Topic 005 - Turn Based

started 1999-02-19

Most Roguelikes are Turn Based

Roguelike games are almost always turn based, like Civilization and Betrayal at Krondor, instead of real-time like Diablo, Dungeon Siege, Everquest, and multi-user dungeons (MUDs).

Turn based game play definitely suits Roguelikes.

One general advantage of turn based game play is that the speed at which the player plans, perceives, reacts, and manipulates has no effect whatsoever on the game. This reduces stress related to:

Also, the more commands in a game, the harder it is to remember how to invoke a given command. Scanning a list of hotkeys (either on a quick-reference card or on a help screen) takes time, and so does accessing command menus. In multiplayer games this sort of command look-up can be fatal.

Additionally, action gamers frequently like to remap keyboard controls onto a configuration with which they are familiar. The fewer new controls a real-time game introduces, the more easily the mapping can be done. Also, fewer new controls means an easier learning curve. Many action games like to be able to jump into immediate competition with their friends and people on the Internet.

As a result, real-time games tend to have small, generic command sets.

Real-time games also usually have only one or two views available: a main view and a map. Often these views are visible at the same time. The fewer views a game has, the less switching has to be done. Switching takes time. Hence, fewer views.

Roguelike games, on the other hand, tend to have lots of commands. This is because Roguelikes usually focus on the exploration of randomly generated dungeons and wildernesses containing an extensive variety of items, monsters, and terrain; exploring that variety is one of the main reasons we play. Interaction with the non-homogenous set of game-world entities requires an extensive command.

Roguelike games also have lots of views: help screens, options, inventories, global maps, verbose character stat screens, monster descriptions, spell lists, quest lists, message buffers, etc.

To have to manage all those different commands and views in real-time would result in either:

For those of you who don't know, Mangband is a multiplayer Angband variant that runs over the Internet. It is not watered down like the commercial game Diablo, but is very slow and choppy compared to normal Angband play. To keep the game from becoming prohibitively dangerous to people with slow connections (or reactions), Mangband introduces additional commands and options along the lines of follow-mode, wimpy-mode [I think], allies, etc.

Well, as Forrest would say [more or less]... "that's all I have to say about that."

Topic 005 - Turn Based

started 1999-02-19