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Default The Broken Hourglass - Inside the Engine @ Official Site

October 25th, 2006, 23:10
This week's update on The Broken Hourglass at the official site delves deep into the engine and the use of XML data files:
One of the major design goals of WeiNGINE was to make it easy for developers to create playable material with a minimum of fuss, and without the need for several specialized "editors" to create game content. Instead, almost everything which represents on-screen or behind-the-scenes gamecode is stored in a plaintext XML data file. For Planewalker Games itself, it means that we do not have to spend valuable development time creating and then maintaining a raft of individual file editors, and our designers can create Broken Hourglass material on virtually any computer with access to a common text editor.
More information.
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October 25th, 2006, 23:10
Is there a way to take "phased" real-time combat, and create an option for mock turn-based play? Turn-based is basically phased with a pause just before each PC's turn (and for no other reason), right?

I really have no idea why anyone would prefer phased turns over genuine turn-based when managing a whole party. I had hoped this type of play would die with the Infinity Engine. I liked BG, etc., a lot, except for the combat.
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October 25th, 2006, 23:53
Turn-based systems can make for fun games—that said, that's not what we chose to do.

Since we're not trying to jam a PnP ruleset into our game, there is not a strict concept of a "round" or "turn" at play. Pretty much everything that can happen in combat is on its own independent timer, based on the relevant weapon speed and Reaction skill of the combatant. That's different than most common turn-based systems which operate on a principle of "we decide who goes first by individual or by team, individual/team takes all of its actions, then next individual/team takes all of its actions", with perhaps an "opportunity fire" mechanic (If B sees A moving before it's B's turn, B gets to shoot immediately if B saved up enough action points. Anybody up for Laser Squad?) thrown in there to try to bring some realtime realism to the turn-based scheme.

You could choose to flip all of our auto-pause options to the "on" position and re-evaluate every decision frequently if you wish.

Our real-time combat emphasizes lots of near-simultaneous and overlapping actions along with flow. True turn-based combat is a different animal and tends to require a different approach to encounter design.

The Broken Hourglass, a new CRPG under development at Planewalker Games.
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October 26th, 2006, 12:59
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
Turn-based is basically phased with a pause just before each PC's turn (and for no other reason), right?
In turn-based combat, everyone takes turns. It's like chess, Risk, or any other game where your opponents get to move while you sit & wait. While my character runs forward and swings, everyone else is frozen, waiting. Then they each get to move, one after the other, while my character stands still, waiting.

In real-time combat, two characters can run forward and swing at each other at the same time. It's possible for your blow to land on your opponent at the exact same moment that his lands on you.

I like the strategy of turn-based combat, but I find real-time to be more plausible. I mean, if I'm going to attack a bad guy, in what universe does he stand still and wait for me to swing? So my favorite style of play ends up being real time with pause — I can stop and plan actions, but when things unpause, it's chaos with many people acting & reacting quickly.
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