Turning to Turn-Based for Stealth and Other Types of Gameplay

Turning to Turn-Based for Stealth and Other Types of Gameplay

Yahtzee makes the case for using turn-based gameplay for more than just combat.

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I think more turn based strategy games should do a thing where both the enemy and player turns are planned and then played out at the same time. Sort of like this: http://armorgames.com/play/5426/steambirds?via-search=1

09philj:
I think more turn based strategy games should do a thing where both the enemy and player turns are planned and then played out at the same time. Sort of like this: http://armorgames.com/play/5426/steambirds?via-search=1

I hear Frozen Synapse does that, not that I've played it.

I did have some vol-au-vents and discussed the carrot harvest of the year with a fellow game enthusiast, though.

The only drawback I see to a turn-based cooking game is that after picking the "Leave to Simmer" option on the beef curry level you'll have nothing to do but pick 'Skip Turn' over and over again for the next half hour.

No, then your character wanders to another room and starts up a few matches of Hearthstone, misses the ding of the timer, and you have to figure out when it's the right time to remember you were cooking something and dash into the other room hoping it's not burnt. Like real life.

Thanatos2k:

The only drawback I see to a turn-based cooking game is that after picking the "Leave to Simmer" option on the beef curry level you'll have nothing to do but pick 'Skip Turn' over and over again for the next half hour.

No, then your character wanders to another room and starts up a few matches of Hearthstone, misses the ding of the timer, and you have to figure out when it's the right time to remember you were cooking something and dash into the other room hoping it's not burnt. Like real life.

Oh dear, this is so true!

I swear I'm forgetting a really really major example of queue-stuff-up-then-unleash, but it's totally slipping my grasp. Aaaaargh.

I dunno, man. Turn-based stuff is just not for me. It feels too "start-stop"-ish for my tastes.

I don't find it as exciting and I feel like combat, stealth, and many other genres can still be strategic without the need to remove the action element from the gameplay.

Yahtzee:
I wonder, and here we provoke the commenters again, are there turn-based games where all the actions of your characters and enemies are queued up in a single moment, and are all executed simultaneously when everyone's ready?

Yeah, that's Frozen Synapse in a nutshell. Well, not quite. In Frozen Synapse, you queue up as much or as little as you want to, and the simulation will run as long as everything on the screen is queued, and pause when that queue ends. You can make characters wait, set them to shoot on sight, have them sneak, or whatever. Visibility is determined by line of sight, and you can pause mid-queue to change your upcoming actions if you find yourself walking into a trap or something, to regroup and come up with a new tactic.

It's a pretty solid game and I highly recommend it. I don't know that I'd recommend it over Fire Emblem, but it's definitely one of the better strategy games I've played.

P.S. Thanks

The auto racing board game sounds like Formula Dé. The one time I played it I got to die a spectacular fiery death from a couple of bad rolls while next to the damage-dealing-expert driver.

I think it would be interesting to see conversation handled differently than the increasingly bog-standard "branching paths", and the few games that have given you a timer to add pressure aren't always an improvement (a lot of people can think up a long answer a lot more quickly than they can read and assess the nuances in one.) I've mulled the idea of some sort of mini-game involving two people with different conversational goals playing against each other (I want you to confess/I want you to reconsider my guilt; I want information/I want to get away from you without causing undue offense, for example), but I haven't gotten much past the "mulling" stage.

Board game designer here. Generally, simultaneous turn games are way harder to design than traditional turn-based games. The rules need to cover every combination of "What if I do X while she does Y?" and the players also need to think about those things every turn.

The classic example is Diplomacy, which can take upwards of 30 minutes per turn, for a total game of 8+ hours. The rules have about 2 pages on how to play, and 20 pages on how combat math works. If A attacks B, B attacks C, and C supports A, who wins? If I attack your fleet while transporting troops but can't sink it, do the troops reach their destination? If so, what if the amphibious landing is a failure - do they retreat all the way back across the ocean, or sideways along the coast? Et cetera.

The Sting did something similar to a combination of turn-based and real time in 2001. You 'recorded' your heist at your own pace, and then pressed 'play' to see it carried out, then 'pause' or 'rewind' to correct any errors you made.

