of how you could mix the two up in your own game and see what you get. It would certainly be a departure from a lot of the clones or both RT and TB games that are coming out.

Doolwind

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Personally I prefer TB over realtime as it allows me to enjoy coffee in front of the computer while I ponder my next move.

However I think that the TB market is much smaller than for realtime games. As someone above mentioned, many casual gamers don''t have the patience to play slow TB games. They want instant gratification...

Does anyone have a slightest idea of the sales figures for Fallout: Tactics? It is a TB/Realtime game and even if it is using an already established brand it would be interesting to see how it did...

::aggression is the result of fear::

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quote:
Original post by Dauntless
What''s really at issue here is the player''s attention. Both the span of his attention and the focus of it. Turn based games offer a situation where the player who is easily bored will become frustrated. However, if a player has a short attention span, you can not offer so many things that he has to focus his attention on that you overwhelm him with choices (i.e. trying to manage an economy while building an army AND fighting on two fronts simultaneously!!). Game designers who do not factor in attention span AND attention focus will surely create a game that will only frustrate the players.



Couldn''t have said it better myself.

I think it is possible to combine the depth of Turn based with the immersion of realtime, but it isn''t going to be easy. Interface is extremely important - it needs to be clean and simple to use, but powerful enough to let the depth of the game shine through. The pace of the game is also very important - too fast and the depth gets lost behind tank rushes and braindead strategies, too slow and players get bored.


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quote:
Original post by spock
I think the main reasons for RTS games being more popular is simply that most people don''t have the time and/or patience for TBS. While I like very complex, intellectually challenging games and don''t particularly mind if a session takes many hours, virtually none of my friends enjoy this in a game. A game of Alpha Centauri (still my favorite) will usually take several days of multi-hour sessions to complete, and that''s not what people expect of a computer game.



Yes most "normal" male teenage gamers prefer RTS over TBS because of some reason. I love TBS (some games I even think would have been better as TBS or partial TBS instead of RTS), however none of my friends have got the patience to play a TBS. They often complain about "outdated graphics" and "neardy clickfeasts" (like they don''t click more in RTS-game )

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I love turn-based strategy games, however, I''m decreasingly playing single player, most of my gaming activity is now at LAN parties. (can''t afford to play online) Well, we played a 3-player Heroes of Might and Magic 3 game at a LAN party once, ( > half a year ago) on a relatively small map. The game took 5 or 6 hours. While thinking strategically is cool, and I do have the patience, I think that this is just too long to work in mulitplayer. I don''t know how this could be done, but turn based strategy games shouldn''t be changed in pace, but in total length. I''m thinking some sort of squad/infiltration game, but I don''t really know how to make it interesting.

Random idea: Worms is turn based and hugely popular, even in multiplayer. (we often even play it at LAN parties) Of course it doesn''t count as a true strategy game, but one would need to capture the essence of it in a TBS.

Another nice idea are simultaneous turns, so other players don''t have to wait anywhere near as long. The now stone-old game Conquest Of The New World solved this in a wonderful way, each unit had "movement points", and if player actions conflicted, the unit that had used fewer movement points before the conflicting action got the priority. (you didn''t see what the opponents did until the next round started)


- JQ
Full Speed Games. Period.

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quote:
Original post by mrZORG
Is there anyone who prefers RTS for TBS?

I like both equally, they''re just extremely different and hard to compare. I''m playing Warcraft III at the moment (arrgh... crap interface!) and constantly playing (and winning) Red Alert 2: Yuri''s Revenge at LAN parties. YR is the best RTS in multiplayer around in my opinion - it''s pretty suck without the addon though. At LAN parties people are always amazed how fast I play that game, so yeah, very real-time - I do love RTS as well


- JQ
Full Speed Games. Period.

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Baldur''s Gate did a great job of combining Real time with turn based.. The player could play real time but pause at any time to issue orders, prepare spells, or answer the phone.. Playing co-op over Internet worked pretty good too.. I am not sure how it would work when you play against another player. Anyone who had any experiences playing Fallout: Tactics on the internet? Do you play it in TBS mode or real time?

::aggression is the result of fear::

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I prefer turn-based for a game that works best with a turn-based system, but I prefer real-time for a game that works best with a real-time system.

I loved Warhammer: Shadow Of The Horned Rat (real-time combat) and I loved History Line: 1914-1918 (turn-based combat, ala Battle Isle).

I also loved Shogun: Total War, which had real-time combat, but used a turn-based system outside of combat. I would''ve liked more available choices during turn-based combat, but overall, the game worked very well.

