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Rusknight

Turn-based all the time - why?

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I played Xenonauts 1 and playing Beta of Xenonauts 2 now. I am absolutly fine with turn-based combat, it's a core feature of this game, so its not that stupid thread "make it real time!"

However there is one thing I never could understand: why making combat turn-based for 100%? Why not to make it real time if you don't see enemies and enemies don't see you. So real time before and after the fight. Like in Jagged Alliance 2, Fallout 1,2  and many other games with turn-based combat. I definetly would like to see it as an option.

The problem with 100% turn based combat that it makes the game very slow. Its a standard situation when you killed all aliens outside the UFO and then need to make something like 10 turns without fighting to actually reach that UFO with aliens inside to kill them and finish the mission. It takes so much time without any fun. Why not to make this run in real time in a minute and then have a turn-based fight again?

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Thing is, when a game is this do-or-die, You might lose units when the combat round ends. I'm sure you've seen that in the above, but could usually respond due to higher durability and odds of the first shot missing. 

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I find that reaching the UFO with enemies dead only takes a minute anyway. You can move several soldiers at a time, you don't have to wait for the animation to end. Take a soldier, click near the UFO, next soldier, click near the UFO, and so on. Then it takes little time per turn, and you should be ready for the slower UFO breach gameplay in about 2 turns.

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Yeah there can be slow moments. Like if you want the soldiers right at the front to have full time units on the turn you breach, but then you realised you need to move some items round in their bag or something, then you have to cycle through the turns again. I think a continuous player-turn would work in XCOM or something, that is based around activating pods of dormant enemies. Technically, this applies to enemies camped in the UFO, but the point is that often you don't know if all the enemies are in the craft, or if one is lurking elsewhere. The turn based system builds up tension around needing to tread carefully at every step, just in case you leave yourself open. The broader issue is that the build-up of tension doesn't really work all the time, like when you are 99.99% sure that you're safe. At those times, some streamlining would be appreciates. Or, some sneak attacks by the aliens...

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It is a style of game play that has been with us since the 70's, and us old farts like it. The original X com was in this mode.

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There might be a quality of life option in the idea of free inventory management while not in combat, but I can think of a dozen ways that could be exploited just while saying it. 

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Ruggerman said:

It is a style of game play that has been with us since the 70's, and us old farts like it. The original X com was in this mode.

Yes, I know that it was this way in the original.
Frankly speaking I think 100% turn-based combat is an outdated design. Games like Jagged Alliance 2 or Fallout 1/2 that was released later improved it with a mix of real time and turn-base. The reason they did it is to shorten those moments when nothing happens and you just skip turns or spend them on movement and weapon reloading - those moments which make the game longer without fun.

However I unerstand that many players probably like 100% turn-base for nostalgia or other reasons. That's why I asked for an option for a mix of turn-base and real time - something what can be turned on\off. I think it would be a great addition to this game and improvement to its design. Though it will hardly happen for many reasons, I know.

Edited by Rusknight

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The short answer is the complexity - I know the realtime system worked fairly well in JA2 (although there were times when you could be badly caught out of position if you got lax in realtime mode), but it's not a simple task to implement both realtime and turn-based and switch between them. And because the game has smaller maps and doesn't have the sort of exploration aspect of JA2 it's not as useful ... although I do admit it can be a bit tedious trying to cover a lot of ground in purely turn-based mode.

But yeah, it doesn't waste enough time for the issue to be a major priority for us given the implementation time that would be required.

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@Chris I agree, but at the same point, you could at least store the over-TU-threshold movement for each soldier and have a button that just executes these move orders for single soldiers or everyone in the (new) turn. That would go in the same direction QoL wise and not be hard to implement.

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If the quiet moments are unwelcome, then perhaps it's a matter of pacing? Each map starts out with aliens running to the dropship, perhaps aliens could also run away from the dropship? In X1, the AI could give a danger weighting to tiles - that is to say, if an alien died in a tile, then the tile would be strongly negatively weighted so other aliens didn't go and stand on the same tile and die as well. Could the same sort of principle be applied so the more aliens die in a designated area, the more likely aliens are to run away from that area, falling back to other positions and other areas, so the fight can become a pursuit and moving from place to place doesn't feel like dead time?

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, Max_Caine said:

so the fight can become a pursuit and moving from place to place doesn't feel like dead time?

I can guarantee you that dealing with runners and campers is a very lame experience. Do you know why people in ego-shooters dont like campers ? Exactly. If you get a good position the defender has all the advantages, while the attacker takes all the risks. Thats even more true in a game like Xenonauts where moving up to a position will cost you TU, and in the moment of the encounter you only have 50% of options left. Think about it like a camper camping for 30 seconds, and the first opponent wandering into his zone will be frozen in place for 30 seconds. Thats what it would be. Camping good defensive position and retreating when you are discovered would be the best tactical approach for the aliens, and the worst gameplay experience for the player.

If there is a pacing issue, the map is too big, or the aliens too few.

 

In X-Division we solve that problem that we divide every map into 3 distinct phases:

1. Fight on the map
2. Fight to get inside the UFO
3. Fight for the command room

That creates a very nice pacing, since the aliens are so aggressive they will sooner or later find you will mean:

1. All aliens on the map will make a fast or slow approach towards you. Which means a firefight until you killed the last alien.
2.Break and safety until you enter the perimeter of the UFO
3. Once you engage the UFO the aliens will defend the UFO while taking maximum advantage of their defensive position (doors, etc ... )
4. Break until the command room and relative safety.
5. Firefight in (into) the command room.
6. End of mission

This creates a nice pace of firefight - break timings, where players mostly know what to expect. One of the core principles in X-Division. This stands in opposition to Xenonauts, where aliens could literally be anywhere and strike anytime. Making the player always having to advance slowly and methodically, which leads to the pacing problem.

Edited by Charon
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