It's available here
or here's some more detail

Try Vandal Hearts II on ps1. Tactical rpg where every time one of your characters moves an enemy takes a turn at the same time.

To the question of simultaneous engagement, Battlefront has been making the Combat Mission series for more than a decade. Each side issues the next minute of battles orders and the results play out for both as a movie that can be viewed and replayed at the players leisure. The next turn follows the same pattern, issue orders, watch results. They called this WEGO and I've often wondered over the years why no one else ever put it to use in any other context than a WW2 simulation.

For Real-time conversations, Alpha Protocol tried something like this. I liked it, but it got slammed in reviews...

Simel is difficult to do well, Battlefront does it very well indeed.

I know of a turn-based racing game on iPad. There's even a racing board game, that's turn-based.

Why does Yahtzee keep avoiding the topic of FPS / Brawler with turn based elements?

...Maybe he's just too used to seeing "Quick-Time" stand-ins for the very concept of it or the resource management model previous ones wasn't nearly strategic enough. Maybe he just assumes that "Put the game in Slow-Mo to Durp-Aim" is all it could ever amount to? Maybe that's what everyone's seen or imagined up to this point??

Someone correct me please if I'm wrong. But meanwhile I've modeled out ways to make an entirely new genre around it over the past 10 years and I really think there could be a lot more to it than that junk above.

The only aspect of it I just can't seem to nail down yet is the social dynamic that's made games like Hearth & League & Capcom (tourney fighting games) as "compulsive" as they are to most people. IE: the reaction time interface actually plays into the challenge-model. I'm glad He's finally dedicated a whole Article to this instead of just outright dismissing the topic like he has in LDO's in the past. But I think there's room for a LOT more than just Novelty around this subject, especially now that we're seeing advancements in Environmental and Physics engines thanks to Unreal4 and any other engine makers who are making this crazy stuff available to everyone. These advancements add new levels of complexity to every potential game made which is still going to get bottlenecked by the player's ability to take it all in at once and make the right decisions without rote-memorization. ...That's where tactical minds like Yahtzee's could start putting their obsession with "Interfaces" to good use and utilize their oddly coincidental future influence on memes to raise awareness about the mechanics we need to simulate Turn-Based control in real time multiplayer FPS.

I'm tired of waiting for some other people to make it. I've already started putting together polygons myself and I hope a lot more people out there have started doing the same otherwise I'll be too old to play it by the time Triple-A finally makes a good one.

How about a turn-based Street Fighter like game.
Each player has to input a list of commands (10 or 20 or so) and both execute at the same time.
Then both on screen characters enact those commands in order against each other.
I know this will be a massive mess, especially if neither player thought to use the block command or both have a list of massive flashy combos.
But think of the glorious nonsense that could come out of this!

Imagine if one player just inputs 10 hadoukens in a row, but the other player does a flying kick and ends up behind him.
Or one player inputs a very lengthy combo that follows on from previous attacks, and the other players blocks on the first one. At which point the whole combo list fails and that character just stands around doing nonsense attacks because the opponent isn't where the combo wants him to be.

Covarr:

Yahtzee:
I wonder, and here we provoke the commenters again, are there turn-based games where all the actions of your characters and enemies are queued up in a single moment, and are all executed simultaneously when everyone's ready?

Yeah, that's Frozen Synapse in a nutshell. Well, not quite. In Frozen Synapse, you queue up as much or as little as you want to, and the simulation will run as long as everything on the screen is queued, and pause when that queue ends. You can make characters wait, set them to shoot on sight, have them sneak, or whatever. Visibility is determined by line of sight, and you can pause mid-queue to change your upcoming actions if you find yourself walking into a trap or something, to regroup and come up with a new tactic.

It's a pretty solid game and I highly recommend it. I don't know that I'd recommend it over Fire Emblem, but it's definitely one of the better strategy games I've played.

P.S. Thanks

Each turn lasts 5 seconds; if you give a command to one of your guys that will take 15 seconds, you'll have the opportunity to change it at the end of every turn, or you can just let them keep going. Within that 5 seconds though, once you commit to your moves for the turn you can't redo any of that.

