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Pausing game during gameplay. Need advice.

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Hello, 

i'm making a simple 2 player game.

The gameplay happens online, the round lasts for 20 seconds per each player. 

The problem, is that user can pause the game and then find a better move. 

I can't remove a pause at all, since it is a mobile game,

so such messages as "Battery low" or receiving a call will pause the game. Or should pause the game. 

I'm about to add a pause timer, say 5-10 seconds and then player will lose this round. 

But i'm not sure if this is a good idea. 

 

So, i need some advice here. How to deal with pausing and no cheating. 

 

Thanks in advance.

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Allowing a pause has always been exploitable, even back to the early 1980s with controllers that automatically signaled the pause button rapidly to slow down the pace of games. There are some limited things you can do, covering the screen, perhaps introduce a slight time penalty during the brief time of pausing an unpausing the game. You note doing this for 5-10 seconds, but that is still an exploit allowing 25% to 50% time bonus to an exploiting player.

There is also the option of ignoring pause requests and app switching, letting the timer continue to run. If the player loses or times out for that game, it doesn't matter, they lose.

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