|
Your continuous donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » RPGWatch Side Quest: The Great Debate

Default RPGWatch Side Quest: The Great Debate

February 15th, 2007, 16:23
I must say I'm very surprised at how many people here actually prefer TB games. And yet TB games are fewest made? That's intriguing to me.

My personal preference is RT. In fact it's not really a preference - I simply do not play TB games at all. I've tried before, even with NWN, and lasted about 1 hour. As Corwin argued in his article… TB totally kills the immersion for me.

IMHO >insert execution drum roll here<….

I feel that TB is actually the opposite of role-playing.

Here's why: I view turn based as you are "coaching" the avatar in the game. He's not 'you', he's like the quarterback in a football game. You, the coach, give him the plays and HE performs the action, not YOU. Translated into a PC game, how is that role-playing (playing his role)? I understand that statement also enters the realm of debate regarding the "true" nature of what an RPG game is. When I play an RPG I am pretending that I AM the character. If a monster attacks ME then I will draw MY sword and slaughter him. If, on the other hand, I am pausing to tell the avatar what to do, and then sit back to watch him hack away, I have now limited myself to being some mysterious voice whispering in his ear….

..& so they take the fiction all out of the Jabberwock & I recognize & accept him as a fact. - Mark Twain, May 30, 1880
Jabberwocky is offline

Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky's Avatar
True Synaesthete

#21

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Midwest, USA
Posts: 1,081

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 16:53
Ahhh… the age-old debate among cRPG geeks continues… Ok, I'll bite.

Dungeons and Dragons(tm), which is regarded by all as the Father (or Mother) of all Role-Playing Games is turn-based (or "phased" if you have one of those sadistic DM's who uses a stop-watch during rounds of combat). If you wish to recreate this scenario with a computer, then turn-based combat is the only accurate means to do so. Hence, Temple of Elemental Evil is the perfect representation of Dungeons and Dragons.

Now, if you don't know (or care to know) the meaning of terms like "8-sider," "crit table," and "perfect 20" then trying to adhere to the D&D style is lost on you. But for those of us who equate D&D with RPG, a turn-based system is the only one that fits the bill. And the reason is simple: why have all these rules for combat if you don't ever actually get to see them in action. D&D combat was intended to be strategic simulation of medieval-style combat (with LoTR-inspired magic and monsters thrown in to draw an audience). When Bioware chose to eschew pure turn-based for real-time with pause they drew a line in the sand saying that the rules (and strategy) of combat are not as important as the visceral experience of combat itself. That's not saying that BG games aren't strategic, just not on the same scale as ToEE.

Now, first- and third-person Action RPGs (played from the viewpoint of a single player like Oblivion) are a different animal entirely and have almost nothing to do with D&D and a plenty to do with Rogue-style games like Nethack, Moria, and Ragnarok. Hence, they were born in the age of computers and not in the age of PnP role-playing games. These games (which I wholeheartedly enjoy btw) should always be real-time.

Lord Alex

Guest

#22

Posts: n/a

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 17:13
HE performs the action, not YOU.
Exactly why that's role playing, when you join that with a stats driven character, if it's the other way around it's all about your reflexes and way of handling things, in TB it's a bout the character you role play.
Briosafreak is offline

Briosafreak

Briosafreak's Avatar
SasqWatch

#23

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Portugal
Posts: 114

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 17:21
IMO turn-based combat is the only way to go in a p'n'p game because otherwise it'd be rather impossible for the GM to keep track of things. With computer games it's quite different - the comp takes the role of GM and usually manages to keep track of things no matter which mode of combat the game employs.

Personally, I don't like the concept of turn-based CRPGs.

The reason for my dislike of turn-based combat and parties in a CRPG is the following: the experience of playing such a computer game is nothing like that of a 'real' RPG. While I have a party like in a 'real' RPG and combat is turn-based like in a 'real' RPG, my pen&paper party never consisted of morons who had to rely on my non-existent tactical skills to survive. There might have been such a player once in a while, but all of them? And when playing p'n'p I never had to tell all my compatriots which spells to use, which weapons to use, where to go to… and that each round.
Nope, I want excitement and thrills instead, and the easiest way to get that in a computer game is going solo, 1st person, and real-time.