One thing I really like about this game is the ability to "preview" the turn. You can place your units, then place your opponent's units, and see how the turn will play out. By doing this you might be able to subtly change your moves so that a nearly-guaranteed win for your opponent goes the other way, simply by moving one of your units a few pixels. Then when you think your units are in the best possible position, commit your turn and see what happens.

The game is entirely deterministic, with no RNG giving your opponent a lucky hit. All else being equal, a unit standing still will kill a unit that's moving, a unit behind cover will kill a unit in the open, etc. The tough part is that a unit standing still in the open versus a unit moving behind cover may be more of a crapshoot; that kind of scenario is where the exact positioning could make all the difference.

I don't remember much of Fallout Tactics, but that was a turn-based game I thought forced you and your team into sneaking around, so you don't all get killed.
But if you're looking for a stealth game that's played with turn-based controls, well, do any of you remember Metal Gear Acid?

It is a travesty that Yahtzee does not know about turn-based Ancient Roman chariot-racing game Qvadriga. A travesty, I say!

The Last Alliance's combat system works similar to what he's describing. You pick how you want your ship to fly for the next little bit, pick out what you want your weapons shooting at, and then it simulates ahead.

Isn't Toribash technically a turn-based competitive fighting game?
Though I suppose it's also a turn-based qwop.

Quite a few strategy games use ideas along these lines. Birth of the Federation (a surprisingly not terrible Star Trek 4X) is the first one I can think of that had orders lined up for fights which then played out for a few seconds in real time, then paused to give orders again. Endless Space did it again more recently, although with only 3 turns per battle and a fairly limited card-based system for control. And there are quite a few games that allow simultaneous turns as an option in games that look like they should be normal turn-based strategy - Age of Wonders 3 for example(I think, I have a few fantasy 4X games I haven't played much and may be confusing them).

Plus most Paradox grand strategy-type games technically do this. Although described as "real time with pause", they're actually turn based games with short turns that don't wait for you to hit the "end turn" button. For the most part it would be incredibly boring (and take years) to actually play them in entirely a turn-based manner, but it's not at all uncommon to do so for short periods when there's lots of complicated manoeuvring required.

There's a wide range of turn-based, non-combat gameplay styles out there. It's just most designers with a talent for such styles are designing board games. Those that aren't are mostly designing mobile games. And nowadays, such board games that are ported to video games are mostly only ported to mobile.

It sounds like the author was playing Formula De. Alas, as far as I can tell, there's no official video game port.

sesbiosfv:
For Real-time conversations, Alpha Protocol tried something like this. I liked it, but it got slammed in reviews...

Seriously? Why? That was probably the best conversation mechanic I've seen in a game. You have to pay attention and think quickly in response. Walking Dead did the same thing and people liked it there.

UNHchabo:
Each turn lasts 5 seconds; if you give a command to one of your guys that will take 15 seconds, you'll have the opportunity to change it at the end of every turn, or you can just let them keep going. Within that 5 seconds though, once you commit to your moves for the turn you can't redo any of that.

One thing I really like about this game is the ability to "preview" the turn. You can place your units, then place your opponent's units, and see how the turn will play out. By doing this you might be able to subtly change your moves so that a nearly-guaranteed win for your opponent goes the other way, simply by moving one of your units a few pixels. Then when you think your units are in the best possible position, commit your turn and see what happens.

The game is entirely deterministic, with no RNG giving your opponent a lucky hit. All else being equal, a unit standing still will kill a unit that's moving, a unit behind cover will kill a unit in the open, etc. The tough part is that a unit standing still in the open versus a unit moving behind cover may be more of a crapshoot; that kind of scenario is where the exact positioning could make all the difference.

Thanks, I suspected my description wasn't quite right. I only played this game for about two hours. Loved the hell out of those two hours, but new games came out and my short attention span--also, I never played multiplayer.

P.S. Thanks

Covarr:
Thanks, I suspected my description wasn't quite right. I only played this game for about two hours. Loved the hell out of those two hours, but new games came out and my short attention span--also, I never played multiplayer.

