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Why are RPG combat systems so boring?


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#61 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2678

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 10:18 AM

That reminds me of the system I was planning on using in a way. In my system instead of the wait time which active time bar act as. There is instead what I''ll call here action time. Thats the time it takes to complete an action. Once that amount of time has elapsed the action is considered completed. However its possible to interupt actions before there completed canceling that action. So the player tries to drink a potion the whole action takes a second. However in that time the opponets arrow strikes the victim. Injuring them and failed luck roll results in the potion being dropped and shattering on the ground.

So when the action time is running the character is considered waiting. While there waiting you can issue more orders to them. There is also recovery time which is the time it takes to recover from an action. The charater can be issued new orders until they recover.

So to use the above example.
- axe man decides to swing their axe.
- sword man decides to swing their sword.

Both action happen at about the same time and both people recive a minor injuries.

axe man then decides to perform an over the head chop.
the swords men however waits and when he see what the axe man is doing. Performs a quick thrust stabbing the axe man through the heart while he''s vulnrable, killing him.

It may seem a little akward but it will seem less so when its being used.


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#62 Iron Chef Carnage   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1840

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 10:32 AM

your example brings up an isssue I struggled with. When Axe is winding up for the big chop, and Sword waits a split-second before running him through, how does the player interact with that? It''s an easy thing to choreograph in your mind, but will the player have to issue a command every six hundredths of a second? That''s worse than what we have. My whole system was an attempt to streamline to process, so that a single "engage" command can result in four attacks and four defenses before the player has to act again. it gives the characters more autonomy, which has its ups and downs.

#63 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2678

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 10:38 AM

I think the simplest solution would be have combat run in slow motion. That would give the player the oppertunity to react in time even though the actual actions take only a second or two.

In fact you could have how slow the slowmotion is be ajustable by the player. So that they can change it to there liking. As well as that could lead to bragging rights. With player saying things like "I play on 1 second slow motion" and there friend replying "Thats noting I play with 1/10th of a second slow motion.



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#64 Iron Chef Carnage   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1840

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 10:40 AM

But with such tight control of every character action, right down to the specific slash or chop they perform, you may as well just make it an action game.

#65 DM0407   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 10:46 AM

Alot of the games mentioned are not exactly popular games, and like stated big game companies are not big risk takers and as such are not going to jump on an idea unless its a sure hit. Panetside is a game that tried to take this concept to MMORPG''s and didnt fail (i thought it was the first intesne MMORPG) but didnt catch on like the Everquest clones did. i think alot of companys live and die by the saying "If it ant broke dont fix it" and as far as there concerned, Everquest DAoC and Star Wars Galaxies still top the charts

#66 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2678

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 10:47 AM

true. But remember the old street fighter 2? There was a quick strong and fierce attack buttons. Why not incorperate something similir into an RPG?

Instead of just pressing X to attack the player could choose the kind of attack by pressing diffrent buttons. Z for quick, X for balanced and C for heavy. Like wise you could have defense buttons. A for dodge, S for block, C for Parry.

It seems to me that designer just has make simple choice when desining their combat system for games. To make it action oriented or Strategy oriented. Combing both may work but you lose the advantages of the two seperate concepts.

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#67 Iron Chef Carnage   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1840

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 11:09 AM

Didn''t XenoGears have something like that? You used action points to execute three different intensities of attacks. I liked the game, and the battles were fun, but the long, sfx-laden combos were a little dry after a few thousand instances.

Maybe if a "strong" attack gave your opponent a better chance of counterattacking or was effective less often, it would be worthwhile. Or if it took longer, perhaps.

I''m disinclined to cram a combat system full of cosmetic features and animations, because after fifty hours of game time, you''ve seen them all. I''d rather lose a battle in FFVII than summon the freaking Knights of the Round to win. It''s like five minutes of crap. At least have the decency to let the player disable the animations. In Ogre Battle 64, I almost never left the animations on, especially when I had a battle going on every six seconds.

#68 krez   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 443

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 08:08 PM

the "sword waiting a moment to see the axe charge up his strong attack" problem could be solved with an "attack if there is an opening" command right under the "quick light attack", "normal attack", and "chop them to hell" options.

of course you''d need a better name for it.

#69 Vendayan   Members   -  Reputation: 266

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 08:22 PM

I believe that Capcom's Kingdom Hearts did a very good job at doing what the OP was speaking of. You still gained levels and increased your abilities like in the Final Fantasy games, but the combat was all done in real time with a look not dissimilar to some other Capcom games such as Devil May Cry or DMC2. You even eventually learn not only new spells to cast but even new combat moves as you gain in levels. And it still kept the same RPG elements as the FF games but thankfully with not so many of those 20 minute long cutscenes.

P.S. To whoever mentioned Morrowind, I must say that the only combat difference between that in Everquest is that you actually had to click the mouse to get the sword to swing instead of standing there waiting. You still stood there looking stupid, just with a tired finger...

