Quick Time Events/Button Prompt in RPGs

CraneSoft

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Ahh… QTEs or whatever you call them - that one mechanic I’ve heard more hate than praise recently. Now let’s not talk about the “Press X to Not Die” shenanigans, rhythm battle systems that are built around precision timed hits, or the rage-inducing button mashers. Let’s say that you are only going to add them to a conventional turn-based RPG as additional flavor:

For one, it adds slightly more interactivity to battles, where you can do things like avoid taking major damage from certain dangerous attacks, forcing a critical hit, or struggling to break free quickly from certain status effects that prevent movement etc. by pressing the right button before a skill is executed, or even just as simple mini-games.

On the other hand, you could say it might break immersion and may reduce the importance of planning and strategy because your success now rely more on successful QTEs than the actual combat system.

What are your thoughts on QTE mechanic as a dev and as a player? Are you already using them or is this something you will add in your game when you feel its necessary?
 

standardplayer

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I think it can be done well, and done poorly, just like anything else.
Adding interactivity to stuff is more fun to me when it's conditional. If I don't have to, but I can, then I tend to like it.
Doing it during cutscenes is annoying. What if I put my controller down for a moment b/c I thought I had time?
RE4 = example of qte's I hated.
Shenmue = example of qte's I loved.
 

Eliaquim

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As a dev and player, I like it very much!
Like Resident Evil 6, I love that.
But you have to say to the player, that this will happen in the game. I mean, not tell them when it will happen, but that sometimes in the game, in the middle of the cutscene, it can happen.
I think its good on terror games because you can let the player focused in the cutscenes.
Also can do for action scenes, or to use a move in a battle to.
It all depends on the game and how this feature will be presented.
 

BK-tdm

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Optional QTEs that add some flavor to the cutscene in general is good, i actually reloaded a save so i could hug Leo in AC2 because not doing it made me truly feel bad, it made no difference in the gameplay or even the story but failing that silly interaction broke my heart.

Shenmue is a good example because nothing stops you from being a total klutz on your training cutscenes but doing the QTEs or failing them doesnt alter anything significative.

Now that we're in this topic if someone has a good way to add a QTE to a cutscene (not on battle as i dont use any turn system) i would appreciate it.
 

standardplayer

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@BK-tdm create an event that requires a switch to run, and is parallel while it runs. Set it to a conditional branch that checks input, on the last page of possible conditions. If the conditions passes, do something to signify it, like set a variable or flip another switch.
On a separate event that activates the first, also parallel, flip the switch to activate the first event. In that second event, after you flip the switch, wait (for example) 30 seconds and then turn it off, and check for results.


QTE's aren't too bad of an idea for RPG Maker projects, because there's so much need imo to do something other than just what the Maker is 'setup' to do
 

JosephSeraph

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99% of the time i have a fervent, uncontrollable and honestly disproportional hatred towards devs that put them in JRPGs mostly because it's always spawned by the same mentality that just makes me 120% MAD: "Turn based RPGs are inherently boring and the only way to make them work is to add [some sort of reflex challenge] to it"

Here's the thing though, generally speaking, people who play JRPGs aren't going in to have their reflexes challenged, but rather their resource management, minmaxing planning etc. Now, if that is what your game sets out to do, by being say, a TRPG and rhythm game hybrid (or with rhythm game elements), nothing against that! But that musn't be an "un-bored JRPG", it must be part of the core design. Just adding a "sprinkle" of reflex challenge to a standard, badly balanced JRPG isn't gonna make it any better,it'll just make it clunkier and boring most of the time.

Here's the thing; you may think you "fixed" this "boring" factor in the game by slapping this new, alien, gameplay mechanic in a pre-existing template (what most indie rpgs that want to go out of their way to add this sort of mechanic do) but you didn't fix any of the faults in your gameplay system, you just slapped a new feature thinking that'll fix it; it won't.

Now, there's some examples of games that do this in a really fun way: Fromt hings that are subtle like in Mother 3 -- how you can time your hits to the song and increase your damage (notice how it does not slow the game at all and isn't intrusive, but still fun) -- to designs whose very core is designed with this in mind such as Valkyrie Profile with its simpler-than-dragon-quest turn mechanics... that serve as the grounds for an amazing combo system that really feels satisfying to pull off (Valkyrie Profile is, sans the combo system, effectively much simpler than most rpg maker games)

so yeah idk. i have to go so i dont have time to turn this incoherent mess of a post into something that makes sense but

tl;dr: do that because it's fun and fits your game, not because "rpgs are boring and need something to fix them"
 

Aesica

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Ugh, I actually kind of detest QTE mechanics in RPGs. As a player, I tend to play RPGs when I want a story and some tactical/logic-based combat rather than twitchy reflex actions or having to press Street Fighter button combos to execute moves. Don't get me wrong, I like games like Street Fighter and have been playing SF5 casually over the last few months now, but I just...don't care for it in RPGs. I guess it feels like it breaks the immersion?

In FF6, Sabin was notorious for this, and the chance of failing the QTE required to execute his moves (and thus, wasting his turn) is why I often just benched him for more reliable characters, like his brother.

Back in my Flash days, there was an RPG series called Mardek which I thought was pretty well done--likeable characters, fantastic humor, and lots of customization/depth through skills and passives. However, the one thing that I felt dragged it down was having to time a button press to reduce damage or score critical hits. With. Nearly. Every. Single. Action. It wasn't too hard to do, but it became pretty tedious pretty quickly.

