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Wavinator

Mixing Sandbox & Strategic Turn-based Gameplay

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Wavinator    2017
I'm thinking about how to properly mix real-time sandbox gameplay with turn-based strategy and have a couple of questions.

First, for reference does anyone have any examples of this type of gameplay that they feel was well done? I have seen arcade gameplay mixed with strategy in games like Strange Adventures in Infinite Space and mission-based examples (Dynasty Warriors: Empires) but haven't encountered sandbox mixed with strategy.

The general gameplay I'm trying to hash out can generically be described as "player moves from sandbox to sandbox, with a turn-based resource management in between each move." Players gather resources, craft or quest in one sandbox, then consume some of those resources getting to the next location.


So second question: Time is an important factor in the strategy portion of the game (as you must manage resources between moving to sandboxes). But for sandbox gameplay time seems to be problematic. I'm wondering whether time should progress in sandbox gameplay by some set amount or if, despite the incongruity, time should just freeze while in a sandbox.

Third, balance: Since resources management is critical to the turn-based gameplay but sandboxes tend to be open-ended I'm wondering about the idea of creating sandboxes which have dwindling gameplay that doesn't renew until you transition. Let's say, for instance, that you can mine or kill creatures for resources. If resources spawn indefinitely, players can sit at one location accumulating all that it has to offer indefinitely, which kills the strategic point of going to the location even if it doesn't provide everything you need (as you'll eventually spam a few locations with whatever actions get you the resources). I don't want players to be able to empty out sandboxes entirely, though, so maybe they should simply respawn only after you transition / end turn and go somewhere else?

Thoughts?

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sunandshadow    7426
Not sure how to directly address your question, but maybe it will be helpful if I describe one or two of the most similar games I've seen.

Sandbox + roguelike/tactical: In this type of game the player's home base is the sandbox (there's only one sandbox). Activities within the sandbox included shopping, managing pet monsters, talking to NPCs to begin quests and develop relationships, and playing minigames. No time passes in the sandbox - entering the combat area advanced time in the sandbox by one day. Combat area was a roguelike with tactical combat; player always started at level 1, quests were accomplished mainly by getting to a target level for the first time.

Sandbox + rpg: Slightly different from the game above, in that the sandbox is the world map, and combat occurs in dungeons entered by traveling to one of the few permanent locations within the sandbox. In this kind of game no time passes anywhere except in terms of steps taken (poison damage or healing or whatever).

So how might one combine sandbox and strategy? Well, let's take Starcraft as a base. In the single player campaign the player is given one mission at a time with increasing difficulty. If we moved some of the infrastructure development and resource gathering out of the individual missions and into a more long-term activity carried out in a home base sandbox where the player 'lived' between missions, that could be one functional way of combining sandbox and strategy. Or you could go with the approach where the sandbox is the world and missions are random instanced encounters where the player is transported to a strategy battlefield for the duration.

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Tiblanc    560
For your third point, you could encourage the player to move out by adding new features the more sandboxes he clears. For example, he establishes on some planet and proceeds to setup camp. The main objective is to get plans for a laser rifle. Once he has them, he accumulate resources for the next sandbox and departs. The resources he can bring are limited, so even if he stays there, it will be lost when moving. The next sandbox is more challenging because there are more bugs, so that laser rifle comes in handy. This can continue until he gets whatever is required to beat the game, creating a nice progression in difficulty and complexity.

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