Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

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Thrasher Dec 22, 2016 @ 7:48am
As a hardcore gamer I think this game is fundamentally flawed without pause.
Being in my 30s I've long since given up on RTS games because I like having complete control in a strategy game and RTS games have always felt to me like fiddling around trying to match the pace of the game when I want to go at my own pace - too many things happening and not enough APM to cover everything satisfactorily and instead feeling stressed from not keeping up.

However, I absolutely love playing turn based strategy games and beating them on the highest difficulty available.

Although I did not play Commandos back in the day, I did play alot of Real Time with Pause RPGS (Bioware games basically).

So I'm trying to say I love strategy games, and I love the idea of this game and getting to experience what I missed back in the day when I didn't play Commandos.

I was absolutely engrossed with this game and after mission 3 went from Normal to Hardcore and now I am on the final mission but a very nasty feeling is creeping up to me that I can't shake off for the past few missions.

I do not mind analyzing a difficult situation and finding a solution, but I do mind being forced to do "micro" in a RTS game where the slightest off timing warrants an instant reload.

I KNOW the solution, but the design choice of omitting pause means that I CANT MOVE my hands as fast as I want them to and my brain is not given the time to think through what I want to do at PIVOTAL moments when executing a careful timing; and these I believe are REQUIRED on the last mission (no cheesing one guard at a time here)

So I'm kind of genuinely stuck, except I'm stuck here from the game design. Shadow Mode doesn't even BEGIN to cover what I need to "plan" satisfactorily in this game when faced with a decent challenge.
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Showing 31-45 of 49 comments
DEADPOO Dec 23, 2016 @ 11:27am 
Originally posted by Bertie:
Can someone please name me some mainstream RTS games that has a 'tactical' pause in it please? This isn't me trying to be difficult, I'm generally interested to know some games which have it.

Off the top of my head: Homeworld, Dragon Age Origins (RPG, but has tactical pause). I tend to shy away from RTS games, so that's probably all I can name.
Last edited by DEADPOO; Dec 23, 2016 @ 11:29am
matthew Dec 25, 2016 @ 1:38am 
I wouldn't call Dragon Age Origins a RTS, that is a very different type of game, as well as pillars of eternity,

Homeworld did have pause, but you were also having to deal with a lot of units, so I would fit that with the total war games.

but commandos series never had a pause, and that also had some tricky missions, so again, Thrasher I would pick up 2, which I consder to be the best of the series. in that regard, ST doesn't need a pause, (but I like the shadow mode in ST, even commandoes never had anything like that)

some games need a way to control the action, pillars / POE needs a real time pause, because of you need a lot of tactics, and also helps to cast spells at the right time, and control units better, but it's not a RTS, so different genre. (that also applies to dragon age)

different games, not all of the same genre.
Last edited by matthew; Dec 25, 2016 @ 2:18am
^7ja^1co Dec 25, 2016 @ 1:40am 
I am a hardcore gamer, why is there no game pause?

buahhahahaah, man you are the most hardcore gamer of all the hardcore gamers, to ask for a pause in game that is so hardcore
Last edited by ^7ja^1co; Dec 25, 2016 @ 1:41am
AdamTM Dec 25, 2016 @ 4:03am 
Well i think that any PVE real time tactical/strategy game without a pause function tries to mask its flawed mission/challenge design.

Its essentially an easy/lazy way to put pressure on the player and offload design of the challenge to an arbitrary execution barier.

One can make any simple and easy game excruciatingly hard by introducing an execution barrier.
coru  [developer] Dec 25, 2016 @ 5:05am 
Hey everyone! I just wanted to chip in and explain why there is no pause in the game from a design-view.
First of all it is important to realize that implimenting a pause-function does many things to the game. Most people here talk about difficulty, which is understandable but that is not the only thing to think about when it comes to pausing the game. Difficulty is not why we did choose to remove pause from the game. I am very confident that we could have made the game hard or easy enough even with a pause function.

