Turn-Based V. Real-Time Games

Turn-based (TB: I go. You go.) systems remain valuable. Real-time (RT) systems can provide more realism in first-person-shooter (FPS) games, from a cartoonish Rambo-style shoot-'em-up to a historical fighterplane simulation. However, RT for games where you control more than one person is problematic.

One tactical WWII game with individual tanks and soldiers allowed you to "wind up" a unit with a basic order and it would continue in its RT task while you ordered your other units. This system at first seemed plausible under the premise that you the commander run around the battlefield modifying the autonomous actions of your unit commanders. The problem was that your local commanders are lazy and stupid and the only initiative they show is to mutiny and ignore orders. Worse, a squad does not respond to new information but instead continues to run into withering fire in a mindless kamikaze attack until it effectively destroys itself.

RT is not necessarily more realistic than TB. RT for non-FPS needs sophisticated AI for each unit's decisions in your absence. Without good AI, turn-based game systems remain valuable even in tactical games. Even with good AI, RT provides its best value only for combat of short duration (a few hours). TB remains valuable for longer durations from the 3-day 1863 Battle of Gettysburg to a 4-month WWI 1916 Brusilov campaign to a 7-year 1939-1945 World War II game.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

are you romanian ?

Blogger AGW said...

No, sorry.