Created By: DragonQuestZ on April 10, 2012 Last Edited By: DragonQuestZ on June 25, 2012
Troped

Visual Initiative Queue

The next several turns in a turn based RPG are shown in a visual chart.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Name changed from "RPG Visible Turn Order Stack"
This tells us the battle goes The Hero, Boss, The Lancer, Squishy Wizard, Mysterious Waif, The Hero...

When the turn order in a video game RPG is shown in a way that shows the next several turns, usually shown with a stack or line of headshots of the characters and enemies.

Thus if Alice and Bob are at the first and second positions respectively, and the Blob Monster they are fighting is third, then they will each get an move, and then the blob monster gets a move.

This can have several effects. One is letting the player(s) plan out the next few rounds instead of one round at a time. Another is that someone's speed stat tends to become more prominent, as not only will faster characters get turns sooner, but can often get multiple turns within a round. Using spells that speed up and slow characters can thus turn a battle even moreso than other methods.

These can involve various amounts of Real Time with Pause.

Examples


Community Feedback Replies: 50
  • April 10, 2012
    nman
    Does the name need the "RPG Visible" in the title? "Turn Order Stack", or some synonym like list or display, seems like it would be enough.

  • April 10, 2012
    Deoxyribose
    • Final Fantasy Tactics: Pushing a button allows the player to see a list displaying the order the units will take their turn as well as when charged abilities like spells will go off. Understanding the basics of this is crucial to playing the game with any measure of success. If you're playing the painfully hard difficulty mod, you'll have to use as much information as you can get out of it to determine your actions if you want to win.
  • April 10, 2012
    Raso
    ^ no links to rom hacks and such....

    • Shadow Hearts does this from Covenant on, very useful in exploiting the boost system and knowing who to boost above enemy turns in the third game.
  • April 10, 2012
    sgamer82
  • April 11, 2012
    billybobfred
    Devil Survivor and Final Fantasy Tactics A2 both have this. Their speed stat is such that the turn stack changes with just about every action a unit takes.
  • April 11, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Did some Rolling Updates.
  • April 11, 2012
    Stratadrake
    I wonder if Final Fantasy X would make a better page image.
  • April 12, 2012
    ScanVisor
    Xenosaga features this in a limited way. (I believe it does not show when enemies go, only the orders the heroes will appear, someone else can feel free to do the research on this.) You can even use boosting to manipulate the turn order.
  • April 12, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ I looked that game up first, and the images didn't work. Any screencaps showing the PCs and the monsters just looked horrible when shrunk to wiki size.

    ^ Looked it up, and it seems that the third game does this.

    Also, not sure if the Grandia games count. Not just because the visible turn order is dynamic, but also because it only shows up to one round at a time.
  • April 12, 2012
    Chabal2
    You should mention that Final Fantasy X also shows the enemies' turns, I'm not sure if that's standard practice.
  • April 12, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Standard practice means it goes in the description, not one example.
  • April 12, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Okay, I don't know who keeps taking the "better name" tag off, or if it's a glitch removing it. But if it's the former, please explain why you think the name is fine.
  • April 13, 2012
    billybobfred
    I'm pretty sure it's a glitch. I've added several tags to another YKTTW and every single one falls off with a single edit.
  • April 15, 2012
    TBeholder
    Visible Initiative Queue?
  • April 15, 2012
    Someoneman
    In Radiant Historia, this is present. An important part of the battles is the ability to swap two of your characters' turns in order to do combos.
  • April 15, 2012
    Stratadrake
    I guess the main gripe I have about the current image is that it's so vertical (being from a DS game and all). Here's a wikisize FFX one.
  • April 15, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^^^ Thanks.

    ^^^ Well "initiative" has different meanings, especially in different RPG genres.

    ^ Again, the key elements are too small. The point of DS games is that they are small naturally, and make the key elements prominent. I can tweak the picture if you like.
  • April 17, 2012
    Stratadrake
    On the title front, this isn't technically restricted to RPG's, just turn-based systems. Something involving "Chart" would fit the "visible stack" portion of it with bonus points for being concise.
  • April 17, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ 1. What examples are there from other genres?

    2. It's not more concise. It's just using another word than "stack".
  • April 17, 2012
    DarkConfidant
    Wild Arms 3 implements this when battling using the sandcraft.
  • April 17, 2012
    madcapguy3310
    Sands Of Destruction for the DS puts the character portraits of the party and enemies in order of their turn.
  • June 14, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Would this make a better picture?

