It's time to resurrect Albion
again! If you've not played it in it's current form then please do have a quick poke, otherwise a lot of the following might not make sense...
Currently every single character (ones you control, monsters and npcs) takes it's turn in order. A turn consists of (optional) movement, and then an action. So you can walk three tiles towards an enemy, then attack them as one turn. You can also spend your action as a 'run' to move one additional turn. A shaded area shows you where you can move:
Once you've used up your turn, it switches to the next person. Different character speeds may move more or less tiles each turn. And to make movement easier when there's no enemies around, you can switch to 'party mode' where you move your leader as normal, and everyone else follows you automatically.
This is... ok. Problems:
1. Equipping and unequipping is free, but you can only do it when it's that character's turn. This is unintuitive and confusing from the player's point of view.
2. Moving in party mode is still somewhat stilted, because you've got to take a turn, wait for monsters, then take another turn, etc.
3. People have a hard time grasping that they can only move the 'active' character. They keep trying to control it like an RTS or change the order of players.
These get worse (especially 2) when you consider moving around a friendly NPC village, where you end up taking semi-arbitrary turns to move around with seemingly no reason.
A. Say 'screw it' and have safe areas (NPC villages) operate completely differently from 'unsafe' dungeons. That'd be closer to something like Shining Force
(see about 5:30 for the transition from exploration to combat). However that means a certain amount of duplication of code/effort and goes against the roguelike idea of having everything behave the same way. I also can't do mixed areas (like hidden dungeons behind villages) easily or well.
B. Switch to a more Civilisation-like your-turn/their-turn/your-turn approach, and have all monsters take their turn together, and then all of your characters. Each character would have action points (a bit like Space Hulk) you'd spend as you ordered them around, but could issue the commands in any order. Doesn't really solve problem 2 though.
C. Keep the two different movement modes, but somehow fudge it so that party mode lets you move continuously, not in stilted turns like currently. This fixes 2, but not 3.
D. Something else? Suggestions welcome.