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Turn Based Action Economy


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#1 00Kevin   Members   -  Reputation: 222

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 11:56 AM

I'm currently making my first turn based tactical combat game and I'm interested in your feedback.

 

So far I've grouped all actions into 4 categories

 

1. Offensive

2. Defensive

3. Movement

4. Incidental   (for actions like falling prone, taking cover,  or opening a door)

 

Actions are managed by action points.  Every unit gets 2 action points per round which can be spent on offensive, defensive, or movement actions.   Incidental actions are free actions. 

 

What this means is that in one round you can

 

1.  move, attack

2.  move, defend

3.  move, move

4.  defend, attack

5.  attack twice

6.  defend, defend   (full defense)

 

At the moment, I just need to figure out how my 6 armed troll will attack.   At this point I might have to create several action points per category, but I'm not sure I like how complex it seems to make the system.     

 

 

Can any of the experts here suggest a better action economy?


Edited by 00Kevin, 26 March 2013 - 11:57 AM.


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#2 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4533

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 02:50 PM

You don't have a buffs/debuffs/charge up for next turn category?  But I personally like systems where actions cost AP varying from 1 to 10, and a normal unit has somewhere between 5 and 8 per turn, and you can do however many you can afford, so different combinations of moves are optimal for different units.  In that kind of system MP are separate, except that your AP abilities can give you more MP or require you to sacrifice MP.


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#3 PyrZern   Members   -  Reputation: 247

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 11:52 PM

Apart from what you already, and the one that you can whatever with what ever action points you have, the alternative is this.....

 

Each turn, a Unit gets 3 different Action Points.

1 Action Point for Movement 

1 Action Point for Action (Offensive or Defensive)

1 Action Point for any of the two.

 

This way, each turn, a unit can ...

Attack Attack Move

Move Attack Move

Move Attack Attack

Attack Move Attack

and such.

 

This will somewhat encourage players to utilize terrains and covers and flanking and positioning their soldiers, and not just keep attacking until one is dead.



#4 00Kevin   Members   -  Reputation: 222

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 08:18 AM

You don't have a buffs/debuffs/charge up for next turn category?  But I personally like systems where actions cost AP varying from 1 to 10, and a normal unit has somewhere between 5 and 8 per turn, and you can do however many you can afford, so different combinations of moves are optimal for different units.  In that kind of system MP are separate, except that your AP abilities can give you more MP or require you to sacrifice MP.

 

This is a good idea.   I actually was toying with this concept the other day, but I just don't know what each unit could possibly spend them on each turn.   

 

 
One idea I had was that attacking with a weapon would cost you one action point.  This might serve to balance out dual wielding (1 point each).  In addition, movement could cost you 1 point for every 2 squares (or more depending on unit movement rate).   As you move your character you see your action point total reduce.
 
Currently, my attack actions all have options.  Each unit has by default one Action per hand with options that are dependent on the weapon equipped (slash, bash, stab, shoot, hack, grab (available when unarmed), subdual, etc.   What this means is that the player selects a target, selects his weapon attack, and then picks an option.    
 
Things like trip, disarm etc are all untrained options available to all units by default.   Feats/Talents only serve to improve them.  Weapon types also improve upon these default abilities.  


#5 00Kevin   Members   -  Reputation: 222

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 08:26 AM

Apart from what you already, and the one that you can whatever with what ever action points you have, the alternative is this.....

 

Each turn, a Unit gets 3 different Action Points.

1 Action Point for Movement 

1 Action Point for Action (Offensive or Defensive)

1 Action Point for any of the two.

 

This way, each turn, a unit can ...

Attack Attack Move

Move Attack Move

Move Attack Attack

Attack Move Attack

and such.

 

This will somewhat encourage players to utilize terrains and covers and flanking and positioning their soldiers, and not just keep attacking until one is dead.

 

I like this design.    Especially the Attack, Move, Attack option.    Far too many systems just end movement once you attack.

 

I just think I need more options for Defensive actions.  So far I only have Dodge and Tumble.    Actions like parry, disarm,  or block are provided per weapon.    If you have a shield you can block or shield bash with it.   If you have two weapons you can make a parry with one and disarm with the other, or even make a parry with each weapon.   The reason for this design is that I have weapons and shields that provide different bonuses to parry and block attempts.   

 

I just need to find a system that fits elegantly with my design and doesn't over complicate things.   So far the added touch of realism is making this game a little more complex than I had anticipated.  



#6 Orgogok   Members   -  Reputation: 117

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 10:28 AM

I just think I need more options for Defensive actions.  So far I only have Dodge and Tumble.    Actions like parry, disarm,  or block are provided per weapon.    If you have a shield you can block or shield bash with it.   If you have two weapons you can make a parry with one and disarm with the other, or even make a parry with each weapon.   The reason for this design is that I have weapons and shields that provide different bonuses to parry and block attempts.   
 
I just need to find a system that fits elegantly with my design and doesn't over complicate things.   So far the added touch of realism is making this game a little more complex than I had anticipated.  

