development & media



Quasi Turn Based Gaming
2002-04-17 QTB Details

Quasi Turn Based (QTB) Gaming is a fairly simple platform for distributed games. In a nutshell, it works like this: it's either a particular player's turn or it's not that player's turn. In either case the player can perform some game-related actions. Major actions will probably be reserved for turns, while more minor actions can be done between turns (or at any time). The turns then proceed until some end state of the game is reached. That sounds simple enough.

For those of you craving more details, here there are.

When I came up with the QTB concept (which is probably totally unoriginal), I had in mind a relatively slow paced game -one that a player would login perhaps when he or she got into work in the morning and take his or her turn and every few hours or so would be able to take another turn. So, this is not for people needing the action of Quake or the time dedication of Civilization. That's not to say a QTB game can't proceed quickly. The pacing depends totally on the response times and number of the players involved. If everyone takes their turns in two minutes, the game can move quickly. If they take two hours, it will move much more slowly.

This brings up the need for a time limit on turns. Probably customizable for each instance of a game, the time limit would give a player a set amount of time during which to complete his or her turn. Once the time has elapsed, the turn would be skipped and the next player's turn would begin.

When playing a game, it's nice to know when it's your turn to move. In a distributed environment like the QTB system, a player isn't directly watching the game at all times, so a notification system could be a great help. It's a pretty simple setup; when a player gets done with his or her turn, the next player (or all the players) is notified by email. Also, whenever a player makes a between-turn move, an email notification can also be sent out.

Due to the possibly large number of emails this could generate, especially in a fast-paced game, each player will be able to choose whether or not to receive each type of notification. If the player regularly logs in and checks the status of the game, few emails would need to be sent to that player.

More to come....



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