Semper HiFi!
Motto of the 54th Groove Bde.
Jaz is offline

Jaz

Jaz's Avatar
SC-2201
Super Moderator
RPGWatch Team

#24

Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,340

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 17:26
Originally Posted by Jaz View Post
Nope, I want excitement and thrills instead, and the easiest way to get that in a computer game is going solo, 1st person, and real-time.
Hehe … that sounds like me 4 years ago Jaz, but then I thought RPG's were boring back then

I still don't have a single thought on the topic, other than that after trying for a hundred or two hours I still don't like RTS (and thus avoided Company of Heroes and will avoid Supreme Commander). I love real-time action for solo gaming - that is, after all, my 'home'. But I also love turn-based action in strategy games, to the point of laboring through 'play by mail' with Field Commander on the PSP last year.

I still think that a combat system should be built to make sense for a game, and that the game should be constantly evaluated against the combat system.

— Mike
txa1265 is online now

txa1265

txa1265's Avatar
SasqWatch

#25

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Corning, NY USA
Posts: 11,438

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 17:34
Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
If a monster attacks ME then I will draw MY sword and slaughter him.
To put it as an extreme : Now, not you draw your sword and slaughter the monster, but the dexterity of your mouse-finger does.

Realtime combat is a thing of swift, qick movements and fast thinking, or rather not thinking but rather relying on intuition and reflexes.

Okay, one could say this is like it would happen if this was real, so it is a representation of combat that comes closest to reality, but it is my opinion that this leaves the brain totally out.

If a single fight is a measure between reflexes, intuition and the hardness of steel & armor, then what do we do within a greater battle ? we need someone having the overview, overlooking the mess we call a "battle".

In acient times (reality this time), it was common practise to have one general standing on a small hill with hise elite guards around him, who would oversee the battle between two or even more factions and issue forth the needed commands to - let's say draw the left flank of the own troops away from the storming hordes, because they come mounted.

In RPGs, we have either games with only one character, who doesn't need a general at all, or with a party. Okay, we could sday like in Blizzards games : Let us do the hirelings what they seem fit. Means : They do what they regard as essential for a) survival and b) "clearing" the battlefield from the hordes.

But this implies that we actually need a good AI, or at least one that is programmed so that the hirelings won't die in the first place. I mean that an actually dumb AI is no good for hirelings, then.

Okay, they could go after the rule "fight the first one, then the next one etc.", but this is tricky if the "next one" is actually better (stronger, faster, better armor, better sword or everything altogether) than the single hireling.

What we need then, is some kind of AI that lets the hirelings work together against a single opponent at a time. Two or more are always stronger than one. (Roughly said.)
But I don't think Blizzard has implemented that, for example. At least I cannot remember. Dungeon Siege has it, as I found out in the last week.

However, what we still need nevertheless is one PLAYER, the person before the screen, who directs the troops towards the enemies. He or she is the GENERAL.

He or she is actually the only person within this whole party-based RPG that has the total overview on the battle. (No wonder why.)

Remember : this is still role-playing. If we had a game that included an General for the party, then we would have an strategy game, not an role-playing game anymore.

But still, I could imagine that this would be fun : Having a party with swords and spells, being directed by a general crying words of command towards them (while possibly being within a fight himself, but that wouldn't work well, because the overview is traditionally gained only while standing on a hill looking over everything else).
Sounds fun to me.

However, in party-based games, we have a General, and that is the player. So, if this leans towards strategy, where is the difference between a strategy game and a role-playing game, then ?

I leave this up to you.


Subnote : This is why I prefer turn-based combat before real-time combat : I amthe General and am able to give my troops (the party, actually) the commands they need to survive that fight.

In real-time fights, am still the General, but I don't give commands like I do in turn-based games, at least not in traditional RT-based games.

Thus, in my opinion, RT games must rely *much* more on a good AI than turn-based games.
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#26

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 15,987

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 17:43
If your skill and timing are an integral part of the combat (as well as, or even instead of those possessed by your Player Character), then you are engaged in a form of RT combat.
I'm not sure how this can be argued against though you should probably refer to the bolded part as "reflexes" rather than "skill" since you already made the case for player skills encompassing both the physical and mental in the text, and only refering to the physical aspect as skill can lead to misinterpretation.

Either way, itís the playerís personal skills that matter.
I think the real issue is not between turn-based and realtime, insofar of which is more adequate to role-playing is concerned, but between direct vs. abstract control.

My point, very succintly, is this: creating a character system that permits character statistics and player skills to operate simultaneously compromises the role and individuality of a character. Player skills or character statistics should work independantly, and not in tandem in a way that makes them contradict, overlap or nullify themselves. Assume a system which allowed players to aim at specific enemy bodyparts while also having an ancillary Aiming skill which would determine if the character would hit. We would be given the option to carefully aim and fire, the hit would register - but we still had to wait for background calculations to determine if we actually hit.