 


Hey,

Can you clarify how the combat/turns works?
As you have a "defensive" move, does your game resolve the turns of each player at the same time?? (frozen synapse)
Then your resource currency is time (ms?), which works not very differently to sunandshadows suggestion.

I also work on a concept for a turn-based MP and i came to the conclusion to use two fixed actions
per turn, too. Managing multiple units as a team should be as intuitive as possible without the player having
to calculate much.
It also depends on the scale of possibilities for the player. Having only a party of 4 can have a more detailed,
complicated system while if the player has a lot of other stuff to do you should dumb it down a little.

BTW: the new XCOM works great with only 1 or 2 actions per unit. It is a shooter, though, and you seem to focus on melee.
 



#7 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4533

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 01:58 PM

Yeah, the thing with buffs and debuffs is you don't want the player to have to use them every turn, it gets annoying fast.  You want to do something like, the player uses "entrench", they gain a defense bonus as long as they don't move, vs. the player uses "hyper", they gain extra movement but lose attack effectiveness.

 

While it's boring if everyone stops moving as soon at they reach the enemy, it's also annoying if everyone's moving all the time.  IMO the idea would be to have two different strategies, one promoting movement and one restricting movement, and the player would be encouraged to build one or more units to maximize each strategy; sort of like having an agile rogue class vs. a paladin/tank class, and probably a third DPG/glass cannon class who has all distance attacks and avoids letting the enemy get close.


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me.

#8 00Kevin   Members   -  Reputation: 222

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 09:06 AM


I just think I need more options for Defensive actions. So far I only have Dodge and Tumble. Actions like parry, disarm, or block are provided per weapon. If you have a shield you can block or shield bash with it. If you have two weapons you can make a parry with one and disarm with the other, or even make a parry with each weapon. The reason for this design is that I have weapons and shields that provide different bonuses to parry and block attempts.

I just need to find a system that fits elegantly with my design and doesn't over complicate things. So far the added touch of realism is making this game a little more complex than I had anticipated.



Hey,

Can you clarify how the combat/turns works?
As you have a "defensive" move, does your game resolve the turns of each player at the same time?? (frozen synapse)
Then your resource currency is time (ms?), which works not very differently to sunandshadows suggestion.

I also work on a concept for a turn-based MP and i came to the conclusion to use two fixed actions
per turn, too. Managing multiple units as a team should be as intuitive as possible without the player having
to calculate much.
It also depends on the scale of possibilities for the player. Having only a party of 4 can have a more detailed,
complicated system while if the player has a lot of other stuff to do you should dumb it down a little.

BTW: the new XCOM works great with only 1 or 2 actions per unit. It is a shooter, though, and you seem to focus on melee.

Turns are resolved one at a time. However, each unit has a reaction. If a unit is not in range to attack it can "Guard" (like over-watch in XCOM) until a unit moves within range that it can attack. When that happens enemy movement is interrupted and the unit that readied the action can respond (that response is automated).

The focus of my game is both melee and ranged attacks. The melee requirement has made me realize that I need to punish units who flee from melee combat. To this end, I've created a defensive action called "Disengage" that allows you to pull away from someone you are engaged with. It allows you to move away 1 square. You can still move away at your full movement if you don't "disengage" but you risk taking an attack from everyone around you. The other defensive action I have is called "Dodge" it's a passive ability that gives you a bonus to avoid the next attack. Blocking with a shield and parrying with a weapon work the same way. Of course, you can block a missile weapon with your shield, but you can't parry it with your weapon.

So far I've taken sunandshadow's suggestion and I'm currently experimenting with 5 action points per turn. The reason is that most units have at least 2 attack actions per round and they still need to move. Movement costs 1 action point per 2 squares. This means that you can move a total of 6 squares and attack with both weapons, which I think is reasonable. What I really like about this is that if your unit was knocked prone you only have to spend 1 action point to stand back up (a move action) and you can still move a bit more and attack.

Edited by 00Kevin, 03 April 2013 - 09:34 AM.


#9 00Kevin   Members   -  Reputation: 222

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 09:25 AM

Yeah, the thing with buffs and debuffs is you don't want the player to have to use them every turn, it gets annoying fast.  You want to do something like, the player uses "entrench", they gain a defense bonus as long as they don't move, vs. the player uses "hyper", they gain extra movement but lose attack effectiveness.

 

While it's boring if everyone stops moving as soon at they reach the enemy, it's also annoying if everyone's moving all the time.  IMO the idea would be to have two different strategies, one promoting movement and one restricting movement, and the player would be encouraged to build one or more units to maximize each strategy; sort of like having an agile rogue class vs. a paladin/tank class, and probably a third DPG/glass cannon class who has all distance attacks and avoids letting the enemy get close.

 

I'm really trying to avoid encoding all the typical combat roles from my game.  IMO, roles are passe now.     Actually, I'm not even sure I'll be using classes either.    

