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Bethesda developer explains why TB is obsolete

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Bethesda developer explains why TB is obsolete

Editorial - posted by Vault Dweller on Sat 9 June 2007, 00:46:45

Tags: Bethesda Softworks; Fallout 3

NMA reports that Ricardo "socrates200X" Gonzalez, a Bethesda developer, has developed an interesting theory explaining why TB is obsolete.

I can see where people are coming from when they say "TB combat is a relic" by looking at where TB combat is coming from. Fallout was TB because GURPS was TB because all the original PnP games were TB because...why?

Well, originally, people wanted to create some sort of interactive story whereby players could affect the outcome with their avatars, or "role-play", in an exciting world filled with adventures and bad guys. But, once you introduce bad guys, you introduce combat, and once you introduce combat, you need some way to represent it in an organized way that still preserves all the tactical decisions the avatars would make were they in said adventures. You couldn't have RPG players feverishly yelling out battle commands in the heat of the moment with sharpened pencils and Mountain Dew within arm's reach; that's a recipe for disaster, but more to the point, very difficult to organize on paper without over-simplifying things.

So, we have the players and baddies take turns, turn-based tactics being well-established from the days of Go. But, looking at it this way, the decision to go TB was a limitation rather than an innovation. It wasn't that TB "just fit" with what the original RPG creators were trying to accomplish. On the contrary, they were trying to capture the essence of real-time combat with the tools of pen-and-paper and they had no better options at the time.

Putting on our "What If?" caps, we can ask what would have happened if the original RPG creators had in their game design toolbox the resources of, say, a modern video game development studio replete with state-of-the-art technology and competent developers, including one very erudite and devilishly handsome programmer? With the ability to implement real-time combat, the desire to ground it in innovative tactical game design, and the computation power to tie everything together, would they have still used turn-based combat? Or real-time combat? Or something altogether different? What do you guys think?

That being said, I don't think Halo comes any closer to capturing the essence of tactical combat just by virtue of being real-time, nor does GURPS or Fallout not capture it by virtue of being turn-based. And the argument that removing TB combat from Fallout could very well destroy it is a valid one and worth asking. But I don't think that makes TB combat any less of a work-around than it originally was designed to be.
Like most peeps, I'm not pro-TB or pro-RT, per se; just interested in the interaction between the two concepts and their ramifications. Thanks for the responses, guys; it's given me a veritable feast for thought!

P.S. Given my NDA leash, it follows that anything I discuss probably has nothing to do with FO3. Using this handy fact, one could fairly accurately determine what is FO3 is definitely not and thus, as the number of dev posts approaches infinity, could reconstruct the game via process of elimination, given enough time and caffeine. Get to work!​
Fascinating. Discuss!

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