Flatfingers wrote:Depends on how "pause" is implemented.
If it's literally just a pause in all gameplay, and you can't examine the world or queue up orders while time is frozen, then that fails to support strategy gameplay as those are exactly the kinds of things you want players to have lots of world-real-time to do.
Maybe this is implemented simply as a nice feature without thought for how it supports (or doesn't support) gameplay. Or maybe it's deliberately limited (no exploring the state of the gameworld while paused) in order to force the human player to do everything in game-real-time. In this case, I have to conclude that those developers aren't really interested in supporting strategy gameplay regardless of how their game is described.
If OTOH pausing is implemented so that the human player can explore information in the gameworld and queue up strategic commands while all AI players are frozen, that's a nod to supporting strategy play -- definitely more than the other kind of pausing. But a "Pause Everybody Else" button is so close to being a "Next Turn" button that you might as well implement the game as turn-based to start with!
But let's say you, as a game developer, do choose to make the game run at some game-real-time speed until/unless the player hits the Pause Everybody Else button. Just thinking off-the-cuff here, I think that might be tolerable from a "support strategy gameplay" position, depending on how fast the AI players can perform their strategic thinking and tactical actions. It puts enough power in the hands of the human player to think deeply relative to the speed of action inside the gameworld that, even if the AI players are faster than the human player when the game is unpaused, it can always be paused again.
Having said this, I think turn-based is still better for strategy as it helps the game developer keep things fair for all players. Honestly, the whole notion of a "turn" is freaky. It's an abstraction that exists only to support fair play in a game... but it performs this function so extremely well that it's almost always a sound choice when designing games that are meant to offer anything more complex than fast-paced, exciting tactical play.
TL;DR: From a "maximize strategic play" perspective, I could live with a "Pause Everybody But The Human Player" kind of pause button, but not a "Pause All The Things" button. I still think, though, that if you want to make a game that people who enjoy strategic play will find satisfying, just design it to be turn-based from the start. That's a completely reasonable solution to letting the human player have enough time to enjoy doing the deep thinking at the heart of strategic fun.
I agree with the others that the second kind of pause you describe is the norm in most modern RTSes. That's how Paradox does it for their 4x games and how Distant Worlds does it too.
The Paradox games in particular also have adjustable rates: you could adjust game speed by up to a factor of 8, I think. In my opinion, along with the pause, this mechanic helps to ameliorate a problem that a fixed-rate RT and regular turn-based 4x games can't: you are able to adjust the game so that per unit of time invested by the player, the rate of things happening in game is not fixed. In addition, this adds a flexibility to the play experience of the player, so they can choose to deal with events at a rate they like.
In my current multiplayer Stellaris game with a friend, he's hosting and has authority over the time rate thing (I don't insist on a rate). He tends to play at a much slower rate than I do, and he pauses very often. At first I found this frustrating, but as I got used to it I found I was thinking much more strategically than when I play by myself, and enjoying the experience that much more for it. In a way maybe I'm proving your point, Flat, but the reason I'm saying this is to emphasize that I was playing with someone who uses a game mechanic in a different way I do, and it affected how I experienced the game. I think that's amazing. Not only does the game accommodate for different styles of play by this mechanic, but those different styles deliver different experiences. Maybe it's not surprising, but I think it's interesting at least.
(This mechanic doesn't really address the problem you mentioned in another post about late-game micro, other than through delegation through sectors or vassals as in some Paradox games, and I'm not trying to say it does.)
You could argue that in TBS games, you can choose to spend however long or short on a turn as you wish, so it enjoys the same events-per-unit-time-invested governance that an adjustable RT game does. I don't know if I could really argue with that, but I did want to bring this up as a point for certain RT-games. e: and of course I agree that turn-based is a perfectly reasonable solution for games of this type; adjustable real-time may be a convoluted solution for an otherwise simple problem, for the sake of less abstraction.