Pausing has a huge effect on two very important parts of the game. When creating our vision we talked about how we want those to turn out in our game and then stuck to that. Its almost like design pillars. And then you need to weigh every feature against those.:
1) how gameplay feels:
We want our game to feel good. To do that we need to define what good means for our game. The real time aspect of the RTT genre is what sets it apart from turn based games and to us it is CRUCIAL that this stays true. Being able to pause the game greatly takes away from the experience we want to create in this regard. Everything in the game is moving and you are a part of that. You cannot stop it.
Early in development we had Shadow Mode pause the game so you could take time setting up your actions. What happenend in playtests was that people would constantly activate Shadow Mode, not to plan moves but just to pause. Move to a new location? Pause and look at the situation. Basically do ANYTHING? Pause the game. That completely killed the games flow. It turned into a slow and chopped up experience and we didnt want that. And of course it might be something some people would prefer. But when making a game you need to create vision and stick to it. Otherwise it turns into a mess. And sometimes that means making decissions that will remove things some people like. And yes: people paused because they liked it. But that doesnt mean its the best thing for the game overall. We think the game is a lot more fun without being able to pause.
2) how the player feels:
So another huge thing is how do you want your players emotional state to be? How should they feel when playing your game? For Shadow Tactics we want you feel like you are surrounded by a huge amount of enemies and in danger. You should feel some of the tension that your characters would feel. Of course we still want you to feel powerful and in control, but on another level. Being able to pause the game would give you a feeling of safety in situations in which it is not appropriate. You are being attacked because you messed up? Well eithet load or deal with it by reactint quickly and maybe even do hectic and bad decissions on the way. Thats why the game is real time and thats part of its beauty. You dont get to pause in that situation and slowly analyze.
You get your safety when you have earned it by hiding on roofs or in bushes. (Note that this sort of hard cover almost didnt exist in Commandos. We added it to give you a little more safety and time to relax in missions). In that safety you can carefully observe, take your time etc. But when its time to act you need to execute. No pause to help you there. And having that change of feeling and pace between relaxing and tension was very important to us.

Ok, i hope that showed you why we made this decission :). You dont have to agree to our line of thought, but thats it.

Of course there are other factors but i mainly wanted to show that fo us it was not a question of difficulty. It was about other things that are a little more subtle and maybe not so obvious to some. They are some of the most important parts of gane design, though. If you get these questions right your game has a much higher chance to turn out great i think.
Darkeus Dec 25, 2016 @ 7:02am 
And a fine decision it was. Pause is not needed.
TheRailTracer Dec 25, 2016 @ 8:15am 
Originally posted by matthew:
in that regard, ST doesn't need a pause, (but I like the shadow mode in ST, even commandoes never had anything like that)
Desperados did have a similar system I recall. I remember that the cowboy could shoot 3 targets at once, good old west movie style. I do believe it is a good system and ST did it right for sure.
AdamTM Dec 25, 2016 @ 12:04pm 
Originally posted by coru:
Hey everyone! I just wanted to chip in and explain why there is no pause in the game from a design-view.
First of all it is important to realize that implimenting a pause-function does many things to the game. Most people here talk about difficulty, which is understandable but that is not the only thing to think about when it comes to pausing the game. Difficulty is not why we did choose to remove pause from the game. I am very confident that we could have made the game hard or easy enough even with a pause function.

Pausing has a huge effect on two very important parts of the game. When creating our vision we talked about how we want those to turn out in our game and then stuck to that. Its almost like design pillars. And then you need to weigh every feature against those.:
1) how gameplay feels:
We want our game to feel good. To do that we need to define what good means for our game. The real time aspect of the RTT genre is what sets it apart from turn based games and to us it is CRUCIAL that this stays true. Being able to pause the game greatly takes away from the experience we want to create in this regard. Everything in the game is moving and you are a part of that. You cannot stop it.
Early in development we had Shadow Mode pause the game so you could take time setting up your actions. What happenend in playtests was that people would constantly activate Shadow Mode, not to plan moves but just to pause. Move to a new location? Pause and look at the situation. Basically do ANYTHING? Pause the game. That completely killed the games flow. It turned into a slow and chopped up experience and we didnt want that. And of course it might be something some people would prefer. But when making a game you need to create vision and stick to it. Otherwise it turns into a mess. And sometimes that means making decissions that will remove things some people like. And yes: people paused because they liked it. But that doesnt mean its the best thing for the game overall. We think the game is a lot more fun without being able to pause.
2) how the player feels:
So another huge thing is how do you want your players emotional state to be? How should they feel when playing your game? For Shadow Tactics we want you feel like you are surrounded by a huge amount of enemies and in danger. You should feel some of the tension that your characters would feel. Of course we still want you to feel powerful and in control, but on another level. Being able to pause the game would give you a feeling of safety in situations in which it is not appropriate. You are being attacked because you messed up? Well eithet load or deal with it by reactint quickly and maybe even do hectic and bad decissions on the way. Thats why the game is real time and thats part of its beauty. You dont get to pause in that situation and slowly analyze.
You get your safety when you have earned it by hiding on roofs or in bushes. (Note that this sort of hard cover almost didnt exist in Commandos. We added it to give you a little more safety and time to relax in missions). In that safety you can carefully observe, take your time etc. But when its time to act you need to execute. No pause to help you there. And having that change of feeling and pace between relaxing and tension was very important to us.