Real-time combat catches the drama of combat, making you into one of the foot soldiers. Turn-based combat catches the strategy of combat, making you into one of the generals.

I can fully imagine a game which lets the player make choices in a turn-based system, but lets the results of those choices play out in real-time. The proposed time limits would apply (giving a player a chance to only give an order once every X seconds, for example).


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I always like TBS over RTS, and although I don''t play too many of them unless I have an entire free day.

I love multitasking, and sending troops all over the screen, and they all seem to die in a RTS because the computer can actually pull off controling two or more groups of troops. TBS allows a person to micro manage they''er troops.

There has been several TBS games online, usually "risk" or games like axis and allies. They usually either allow people to choose between something like the two minute rule prevous mentioned, just waiting til everyone is done, or having a limit of 24 hours to respond.

Another idea that has not been implemented is creating an AI that you can give a modivation, and if a player does not respond in a time period, allow the AI to move for him...


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There are next following moments in RTSvsTBS:
1) Interface - how player can control units and orders (repair, build etc), where we meet Fast Clickin'' (RTS).
2) Multiplayer - controllable time cannot be here because control focus cannot be stable in unpredictably time changes. Turn Based is bad because Long Waiting Period.

Here we can see two exits (for both - 1 and 2) at first look:
First.
Time Scale Change. Example: Ground Control.
This means that almost all of valuable events are not fast. We can regroup (reorder) our armies when they being attacked.
Fire - not fast, we can
Move - faster...
Bad example: Starcraft, where we couldn''t be in time to order while forces are being attacked (faster mode - slow is very boring)
Second.
Is changing TBS concepts. Simultaneous turns, time restrics, etc.

This is an electronic private mr.ZORG''''s verification signature. Tested and Trusted.

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quote:
Original post by Silvermyst
Real-time combat catches the drama of combat, making you into one of the foot soldiers. Turn-based combat catches the strategy of combat, making you into one of the generals.



Very interesting observation and I agree entirely. Realtime tends to make the player think tactically and feel like he is really there, encouraging a sense that with each unit he clicks on, that is the player himself he is sending into battle. Whereas turnbased games tend to encourage the idea that the player is seperate from his units and not actually a part of them.


quote:
Original post by Silvermyst
I can fully imagine a game which lets the player make choices in a turn-based system, but lets the results of those choices play out in real-time. The proposed time limits would apply (giving a player a chance to only give an order once every X seconds, for example).



I think this would be quite easy. Just set a time limit to give orders to all of your units and then once the player was done, all the units would act in real time. As I was trying to explain to my step father the other day who hates Turn based systems, what this really is is RT, but with a pause built in. The pause is merely there to give the player time to order units.

In other words, it doesn''t go, "Side A gets to move/shoot, then side B gets to move shot" in an alternating pattern. Rather, you have a pause that gives the player time to give order, then everything still happens simultaneously. My stepfather said this was still unrealistic and that real time was the only realistic way to go. So I pointed out something to him (and he''s an ex-Programmer himself so I''m surprised he didn''t catch on to this...)

In real time, let''s say that a player has 6 units up against 6 computer controlled units. In real time, realistically, the human player would need at least 1 second to point his mouse over and click on an order for that unit. Assuming he doesn''t want each unit to all do the same thing (just drag a box around them and all give them the same order) this will take about 6 seconds to perform. By the time he is ordering his last unit...the 6th one, 5 seconds have gone by, at which point the computer....which only needed a micro second to issue all it''s orders....may have attacked something you didn''t intend.

My stepdad then pointed out that while this was true, the programmer could compensate for this by making the AI have built in pauses or somehow slowing down decisions....taking into account the average amount of time a human player would take. So my retort was....why not build in a pause in the game, in essence it is exactly the same thing. He couldn''t answer back, saying only that it interrupted the "flow" of combat. I again answered that the interruption of the flow of combat to me was perennially having to micro manage all of my units, diverting my attention from grand strategy to making sure all of my units were doing what they were supposed to be doing. And I said THAT is more unrealistic than having a pause in a game. In reality, battles follow the turn based/pause system more closely because orders are not issued from the overall commander second by second. The only orders that happen second by second are what the ground sloggers have to do, and that is tactical....not strategic. My step father finally conceded defeat...having been an officer in the Swiss army, he finally understood what I meant by the difference between strategic and tactical thinking. I did say that in multiplayer games, such time limits and pauses were probably unnecessary, but I still think having a pause stresses thinking in advance and anticipating what the opponent is going to do.

