Regarding turn-based combat

 I've been thinking a bit about the turn-based combat systems a lot of RPGs have. Some would have turns decided by how agile the characters are, others by using a time-gauge system or an 'Action Points' bar. Regardless of how it's set up though, it always seemed jarring to me for everyone to just stand still while one person did one thing.

I had an idea about how to add a bit more excitement to the combat: Time-freeze. Allow me to elaborate.

Let's say you have a party of three. The main character is a mage, with a long-range bow-using companion way in the back and up in front we have a tough bruiser. The enemy is three Evil Refrigerators.

The tough bruiser has the fastest reflexes and so begins first. Time suddenly freezes; no breathing animation, no movement at all while the action menu is up. The player chooses 'Attack Evil Fridge 1', and the combat animation immediately follows. However, instead of Tough Bruiser just hitting Fridge 1 and then returning to pre-combat position, the fight continues until the Mage finally manages to pull out the big and heavy spellbook from the bag. Time freezes once the book is finally open; the player now selects 'Lame Tier Fire Spell' and the Mage casts the spell.

However, before the Mage could finish saying all the words for the spell, Fridge 2 has made a move. Before the Fridge reaches the Mage, time freezes again; it's the bow-users turn.

At this point, the Bow-user can attack any of the Evil Refrigerators, but the player can issue a special command: Rescue. This is basically an attack that delivers enough damage to distract the enemy from a weak ally, but also risks the rest of the enemy team to focus only on the rescuer.

The bow-user chooses to Rescue the mage from a cold death, and two Refrigerators have shifted attention to the bow-user. Now the Mage can return to finishing the original action (Cast Lame Tier Fire Spell).

I prefer the idea of a battle that's constantly continuing, instead of everyone standing around and just waiting for their turn. I like the idea that it would look like your commands are actually the split-second decisions of the in-game characters.

Apologies if something like this has been used before. I don't have much time for a lot of RPGs and I haven't seen something like this ever implemented in a game. However, if it has been attempted I'd like to have a look myself. 

9 Comments
10 Comments
Posted by Mayu_Zane

 I've been thinking a bit about the turn-based combat systems a lot of RPGs have. Some would have turns decided by how agile the characters are, others by using a time-gauge system or an 'Action Points' bar. Regardless of how it's set up though, it always seemed jarring to me for everyone to just stand still while one person did one thing.

I had an idea about how to add a bit more excitement to the combat: Time-freeze. Allow me to elaborate.

Let's say you have a party of three. The main character is a mage, with a long-range bow-using companion way in the back and up in front we have a tough bruiser. The enemy is three Evil Refrigerators.

The tough bruiser has the fastest reflexes and so begins first. Time suddenly freezes; no breathing animation, no movement at all while the action menu is up. The player chooses 'Attack Evil Fridge 1', and the combat animation immediately follows. However, instead of Tough Bruiser just hitting Fridge 1 and then returning to pre-combat position, the fight continues until the Mage finally manages to pull out the big and heavy spellbook from the bag. Time freezes once the book is finally open; the player now selects 'Lame Tier Fire Spell' and the Mage casts the spell.

However, before the Mage could finish saying all the words for the spell, Fridge 2 has made a move. Before the Fridge reaches the Mage, time freezes again; it's the bow-users turn.

At this point, the Bow-user can attack any of the Evil Refrigerators, but the player can issue a special command: Rescue. This is basically an attack that delivers enough damage to distract the enemy from a weak ally, but also risks the rest of the enemy team to focus only on the rescuer.

The bow-user chooses to Rescue the mage from a cold death, and two Refrigerators have shifted attention to the bow-user. Now the Mage can return to finishing the original action (Cast Lame Tier Fire Spell).

I prefer the idea of a battle that's constantly continuing, instead of everyone standing around and just waiting for their turn. I like the idea that it would look like your commands are actually the split-second decisions of the in-game characters.

Apologies if something like this has been used before. I don't have much time for a lot of RPGs and I haven't seen something like this ever implemented in a game. However, if it has been attempted I'd like to have a look myself. 

Edited by Sanryd

I could have misunderstood the point of your post entirely, but are you saying that you would just like the waiting that occurs between turns in an RPG to be justified in some meaningful way? If not, the game that sticks out in my mind that plays exactly how you describe is FFXII. There may be others but that's what came to mind first.

Posted by Coombs

I honestly prefer the old straight up turn based combat 
ie: FFVI, Chrono Trigger, Suikoden, ect, ect....

Edited by animateria

Sounds like Grandia... You can actually interrupt enemy attacks during their 'charge' phase. Sames goes for them against your attacks.
 
A simple attack doesn't take much charge, but a large spell requires a long charge time to cast and can be interrupted.
 
Oh, and Resonance of Fate does a similar thing.

Posted by TheMasterDS

I like the model where each dude gets one turn per turn regardless of the time it takes to navigate menus. 

Posted by animateria
@TheMasterDS: 
 
In his model the menu stuff is still frozen.
Posted by TheMasterDS
@animateria: Right, of course. I hadn't read it very closely and had thought the idea was that how much the action would be slowed down would be based on how smart the party member was. 
 
I guess a few of the ideas could work if the ideas were the battles would be shorter but more action pact. If you have to cast a spell of RPG to take down a helicopter enemy 3 times and you have to distract the enemy each time to get off the spell, that could be very bad. As for the basic idea, it sorta sounds like a little Bioware RPG mixed into the traditional RPG, but then I don't see that improving gameplay at all honestly. Unless it was all contextual, like say a battle goes like this. 
 
1. You choose targets for all dudes using and start them up. 
 
2. Time pauses as one enemy looks like he draws a gun on one of your charging dudes. How long it takes to pause is based on a reflex stat. You can now choose to revise your action, by say, dodging. Basically the decisions you make at this point will be focused on reducing risk or reducing reward.
 
3. After you successfully attack or whatever you choose what to do next. Whether to back up, whether to give him more, that sort of thing. 
 
The presumption should be that in this system an attack may easily put down an enemy, and a hit may do 1/3 of your health easy. It should be fast and visceral. 
Posted by Mayu_Zane
@tdk08: Yeah, I'd like some justification to the waiting. Everyone is slightly faster or slower than everyone else due to their own reflex/response time, or possibly because their weapons and attacks take time to set up. In the time to say a spell, a guy could easily throw something at you. For gun-users, the 'wait-time' is actually the character reloading while moving around the field to dodge attacks.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@Coombs said:
" I honestly prefer the old straight up turn based combat  ie: FFVI, Chrono Trigger, Suikoden, ect, ect.... "
Um, you mean Active Time Battle? And on the subject of turn based combat, it's not meant to represent reality; it's a way of condensing cinematic qualities into gameplay.
Edited by Cornman89

Yeah, you need to get your hands on some hot Grandia action. Far as I'm concerned, that's the perfect turn-based combat system, and a lot of the ideas you're describing can be found in those games, too.