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Editorial Bethesda developer explains why TB is obsolete

Vault Dweller

Commissar, Red Star Studio
Developer
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Messages
28,038
Tags: Bethesda Softworks; Fallout 3

<a href=http://www.nma-fallout.com/>NMA</a> reports that Ricardo "socrates200X" Gonzalez, a Bethesda developer, has developed an interesting theory explaining why TB is obsolete.
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<blockquote>[twocents]
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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[/twocents]
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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!
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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!</blockquote>Fascinating. Discuss!
 

Amasius

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SocratesX is just a GUI-programmer, totally irrelevant to decisions like TB or RT. But who seriously expects turnbased combat from Bethesda? :roll:
 

POOPERSCOOPER

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They haven't announced it yet so they are probably deciding between the two and will tell us right when they know. It's defiantly a 50% chance of going either way, don't judge the game yet!!!


Suck my cock.
 

Zomg

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"We have to sell a million copies to break even" would have been a more concise reason.
 

Human Shield

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Because it is perfectly logical that gameplay design around decisions and managing resources actually always wanted to be real time twitch or screen saver.

How big of a different does modeling weapon speed in seconds compared to attacks per turn make?

People can't seem to get over the graphical representation, if it doesn't look like a movie obviously it is because of limitations. If ToEE just looped animations to make it look like stuff was happening they would be satisfied.

They can't see design outside of presentation; if you want gameplay around managing scarce resources over time, real time approach makes it extremely wonky with little real benefit. The developer is a tard.
 

Globbi

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Ofcourse TB is only to simplify combat in games. That must explain why RT combat in TES is so complicated and give such possibilities. And, ofcourse, Fallout doesn't have more tactics in combat than Oblivion.

I think he wanted to say that it doesn't matter whether they make TB or RT. Their combat will be devoted of tactics and will suck anyway. But, they have to be modern and do RT.
 

bylam

Funcom
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So there were no "real time" RPG games in the era of Fallout? I guess Blizzard just made a better game because they overcame the technical difficulties of real-time combat a good half a year before Interplay released Fallout. :roll:
 

Sovy Kurosei

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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?

A competent developer would have went with what is most fun regardless.
 

corvax

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I have one word for Ricardo Gonzalez, Chess. Hell I'll make that two words, Checkers.
 

Sovy Kurosei

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hussar said:
I have one word for Ricardo Gonzalez, Chess. Hell I'll make that two words, Checkers.

But lets put on our "What if?" caps and imagne if the original makers of chess had in their game design toolbox the resources of, say, a modern board game development studio replete with state-of-the-art technology and competent developers, including one very erudite and devilishly handsome game maker?
 

z3r'0'

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Human Shield said:
*snip*
People can't seem to get over the graphical representation, if it doesn't look like a movie obviously it is because of limitations.
They can't see design outside of presentation

This is the crux of the matter. Therefore to sell a million or two copies, they appeal to
the LCD. Ergo, prepare for fucking real-time Fallout.

E.g. Explaining how TB gameplay works, to people with no imagination... Its like they have a mental block.

Meh.
 

Mr. Van_Buren

Scholar
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Nov 1, 2005
Messages
127
Sovy Kurosei said:
hussar said:
I have one word for Ricardo Gonzalez, Chess. Hell I'll make that two words, Checkers.

But lets put on our "What if?" caps and imagne if the original makers of chess had in their game design toolbox the resources of, say, a modern board game development studio replete with state-of-the-art technology and competent developers, including one very erudite and devilishly handsome game maker?

One could successfully argue that all current games are just, in essence, chess given the above tools and budget. If the inventors of chess had all of the above tools and resources, I doubt they would have made chess. They probably would have come up with something like, "civilization," instead. After all, force on force competition is what chess was designed to model.

I love turn-based for the amount of micro-managed strategy it allows. I also hate the amount of time it takes to micro-manage said strategy. Turn based is great for "thinking man's" games, games that require the player to agonize over every possible action and consequence in order to proceed successfully to victory over one's adversary.

I don't think RPGs have to fit this model. I don't think fallout has to fit this model. Given the nature of the setting, the frequency of conflict expected, and the time all that would absorb, I'd prefer that it wasn't turnbased.

Now civilization, or most war sims almost demand turn-based. I don't think the nature of fallout or other RPGs nessessarily demand turnbased.

