Determinism versus Stochasticity in the Action Economy of Turn-Based Tactics Games

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Perustieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Game Design and Production
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Master’s Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences
Tactics Games are a subgenre of Strategy Games usually hinged around the fact of strategizing only around resources that are already available at the start of a stage/level. Turn-Based Tactics (TBT) Games, as opposed to Real-Time Tactics Games are a subgenre of Tactics Games that usually revolve around the characters moving and acting in turns based on each character’s attributes. Such games, as their events happen on turns and rounds, tend to make their actions happen based on probabilities that increase or decrease based on the opposing sides’ characters’ attributes and equipment. However, some games of this genre ditch this concept of stochasticity in their action spaces and make their action economies more, or completely deterministic, making the game play more like chess. This paper explores player enthusiasm and attention on game dynamics based on how deterministic their mechanics are. As such, one level/stage of similar difficulty in 3 games of this genre which are of comparable gameplay (so that their stochasticity is their prime difference) are arranged to be played by a crowd of various gaming preferences. The stochasticity in these games range from almost completely chance based, where character actions always have certain probabilities of happening successfully based on their and their opponents’ attributes and equipment; versus the players having some chance of making these chance based encounters more deterministic based on certain factors such as relative unit positioning or unit type advantages over other units; versus all actions in game happening completely deterministically, where certain cool-down mechanics, unit type advantages and relative unit positioning just increases potential damage outputs, allowing to speed up or hamper the standard chess-like flow of the game.
Hämäläinen, Perttu
Thesis advisor
Junnila, Miikka
game design, mechanics design, human computer interaction, software engineering
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