In a way this is what games like Morrowind, Vampire: Bloodlines and Deus Ex had wrong: the immediacy provided by full player control over an avatar was wasted on a background system which placed arbitrary barriers on that control, and in combat in particular, which could be either circumvented by player ingenuity or rendered unefficient by concurrent application of either skill methods.

This goes back to the issue of which system is more conducing to role-playing by virtue of looking at which system, overall, allows for the player and character to remain separated in a way that does not question the role of either of them. The conceptual advantage of turn-based over realtime is that at its most basic provides a system which allows synergy between player and character skill without forcing them to do this simultaneously - after all, in turn-based the character is its own thing, an entity that (for the most part) operates independantly of the player. But the same concept could be applied to a realtime game if the same method is applied. For instance, Fallout and Baldur's Gate allow for this kind of player and character separation while providing different combat systems. On the other hand, some instances of Final Fantasy turn-based games required physical input from players for characters to generate combos during combat while a realtime game like Bioshock seems to provide different skills for a character but delegates physical combat to the player alone.

Hence, direct vs. abstract control.

I think this is what is comes down to, essentially. The more the player is required to take over the character the less importance the character has in the gameworld. The more the character's individuality takes the back seat in favor of the players' skill, the less of a role is being played.

One popular counter to this position is that if we are going to eliminate a playerís physical skills from the equation, then isnít it only fair to eliminate their mental ones as well?
Popular but not particularly accurate. If you're looking at it superficially, then yes, it would make sense. But what we have to consider is, is the issue the abolishment of player skill altogether or the abolishment of player skills - or rather the application of some player skills - which are defeating to the purpose of a character, and the role of said character? Role-playing has been primarily about playing different character strenghts that we can not physically play. That's why the intelligent spellcaster, the nimble rogue or the mighty warrior are archetypes which have stood the test of time and have been available - I daresay, sometimes forced - to players in CRPGs. The ability to be these characters that we cannot be in real life has been the main draw for many gamers. This is why a game that allows the player with slow reflexes to be a devilish sword fighter shouldn't really rely on twitch reflexes, as the player has no ability to role-play this character.

Our mental ability only determines how we should play these roles, it doesn't become as unbalancing as a physical skill in the context of character skills.
Role-Player is offline

Role-Player

Role-Player's Avatar
Watchdog

#27

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Lisbon
Posts: 234

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 17:57
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Hehe … that sounds like me 4 years ago Jaz, but then I thought RPG's were boring back then
I never thought that, but then again, we're both long-time, semi-professional FPS gamers, so I see where you're coming from.

Semper HiFi!
Motto of the 54th Groove Bde.
Jaz is offline

Jaz

Jaz's Avatar
SC-2201
Super Moderator
RPGWatch Team

#28

Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,340

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 18:17
Originally Posted by Jaz View Post
I never thought that, but then again, we're both long-time, semi-professional FPS gamers, so I see where you're coming from.
That I blame on Diablo … my wife bought it for me, I did the grind for a while and got utterly bored, and since it was the 'Hot New RPG (tm)' in '96, I decided … "I guess I don't like RPG". Silly me.

Another thing - I don't consider the partition as simplistic as TB vs. RT = cerebral vs. reflex. Real time action requires considerable thought as well, and your decision making can often be more important in the outcome of a battle than your reflexes in a FPS.

I still think that the worst is real-time party based as exemplified in Vampire: Redemption.

— Mike
txa1265 is online now

txa1265

txa1265's Avatar
SasqWatch

#29

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Corning, NY USA
Posts: 11,438

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 18:26
Well, the original release of Redemption was considerably hectic but a patch eventually included the ability to pause the game.
Role-Player is offline

Role-Player

Role-Player's Avatar
Watchdog

#30

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Lisbon
Posts: 234

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 18:31
Originally Posted by Role-Player View Post
Well, the original release of Redemption was considerably hectic but a patch eventually included the ability to pause the game.
Yeah, but still … well, from my review:
I found that the controls all made sense, the HUD was informative and intuitive … and that the gameplay was pretty mediocre. It is the feeling of trying to control the action of four characters simultaneously in a game like Rune. Sound hard - it is. It would be easier if the NPC AI was better but it isn't. My best strategy ended up being to equip the team well, control Christof, hope for the best and carry plenty of resurrect scrolls, and then take it as a discipline as soon as I could. I do have to say that during the early sections, and in the middle of the game, you are left to fight alone, and it is actually quite fun - it is unfortunate the game could not sustain that combat enjoyment.