 

I agree that if everyone is moving all the time it can be annoying.  Using squares that are "threatened" might help prevent this.    You can move your unit in and attack, but in order to move away after you are engaged you have to spend an action to "disengage".   If you don't spend an action you'll be attacked as you move out of range.    I've also included the tumble action which allows you to move through threaten squares with a bonus to defense, but if you get hit you are stopped and knocked prone.  

 

What I'm worried about is that you can't automatically end the turn once the unit has completed its attack.   The player must press the Next button to continue.  In XCOM, the game automatically ends movement once the attack is made,  this keeps the game moving.


Edited by 00Kevin, 03 April 2013 - 11:33 AM.


#10 Orgogok   Members   -  Reputation: 117

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 04:44 AM

Your concept seems to add up nicely. When doing micro management in small steps, you need to remember that this way you cannot let a player control many units at the same time.

What sunandshadow suggested was a 1:1 relation of movement squares and action points. Units have each a different amount of action points, which represents their agility. Attacks all differ in cost. (PoxNora)

You dont need to have multiple actions for multiple attacks, btw. In Battle for Wesnoth a unit hits several times in one attack, (rolling for each attack separately).

 

 

Also, i want to point out that combat roles imho are..  a lot of fun. It is important that you have unit types specialized for certain tasks (classes), which the players can easily identify from the visuals. It adds flavor and tactical depth. Id research a little in that area.

 

 

PS: i hope i do not appear to be mansplaining, im actually an amateur, too smile.png


Edited by Orgogok, 06 April 2013 - 04:45 AM.


#11 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4533

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 05:06 AM

I don't actually like classes.  By which I mean prescriptive classes, the usual kind.  Descriptive classes are cool but you rarely see those.  Much like with prescriptive and descriptive grammar, the first is the only one you ever hear about, while the second is actually interesting because it's more anthropology and less preaching rules.  Combat roles are related to both concepts.  When the game designer says "there are going to be combat roles A, B, and C, we'll carefully balance them and nerf any unexpected stuff that crops up," yeah that's boring.  But when you look at strategy and game theory in an anthropological way, as methods humans use to solve problems, you find that a combat role for a unit emerges naturally depending on how the player is attempting to use that particular unit.  There just aren't that many things to do in combat, and the whole point of the game is to challenge the player to find an approach that is efficient yet flexible, or a set of approaches for different puzzle-like situations.  Combat roles should be the player's tools that they play with in the game.


Edited by sunandshadow, 06 April 2013 - 05:06 AM.

I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me.

#12 Orgogok   Members   -  Reputation: 117

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:05 AM

great point!

Then lets not say "unit types for certain tasks". Its more of unit types with simple but unique abilities (the puzzle pieces). But i find it important to not make them only here a little faster and there a little heavier hitting.



#13 00Kevin   Members   -  Reputation: 222

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 10:05 AM

Your concept seems to add up nicely. When doing micro management in small steps, you need to remember that this way you cannot let a player control many units at the same time.

What sunandshadow suggested was a 1:1 relation of movement squares and action points. Units have each a different amount of action points, which represents their agility. Attacks all differ in cost. (PoxNora)

You dont need to have multiple actions for multiple attacks, btw. In Battle for Wesnoth a unit hits several times in one attack, (rolling for each attack separately).

 

 

Also, i want to point out that combat roles imho are..  a lot of fun. It is important that you have unit types specialized for certain tasks (classes), which the players can easily identify from the visuals. It adds flavor and tactical depth. Id research a little in that area.

 

 

PS: i hope i do not appear to be mansplaining, im actually an amateur, too smile.png

 

Rolling all the attacks up into one click event for the user might not be possible for my game.      I've been experimenting with different designs and I'm starting to realize that forcing the user to attack once won't allow the user to attack move and then attack again in one round.    In addition,each unit in my game has the ability to attack with each weapon they are carrying      This is important for my game because of the weapon type vs armor type rules I've created.     A bashing weapon vs chain mail will do more damage than a slashing weapon vs chainmail.     There might be a way of automating these tasks for the user, but I'll have to give that some more thought.

 

What I've done at this point is assign a MaxUseCount per action per unit turn.    What this means is that some actions can be perform once per turn and others are only limited by the action point count.   

 

One thing I'm debating right now is how to implement actions like parry and disarm.     I started out by placing each of these actions under each weapon attack.   That way if you had a dagger in one hand and a sword in the other, you could parry with one weapon and disarm with the other.        I think that's a real choice in combat that I can give the player, but building it into the action system is a bit confusing.      

 

For my game I really don't want combat roles that are linked / hard coded to each classes.   I don't want a fighter to always be a tank.   I want the concept of combat roles to be something the player does during his build / level up process.  I mean what is wrong with a wizard who is a tank?    If I do have classes, then each class will be able to support any role.     I also want mixed role concepts to be just as viable as single role builds.     I may even want to support multi-classing.   

 

 

 

 

 

.   


Edited by 00Kevin, 07 April 2013 - 10:06 AM.


#14 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6112

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 01:01 PM

At the moment, I just need to figure out how my 6 armed troll will attack. At this point I might have to create several action points per category, but I'm not sure I like how complex it seems to make the system.