It''s just like you said that real time encourages tactical thinking (which was what my stepdad liked), and that turn based stresses strategical thinking.




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I think that RTS''s offer many other, more realistic aspects of life than turn based strategies. As Kylotan pointed out, there is the pressure of making quick decisions. As for "point and click" or "memorize all of the hotkeys" that is a very small factor of a real time strategy, and anyone who actually plays any amount of real time strategies will realize that the strategy is not in pointing and clicking, or memorizing the hotkey''s. It''s the choice of units, the skills to use and the battle micromanagement. Saying that real time strategies have no strategy or are for the people with no attention span is like saying that turn based strategies are for the old folks who can''t grasp concepts as fast as they once did and for people who are over-controlling. They are both false statements. I think these two genre''s have changed to much over the years to really be compared with such a statement. It''s like saying which bird is better? Sure they are all the same thing, but each has it''s ups and downs. Perhaps real time strategies evolved from turn based strategies, but that was long ago and they are now two very different entities.

¬_¬

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FUZZTREK wrote:
quote:
As for "point and click" or "memorize all of the hotkeys" that is a very small factor of a real time strategy, and anyone who actually plays any amount of real time strategies will realize that the strategy is not in pointing and clicking, or memorizing the hotkey''s. It''s the choice of units, the skills to use and the battle micromanagement.

Any amount of what are currently considered ''real time strategies'', that is
An ideal setup would be to allow the user to define commands (hotkeys) BEFORE the battle. That way, choosing hotkeys becomes part of post-battle gameplay (like ''choice of units'').

I am a big fan of using flags to relay commands from top to bottom (general to grunt). Basically, the player would be like a football coach, telling his units how to act on the field. But long before the battle/game ever starts, the player is able to teach new commands to his players, in the form of hotkeys. For example, pressing CTRL + R might give a ''full retreat'' command, where each unit turns his back and runs back to safety as fast as possible. A player might want to design a different type of retreat. He creates a macro that tells certain units to retreat one way, and other units to retreat another way. ''You archers, retreat by moving backwards, while giving the swordsmen cover fire. You swordsmen, retreat by moving backwards fast.'' Specific locations might be set to retreat to.

Now, the player should also be allowed to manually adjust the settings for the AI which controls individual units during combat.

Let players micromanage BEFORE battle, and macromanage DURING battle in real-time (perhaps by using turn-based command system).

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I think that pre-mapping hotkey''s is one thing, but creating macros with "retreat" and "defend" functions is a totally different feature. I think that some games have specific support or cover fire units, whereas others can become rather technical by creating all these macro''s. I think that by being able to create macros, you are adding a new level of depth to the strategy of the game. I''m not sure if I would like that aspect of it or not, but it is an interesting concept.

I''d just like to repeat (not talking at all about your post silvermyst) that it really annoys me when people say that RTS''s are for people with almost no attention span and for people that are to dumb to play a ''real'' strategy game. That is not the truth at all. I mean, I really shake my head and roll my eyes when someone says that. I don''t even know HOW someone can say that. It makes absolutly no sense at all and is very rude.

It reminds me of the Mac vs Microsoft wars or the DirectX vs OpenGL wars. They''re are biased views towards both sides, and most of those biased views have no point other than "I like it, and since I''m the best and I''m the smartest, everyone else should like it too." It''s not even child-like, it''s below that. Why not just accept that they are two different things, and that they each have their pro''s and con''s?

Boggles my mind.

Fuzztrek

¬_¬

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why not have both turn based and real time...
dont sell yourself short of a whole audience.. just work
both into the design, have a turn based mode and realtime mode
players can choose.

-eldee
;another space monkey;
[ Forced Evolution Studios ]


::evolve::

''In C we had to code our own bugs. In C++ we can inherit them.''

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I like them both actually. I believe turn-based combat systems require more of an intellectual battle strategy often before, during, and after combat. Real-time on the other hand usually just needs a battle plan before combat, reflex action and skills during combat and good critical thinking and analysis afterward.

Bleu Shift - www.bleushift.tk

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A turn based game will make it strategy oriented. RTS is more action oriented. What you should do depends on what you want.

Important thing is that RTS will need fast code, but is better for multi-play.

Turn based can have an excellent ai, because he can have more time to "think".

And one more thing... what often pisses me off about RTS games, is that the computer Ai can move all his 500 units on the 400-square kilometer map at once, while the player has to focus his attention. You have to try and make this fair.

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