Devlog #1 What is a delayed turn based system?
The most important concept in this type of system that every action takes time to resolve. For example, imagine it is your turn, and you start some very strong spell which takes some time to cast. This gives your opponent a chance to respond with something faster in their turn. You could say that well, that is not new, a lot of turn based combat system have skills which take multiple turns to resolve. What is special about ours?
My answer to this that we took this idea to the extremes, in that every action takes time to resolve. The most basic movement and attack commands take time to happen, even turning a character take some time. It leads to turns when actually, no input is needed because every character is already trying to resolve a command. Because of this, in Slaves Of Magic, we do not call them turns, we call them time units. You can think of one time unit as a small turn, where if you have a command and let's say, it still takes 5 time units to resolve, we subtract one from it. If the command reaches 0 time unit it resolves. You can see how long a certain command is from resolving on the right side of the unit status bar.
The closest game that I know of, that used a somewhat similar system is Final Fantasy Tactics. Instead of turns, they had CT (clock ticks) which functions very similarly to our time units. So I think this kind of system is very underrepresented, and it will be an interesting journey for us to explore its possibilities.
Reason To Use It:
The other thing I wanted to discuss is why do I think this type of combat system will be a good fit for our game. The biggest reason that I wanted to choose this instead of using a traditional turn based system, is because I wanted to avoid the alpha strike problem. As much as I love the XCOM series, I think personally it has a problem with this. The best strategy usually involves killing enemies before they can have a turn. Even though I played a lot of XCOM, there are enemies I do not know what they are capable of doing, because I always killed them before they had a chance to act.
I think in our delayed turn based system, the player will have to interact with every enemy. It will be incredibly hard to kill someone without it being able to react to what the player is doing. And of course, this is working both ways, neither the enemy will be able to quickly kill the player units without at least a chance for a reaction from the player. So our hope is, it will reduce player frustration, and solves the alpha strike problem as well.
In addition, I find it kinda cool, that if every unit has a command, it looks nearly like a real time game.
Of course, this is all my theory for now, but if you want to help us see if it works in practice as well, you will be able to try it out in our demo soon! In the meantime you can check out the demo steam page here.