 

Please define the problem: As far as I see this, you can still make the 6 armed troll a regular attacker with a different attack pattern. "Descent: Journeys in the Dark" 1st Edition solves this by giving the Giant a "sweep" attack which basically hits all of its adjacent enemies rather than a target.

 

But I personally like systems where actions cost AP varying from 1 to 10, and a normal unit has somewhere between 5 and 8 per turn, and you can do however many you can afford

 

It depends on how many units you plant to interact on the same level at once. If only 4-5 units coexist on each side, this could be viable. Any more though, and you'll risk confusion, longer turns, and overall lack of involvement in the gameplay. It depends if the scope of your game is to depict War or Battles. Inherently, this relates back to whether you depict heroes, or units.

 

This is a good idea. I actually was toying with this concept the other day, but I just don't know what each unit could possibly spend them on each turn.

 

You could have certain actions cost 1 or 2 APs. That would help you balance things out (rather than put 3 APs which could lead to longer turns).

 

I like this design. Especially the Attack, Move, Attack option. Far too many systems just end movement once you attack.

In "Descent: Journeys in the Dark" They've solved the matter more elegantly. Rather than give too many actions, they've given the players and monsters, they've made it so that an action spent moving gives you movement points, and that you can spend these movement points before and/or after attacking. This gives you to ability to rush in and attack, or attack and run away, or even move forward, strike and then return into formation. VERY fun and intuitive to use.

 

The reason for this design is that I have weapons and shields that provide different bonuses to parry and block attempts.

To my first question, it appears your focus is on smaller scale battles with actual Dueling?

 

the new XCOM works great with only 1 or 2 actions per unit. It is a shooter, though, and you seem to focus on melee.

Exactly my point: 2 actions is best. Besides, XCOM actually uses several melee scenarios ranging from dedicated enemy units that fight only upclose (actually two types), the need to capture enemies alive with melee weaponry which forces more stealth, the lovely shotgun units that could technically fire from afar (but can you really resist that 100% hit 100% critic rate from upclose?) and the ability to tank on the damage with dedicated meatshields (thank you S.H.I.V.s!).

 

Yeah, the thing with buffs and debuffs is you don't want the player to have to use them every turn, it gets annoying fast. You want to do something like, the player uses "entrench", they gain a defense bonus as long as they don't move, vs. the player uses "hyper", they gain extra movement but lose attack effectiveness.

XCOM uses the regular cover system from other games. Basically, where you move matters more and provides you with cover (walls, debris, etc) which make you harder and harder to hit depending on how much junk there is between you and them. The cover is also destructible for more fun. I think its better than having to skip actions to buff. The one action I really think works well though is the one where you hold off your fire and hit the first thing that moves in sight.

 

To this end, I've created a defensive action called "Disengage"

Love it, plus, you created that for the right reasons. Now I wish D&D had a disengage action...

 

The other defensive action I have is called "Dodge" it's a passive ability that gives you a bonus to avoid the next attack.

Generally speaking, the best defense is a good offense. Do you have tangible scenarios where a player would choose to play that Dodge as part of a greater strategy? (Luring the opponent's attacks perhaps?)

 

What I'm worried about is that you can't automatically end the turn once the unit has completed its attack. The player must press the Next button to continue. In XCOM, the game automatically ends movement once the attack is made, this keeps the game moving.

XCOM uses a lot of hotkeys too, besides, tactical games are less action-oriented, so players tend to be forgiving. In fact, they might forgive you more as it may give them the ability to repair costly mistakes (such as attacking without taking cover first and then slap their forehead).

 

Your concept seems to add up nicely. When doing micro management in small steps, you need to remember that this way you cannot let a player control many units at the same time.

What sunandshadow suggested was a 1:1 relation of movement squares and action points. Units have each a different amount of action points, which represents their agility. Attacks all differ in cost. (PoxNora)

You dont need to have multiple actions for multiple attacks, btw. In Battle for Wesnoth a unit hits several times in one attack, (rolling for each attack separately).

You could have each attack cost 2 action points too, or even scale up to 3. I personally consider the attack to be the culmination of a unit's turn and want my units to be able to either make a strike or a decisive abilities (once) and move and make minor actions. I can see this current system as something that could potentially drift with players attacking 3 times in a row (which, imo, would be boring).

 

Also, i want to point out that combat roles imho are.. a lot of fun. It is important that you have unit types specialized for certain tasks (classes), which the players can easily identify from the visuals. It adds flavor and tactical depth. Id research a little in that area.

Agreed. Tactcal warfare still takes considerable advantage over these. The bare minimum is something that moves fast, something that can sustain damage, and something that deals a lot of damage. From these 3 spurs organic strategies. Everything else is gravy :)

 

But when you look at strategy and game theory in an anthropological way, as methods humans use to solve problems, you find that a combat role for a unit emerges naturally depending on how the player is attempting to use that particular unit. There just aren't that many things to do in combat, and the whole point of the game is to challenge the player to find an approach that is efficient yet flexible, or a set of approaches for different puzzle-like situations. Combat roles should be the player's tools that they play with in the game.

