Real-time vs. turn-based gameplay

A debate has emerged between fans of real-time and turn-based games (usually some type of strategy game or role-playing game) based on the merits of the real-time and turn-based systems.cite web | last =Saltzman | first =Marc | title ='Nations' offers 2 types of game play | publisher | date =July 1, 2003 | url = | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-02 ] cite web | last =Breeden | first =John | title =A Thinking Man’s Wargame | publisher =Game Industry News | url = | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-02 ] cite web | title =A Hex on You | publisher =StrategyPlanet | date =December 4th, 2000 | url = | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-02 ] cite web | last =Quick | first =Dan | title =Zeus: Master of Olympus | publisher =GameSpy | url = | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-02 ] cite web | last =Maddox | first =John | title =Interview: John Tiller on Game Design and His Perceptions of the Industry | publisher | date =April 26, 2001 | url = | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-02 ]


Various reasons are cited when arguing the merits of each. Arguments in favor of turn-based systems include:

*Players are able to plan their moves to a greater degree given the extra time available to them.cite web | title =Point - CounterPoint: Turn Based vs. Real Time Strategy | publisher =StrategyPlanet | date =June 27, 2001 | url = | format =HTML | accessdate = 2007-04-05 ] cite web | title =Icarus: Sanctuary of the Gods Review | publisher =Yahoo! Games | url = | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-02 ]
*Games are more fair due to a lack of reliance upon player reflexes.cite web | last =Davies | first =Gareth | title =Treatise on Combat to Pink Floyd | publisher =RPG Codex | date =December 10, 2002 | url = | format =HTML | accessdate = 2007-04-05 ]
*Game designers are able to offer more tactical options to the player.
*It is more realistic to control multiple units intelligently using this system.
*It is easier to keep track of what the enemy is doing since the player can see every move as it happens (not taking into account fog of war).
*Turn-based games can have better artificial intelligence, as they are able to rely upon a greater amount of computer processing power.cite web | last =Walker | first =Mark | title =Strategy Gaming: Part V -- Real-Time vs. Turn-Based | publisher =GameSpy | url = | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-10-28 ]

Arguments in favor of real-time systems include:
*Real-time games are more realistic. In real warfare, all armies can move simultaneously, as in RTSs. Armies taking turns, as in TBSs, is unrealistic.
*Sitting around and waiting for turns to end is boring.
*Thinking (and acting) quickly is part of the strategy and provides an additional element of challenge.
*Real-time systems add to players' sense of immersioncite web | last =Wojnarowicz | first =Jakub | title =Editorial: What Happened to Turn-Based Games? | publisher =FiringSquad | date =February 22, 2001 | url = | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-19 ] , are exciting and can produce a rush of adrenaline.
*Turn-based systems originally existed out of "necessity" due to hardware restrictions, not due to any added elements of realism.cite web | last =Geryk | first =Bruce | title =GameSpot Presents: A History of Real-Time Strategy Games | publisher =GameSpot | url = | format =HTML | accessdate = 2007-05-29 ]
*Turn-based games are difficult to master due to their complexity (i.e., the number of minutiae they try to simulate).

A response by game designers

Various adaptations of the real-time and turn-based systems have been implemented to address common shortcomings of these systems. They include:

;Timed turns : Timed turns are designed to resolve the issue of fairness where one player is allowed to take a greater amount of time to complete his or her turn than another player. For instance, in Chess the use of stop clocks is common. Tick-based games are another example of games where turns are restricted in some way by a real-time clock, preventing any one individual player from halting the game to a stand-still.

;Time compression : Time compression is a feature commonly found in real-time games such as flight simulators, that allows the player to speed up time by some (usually adjustable) factor. This permits the player to shorten the duration of relatively uneventful periods of gameplay.

;Simultaneously-executed turns : Simultaneously-executed turns (also called "phase-based" or "We-Go") address the issue of turn-based games taking too long, as well as of normal turns not being realistic due to their sequential (e.g., "I-Go-You-Go") nature.

;Unit initiative : Turn-based, but unlikely in "I-Go-You-Go", all units move in order depending on initiative, no matter which side they belong to. It solves the problem of having to wait during a long turn of an opponent. An example is "Temple of Elemental Evil". or Final Fantasy Tactics (advance)(2)

;Partially turn-based : Many other games that are not generally turn-based retain the notion of turn-based play during specific sequences. Notably, the role-playing computer games "Fallout" and "Silent Storm"cite web | last =Butts | first =Steve | title =Silent Storm Review | publisher =IGN | date =January 27, 2004 | url = | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-12 ] are turn-based during the combat phase, and real-time throughout the remainder of the game. Some turn-based games have been criticized for omitting this feature.cite web | title =Metalheart: Replicants Rampage - First Look Preview | publisher =Total Video Games | date =December 2, 2004 | url = | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-12 ] cite web | last =Ocampo | first =Jason | title =Cops 2170: The Power of Law | publisher =GameSpot | date =February 16, 2005 | url =;reviews | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-15 ]

;Real-time with pause : "Real-time with pause" (also called "pausable real-time" or "active pause system") to some degree addresses the latency issues found in real-time games. In real-time games with an active pause system, players are able to pause the game and issue orders without having prospective actions be made obsolete by the rapid passage of time. Also, this resolves issues players encounter where orders must be given to multiple units at the same time (normally an impossibility in real-time games). However, this is not an option for multiplayer games.

:The real-time with pause system was popularized by the "Baldur's Gate" series of role-playing video gamescite web | last =Babovic | first =Branislav | title =Combat Systems in RPG Games | publisher =ActionTrip | date =2000 | url = | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-02 ] , though it is also present in the pioneering RTS, "Homeworld", as well as the RPG "Darklands" (1992). The original "SimCity" also featured an active pause feature, along with variable time compression.

The majority of these remedies usually retain some of the issues of the original systems, and often introduce new issues that were not present before. However, they do show ingenuity on the part of game designers at addressing faults in game mechanics.

ee also

*Real-time tactics
*Turn-based tactics
*Computer role-playing game
*Console role-playing game


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