Home Game mechanics Everything you need to know about RTwP games

Everything you need to know about RTwP games

by Katherine Shawney

If you play video games a lot and especially enjoy playing such genres as RPGs or strategies, you might have come across some titles which were also categorised as RTwP games. For many people this additional category adds a lot of mystery to their favourite game genres. Although RTwP is used a short form for describing real-time games with a pause, it is still not obvious how such a feature actually works in video games.

If you feel you need more explanation about RTwP, this article will provide you with necessary information.

What does RTwP mean?

Actually, if you think about pausing a video game, you will realise that almost any of them can be paused. Yet, we can’t call all of these games real-time ones with a pause since this genre is a rather niche one and there are not so many games which are real RTwP.

Making a pause in RTwP is not the same as in the games which do not belong to this genre. This is because, despite the fact, we can make pauses in other games, these pauses are used for letting us have a break. In RTwP games such breaks are a part of the gameplay and is used for giving orders to the characters of the game.

The major genres of the RTwP games and their essential features

As it has been mentioned at the beginning of the article, the two major types of video games which can be using the RTwP mechanics are strategies and RPGs. Let’s look closer at them.


One of the most popular real-time role-playing games is Baldur’s Gate. Both the first part of the game and the second one are using this system which allows the players to give their orders to the characters both in the real time and during the pauses.

Yet, the newest version of Baldur’s Gate was developed without the use of the RTwP engine. According to the senior designer of the game, Edouard Imbert, the RTwP system is rather messy, so the team of the developers switched to the mechanics of the turn-based system.

Apparently, many other RPG developers do not particularly like the real-time system with pauses, so, today, you will hardly find new releases using such a logic in their games. Many gamers also do not appreciate such system since it doesn’t look realistic and to some appear like cheating since you can make commands at your own path while the game is stopped.

Yet, if you enjoy playing RTwP RPGs or just would like to give them a shot, you should try some of the old games of this genre. For instance, pay your attention to Planescape Torment. Somewhat newer games of this genre is Pillars of Eternity. For more amazing titles, search Steam where you can easily point out that you are interested exactly in RTwP role-playing games.

The RTwP strategies

When it comes to the RTwP strategies, they are actually combining characteristics of two other types of strategies such as turn-base strategies and real-time strategies. RTwP strategies has some similarities with both of these genres, however, such games are unique in their own way which makes a separate genre which is rather niche.

The RT part in the names of RTSs and RTwP strategies means that both of these types of games are offering a possibility of playing in real time. Yet, the crucial difference between the two genres is the fact that you can make pauses in RTSs whenever you need a break and in RTwP strategies you have to make these breaks, otherwise the game won’t work properly. It is the same as with the game of chess which wouldn’t be able to function properly if both of the players would be able to make their moves whenever they want without changing their turns.

In fact, the pause system is introduced to many RTwP strategies in order to give the players an opportunity to make a stop and decide what to do especially in a rather critical moment. For instance, when you are experiencing some severe losses of your army, the game will give you a chance to think about your decision but letting you to pause the game.

The time given for a pause can be used for different purposes. For example, your enemies are abducting your character and his army and now, during the pause, you can give them orders. Your army will resume action after the break finishes. RTSs don’t care about their players feeling overwhelmed. In such games you won’t be able to give any commands if you make a pause.

RTwP might resemble of turn-based strategies since both of these types of games include time earmarked for thinking. Still, the great difference between is the fact that real-time strategies with pauses are working in the real time whenever the pause is finished while turn-based strategies are completely based on the duration of the turns of their players with interchanging time of moving and inactivity.

In case you would like to give a try to the strategies using the RTwP engine, check Hearts of Iron IV or Europa Universalis which are regarded to be some of the best games of this genres. In these games, you will get an amazing chance to control an entire empire observing its progress in the real time, yet, you will be able to take a pause and plan your commands.

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