Suggestion two: there is more to life than rounds

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Suggestion two: there is more to life than rounds

Post by Jester » Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:35 pm

I realize that D&D owns the RPG world. Fine, fine, whatever. ;)

Still, it would be really nice if there were a more custom means of keeping track of time and turns. I'm involved in two games that use "non-round" time-keeping methods that are fairly similar.

In one game, time starts at 0, and each action takes a certain amount of time. Say your action takes 5 ticks. You log your first action taking place at time 5. The GM counts from 0 to 5 (with other players and bad guys going whenever). 5 comes, and you take your turn (possibly with others). Your next action is longer, and so you don't get to go again until 12. You log your turn as taking place in turn 12, and wait for the GM to count that high.

Other game, same idea, just backwards. Everyone rolls 2d6 (or so) each round and adds modifiers. Highest roll goes first, then counts backwards down to 0. New round, everyone rolls a new 2d6 plus mods. Battlegrounds is a bit more amenable to this one, but it'd be nice if the time-keeper displayed the numeric count of time on the map for that game.

What can I say, I'm not a big fan of D&D's "you get your turn and you're gonna keep it the same time every round whether you're poking with a dagger or swinging a two-handed sword". ;)
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Post by heruca » Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:19 am

Cool idea. Reminds me of phases in Car Wars turns.

Can you describe (or even better, illustrate) the interface you'd want for achieving this?
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Post by Omnidon » Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:28 am

I too prefer something similar to the time-based style of turn management.

I may make a Flash-based turn sequencer that could do it.

And you also might be interested in noting this:
heruca wrote:I've come across some open source code for incorporating tables into Director that should save me weeks of development time when I get around to reworking the Unit Manager and Turn Sequencer panels. I intend to make those panels into tables.

For example, if the list of units in the Turn Sequencer were a table (instead of a simple scrolling text field, like it is now), it could list all the unit names in one column, and initiative rolls for each unit in another column. Then you could sort the table based on initiative value.

For the Unit Manager, making it table-based will be even more useful. You could filter the table results to show, for example, only Sideboarded units, or only non-Hidden units, or only Tiles. Or if we want to get fancy, list everything but Tiles, hidden units, and Sideboarded units. The possibilities are endless.

Table cells are editable, of course, so it's an easy matter to change a unit's name, initiative value, etc.

And I probably don't need to stress how useful tables would be in creating shareable, interactive character sheets. :D

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Post by Jester » Thu Sep 21, 2006 10:26 am

heruca wrote:Can you describe (or even better, illustrate) the interface you'd want for achieving this?
Sure. I'll do this later today. I don't think it would require much of a modification to your current turn manager's look, and depending on how it's currently programmed, it might not need much of a code change, either.
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Post by Jester » Sat Sep 23, 2006 5:15 pm

OK, here's what turns looks like right now:
Image

For round-based systems, here's what I suggest:
Image

You'd have to keep track of what round it is, who goes on what segment within the round, and whether segments count downwards (like D&D) or upwards (like Silhouette/Heavy Gear). You also need to set the option that the segment order might change every round, so let players enter what segment number they next act on.

For free-time-based systems, here's what I suggest:
Image

You'd have to keep track of whether time counts up or down, and now that Archer's action is over (for instance), you give Archer the ability to enter his next action's segment (28, say).

For both systems, it should be possible for multiple characters to act on the same segment without the system freaking out. Letting the GM set their order with arrow keys as you do now is a fine way to do that. The numbers, however, should sort themselves out.

That's it. Comments?
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Post by Jester » Sat Sep 23, 2006 5:17 pm

Oh, and for round-based systems, you need both a "step" and "new round" buttons. Sometimes, games pick up in round four or five (if rounds one through three were done last week, for instance).
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Post by heruca » Sat Sep 23, 2006 11:44 pm

That sounds very doable, Jester. I take it that players will need access to the turn Sequencer panel, but possibly without the Step button?

Two points regarding your last post, which you may not be aware of:
1) Encounters retain the current turn number when you save the game.
2) The GM can edit the turn counter to whatever he wants at any point in the game (or reset it to Turn 1 simply by clicking on the word "Turn" beside the turn number).
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Post by Jester » Sun Sep 24, 2006 12:14 am

Yep, giving the players a simplified Turn Sequencer is probably the best option. The main thing they'll need, like I said, is a place to enter their initiative segment, either for the next round (in round-based systems) or next action (in free time systems).

Also, you should display the non-GM-owned character inititatives on the player panel, but should give the GM the option of hiding the GM-owned characters's.

And thanks for the tips. :)
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Post by Jixxala » Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:41 am

I agree Jester. PGS requires different "Initiative" (to use the D&D term) every round. This means the turn sequencer would need to be reapllied every round.

I like the possibility of a simpler version that could account for different attacks times in different rounds would be very nice. ATM I just have everyone roll init and mod it then count up 0 to whenever everyone has gone. Repeat.
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Post by heruca » Sun Oct 01, 2006 11:45 am

The current implementation of the Turn Sequencer works very much like a stack of index cards, if you think about it. It's pretty basic, but it works for many games.

Expect to see big improvements in the Turn Sequencer and the Unit Manager in future updates. I'd like to redesign them to be table-based, and allow them be auto-sorted (or reverse-sorted) based on different criteria, to have view-filtering tools, and to offer drag-and-drop support for each row and/or column.
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Post by Omnidon » Mon Oct 02, 2006 12:18 am

heruca wrote:Expect to see big improvements in the Turn Sequencer and the Unit Manager in future updates. I'd like to redesign them to be table-based, and allow them be auto-sorted (or reverse-sorted) based on different criteria, to have view-filtering tools, and to offer drag-and-drop support for each row and/or column.
Definitely looking forward to it ;-)
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Post by Full Bleed » Thu Oct 12, 2006 1:08 pm

I think that the "turn sequencer" or "initiative module", or whatever people want to call it, could/should be a major time saver for any good VTT.

In my research on the major VTT's out there right now, I'm having a hard time figuring out which one actually does this the best.

My experience with PnP games is that people tend to simplify how initiative is done or tracked not out of preference, but simply because they want to streamline the process and spend more time on the actual combat.

I personally prefer, and use a modified initiative system in my AD&D 1st Edition/D20 hybrid game that is rolled every round, but which results in each character knowing exactly which second each round their action is happening. It's a little complicated and heavily modified by the character and particular action, but it gives combat a slightly more realistic feel with an element of chaos theory that shuffles each round so that variabilty plays a major roll in the outcome of the combat.

So while I'm pretty sure my system won't easily translate into BG... I am hoping that there will eventualy be enough customization in the BG turn sequencer to give the illusion of something similiar. Because given the new things I expect I'll have to be concerned with when using a VTT, it would be nice to offload much of the initiative process.

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