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Profiling games.


There's a lot of post on these boards about speeding up play. There's some arguments about how to do that, and what works, and whether there's an issue.

One thing I think that is missing is hard facts.

I work as a programmer. If I find that a program is running slow, the first thing I do is find out where the issue is.

Specifically, I run the program and time each and every thing it does. It's called profiling.

Now obviously we're not going to sit at the table with a pad and a stopwatch while we're playing, but there's lots of recordings of 4e games. It should be possible to take a stopwatch to THOSE.

Now, we're not going to record every event under it's own line, but we can run down the list of things we expect. At a rough guess of categories:

Table talk (only worth recording for interest's sake and to exclude it from other categories)
Dice rolling, reading and addition for:
player hit rolls
player damage
dm hit rolls
dm damage

Player->player changeover (time between the end of player a's turn to the start of player b's)
Player->Dm changeover
DM->player changeover

Movement choice (the amount of time spent moving a character around the board)
Power choice (the amount of time spent choosing which power to use)
Tactical choice (the amount of time spent choosing where the power goes and who it hits)
Condition tracking (the amount of time spent marking foes with condition and finding out what conditions effect a target and how they affect a dice roll)
Reaction time (the amount of time between saying "hang on, I'm going to do something" until you actually start picking out a power and targets)

Forgotten things (with a seperate sub-category for each thing that was forgotten)

Rules interpretation (any discussion about rules, including "how does X work" or "X doesn't work that way, and the time spent to correct any issues)

Table talk (non game chatter)

The intent is for these to be exclusive, and preferably to be broken down between player and DM.

I haven't actually done this yet, but I intend to go through a couple of the PA podcasts (towards the end, where they're familiar with the rules) and produce a breakdown.

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