    The stack tells us the battle goes The Hero, Boss, The Lancer, Squishy Wizard, Mysterious Waif, The Hero...

  • June 15, 2012
    Huo


    A rare text only example is Monster's Den Book of Dread:

    The not quite sequel, game before the sequel, Monster's Den Chronicles plays this straight.

  • June 15, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Put a horizontal line below any pictures (just need four dashes). That, and keeping them left aligned, avoids glitches in the replies.
  • June 15, 2012
    NimmerStill
    I had no idea this was that common, but Blue Dragon does this, and shows enemies' turns too.
  • June 16, 2012
    Huo
    Thanks.
  • June 16, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    And looking at that picture, I don't think it would work. It's hard to tell what's going on, or even if it's an example.
  • June 16, 2012
    animeg3282
    Let's add context to those examples.
  • June 16, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Which ones? And for this trope, what do you think would count as good context?

    I used Sincerity Mode, since any actual help for this page is welcome.
  • June 16, 2012
    DarkConfidant
    Should I go ahead and directly add the one from Wild AR Ms 3 that I posted above?:

    Each of the four ship functions from the sandcraft in Wild AR Ms 3 (Helmsman, Harpooner, Gunner, and Deckmate) as well as the enemy being fought, have their turns outlined via this trope. As the ratio of turns each person or enemy gets is proportional to their RFX stat, it's possible for Fragile Speedster Virginia to get twice as many turns as Mighty Glacier Clive.

    It's also used in all battles in Wild AR Ms 4 and Wild AR Ms 5 as well.
  • June 16, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ It's rude to edit other's post on ykttw, unless a discussion is Up For Grabs or abandoned. I can add your info after launching this.

    But a shorter name would also be a good thing, as well as if this can work with other games that require taking turns.
  • June 16, 2012
    DarkConfidant
    I mentioned it about 10 posts up, and it seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle, which is why I asked.

    "Visible Initiative Queue" works well enough.
  • June 16, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ 1. Well I look through the posts after launching, so I would see it then.

    2. That's a good possibility.
  • June 16, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    To who put the double "Tropeworthy?" tags up (I tried taking the redundant one off, but it pulled both), this is part of the Video Game Interface Elements. This is letting one know how things will go in a turn-based game, and react accordingly.
  • June 16, 2012
    Rognik
    ^(x6) I think a bit of context, as in how the lists are displayed, would be best. Otherwise, it's just a random list. I'm not sure how much data is needed, but just a little something. For instance:

    • Radiant Historia uses the top screen to list the next 9 moves. After a little bit, you can even swap any two turns (hero or monster) to extend chains.
    • Persona 3 and 4 both let you view the order of turns by pressing a button. It then shows an overhead view of the battle, with whose turn is when displayed above the figure.
  • June 17, 2012
    BlackMageJ
    Trails in the Sky has a stack showing everyone's turn order for (depending on how many enemies are present) two or three 'rounds', and highlights where a character's next action will be after taking their turn (which varies depending on what they do). It also has icons next to some turns indicating that whoever acts then will get a bonus effect, such as a STR boost or guaranteed Critical Hit. Since the Limit Break style attack can be triggered at any time and allow the user to act immediately, it's useful to deny an enemy such a bonus and make use of it yourself.
  • June 17, 2012
    Huo
    Dragon Quest, if you are referring to the text example. That's why it's rare.

    It's no more confusing than the graphical counterpart if the images of the hero and the villains aren't obvious.

    The context seems straight forward once you know the definition of the trope.

    It's even using the classic example of red as blood. The red ones are obviously dead. The white ones are alive. The game is also not a JRPG and the portraits can be customized as is the names so the concept of which is the hero and which is not is not that important. The only thing that counts is there's a rare text version example.
  • June 17, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    "Dragon Quest, if you are referring to the text example. That's why it's rare."

    Being a bad illustration of a trope makes something rare? I think you might be confused as to what I meant.

    "It's no more confusing than the graphical counterpart if the images of the hero and the villains aren't obvious."

    That point is that a good page picture makes something obvious. So the hypothetical aspects of a picture doesn't matter.

    "The context seems straight forward once you know the definition of the trope."

    Not with the text too small to even tell the context.

    "It's even using the classic example of red as blood."