Well I'm not sure I understand your point. The Chariot was purposely used as a mobility advantage for efficient warfare. It really filled a role, and it was a unit class (so much in fact that it became a SOCIAL class as well in Ancient people). My field of studies was ancient military history, and I could probably name quite a few more units that were developed purposefully. The most striking example would be the use of the firearm with the sole intent of defeating heavy mounted knights which led to the complete eradication of the heavy cavalry in the early renaissance era. 

 

One thing I'm debating right now is how to implement actions like parry and disarm. I started out by placing each of these actions under each weapon attack. That way if you had a dagger in one hand and a sword in the other, you could parry with one weapon and disarm with the other. I think that's a real choice in combat that I can give the player, but building it into the action system is a bit confusing.

 

In Descent, they've solved this by allowing you to attack with only one of your weapons. Any unused weapon you could have in one of your hands would give its "offhand bonus".

In your case, I'd try to implement the following:

Sword (x damage) offhand: parry

Dagger (x damage) offhand: disarm

 

If you are attacking with the sword, you will also automatically attempt to disarm. If you attack with the dagger, you will also automatically parry.

 

I want the concept of combat roles to be something the player does during his build / level up process.

Oh, there's a levelup process? then yes, obviously, you want the player to be able to modulate his own strategies into the characters he has. If he can lose them as they die all the better. One of my particular satisfactions in XCOM was when I've lost my highest ranked heavy in a mission and had to repurpose my assault and support to fill its spot temporarily (and see that I had planned this well!). Beware the meatshields...

 

I mean what is wrong with a wizard who is a tank?

That's a Warlock isn't it? :P Jokes aside, I agree with how you envision this. Do you intend to have each unit start with the same stats, or organic differences you can take advantage of (given randomly)?

#15 00Kevin   Members   -  Reputation: 222

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 09:52 AM

Please define the problem: As far as I see this, you can still make the 6 armed troll a regular attacker with a different attack pattern. "Descent: Journeys in the Dark" 1st Edition solves this by giving the Giant a "sweep" attack which basically hits all of its adjacent enemies rather than a target.


Well my game supports characters that have up to six arms (mutants, robots etc...) What this means is that a player could have a several weapons and even shields equiped. Rolling all the attacks up into one sweeping action isn't something I want to do because the player should be able to chose the targets he can attack. He might have 2 ranged weapons, 2 melee weapons, and a shield equipped. But yes, the problem is that characters with more than 2 hands wouldn't be able to move as far, but that might just balance things out.

You could have certain actions cost 1 or 2 APs. That would help you balance things out (rather than put 3 APs which could lead to longer turns).


Thanks, I'm going to test that idea out. I was also thinking that each unit could have a movement cost per square. That way fast units can move more squares per action point.

In "Descent: Journeys in the Dark" They've solved the matter more elegantly. Rather than give too many actions, they've given the players and monsters, they've made it so that an action spent moving gives you movement points, and that you can spend these movement points before and/or after attacking. This gives you to ability to rush in and attack, or attack and run away, or even move forward, strike and then return into formation. VERY fun and intuitive to use.


Thanks, I'll have to check that game out. Sounds like it's got some great mechanics.

To my first question, it appears your focus is on smaller scale battles with actual Dueling?


Well I'm trying to create a game that's focused on battles between small groups of units. The player controls a party of characters (6-8) and might fight up to 50 units at most.


Love it, plus, you created that for the right reasons. Now I wish D&D had a disengage action...


Actually, 3e had the withdraw action, 4e has the shift action, and 5e (playtest) has the disengage action.

Generally speaking, the best defense is a good offense. Do you have tangible scenarios where a player would choose to play that Dodge as part of a greater strategy? (Luring the opponent's attacks perhaps?)


Dodge is a passive ability that you might use an action point on I thought it would be a good ability since there are situations in which you don't want to be hit (when you are surrounded) or might not be able to attack. It sucks having to move and then end your turn because you have nothing to attack. Anyway, if it only costs 1 AP and an attack costs 2 APs then it might be useful. My only worry is that the player will always be using it (having to click on it every round).

XCOM uses a lot of hotkeys too, besides, tactical games are less action-oriented, so players tend to be forgiving. In fact, they might forgive you more as it may give them the ability to repair costly mistakes (such as attacking without taking cover first and then slap their forehead).


Yes, I do recal being upset with XCOM when my character had his turned automatically end. Tactical games should be more forgiving.

In Descent, they've solved this by allowing you to attack with only one of your weapons. Any unused weapon you could have in one of your hands would give its "offhand bonus".
In your case, I'd try to implement the following:
Sword (x damage) offhand: parry
Dagger (x damage) offhand: disarm

If you are attacking with the sword, you will also automatically attempt to disarm. If you attack with the dagger, you will also automatically parry.


That's the kind of "gamist" mechanic I want to avoid. I'm trying to design a more detailed system. IMO, if you have two weapons then you should get two attacks. You should be able to use those attacks to make two disarms or even two parries. With that said, I'm having a hard time designing the UI for such a system. At the moment, I've pulled disarm and parry out of the weapon attack options and simply made them maneuvers that cost action points.