In a flawed-but-great-overall RM game I've been playing, all the limit break skills have QTE nonsense attached to them. It's pretty easy to execute them due to each having simple button combos and more than enough time to execute them, so I find myself wondering why they're even there.

Now, as a developer, all of my player biases toward QTE apply so I don't even consider adding crap like that into my games. If I feel reflex-based gameplay is necessary, I'd rather it be part of the actual gameplay rather than a "hold on, here's a lame minigame that will determine whether you dodge the spikes or not." I'd rather just...I dunno, have spikes the poke up and retreat at regular intervals, and have the player actually try to avoid them in the game.

Overall, I'll still play a game that has QTE crap in it, but it'll definitely be seen by me as a negative aspect rather than a positive one. Do not want.
 

rue669

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I usually like QTEs in certain situations, like scenes in games like Uncharted or Detroit: Become Human.

But I once played an RM game where every attack you did needed a QTE. That made battles really long and a chore. Even just a normal attack needed a QTE. I hated getting into battles. If it's certain skills that require a QTE then I think that's fine.

I'd use a QTE as seasoning.
 

CraneSoft

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It definitely looks like it is only hated because apparently a lot of the RPGs use it when it simply doesn't need them - like FFX (Why should you roll a slot machine every time I wanted to execute one particular limit break, and after awhile you get it right every time anyways so it gets REAL old, and you only get pissed off if you happen to fail them), or requires you to do it literally ALL the time.

Using it for every single attack you did...basically just reminds me of Legend of Dragoon where while the QTE IS a crucial part of the battle system, it also makes the battles feel extremely dragged out - in a bad way since you spend 90% of the time mashing a million buttons hoping to execute the strongest combo when a simple button or preset skill would have did the same. It kills the pacing and makes even normal encounters a chore, bosses literally take an eternity. The exact same thing ironically works for Valkyrie Profile - simply because it has fast-paced action and executed much better, leading me to believe that pacing is also the major contributing factor here.

Personally I have only experienced 2 RM games that use QTE - one that executes it real well and make me question their potential in RPGs, and another so atrocious I can't even beat the tutorial enemy.
 

Kes

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@BK-tdm and @standardplayer 'Game Mechanics Design' is explicitly not for asking about or discussing implementation questions. That belongs in the Support forum for the engine being used.
 

Wavelength

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I usually dislike these (thought not as fervently as some other members here) because they take me out of the relaxed, strategic gameplay that a good turn-based RPG provides, and keeps me feeling "on edge" that I constantly have to be prepared to hit a button on command.

With that said, sometimes your RPG is going for a different type of gameplay - for example my game timeblazer is all about skill expression and unpredictability. What I did with QTEs in this game was to present a QTE if the player just barely missed on a Critical Hit calculation (happens maybe 10% of all turns). The player gets the opportunity to turn that action into a Crit by winning the QTE. If they fail - no big deal, the skill has its normal, non-Crit effect. Playtesters seem to like this just fine.

One other thing I think we haven't used QTEs enough for is to force players to make a quick decision - for example, during cutscenes in your game, you could have three different options on the screen as the cutscene plays out, and give the player ten seconds to decide before a "default" is chosen (or even have the default be something entirely different than those three options - kind of an intentional non-action). Don't make any of the options far worse than the others, but give them different dialogue and narrative (and maybe small in-game effects). This creates intense moments, not to mention allows for a lot of expression, and makes the player feel like it's worth paying attention to the dialogue. It's very different from "Press X to Not Die", where the player feels like they are being forced to complete some arbitrary task just to keep playing the game.
 

TheoAllen

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I have no problem with QTE if it's really an action game where you actually have a lot of QTE going on.

But I DO have a problem if you mix them with strategy/planning type of game. Yes, turn-based games are planning type of games, relax, picking a choice, resource management, party management (probably), and putting QTE out of the blue just don't mix well. I would rather play a full action game.
 

MechScapeZH

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I might be in the minority, but I love QTEs- if they're done right. Even if it's the "press X to win" variety- but only if they're flashy. Things like Kingdom Hearts II''s Reaction Commands- press a button to see your character leap over the enemy and slash it in half or something.

Cinematic things like this can't be easily done within normal gameplay, so QTEs provide the developer to include these type of cool moments in the game.
 

Failivrin

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The problem with QTE is this is a rare mechanic that players cannot practice, and RPGs are all about practice, or repitition with subtle variations.

QTE is done badly if the QTE controls are more complex than the actual game controls.IIf the game is like Street Fighter, it makes sense that pressing X S T Q N in rapid succession produces a positive result, because the whole game is about button combos. Pressing X S T Q N in a shooter like Logan's Shadow makes no sense at all.

Rare games that used QTE flawlessly were the Prince of Persia series on PS2/PSP. It's a mechanic that enhances stealth. IF the player approaches an enemy without the enemy noticing, the player enters a QTE. Strong signals show that the QTE is occurring, including sound effects, slow motion, and the screen turning black and white. The QTE only occurs during stealth and combat, and the player tries to force the QTE event for a quick kill, so the player is never caught off guard when it happens. Best of all, the player uses ONLY the attack button. All that's needed are good reflexes to hit the button quickly. If the player succeeds, they kill the foe in one hit, and other enemies don't hear it. If the player fails, the foe throws them off and alerts the others.

Granted, these are action games. In the RPG genre, I can't think of many examples.
 

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