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Time systems in games generally follow real-time or turn-based models. What if we experiment with mixing the two?

John Mawhorter, Blogger

July 16, 2009

2 Min Read

The only game I can think of that uses this system is Toribash (albeit in a limited way with only a timer), but it seems like it would work for a lot of titles (and be hailed as “innovative” to boot). Essentially real-time but split between turns. During each turn something is happening in real time controlled by the player/AI. Between each turn, whatever you need to happen between turns takes place.

Now many games have pause features which allow queuing of moves/actions that make this a player-controlled option and many simply control the timing of the game so that things don’t happen during turns, but I feel there is still a way to make this interesting. Considering the tactical RPG (exemplified by Final Fantasy: Tactics) or the squad-based shooter tactics genre (XCOM or Jagged Alliance 2). Both of these could retain the same turn system but allow the player to do the shooting, stabbing, or beating up in real time. You could even impose square/movement distance limits and attack area of effect as UI elements on the ground.

A real time turn based beat-em-up sounds great. The only danger with this system is clearly leveraging the turn based nature in order to make the game better, not just different, from a real time game. Real time turn based allows for planning during enemy turns, abilities which are timed by turn or real time, and some interesting time management by the player (just remembered that Worms has a relevant turn timer and is real-time during turns, so its the best example even if it uses the turns rather traditionally) to squeeze those last actions into the final seconds of a turn. Now you’d have to do a lot of design work to make sure it was fun, but achieving the right mix of tactics and action might be easier with a RTTB system. Now wheres my patent?

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