Oh, there's a levelup process? then yes, obviously, you want the player to be able to modulate his own strategies into the characters he has. If he can lose them as they die all the better. One of my particular satisfactions in XCOM was when I've lost my highest ranked heavy in a mission and had to repurpose my assault and support to fill its spot temporarily (and see that I had planned this well!). Beware the meatshields...


Before I can even begin to design a level up system or feat build tree (which I might try to avoid), I need to understand the action economy of my game. The reason is that some abilities might cost more or less actions points for some characters.

That's a Warlock isn't it? tongue.png Jokes aside, I agree with how you envision this. Do you intend to have each unit start with the same stats, or organic differences you can take advantage of (given randomly)?



Death to WoW Tropes. :)

Edited by 00Kevin, 09 April 2013 - 09:55 AM.


#16 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6112

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 10:53 AM

Well my game supports characters that have up to six arms (mutants, robots etc...) What this means is that a player could have a several weapons and even shields equiped. Rolling all the attacks up into one sweeping action isn't something I want to do because the player should be able to chose the targets he can attack. He might have 2 ranged weapons, 2 melee weapons, and a shield equipped. But yes, the problem is that characters with more than 2 hands wouldn't be able to move as far, but that might just balance things out.

 

They still have one brain only. If you had 6 arms and a number of weapons, you'd probably all fire at the same guy (or maximum 2) in any given number of seconds. If you want to complexify this, consider that a single gunman gets to shoot several targets with the same gun, he does not necessarily need 6 weapons to get 6 kills either, but this usually comes with great training.

 



Well I'm trying to create a game that's focused on battles between small groups of units. The player controls a party of characters (6-8) and might fight up to 50 units at most.

I can't provide much guidance here, but having 50 units play out each with 2-6 weapons each will make a VERY long turn. I'd suggest you scope your designspace accordingly if you can (simplify turns for each units if you want more of them, or limit the amount of units so you can go more indepth).

 

 



Actually, 3e had the withdraw action, 4e has the shift action, and 5e (playtest) has the disengage action.

Damnit, I forgot about shifting! But you're right :)

 

Dodge is a passive ability that you might use an action point on I thought it would be a good ability since there are situations in which you don't want to be hit (when you are surrounded) or might not be able to attack. It sucks having to move and then end your turn because you have nothing to attack. Anyway, if it only costs 1 AP and an attack costs 2 APs then it might be useful. My only worry is that the player will always be using it (having to click on it every round).

In XCOM, I use overwatch on every turn I don't either attack or reload, and I'm ok with that. I'd appreciate having a hotkey to dismiss the confirmation text, but otherwise, it appears fine.

 

That's the kind of "gamist" mechanic I want to avoid. I'm trying to design a more detailed system. IMO, if you have two weapons then you should get two attacks. You should be able to use those attacks to make two disarms or even two parries. With that said, I'm having a hard time designing the UI for such a system. At the moment, I've pulled disarm and parry out of the weapon attack options and simply made them maneuvers that cost action points.

This is a PC mouse&keyboard game? There might be interesting alternatives slightly derived from War of the Roses that might fit your need.

 




Death to WoW Tropes.

Well I took this from D&D, and I assume it was in Warcraft 1 or 2 being in WoW ;)



#17 00Kevin   Members   -  Reputation: 222

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:21 AM

They still have one brain only. If you had 6 arms and a number of weapons, you'd probably all fire at the same guy (or maximum 2) in any given number of seconds. If you want to complexify this, consider that a single gunman gets to shoot several targets with the same gun, he does not necessarily need 6 weapons to get 6 kills either, but this usually comes with great training.

 

How about a processor for each arm or a multi-brain alien?     But yes, that kind of training might be a level up option, it might even be part of a feat tree.   

 

 

 can't provide much guidance here, but having 50 units play out each with 2-6 weapons each will make a VERY long turn. I'd suggest you scope your designspace accordingly if you can (simplify turns for each units if you want more of them, or limit the amount of units so you can go more indepth).

 

I would imagine that for large scale battles with 50 units most of them would be minions.    After all,  blowing shit up is important.  

 

I'm keeping my options open so I'm coding for the Mouse, keyboard, and a console controller.    To this end, I've made a custom UI control that's basically an Icon tree.      I do like the idea of mouse roll-overs like those found in Panzer General.    You select the unit and then roll the mouse over the units you want to attack.   The tool tip then displays your chance of hitting etc.   The problem is that it's rather hard to do that sort of thing with a controller.    I guess each attack-able unit would have to light up with percentages floating over them.  

 

 

btw, I have a lot more respect for turn based games now.   The coding that is required just to bring the mechanics to life is considerable    



#18 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6112

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 12:27 PM

How about a processor for each arm or a multi-brain alien? But yes, that kind of training might be a level up option, it might even be part of a feat tree.

