Post feature RSS Design Series #4- Why Turn Based Strategy?

This article in our game design series covers why we decided to go with a turn based strategy game for all elements in Lord of Rigel over real time.

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The next couple of parts in this series will discuss the choices made around making Lord of Rigel entirely turn based. This week will focus on why the core game of Lord of Rigel is turned based while next week will discuss why ship to ship combat will be turn based. Turn based strategy isn't as popular as it once was. Many of the best selling games out in the market are FPS (First Person Shooter) games and many more strategy games have stayed towards the RTS ( Real Time Strategy) genre. Where does turn based gaming fit into the modern gaming world? Is turn based gaming a relic of an older era in computer gaming?

At Rhombus Studios we have the firm belief that turn based strategy has its role and place. For us the main reason that turn based strategy is still relevant is scale. RTS games like Starcraft and the Command and Conquer series rely on focusing on building a base or two and building large scale forces to move. In particular, Starcraft II has moved more towards building a large number of units in a fast time and really understanding how to build and expand quickly. In that type of game environment, turn based strategy is an absolutely wrong game style for such a fast paced and focused environment.

Lord of Rigel has a different emphasis on game play: scale and complexity. Certainly Lord of Rigel can be played in a small 2 species galaxy, and certainly an RTS type game could operate in that environment, but what happens when the game grows to 6 species or 10 species interacting on a map spanning 512 or more star systems? Is RTS appropriate in this arena? Does the player have the ability to explore all the features and complexities of the game to make the right decision for the player? No. While an attempt could be made to make a very slow RTS that allows for more thoughtful progression the player would constantly feel bombarded or forced to make a decision faster than they would like. Ultimately this would lead to player fatigue and at some point poor decisions being made due to the time constraints of an RTS style Lord of Rigel.

Lord of Rigel is really about grand scale and being the leader of a vast galactic empire and "shaping the galaxy." We believe that grand strategy games are best when played in a turn based environment that allows players to explore and gather the needed information to make meaningful decisions about the direction of their empire. Turn based strategy games are still relevant in today's world provided you have a game of proper scale and complexity to support it. Join us next week where we'll discuss turn based ship to ship combat!

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