Ok, i hope that showed you why we made this decission :). You dont have to agree to our line of thought, but thats it.

Of course there are other factors but i mainly wanted to show that fo us it was not a question of difficulty. It was about other things that are a little more subtle and maybe not so obvious to some. They are some of the most important parts of gane design, though. If you get these questions right your game has a much higher chance to turn out great i think.

1)

And yet you have bushes everywhere on the map that fill the same function.
If id wager how most people play the game, it goes like this:
move to a safe positions > watch the enemy patterns > formulate a plan > execute
You are of course correct that theres up and down sides for both systems, however i am just of the opinion that both dont have the same amount of up and down sides or that both up and down sides are qually weighted.

f.ex. Yes the game feels "fast" and more "fluid" during execution, but at the same time it loses depth, like the current system does not allow for FoW or LoS of the player characters (the map and all its enemies are revealed from the start).

2)

And yet you allow for quicksave and quickload creating an experience just as, or more, fragmented as active pause.

Someone stop me here but did anyone actually "deal with it by reacting quickly" during failure of a plan?

No, you hit the reload, because most failures of a strategy or tactic are catastrophic failures (unit killed) in this game.

In conclusion you created the same "problems" that you attribute to the active pause system, but added nothing that active pause allows you to do (like mid-combat reaction, salvaging a critical failure of detection, etc.) which makes the game feel lazily shallow and restrictive.

Mind, i do not think this game is bad or anything, i am mostly enjoying it right now, but its also not devoid of flaws, which this is.
Last edited by AdamTM; Dec 25, 2016 @ 12:06pm
coru  [developer] Dec 25, 2016 @ 1:22pm 
I guess we disagree then :) still hope you keep enjoying the game otherwise.
Finanzberater Dec 25, 2016 @ 1:36pm 
I usually prefer dev decisions over fan opinions. I am on the dev side this time too.
Suzu Mukai Dec 25, 2016 @ 2:29pm 
AdamTM, it sounds like you want a ironman mode where you have one save it's only an autosave and no reload option during missions or something.

Personally i would not be against that.
Marshal Dex Dec 25, 2016 @ 2:37pm 
I think a compromise could be the implementation of a "Realism Hardcore" mode similar to the one in L4D2. This would be without a pause mode whereas the "normal" mode would come with one.

But I honestly don't care about this point that much. May it come (or be) as it comes.
Bertie Dec 25, 2016 @ 2:46pm 
Originally posted by AdamTM:
Someone stop me here but did anyone actually "deal with it by reacting quickly" during failure of a plan?

No, you hit the reload, because most failures of a strategy or tactic are catastrophic failures (unit killed) in this game.

I'm always just dealing with it - aside from the badges where you can't set off any alarms there's no reason not to continue, as long as you're not dead. I'm not someone who saves all the time (quite often when I quick load I find I'm much further back than I expected!) so continuning on unless the situation is massively worse is quite often beneficial.

Originally posted by Suzu Mukai:
AdamTM, it sounds like you want a ironman mode where you have one save it's only an autosave and no reload option during missions or something.

Personally i would not be against that.

Why not just avoid pressing the quicksave key when you're playing? If it's something you want to do then the developers not having an ironman mode isn't going to stop you :)
Facemeister Dec 25, 2016 @ 2:51pm 
The one thing I miss in this game is the reaction of the enemies to our actions. I loved in Desperados that each type of enemies got almost their own reactions. They could shot you on sight, aim at you to force your surrender. Some of them even run away. You could even bait your enemy on "surrender", your character just raised hands up, enemy was coming close to you to knock you out. When he was close enough you could hit him with knife or hand. I loved those conversations between enemies. Just when you surrendered and more enemies saw you, one of them asked "need help with him?" and the other one often replied "no everything fine", and rest was returning to their posts.

In Robin Hood you could throw money pouch at enemies and they were fighting for the coins. If officer saw this he was stopping them. But when you put beer and sergeant took it, few drinks later he was intoxicated enough so when you throw those money sarge was actually fighting his own men to get those coins.

If something like this could be implemented in future games I would be more then happy.
Facemeister Dec 25, 2016 @ 2:54pm 
Just to clarify my position in post above. I would like to have more tools to mess with my enemies heads.
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Date Posted: Dec 22, 2016 @ 7:48am
Posts: 49