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a cinematic RPG combat experience?


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#1 Timo-san   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 06:56 AM

Hi there! I'm interested in discussing ideas behind a turn-based RPG game where combat not only feels real-time, but looks "cinematic." I've seen many RPG's and MMO's where avatars stand on the same spot, perform a static set of animations that cover attacking and defending and have floaty icons to reflect whether the avatar has survived something not covered in the animations. Granted, some of the better, more recent ones are close to what I have in mind (Final Fantasy 12 springs up as an example) but I'd like to hear ideas or game examples on the matter. Please bear in mind that this discussion is about turn-based RPG's and how we can make them look real-time and visually exciting while retaining the planning aspects. Now, to get the ball rolling; suppose that, during combat, anavatar can do this: • Roll or jump away from fireballs or lightning bolts cast by a mob • Grapple and shove away a mob who is trying to stab him/her • Push, shove or jab surrounding mobs to keep them at bay All of these (and more) could be handled by the avatar without any input from the player. It could be interpreted that the mobs in the examples simply "missed" their attack rolls (thus triggering these animations), or maybe the avatar has some defensive scripting (hard-coded or player-made) that interrupts what would otherwise be a successful attack. Looking forward to hearing from you. Tim

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#2 stonemetal   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 07:30 AM

One big thing is going to be rag doll physics mixed with randomized hit locations. That way characters respond realistically and not rely on caned animation for hits that land. I would skip the grapples if at all possible, most games that have it even as canned animation look bad(hands don't align properly on different models etc.)

#3 Bravepower   Members   -  Reputation: 130

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 07:47 AM

I've always been thrilled by this sort of idea. Judging from preview screenshots and videos, it looks like they'll be pulling this off with Final Fantasy XIII. Should be interesting to see how it ends up!

#4 jackolantern1   Members   -  Reputation: 158

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 02:51 PM

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Original post by Bravepower
I've always been thrilled by this sort of idea. Judging from preview screenshots and videos, it looks like they'll be pulling this off with Final Fantasy XIII. Should be interesting to see how it ends up!


I thought FFXIII was moving back towards a traditional semi-turn-based approach like they had before? If they are, that is kind of a shame, as I really liked the combat system in FFXII. I just didn't like having to collect Gambits. If I can tell my teammates to heal when I get down to 70% health, why could I not tell them to heal at 40%? It just didn't make sense.


#5 BriceMo   Members   -  Reputation: 617

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 08:15 PM

Could you be more specific with your question? You're looking for examples of visual fluidity in RPG battle systems?

It's an interesting question because those are contradictions, giving the player time to think out their moves while making it seem like a movie. So what you really want to do is give the feeling of a movie. You could do this in a couple ways, maybe make time slow down and speed up as you alternate action and decision.

#6 Bravepower   Members   -  Reputation: 130

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 07:15 AM

Quote:
Original post by jackolantern1
Quote:
Original post by Bravepower
I've always been thrilled by this sort of idea. Judging from preview screenshots and videos, it looks like they'll be pulling this off with Final Fantasy XIII. Should be interesting to see how it ends up!


I thought FFXIII was moving back towards a traditional semi-turn-based approach like they had before? If they are, that is kind of a shame, as I really liked the combat system in FFXII. I just didn't like having to collect Gambits. If I can tell my teammates to heal when I get down to 70% health, why could I not tell them to heal at 40%? It just didn't make sense.
Yeah, but weren't we talking about cinematic look and feel? FFXIII's battle system looks like a return to ATB, but the battle animations look fantastically fluid and interactive. Like the characters are moving around the field, and aware of their environment and relative positioning. They aren't just standing on one half of the battlefield in a line, rigidly responding to player input.

Off-topic: I like FFXII's system, but it doesn't feel like a numbered FF title to me since it strays too far from ATB (and favours overarching plot over character development, has no major romance... the list goes on :) ). It feels like a merging of Vagrant Story and an MMORPG. I could only really enjoy it when I ignored the Final Fantasy title; it should have been named Vagrant Story 2 or something. Admittedly it would have had far fewer sales thanks to branding, but it wouldn't have been so misleading. :P

#7 Iron Chef Carnage   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1840

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 10:22 AM

I just watched the FFXIII video, and it looks pretty smooth. I'm guessing I won't much like it, as I haven't gotten into FF games since the SNES days for whatever reason, but on the topic of cinematic combat sequences, it looks like it'll take the cake.

