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Bad news This isn’t a new Game Art Trick! :,(
Good news This is the first Game Design Trick (article)!

As you know i LVE game art. But i also love to think outside of the box and so it happens, that some other aspects of gaming get my attention. Even if I’m not a game designer, i want to write this stuff down and hopefully you’ll like it. But don’t worry! I’ve only a few GD topics in my head but far more art related things on my list. :)

Time runs…let’s get started! Todays games are mostly like that:

I run…oh there’s an enemy. Hm…which weapon is the best….oh yeah! The rocket lau…

— You were knifed by K1ll0r1337 —

In the good old days it was more like this:

Hm there’s a big Orc on front of me…what should i do?
*a tea and one hour later*
Ok let’s kill him with my sword!
*press up*

— You killed the Orc. —

One of these grandfather games looks like this:

Source: Nethack

No, I’m not kidding! This isn’t some awful command line accident. This is how Rogue (or in this case: Nethack) looked like. But even more “special” than the visuals was the movement. It might look like a stuttering GIF I captured it in real time.
Obviously you are the @ and your pet (a cat) is the  f . And when you move your character with the cursor keys, everything else (monsters, NPCs, pets, …) moves too. Only then! If you do nothing, nobody moves.

By the way: the original Diablo was planned as such an turn-based ARPG. If you don’t believe me, listen to the gods.

The reason for this history lesson was, that i met the first game which translated this charming and non-stressful gameplay into modern times: SUPER HOT!

Source: SuperHot

I’m sure you guys already heard about this. If not, play it!! As you see: the time moves reaaaalllllyyyyyy ssssllloooooooooooooowwww when you do nothing. Almost stands still. But if you move, everything moves too. And since this game is a shooter, you’ll get very interesting pistol fights while playing this.

Source: SuperHot

I think this is a beautiful way of taking the best of both worlds (“turn-based” + action) and forging it into a very interesting experience.

Oh and by the way, i love the simple occlusion art style. :)

8 thoughts on “Super Hot – Turn-based Action

  1. JimmyThickNThin

    Super Hot is brilliant. I’d love to see the concept combined with the turn-based action multiplexing fad from a few years back (Ten Second War is the only such example I distinctly recall: http://tensecondwar.wordpress.com/). So not only do you perform insanely precise actions with the help of time’s link to movement, but you also orchestrate a complex maneuver across multiple units in the same time slice. Thus turn-based and action are completely fused. Naturally the design challenge there is extreme, with causality itself under the microscope!

    BTW, Super Hot’s premise is eerily similar to a project of mine only recently dredged out of the “ideas man” stage. Sort of like Super Hot meets Hotline Miami meets Flight Control.

    1. Simon Post author

      Thanks for your comment! This TenSecondWar looks confusing but interesting :D Thanks for sharing! In general do “modern” games a good job with combining turn-based with real-time. I mean, having the world in real-time and only going into turn-based-mode in a fight is for example a good mixture. Or, what i also really like is how Baldurs Gate did it. Pause whenever you want, but you don’t have to – if you can click fast enough in real-time :D

  2. djizomdjinn

    Another little-known game that I’ve seen pull this off is the JRPG Resonance of Fate (End of Eternity in Japan). Time only moves when you move, or are charging your attack. It’s a bit more explicit with the turn-based system however; your characters only have a limited time unit bar to make all of their moves/attacks in.

    Valkyria Chronicles is yet another real-time / turn-based hybrid, this time a tactics game, though with the odd quirk that time goes on as normal… until the player takes aim with their weapon. It’s certainly a way to reduce the pace of a third-person shooter down to a turn-based tactics level, but is sadly easily exploited by repeatedly entering and exiting aiming mode while moving, which is the easiest way to bypass machine gun fire.

  3. kanneblei

    Another interesting turn based game with a real time element is Frozen Sinapse.

    Worth checking out. You have soldiers on a facility sort of place, and your visibility is limited by theirs. The game pauses, you plan your actions for the next 3s or so, test them, and then submit them. Once the ai plans their movement (without seeing yours as well) the game runs for said 3s and pauses again.

    You can crouch, get up, move, fire randomly, and do much more. Another interesting take on this.


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