The effects of actions in games often differ depending on when they are performed. This can occur because actions that always have the exact same direct effect have additional effects due to the game state or because the evaluation function for the effect depends on the current game state. In either case, the differences in effect make it possible for players to try and have Timing when they perform actions, so that they take maximum advantage of the possible actions.
Example: Platform games such as Super Mario Sunshine allow special variants of actions to be performed if the Timing between two presses of the same button on the game controllers is correct.
Example: Fighting games such as Soul Calibur or the Tekken series put heavy emphasis on Timing: it is required to successfully attack opponents before they parry and it is also required to parry incoming attacks. Further, special actions are triggered by the right Timing of what would otherwise be normal actions.
The advantage of Timing is present in both Turn-Based Games and Real-Time Games. For Turn-Based Games, the question of Timing is usually linked to making best use of Privileged Abilities and Delayed Effects, as well as efficiently using Geometric Rewards for Investments. Real-Time Games offer more variety in the ways of requiring Timing: Combat usually requires Timing through Combos or Aim & Shoot to succeed with Overcome goals; Capture and Configuration can require No-Ops and Aim & Shoot; and successful navigation to Deadly Traps, Obstacles, and use Moveable Tiles requires Timing. In Real-Time Games, the requirement of Timing several times concurrently with fixed intervals between gives rise to Rhythm-Based Actions.
Actions that can be executed with Timing allow for Game Mastery. In Turn-Based Games, the Timing is achieved by Stimulated Planning, often concerning how to use game elements together for Collaborative Actions. In Real-Time Games, the Timing is achieved by performing Dexterity-Based Actions skillfully.
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