P.S. Thanks

I haven't played in a while, but you should try it out -- one of the nice things about the multiplayer is that you can essentially do it like chess-by-mail; if you're waiting for your opponent to take their turn, you can log off, and it will send you mail when your opponent finishes, and is waiting on you.

thanatos388:

sesbiosfv:
For Real-time conversations, Alpha Protocol tried something like this. I liked it, but it got slammed in reviews...

Seriously? Why? That was probably the best conversation mechanic I've seen in a game. You have to pay attention and think quickly in response. Walking Dead did the same thing and people liked it there.

I don't think the poster meant the mechanic was slammed, but that Alpha Protocol as a whole got slammed for its various minor issues. If anything, the conversation mechanic got singled out for praise in reviews I saw. At least that's the impression I was left with at the time. Great game, IMO.

Making v-games turn based seems like a waste of the medium's potential to me, and... at the end of the day, don't all strategic games have to have some sort of time limit? Since otherwise it would be advantageous to take a nearly infinite amount of time to decide on each move?

Olas:
Making v-games turn based seems like a waste of the medium's potential to me,

Only insofar as making 2D sprite games on a modern day console or PC are a waste of the platform's potential. Some systems work better when performed in specific ways. X-COM: Enemy Unknown is, I think, an example of an absolutely fantastic game from the past few years that would likely have been brought down majorly if it had real-time combat. Civilization is the same way. Those mechanics could certainly be tuned to be real-time, but I don't see why it would be considered wasteful to do so. Just because you can format a system in a certain way doesn't mean you should, or that it would be necessarily better when made more complex.

and... at the end of the day, don't all strategic games have to have some sort of time limit? Since otherwise it would be advantageous to take a nearly infinite amount of time to decide on each move?

I don't see how that could be called advantageous. If you take an infinite amount of time (or even just a really long time) to make a move in a strategy game, you aren't actually playing. You're just sitting around looking at a game board. I can understand implementing a move timer in a multiplayer environment where abusing an infinite move clock could break the game in several ways, but in a single-player experience I don't see a need for it.

MackDaddyVelli:

Olas:
Making v-games turn based seems like a waste of the medium's potential to me,

Only insofar as making 2D sprite games on a modern day console or PC are a waste of the platform's potential. Some systems work better when performed in specific ways. X-COM: Enemy Unknown is, I think, an example of an absolutely fantastic game from the past few years that would likely have been brought down majorly if it had real-time combat. Civilization is the same way. Those mechanics could certainly be tuned to be real-time, but I don't see why it would be considered wasteful to do so. Just because you can format a system in a certain way doesn't mean you should, or that it would be necessarily better when made more complex.

Eh... I guess. I think for me it's just a bit jarring to see a bunch of characters standing there attacking each other one at a time in a realistic fully animated world. In board games it's easier for me to accept the metaphor because I know it's impossible, or at least unrealistic to try and simulate combat in real time, and all the pieces are static. The more realistic a game looks the worse the effect is.

MackDaddyVelli:

and... at the end of the day, don't all strategic games have to have some sort of time limit? Since otherwise it would be advantageous to take a nearly infinite amount of time to decide on each move?

I don't see how that could be called advantageous. If you take an infinite amount of time (or even just a really long time) to make a move in a strategy game, you aren't actually playing. You're just sitting around looking at a game board.

You're strategizing. There's a big difference between analyzing thousands of move trees and just staring at a board. Relying on a players impatience to move the game along, in a game that directly rewards patience, seems like a flawed system to me. This is why in almost all professional environments chess is played with a timer.

MackDaddyVelli:
I can understand implementing a move timer in a multiplayer environment where abusing an infinite move clock could break the game in several ways, but in a single-player experience I don't see a need for it.

What's the difference?

Laser Squad Nemesis executed this "all the actions of your characters and enemies are queued up in a single moment, and are all executed simultaneously when everyone's ready" system quite fine. Too bad that they went for this stupid e-mail multiplayer nonsense and therefore failed to attract any audience. I would love to see this one rebooted properly.

 

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