— Mike
txa1265 is online now

txa1265

txa1265's Avatar
SasqWatch

#31

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Corning, NY USA
Posts: 11,438

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 18:45
How true. Unfortunate since the game really seemed to had a lot going for it initially
Role-Player is offline

Role-Player

Role-Player's Avatar
Watchdog

#32

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Lisbon
Posts: 234

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 19:15
A good game is a good game no matter the system of combat used.

However, real-time is selling so all games devs/publishers whatever are advised to make RT games. Its like a buzz word in modern games making. Deep rpg's are out the door atm as far as I can see - maybe NWN2 is good? (Need to actually play that some more). I'm not a mega fan of the new D&D rules tbh.

The ever increasing fan base of computer games really does little for the intelligent gamer. Fallout 3 when it's made is going to show you this I'm sure. Like Blizzard, Bethesda has a winning formula, which I doubt they will be taking any chances with. I just quit WoW for just this kind of reason. WoW is never going to take chances with its game play - it'll stay the toned done Diablo 2 clone it is. I like my games to interest/challenge me in some way.

Final Fantasy XII has some kind of programmable RT system - what do people think of that?
woges is offline

woges

woges's Avatar
SasqWatch
RPGWatch Team

#33

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 2,110

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 19:46
For me it also depends. I'm old-school with Wiz1 etc.etc. but playing Pool of Radiance 2 with its ultra slow and repetitive turn-based combat or Lord of the Rings The Third Age (X-Box game) with its repetitive turn-based combat or Temple of Elemental Evil 2 with its repetitive turn-based combat makes me long for real-time when I can get through that stuff quickly. However, for the very interesting and not repetitive turn-based combat of Wizardry VI through VIII I'm very happy to play turn-based.

The Baldur's Gate series had an interesting take on it as you can pause between rounds for a basically turn-based system (or phased time system similar to Wizardry games) or you can just let it go for quasi-real-time. I enjoyed the pause-when-wanted approach and would let it go with real time and then pause a whole lot to give different orders. That's also how I play NWN1 and NWN2, pause and give orders and pause a bunch more.
NFLed is offline

NFLed

Sentinel

#34

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 307

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 20:50
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
If a single fight is a measure between reflexes, intuition and the hardness of steel & armor, then what do we do within a greater battle ? we need someone having the overview, overlooking the mess we call a "battle".
Then we play Medieval II: Total War.

I think I agree with everything you said. Your arguments regarding TB actually being role-playing are valid. In my previous post I mentioned I didn't feel that they were really role-playing games, but I was simply stating my own perception of them, not being dogmatic. They are not role-playing TO ME, because I don't feel like I'm playing a role of a character, I feel like I'm playing the role of a 'General', as you so succinctly explained. Party-implemented games almost out of necessity need to be TB, at least until someone finally gets the AI beast tamed. But as I already stated, I don't like TB RPGs so I never play those. As a solo RPG fan, I can't imagine playing it any other way than RT.

Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
But still, I could imagine that this would be fun : Having a party with swords and spells, being directed by a general crying words of command towards them (while possibly being within a fight himself, but that wouldn't work well, because the overview is traditionally gained only while standing on a hill looking over everything else).
Sounds fun to me.
There was a game that tried to do just that. It came out a couple of years ago for consoles only. It was called "Kingdom Under Fire" or something like that… It was a really strange yet intriguing hybrid of General Commanding/ Strategy mixed with RT 3rd person combat. Fun to an extent, quite innovative really, but it was exactly as you suggested - didn't work really well, mostly because of controls. With a full keyboard and mouse set up I bet someone could do it right.
At least, I was impressed and entertained enough to wish someone would try it again for the PC…

..& so they take the fiction all out of the Jabberwock & I recognize & accept him as a fact. - Mark Twain, May 30, 1880
Jabberwocky is offline

Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky's Avatar
True Synaesthete

#35

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Midwest, USA
Posts: 1,081

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 21:54
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Nice article, Corwin.

My answer is 'it depends'. I couldn't imagine a game like Gothic with turn-based combat any more than I would want a strategy-RPG with real-time. It really depends on the game - I just wish that more turn-based RPG's were made.
Same here. Both types of mechanics can be good, but right now the industry is almost ignoring one of them totally.
doctor_kaz is offline

doctor_kaz

Keeper of the Watch

#36

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 622

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 23:25
Nice article Corwin, as usual you tried to cover as many angles as possible.