And, to the dev in question, the reason pnp rpgs are turnbased is because they grew out of the table top war strategy games of the time ... which were turnbased. DnD and games like it began their lives as derivatives of those games.

Those games in turn were born from chess, through many twist and turns. I'm pretty sure that there were egyptian strategy games the predate chess, but I think people get the point.
 

merry andrew

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Ricardo 'socrates200X' Gonzalez said:
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.
Then why do I feel like turn-based games capture the essence of real-time combat better than real-time games?! It's not fair!! :cry:
 

Mr. Van_Buren

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merry andrew said:
Ricardo 'socrates200X' Gonzalez said:
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.
Then why do I feel like turn-based games capture the essence of real-time combat better than real-time games?! It's not fair!! :cry:

Because you've never actually been in real time combat, perhaps?
 

merry andrew

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You got me. The one time I was in real-time combat, I remember there was latency and unrealistic physics and a lack of locational damage and the quickest person always won regardless of the rest of their skill set.
 

cutterjohn

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Here, I'll explain it for them in small words:
AI is too fucking stupid to make a real time game work as it, meaning that a decent player has to waste time looking after units that in a perfect world would have good enough AI that they needed no looking after. Now, since we have shitacular AI, RT is totally useless, leaving TB as the only realistic, from a logistical sense, alternative.

Pausing is a nifty crutch they can throw out, but in the end, it is way more of a PITA than even the worst ever TB gamem even when the pausing is well implemented and partially automated.
 

Human Shield

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Phase based (which can be like TB with resolving at the same time) can do most everything that RT with pause can do. If you want to realistically manage every single swing of the sword having a phase for each swing has more benefits then pausing every 1/2 of a second, and there is no fucking way you are going to manage through 14 attack zones while controlling level of commitment, feigning, counter-attack, binding, half-swording, etc... in real time.

Riddle of Steel: Combat
 

Mr. Van_Buren

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merry andrew said:
You got me. The one time I was in real-time combat, I remember there was latency and unrealistic physics and a lack of locational damage and the quickest person always won regardless of the rest of their skill set.

There's the quick and the dead. But don't worry, Fallout 3 probably won't be multiplayer so no need to worry about latency and because Fallout has never made any attempt to model physics at all, you won't have to worry how realistic they are or aren't.

As for locational damage, just because no/few realtime games have bothered to model it at present doesn't mean that Fallout 3 can't have both locational damage and still be real time.

Really, the only disconnect I can see as being legitimate is the difference between player initiative and character initiative. If your character is supposed to be a tazmanian devil of action, and you yourself have the reactions of ... say ... a coma victim, then yes real time isn't for you. And therefore, it sucks to be you.

However, realtime rpgs aren't first person shooters. Anybody that's played Daggerfall or any of a dozen other real time rpgs knows that.
 

Mr. Van_Buren

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cutterjohn said:
Here, I'll explain it for them in small words:
AI is too fucking stupid to make a real time game work as it, meaning that a decent player has to waste time looking after units that in a perfect world would have good enough AI that they needed no looking after. Now, since we have shitacular AI, RT is totally useless, leaving TB as the only realistic, from a logistical sense, alternative.

Pausing is a nifty crutch they can throw out, but in the end, it is way more of a PITA than even the worst ever TB gamem even when the pausing is well implemented and partially automated.

None of the NPCs in Fallout have been player controled (not counting Fallout Tactics) so how would turn based combat mitigate lack of sophisticated AI?

The only answer here is simply to avoid shittacular AI. A recommendation I'd make for any game.
 

Vault Dweller

Commissar, Red Star Studio
Developer
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Mr. Van_Buren said:
If the inventors of chess had all of the above tools and resources, I doubt they would have made chess. They probably would have come up with something like, "civilization," instead. After all, force on force competition is what chess was designed to model.
Which is why nobody plays chess anymore. I don't think that Civ can compete with chess in the depth department or in the levels of intelligence it takes to master the game.

Turn based is great for "thinking man's" games, games that require the player to agonize over every possible action and consequence in order to proceed successfully to victory over one's adversary.

I don't think RPGs have to fit this model.
I agree. RPGs are not "thinking man's" games of choices & consequences. Mindless button mashing FTW!
 

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