I think it falls down to game design philosophy here, hence why I won't enforce my view, but when faced with a choice that involves being as realistic as possible and making something fun by creating an abstract mechanic, I will usually choose the latter even though its not a natural reflex of mine. My experience is that it generally ends up making a better overall game and players tend to forgive you if it helps the product staying simple and easy to interact with.

On the other hand, I like some types of games that involve a higher level of realism and micro-management.

 

I would imagine that for large scale battles with 50 units most of them would be minions. After all, blowing shit up is important.

That's the solution I came up with myself. Most situations involve spawning either a unit, or 3 minions with a single life. It really helps streamlining the game flow (and thank you 4th ED for this idea).

 



I'm keeping my options open so I'm coding for the Mouse, keyboard, and a console controller. To this end, I've made a custom UI control that's basically an Icon tree. I do like the idea of mouse roll-overs like those found in Panzer General. You select the unit and then roll the mouse over the units you want to attack. The tool tip then displays your chance of hitting etc. The problem is that it's rather hard to do that sort of thing with a controller. I guess each attack-able unit would have to light up with percentages floating over them.

 

I suggest drag or click and drag. When you click or tap, a ui appears on overhead and you drag towards your option. Its basically like a circular menu, but its contextual and does not consume HUD space. Initially came with this idea when I saw Mount&Blade's contextual attack cursor. While not entirely similar, it gives contextual UI insight which really makes it flow efficiently.

 

btw, I have a lot more respect for turn based games now. The coding that is required just to bring the mechanics to life is considerable

So do I :)



#19 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4533

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 09:09 PM


But I personally like systems where actions cost AP varying from 1 to 10, and a normal unit has somewhere between 5 and 8 per turn, and you can do however many you can afford

It depends on how many units you plant to interact on the same level at once. If only 4-5 units coexist on each side, this could be viable. Any more though, and you'll risk confusion, longer turns, and overall lack of involvement in the gameplay. It depends if the scope of your game is to depict War or Battles. Inherently, this relates back to whether you depict heroes, or units.


This is true. I prefer each unit to be an individual, a character with a semi-unique appearance and preferably also a personality expressed through dialogue. By a semi-unique appearance I mean that the player can choose to have, for example, three identical blue t-rex units, but they could just as easily have a red t-rex, a blue eagle, and a yellow goldfish. Or, the player could have three batman units, or they could have a batman, a wolverine, and a captain america. And I'd say this could work with up to 8 units on a side in a given battle, but I'd cap the number allowed at 8, or if it's a human summoner + monster system I'd cap it at the human unit + 6 monster units. I don't know whether you'd consider all of these to be heroes - I've only seen that term used in larger-scale strategy games like Heroes of Might and Magic and Warcraft III.
 


Yeah, the thing with buffs and debuffs is you don't want the player to have to use them every turn, it gets annoying fast. You want to do something like, the player uses "entrench", they gain a defense bonus as long as they don't move, vs. the player uses "hyper", they gain extra movement but lose attack effectiveness.

XCOM uses the regular cover system from other games. Basically, where you move matters more and provides you with cover (walls, debris, etc) which make you harder and harder to hit depending on how much junk there is between you and them. The cover is also destructible for more fun. I think its better than having to skip actions to buff. The one action I really think works well though is the one where you hold off your fire and hit the first thing that moves in sight.


I like systems with cover/obstacles. They interact well with traps, invisibility, knockback, and allow you to differentiate between ranged attacks which require line of sight and ranged attacks which don't. Somewhat relates is the nice differentiation between area of effect attacks which require the whole area to be unobstructed, those which don't do splash damage to friendlies in the target area, and those which do do splash damage to friendlies in the area.

I remember having a lot of fun in Dofus as a trap-layer on a map with a big tree blocking the middle - I led a monster twice my level around in a circle, trapping and retreating, until it killed itself walking through so many traps. A similar concept is using an ability to render a monster unable to move for a few turns, using those turns to put traps where it would likely walk, then watching it blow itself up when it could move again. Or using a knockback arrow to push a monster into something that would damage it, whether it was an obstacle, a glyph, or a trap. A glyph would combine well with the dodge ability you were mentioning - you use your unit to trap the opponent on the glyph so they will take damage each turn they stay there, then you dodge so you don't take damage from the unit's attacks.
 

>You could have each attack cost 2 action points too, or even scale up to 3. I personally consider the attack to be the culmination of a unit's turn and want my units to be able to either make a strike or a decisive abilities (once) and move and make minor actions. I can see this current system as something that could potentially drift with players attacking 3 times in a row (which, imo, would be boring).

Attacking 3 times in a row can look dramatic if they go off in a quick sequence.


But when you look at strategy and game theory in an anthropological way, as methods humans use to solve problems, you find that a combat role for a unit emerges naturally depending on how the player is attempting to use that particular unit. There just aren't that many things to do in combat, and the whole point of the game is to challenge the player to find an approach that is efficient yet flexible, or a set of approaches for different puzzle-like situations. Combat roles should be the player's tools that they play with in the game.