~Vendayan

[edited by - Vendayan on December 18, 2003 3:24:25 AM]

#70 Ingenu   Members   -  Reputation: 851

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 10:57 PM

Both sounds like the Grandia 2 battle system, and my own system, I described in several threads already.

Nothing really new, except it''s not the standard battle system.

What I mean is that cutting time into slices won''t help making the battle go smooth, only a real time battle system such as in Jedi Knight would, but that rely on Player''s skills, which most CRPG players don''t like.

-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-


#71 Dredge-Master   Members   -  Reputation: 175

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 11:09 PM


Three words
"Insult Sword Fighting"


You fight like a dairy farmer!

How appropriate, you fight like a cow!



#72 Spinoza   Members   -  Reputation: 103

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Posted 18 December 2003 - 05:56 AM

I think the balance that has to be found is between turning the game into a total twitch reflexes button fest that most fighters are and the non-emersive combat systems of just hitting the A key and letting the computer take over attacking. I didn''t mean an exact copy of soul caliber 2 or what ever fighter is your favorite. The important parts of those systems is the struggle for the control of distance between you and your opponent and the timing to innitiate a particular attack. I never want to see it digress into the complex button mashing that Soul Caliber and others are.
The part I want to see added is the tactical use of distance and the timing of attacks that are the backbone of most fighters. You dont have to have a complicated or difficult to produce attack system to produce that. Of course the more timing you add to a game the more server lag becomes a huge issue. But I think that is the next frontier in creating an immersive online RPG



#73 Ingenu   Members   -  Reputation: 851

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Posted 18 December 2003 - 07:56 AM

As soon as you can''t control movement, you''ve lost everything or almost.
No hit and run attack, no way to use range weapons before getting to close range combat... That''s stupid and that''s the thing to avoid.

NO BATTLE ARENAS !!!, like in FF and even Grandia 2 (although you can move your chars around in Grandia2 at least).
I also think that Diablo/Dungeon Siege systems are nice because of this, and the fact you control what''s happening frequently even though it''s the character skills that are used.

Yet to date, my favorite PC game is probably Outcast, which uses realtime 3rd and 1st person ''battle''. (no arena either)


-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-


#74 Iron Chef Carnage   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1840

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Posted 19 December 2003 - 05:37 AM

Movement is only part of it. In Fallout, you could run anywhere you want to, if you have the action points. What I wanted, though, was to grab some cover around a corner and crouch down and shoot guys while exposing about 7% of my body for them to shoot back. That''s way better than just havng enough HP and armor to stand in front of a freaking chaingun.

Get some environment interaction in there, and I''ll be delighted.

krez, the "look for an opening and kill the guy" might be better implemented as a "mindset" command. Set it up as "always seek to kill the other guy to the best of your ability" or "bring him in alive" or "minimize contact" at some point in the battle, maybe make it an option with every "action turn". That way, counter attacks and stylistic decisions would be worked in. How many times have you been trying to get that enemy down low enough that you could capture or recruit it, only to have your knight score a critical hit and wipe it out? Tell your guys to shoot to maim, and that problem goes away.

Seems to me that there are two schools of though in the thread, and they''re basic disagreements are overcomplicating the discussion.

On one hand, we''ve got those who want to have maximum, action-style control over the characters. Issues like preserving role-play and the influence of character attributes vs. player skill are relevant to them.

On the other hand, we have those who, like me, want to preserve the RPG "hero attacks orc" format, but evolve it beyond twenty-sided dice and armor classes. For us, issues like proper representation of character actions and skills are the key issues.

These two discussions are bumping into one another and getting their wires crossed, so nobody is really making progress here. What to do...

#75 Abbacabba   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 19 December 2003 - 06:53 AM

I don''t think there would ever be a *best* RPG combat system. Its too much a matter of personal taste. If you want true control over EVERY action play a P&P RPG.

If you want something nice to look at your going to have to give over some control to a computer.



The problem was stated very well in the original post.

There is the action side: You make every move.. the player lives and dies by your skill to mash buttons.

And

There is the choose an action side: You decide what type of move to make and its all done using #''s and given a (over simplified)graphical representation.


Personally I like the type of system defined by Iron Chef Carnage. Although it would be hard to define the whens/wheres you get to set actions up at.

I would think that if you implimented his system with TechnoGoth''s timeing system(you choose how fast the action happens) you could have a good system.

***************************
Also, for me RPG games should hopefully start to add in more quality AI for non-combat interactions. For me I would much rather have quality realistic reactions from NPC''s than see a game(RPG) with a great combat system and go back to Dragon Warrior level NPC interaction

I really enjoy Morrowind, even though the combat system has a simplistic look it *is* a good example of a blended combat system. The damage is figured mostly using stats but its up to you to determine what weapon, when and how to swing it.

But after about 5 hours of playing it I really turned to the NPC and quest aspect of the game, not fighting(which I still enjoy).

