I think auto unpause is not mandatory. It is confusing and in strategic game you can never assume that player doesn’t want to do something after giving the orders like going into base or manufactoring screen.
However some improvements can be made easily :
Like previously said in this thread, a notification system for inactive ships. There is probably some complexity with wounded soldiers, base infrastructure to ensure a ship is really inactive…
A grouping system like you find in all RTS. Ctrl + 1 for group 1… You should be able to group several ships in one group. It will be simplier to planify multi ship missions with a grouping system.
The auto pause system should be more configurable. We could imagine configurable pauses on several events. Like inactive ships, heaven attacks, no arena scan running… of course all this things should be configurable. Some player doesn’t like to miss events and want to be always active especially in harder difficulty settings. Others just want to advance in game… Maybe you could find inspiration in rtwp rpg games like Pillars 2 or Kingmaker. The geoscape is not as complex as a combat scene in these games but it’s a fairly dense rtwp system… so there things in common.
Remove any kind of auto unpause or at least give an option to deactivate it. It’s very confusing in a complex game like PP where you can have lot’s of ships and base. It’s far more complex than Firaxis XCOM where you only have one base and one ship… i think you could let player in full control of activating timeline.
@Alturys: Looks like you are like me more a RGP player (and perhaps Tactical player) than grand strategy, or strategy player.
It’s possible that some grand strategy or 4X achieve implement a system with auto unpause and still coherent. Perhaps Endless Space did it, but it’s not the right example because it was using turns but real time during turns for enemies movements and actions (clearly to speed up the gameplay pace, but still weird, still great 4X for me).
In fact with one ship, PP system is coherent I think, but since 2 ships it’s absurd. I suspect it’s a last minute “fix” that get through quality review before release.
JA2 is an example of multi party tactical game, but it is mixing real time and turn based, They didn’t bother with auto pause, but they also didn’t bother with gameplay pace, in comparison with JA1 they only bother add as much features than possible, and do their best to design an UI around it (it’s a half fail) and didn’t bother one second on gameplay pace, when JA1 is much more coherent on that aspect. Not sure a modern game could do the last point, not without a huge negative hit on sells.
So if I agree on your suggestions coming a lot from RPG, I think it’s more complicated and this needs a quick fix.
It looks less complex to come back to previous game version that auto unpause only when all ships move or explore, the player can still unpause himself. And if it’s hard to understand and will look like a bug for many newbies, it will be more coherent than current system.
Once it is reverted then it could be improved and I bet this thread already include all suggestions from multiple players. Here the fix plan I would suggest:
Revert to system that auto unpause only when all ships move or explore.
First add auto switch to next idle ship, frankly I dislike this in combats, but ok, it will make the system more clear.
Later add player option for no autopause, and for ship auto switch enabled/disabled.
Later add two ship commands, REST (wait team on ship is fully restored), and WAIT (wait until next order). Plus a way to see it, for example show ships state (moving/exploring/resting/waiting) in ships menu.
Later add player options for custom pauses setup. For me the game pause at Heaven attacks, thankfully. But also when a Heaven build an elite soldiers structure which is frankly a bit bizarre for my way of playing the game. Or the game doesn’t unpause when a team at base is fully restored.
Later add custom binding, including one for pause command.