It seems like an awful lot of design and production resources dedicated to what's essentially fluff, especially if character positioning and range etc. don't factor meaningfully into the fight itself.

#8 wirya   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 08:18 PM

Quote:
Original post by Timo-san
Hi there!

I'm interested in discussing ideas behind a turn-based RPG game where combat not only feels real-time, but looks "cinematic."

I've seen many RPG's and MMO's where avatars stand on the same spot, perform a static set of animations that cover attacking and defending and have floaty icons to reflect whether the avatar has survived something not covered in the animations. Granted, some of the better, more recent ones are close to what I have in mind (Final Fantasy 12 springs up as an example) but I'd like to hear ideas or game examples on the matter.

Please bear in mind that this discussion is about turn-based RPG's and how we can make them look real-time and visually exciting while retaining the planning aspects.

Now, to get the ball rolling; suppose that, during combat, anavatar can do this:

• Roll or jump away from fireballs or lightning bolts cast by a mob
• Grapple and shove away a mob who is trying to stab him/her
• Push, shove or jab surrounding mobs to keep them at bay

All of these (and more) could be handled by the avatar without any input from the player. It could be interpreted that the mobs in the examples simply "missed" their attack rolls (thus triggering these animations), or maybe the avatar has some defensive scripting (hard-coded or player-made) that interrupts what would otherwise be a successful attack.

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Tim

I've got one idea for now.

The avatar rotates his/her body frequently to watch more closely the movements of every enemies around him/her. This can be used as a visual presentation of an effect which raises the chance to evade attacks.


#9 Timo-san   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 03:14 AM

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Original post by stonemetal
One big thing is going to be rag doll physics mixed with randomized hit locations. That way characters respond realistically and not rely on caned animation for hits that land. I would skip the grapples if at all possible, most games that have it even as canned animation look bad(hands don't align properly on different models etc.)


I agree with all points, though I'm sure there could be something out there to make grappling feasible. The big idea with grappling is not so much a man vs man scenario, but a man vs beast scenario, since beasts tend to drag down prey.

I've read about new ways to slightly alter a fixed animation so that certain body areas have semi-constrained effects applied. Like a walk cycle where the stride lengthens or shortens combined with adjustments to the hip, knees, and ankles to make the character walk up or down hill without making new animations. Hopefully, you could apply these semi-constraints for correct positioning of limbs in a grapple.

And then, there also new and expensive technology like Euphoria.

Quote:
Original post by BriceMo
Could you be more specific with your question? You're looking for examples of visual fluidity in RPG battle systems?

It's an interesting question because those are contradictions, giving the player time to think out their moves while making it seem like a movie. So what you really want to do is give the feeling of a movie. You could do this in a couple ways, maybe make time slow down and speed up as you alternate action and decision.


Yes, visual fluidity (I like that term!) in turn-based RPG's. Well, its not terribly contradictory, there are a few games that have achieved it through scripts and/or queuing moves. I imagine that you could come up with a system that mixes both. Like, say, you can queue up what specific offensive actions you would like to perform, but you also have some scripted general defense measures in case your opponents act before you or gain the upper hand. Or, maybe, those same actions individually have a kind of offense/defense value.

Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage

It seems like an awful lot of design and production resources dedicated to what's essentially fluff, especially if character positioning and range etc. don't factor meaningfully into the fight itself.


That is true, but when you consider the alternatives, it makes a game stand out so much more. I could give as an example (straying a bit from the RPG theme), the battle mechanics of Silent Hill 3 and Resident Evil (Gamecube version). In SH3 the main character just stood there swinging a weapon and taking hits (like most games), while the RE protagonists dodged, fought off opponents and overall seemed like they were actually in danger. SH3 is enjoyable in its own right, but how I wished that girl wouldn't look so static!

***

I'm looking up FF13 videos as I write this. I think its a shame that they've gone back to ATB. however, if its like some of you described, I'm sure it will be visually stunning. I did enjoy the battles in FF12 very much and wish more RPG's would work similarly. I too wished the gambit system was more developed.






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