In what respects to space strategy games there is one gameplay element that mostly decides the style of the game, its pace mechanic: Real-time or Turn-based. These are two paradigms, normally you prefer one style or the other and judging from the latest poll hosted at SpaceSector.com that seems to be the case.
The last poll dictated 67 votes favoring TBS games, 19 votes for RTS where only 11 don’t prefer one style to the other.
The tendency on the market these days however seems to favor the real-time mechanic, if you consider Sins of a Solar Empire, Distant Worlds, Sword of the Stars (the space battles) and Armada 2526 (the space battles), these are some of the latest titles to come out.
So this means that the Real-Time mechanic is the way to go, or judging from the poll will be the Turn-Based mechanic instead? Let’s take a closer look at these types of gameplay and see what comes up.
In turn-based strategy you go at your own rhythm, you have more time to think your strategy. Nothing can be left out until you finally press the end turn button and watch the opponents turn unfold. Most of the excitement comes not from the actual player turn but from the return outcome of the actions performed. This type of gameplay is for the hard-thinkers, people that like to take their time and like to control and be perfectionist.
Examples of pure TBS games are the Master of Orion series, Space Empires series and the Galactic Civilizations series. All the three series absolute classics.
Real-time strategy is a very different kind of mechanic. In here the player wants (hopes) to be on top of the situation at all times. This is of course .. impossible and so the player experiences strong feelings of anguish, nervousness and also frequent adrenaline rushes. After all at any time a fleet of Korzog Battle Cruisers may come out of hyperspace from nowhere and crush your undefended colony (if only I had the time to think this more carefully… haaahhh …)
RTS is for the adrenaline junkies and for people that favor action and instant pleasure and don’t have the patience to micro-manage too much.
Examples of pure RTS games are the Homeworld series, Imperium Galactica Series and the Sins of a Solar Empire series.
Then there are games that combine both TBS and RTS
Then there is Armada 2526 and Sword of the Stars. Both of these latest titles combine both mechanics in their games. Both offer a turn-based core mechanic for their star map, economy, research etc but they offer real-time space battles.
So what is the future?
It’s too soon to speak for Armada 2526 but Sword of the Stars has been a success judging from the community, the expansion packs and the fact that there is already a sequel under development.
So the hybrid RTS / TBS formula seems to be a winner. You make your TBS players happy with the turn-based mechanic for the star map. When in battles you make your RTS players happy with the real-time mechanic.
I particularly favor this approach. What about you, what is your favorite gameplay mechanic and why ?Subscribe RSS
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