Myself, being a chess enthousiast for what seems countless of years, I have no doubts about the superiority of turn-based combat. In fact I regard all forms of turn-based combat in computer games as chess variants and I think it is no accident that the king of all games is turn-based.

That said, real-time combat is also fun, and although lacking the depth of turn-based combat, it serves its purpose as a diversion, especially for the younger audience. Even more so considering the latest achievements in software technology. Maybe what we are dealing with here is the ancient dillema 'mind over matter'.

Regarding CRPGs I certainly don't think that the form of combat is one of their defining qualities. Anyone who says otherwise is really talking about strategy games.

Turn-based online is certainly a viable option, it has been the case for the majority of massive multiplayer until recently, and games like HoMM have shown that a turn-based system involving many players without 'getting bored waiting for your turn' is perfectly possible. It's a question of giving the players something to do when they are waiting for their turn, as well as putting time limits. Putting time limits in turn-based games also challenges your reflex thus proving another argument of real-time vs turn-based invalid.

I think the real question here is the tendency of game devs making games appealing to as large a group as possible. To this end, real-time combat is most certainly the most viable option. Let us also not forget that the 'immediate satisfaction' is much greater in real-time games.
Lethal Weapon is offline

Lethal Weapon

Lethal Weapon's Avatar
Sentinel

#37

Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 257

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 23:40
Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
I think the real question here is the tendency of game devs making games appealing to as large a group as possible. To this end, real-time combat is most certainly the most viable option. Let us also not forget that the 'immediate satisfaction' is much greater in real-time games.
Well, I agree with that.

The question "which is better" only arises - in principle - because there is no balance, and one of both approaches heavily suffers from this "dis-balance". Most new games are RT-based.

I say this, because i believe it is possible that the question "which s better" arises probably only because there is no free choice anymore with TB-based games nearly dying out. So this faction could become frustrated by this dis-balance (how I call it), because they are simply no more allowed to play their preferred games - simply because there are none. Everyone's developing RT nowadays.

That's just a suggestion, a theory, and not at all proven truth. It's just a thought I had, but one I think might not be too far away from the truth. If people cannot get what they wamt, they become frustrated, and start a quarrel, so to say.

SWo, the publishers, with their greed and thus their try to drive TB into extinction, might not be without guilt in this question - from a purely psychological point of view.
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#38

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 15,987

Default 

February 15th, 2007, 23:42
Originally Posted by woges View Post
However, real-time is selling so all games devs/publishers whatever are advised to make RT games. Its like a buzz word in modern games making.
Ummm… maybe it was ten years ago or so. Real-time has long become the norm and is certainly no longer a "buzz word".

The ever increasing fan base of computer games really does little for the intelligent gamer.
With all due respect, my little elitist friend, but people who equate turn-based = intelligent gamers and real-time = dumb gamers can't really be very intelligent in the first place.

What does the choice of entertainment have to do with intelligence, hm? What's next? Are you going to tell us that people who watch Seinfeld are dumber than people who watch Family Guy? People who watch movies on DVD are dumber than people who go to the movies? People who watch TV are dumber than people who play video games? People who play console games are dumber than PC gamers? Or what? Again: What does the choice of how someone chooses to be entertained in their spare time have to do with brains?

Please. Get real. Video games are entertainment. If anyone needs video games to "intellectually challenge" them, then their own intelligence can not be very high to begin with.
If you want to impress someone with your brainy skills then you're better off learning a foreign language or learning how to program or figuring out how to solve world hunger or whatever. But please spare us the retarded "I play turn-based games and thus I'm smart and hardcore" bullshit. Thank you .

Edit:
Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon
Turn-based online is certainly a viable option, it has been the case for the majority of massive multiplayer until recently
It has? Could you please name a few examples of these "majority of massive multiplayer [games]" where turn-based is a viable option that you are talking about? I'm very curious about that parallel universe that you live in .
Last edited by Moriendor; February 16th, 2007 at 00:00.
Moriendor is offline

Moriendor

Moriendor's Avatar
Spielkind

#39

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Schland
Posts: 1,916

Default 

February 16th, 2007, 00:59
What does the choice of entertainment have to do with intelligence, hm?

Well actually quite a lot, and I never said RT = dumb. It was more a generalisation of current game trends. So you want to play a RPG with a stupid story? If you're going to flame come up with something sensible.
woges is offline

woges

woges's Avatar
SasqWatch
RPGWatch Team

#40

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 2,110
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » RPGWatch Side Quest: The Great Debate
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 14:27.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch