All right. Since at least one person asked for more of my writings, more shall I write. A larger collection of writings, even.
Some backstory. Some time ago I ran across an article about an indie game called Age of Decadence. It is a turn-based roleplaying game in apocalyptic, pseudo-roman-fantasy future, if memory serves. The article mentioned that some of the people who played it immidiately bashed the combat system for one reason: It looked stupid. The game was turn-based, so only one combatant ran around doing murder while others stood around, waiting for their turn. A flame war ensued. I was surprised at myself, since I found it was a valid point.
Betrayal at Krondor. The graphics were simple and crude, so the whole game looked stupid even without turn-based combat. But then graphics started to evolve. Players started to expect more realism. I believe that was the point when turn-basedness started to hurt the games. Realistic (as good as current graphics get) models and physics are a wasted effort if they move one after another. Only a couple of games have tried to fix the situation; Infinity Engine games and Space Rangers (again). Infinity Engine runs in real time, with the option of pausing the game to plan and give orders. The problem there is that combat feels ”sticky”. Things happen in real time, but the characters act in ”turns”. The engine itself is obsucred from the player, losing one of the strengths of turn-basedness; Control and information flow.
When I read the article, I started to think about how I would fix it. How to keep the clear mechanics of turns, while ridding the system of its stupidity. With the help from Shamus Young’s article on his blog Twenty Sided Tale, I devised a system that worked in my mind. And only later I found out that I had already used the same system without realizing it. In Space Rangers. The game functions in one day turns. When clicking on a new target, the game projects a line on the screen. The line reveals how many days it would take to travel to that target. When the player presses Play, the game starts to simulate the happenings in real time. Every game object takes its turn simultaneously. It looks fluid and nice. Eureka!
Now. I shall now write up the game concept I have been having in my head for quite a while in small, digestible chunks. I hope people will read it and give their feedback on it, so I can get new perspectives. I shall name this project Sci-fi Tactical Roleplaying game, or Star.