    How does who goes next in turn relate to bleeding? This is about turn order, not damage.
  • June 17, 2012
    Huo
    No, being a rare example of a trope makes something rare. I think you might be confused because your original statement said "hard to tell", not "bad". Mind you it's not actually that hard to tell in the actual game. There have been tons of comments for that game yet you'd have to search entire threads just to see someone saying that is hard to tell. Of course if you don't know the game, it is hard to tell but that is still a rare text example.

    I think you might also be confused by the picture. It's not there to illustrate the trope as a whole. It's there to illustrate how a rare text example portrays the trope.

    Who goes next in turn relates to death. If you know which dead character turns are being made irrelevant, you'd have a better idea if you're optimizing your attacks to benefit the turn order. Does this really need clarifying? There's even an X in the portrait. Death scenes are famous for their red hue to signify bloodied characters.

    Not to mention the text is not small at all. The picture is showing the entire battlefield. That's like complaining the example image with the stack portraits shows only the face.

    Not to mention that is no more a better picture than the text example. It is saved by the caption below it but both pictures would be unknown to people if they didn't know it was a page on turn order stacks.

    It's also worth noting that the text example takes up much less space which is a feature. Even in the sequel where the portraits are shown but take much less screen space than the above pic, it's still much harder to spot a face than a name.

    Remember unlike portraits, all a user needs is to get a shape of an R to recognize the turn in the text example. The portrait may be larger but unless each face is distinct, even two obviously different blonde portraits require a second to register.

    Still, even if it's hard to tell "to a person ignorant of the game", the point stands that being a text example - the reader is supposed to get an idea from the definitions and the other examples. The text example is just there to show how a text version can be done.
  • June 17, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Posting a picture on a ykttw is usually to propose it as the page picture. My replies before were based on that assumption. Since you're not, then my other comments are moot.

    If you just mean to post another example, it's best to leave it as a link (even if you upload it), so we can see more of what an example is explaining.
  • June 18, 2012
    Sligh
    Dungeons and Dragons facebook game; Avengers facebook game.
  • June 19, 2012
    CosmicRock
    • Arc Rise Fantasia features this as small icons on the bottom right of the screen to reflect action point decisions and give you an idea of how the battle will play out before you commit to the round.

  • June 19, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I guess that's a Downplayed Trope example, since it's still working in proper rounds.
  • June 20, 2012
    Hadashi
    Games

  • June 20, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Sort of. Whose action goes when is visible, and select-able, but I don't think you can tell whether the opposition or you will go first in any given turn.
  • June 20, 2012
    AtomicCascade
    MARDEK RPG uses this trope as well, displaying several turns worth at the top of the screen at a time.
  • June 21, 2012
    zennyrpg
    Since its a Video Game Interface Element isn't the word "visual" a bit redundant. I know that as a game mechanic this could be hidden from the player, but that could be a subtrope/ related trope. I also feel that Stack is a horrible word for two reasons: 1) most of these are horizontal 2) in computer science stack has a very specific and opposite meaning to what this is doing. Queue, as suggested above, is a much more expressive word and gels with the expected meaning. I also don't like Initiative because in many rpg systems thats a loaded word.

    My suggestion: Turn Order Queue
  • June 21, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ "Visible" seems redundant, but the point is you see exactly whose turn is coming up, which is a rare thing. Usually it actually is hidden in some way.

    But I agree that "Queue" is better than "Stack".
  • June 22, 2012
    zennyrpg
    Also part of the Atelier Series

    This concept is featured in just about every Gust Corporation game, other examples include:
    • Ar Tonelico Classic horizontal cards in the top left of the battle screen featured in most Gust Corporation games.
    • Mana Khemia 16 horizontal cards at the top left of the battle screen.

    Also in games
    • Wild AR Ms 5 Shows the characters and enemies attack order in the top right of the screen.

    An interesting note about Visual Initiative Queues are that some systems "compact" them showing only the enemies and the characters, while some insert blank cards to model the time passing between these actions take place. Many Gust games use blank cards to better model the battle time. In their system different types of attacks (weapons vs magic) may move the character further back in the queue adding strategy to what sort of attacks the player will choose to use in a given situation. Additionally, some attacks can knock back enemies, dazing them if they end up if they get knocked back far enough.
  • June 25, 2012
    theweirdKiddokun
    In Blue Dragon on the top of the screen tells the turns of the player and the monster.

    In Megaman Battle Chip Challenge is build on this idea.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=52y05ysnb3p2ievys40afr03