******


I guess I really didn''t add any thing to help out, but really just wanted to point some stuff out. I''ll try to work up a technical/gameplay overview of my optimal RPG combat system and post it up in afew days.











#76 Washime   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 19 December 2003 - 07:28 AM

How about something like this...

Allow a player to ''design'' a personality for the character... Do this at character creation and allow minor tweeks to it when they ''level''.

Do things like...

1) How defensive is the character? (Have a slider bar that goes from 0-100) The more defensive the character, the harder it is to hit, but the less damage they do...
2) What is the Characters stance on killing? (Always, When Necessary, Not if it can be helped and never) And allow this to determine if the opponent is actually killed (Always = always, When Nec = when health below 3/4s, etc).
3) Favorite Maneuver 1-3 (for primary weapon). Increases the odds that this maneuver will actually happen in the combat queue.
4) Favorite Maneuver 1-3 (for secondary weapon) See #3
5) Personality Traits (Flamboyant, Calm, Confident, etc) and allow that to modify the maneuvers and defensive rating (a Flamboyant character is more likely to leave openings for attack than a calm character). It probably should be allowed to pick a couple of these, but certain ones would rule out others (like passionate and cold ).

Leave certain things up to the players, like tactics, down time, quest selection, and even most of combat... Just force it to be modified by their ''personality'' when they do.

Allow them to develop a history during character creation that allows them to pick a birth place, parents, current status, etc from a list of available options.

I am sure that others can come up with more, but in general allow the player to ''define'' the character more than just an avatar and stats... Give them (and others) a reason to like and/or hate their characters. But certainly do not turn it into an action game pretending to be a RPG

#77 WiseElben   Members   -  Reputation: 250

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Posted 19 December 2003 - 07:46 AM

quote:
Original post by benfinkel
Hello all,

As a big fan of RPG games, I was wondering why their combat interfaces are usually so boring.

The subject is usually brought to mind when watching my characters defeat some orcs in Dungeon Siege, or (god forbid) the repetative snake-bashing of Everquest. To me, a game is supposed to be an interactive fun experience. Here are my thoughts on the matter:

There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to combat.

On one side you''ve got the people who want it to be a completely dice-roll kind of system. You spend hours developing your character pefectly, getting all of the right magic equipment and spells, so that he is a master with that sword. It doesn''t matter that you, as the player, have no idea how to use a sword. There''s the appeal; a handicapped person can become a master swordsman without having to be highly coordinated or reflexive. You''ve built a character that handles all of that for you. The down-side seems to be that combat is a boring thing. You may make a few choices about when to pause and drink a health-potion, but generally the game handles all of the interesting stuff.

On the flip side, you''ve got a totally action-oriented system where it''s ENTIRELY up to the player to be quick, reflexive, and coordinated. Think Soul Caliber, where the player must know what attack combinations to use at which point, and must be able to execute them in a timely and correct fashion. The down-side to this is that there is no RPG element. If you''ve got a few magical enchantments that increase your skill with the sword, and your character is level 75 and spent all of his skill points in swords, you as the player are still not any better at it.


So, why hasn''t anyone tried to devise a system that marries the two?

Thoughts for the day. Apparently this is what too much Turkey does to you.

-Ben




The game that I''m working on, and RPG named Dyne, will use your two ideas together. You will get to combine weapons, train until you master a weapon, Dyne, magic, ect. Then, you will have to use your reflexes and skills with the keyboard to do the attack. So if you entirely press [Space], your character will still have a chance of hitting, but the hit will be a lot less.



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#78 Veovis   Members   -  Reputation: 446

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Posted 19 December 2003 - 10:13 AM

It was mentioned having different defensive options of Dodge, Block, and Parry.

Dodge is fairly obvious... but in a game, what would be the differences in effect between performing a block and a parry? They''re both thwarting the enemy attack ... how would you make them unique, and best applied to special circumstances?

I ask because I''m trying to develop a combat system, and up until now I''d only ever considered using one of the two.

#79 krez   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 443

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Posted 19 December 2003 - 12:27 PM

i would consider a block to be stoppping an attack from hitting, and a parry to stop the attack and give the parry-er a slight timing advantage over the parry-ee (i.e. for a counter attack or something). maybe throw in a small percent chance of disarming through parrying.

#80 Iron Chef Carnage   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1840

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Posted 20 December 2003 - 10:44 AM

I''m pretty sure krez is right. A block is simply getting hit without taking damage, i.e. stopping his sword with your sword, or your shield, or even taking the hit on a strong part of your armor. A parry implies that you are somehow overcoming his attack such that you gain control of the situation, which is why parry is usually paired with riposte. You never hear anyone say, "block-riposte". But that might just be a linguistic nuance.

In "Kengo", the "parry" was more like a throw. Your character stepped into the attack and used his support hand to grab the enemy''s sword arm and swing him around. It didn''t even resemble a "block".

Washime, that''s an interesting idea. Would the character autonomously conduct dialogue or NPC interactions?




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