Well I'm not sure I understand your point. The Chariot was purposely used as a mobility advantage for efficient warfare. It really filled a role, and it was a unit class (so much in fact that it became a SOCIAL class as well in Ancient people). My field of studies was ancient military history, and I could probably name quite a few more units that were developed purposefully. The most striking example would be the use of the firearm with the sole intent of defeating heavy mounted knights which led to the complete eradication of the heavy cavalry in the early renaissance era.


Combat at any given historical period has way fewer options than a good tactical game. The player should be able to adapt within each battle, while economics and culture forced most historical groups to specialize in one or two strategies for decades at a time. Response continues after next quote.

Agreed. Tactical warfare still takes considerable advantage over these. The bare minimum is something that moves fast, something that can sustain damage, and something that deals a lot of damage. From these 3 spurs organic strategies. Everything else is gravy smile.png

This is actually what I meant by naturally emerging combat roles, except I was thinking of a somewhat more complex environment with invisibility, temporary speed boosts for attacking or retreating, paralyzing an enemy, moving it somewhere to your advantage, or leading/funneling it somewhere to its disadvantage, traps, healing, dot attacks/status ailments, guerrilla attacking from hiding, unit coordination which can magnify damage, temporarily sacrificing one stat for another during a battle, limited mana pools that must be divided between healing and other spells, varying resistances to different elements, and units that change AI pattern after they take a certain amount of damage or in response to other battle conditions.

Edited by sunandshadow, 09 April 2013 - 09:12 PM.

I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me.

#20 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6112

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 05:44 AM

This is true. I prefer each unit to be an individual, a character with a semi-unique appearance and preferably also a personality expressed through dialogue. By a semi-unique appearance I mean that the player can choose to have, for example, three identical blue t-rex units, but they could just as easily have a red t-rex, a blue eagle, and a yellow goldfish. Or, the player could have three batman units, or they could have a batman, a wolverine, and a captain america. And I'd say this could work with up to 8 units on a side in a given battle, but I'd cap the number allowed at 8, or if it's a human summoner + monster system I'd cap it at the human unit + 6 monster units. I don't know whether you'd consider all of these to be heroes - I've only seen that term used in larger-scale strategy games like Heroes of Might and Magic and Warcraft III.

True, its not a coined term (Hero). Its basically the way I differentiate scope vs characters (how much emphasis/design space I'm allowed to use on individual units).

As you pointed out, that level of details simply wouldn't make sense in a 50 vs 50 type of game.

 

Attacking 3 times in a row can look dramatic if they go off in a quick sequence.

I suppose it depends on how you want to balance the game. From my current understanding, the game is intended to be realistic. I'm assuming a headshot might be an instant kill given that. 3 Attacks on three different targets might mean 3 kills in one turn for one unit. Since the enemy count will be limited, this could make for a fairly short battle and might decrease the interest and care given to manipulating the environment and moving your units around (an archer with three arrows would just thrump it all).

 

Combat at any given historical period has way fewer options than a good tactical game. The player should be able to adapt within each battle, while economics and culture forced most historical groups to specialize in one or two strategies for decades at a time. Response continues after next quote.

Well, for the longer time, armies have been either taking fight head-on or flanking sometime resorting to guerilla tactics (especially during rebellions) or range supremacy (initially with siege engines, and later with longbowmen) but the actual units were quite different:

The Sumerians were relying on light melee cavalry to take the fight head on, because it countered unarmored footmen efficiently.

The Greeks used the hoplites because their formation was largely undefeated on their own turf, and they were mostly used to face other hoplites. Obviously, that changed a bit after meeting the Persians, but their organisation still gave them the upper hand despite their lower numbers.

The Romans were very specialized. Legionnaires were the heavy (slow-mobile) turtle-esque formation that everyone sees, but there is much more to it. Each legion had a bunch of engineers whose purpose was to assist in any way they could. From raising dirt-cliffs to assailt a fortification by litterally coming "over the ramparts" to digging under it.

They also had several types of cavalry and ranged units each with their own use.

Perhaps the most original example I can think of though would be the Frankish main footman unit which, aside from being everything you'd expect from the early middle ages (unarmored longsword warriors) they also had a very clumsy spear in hand. Their opponents would laught outright at this unit behind their heavy shields, knowing they could just block the swords and kill them after. So they'd just stand there and happily block the spear through until they realized that it "stuck" to their shield and was so heavy they could no longer lift it up, losing both their defensive advantage (the shield) and their balance. The Frankish warriors would just sweep for the kill.

 

But overall, I agree. A specific unit should almost always be relevant as conditions change. This is one of the things I really liked about XCOM. You had a sniper, which typically, you'd only use in an open environment (outdoors) or an area you have long distances you can cover, but he actually came with a perk to increase his efficiency with a pistol, ending up dealing massive amounts of damages at close range. You could also outfit it with an armor that granted him "spider" mobility (a grappling hook) allowing you to close on your enemy, almost making him a melee unit, and if you added the close-range weapon to his arsenal and a tough armor, he could be just as tough upclose as any other guy. There were sufficient options to insure he remains relevant in all combat situations so you can always choose to bring him around no matter what the battlefield is.






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