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Non-random evasion in turn-based games?


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#1 AaronWizardstar   Members   -  Reputation: 244

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 03:18 PM

I've been thinking about the Playstation game Bushido Blade (here's a video). It's a fighting game without health bars. A character dies instantly if struck in the head or torso.

 

The one-hit kills place a premium on evading and blocking attacks. This makes sense from both a realism and a cinematic perspective. e.g. Batman typically has to do backflips or something to avoid gunfire.

 

Bushido Blade, as an action game, leaves the evading and blocking to the player. I'm left wondering one thing: how would I possibly adapt this for a turn based game?

 

In every turn based game I've seen evading attacks are represented by a random chance for an attack to do no damage; a "to-hit" rating. If I combine that with Bushido Blade style one-hit kills then a character's life is entirely in the hands of the Random Number Gods ("The only people who should roll dice are those who are prepared to roll a 1.").

 

Are there any non-random ways to represent evasion in a turn based game?



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#2 SillyCow   Members   -  Reputation: 849

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 04:05 PM

A game I played had a defend mechansim where a character could defend instead of attacking. This would skip your chance to attack, but would reduce the damage done to said character. This was especially interesting when battling ranged units.

 

Technically this isn't evasion, but it's a similar concept.


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#3 Haps   Members   -  Reputation: 1315

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 04:06 PM

There's a few games, like Gladius and Costume Quest, where minigames and QTEs come into play. There, they modify your damage or evasion chances, but you could probably come up with a decent system based around it.

 

For example, the attacker could perform a precision-timed event to determine where their attack lands, or how powerful it is. The defender might be guided along an evasion sequence, and the resulting damage could be based on the difference between their results.



#4 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 18132

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 04:35 PM



I'm left wondering one thing: how would I possibly adapt this for a turn based game?

 

In every turn based game I've seen evading attacks are represented by a random chance for an attack to do no damage; a "to-hit" rating. If I combine that with Bushido Blade style one-hit kills then a character's life is entirely in the hands of the Random Number Gods ("The only people who should roll dice are those who are prepared to roll a 1.").

 

Are there any non-random ways to represent evasion in a turn based game?

 

Quest 64 was turned based. During your turn, you can move freely around a small circle of movement area, within a much larger circle of the battle area. When it was the enemy's turn, he uses a move that physically shoots out some kind of magic, and you regain your movement for a split second to physically dodge the magic.

There was also a tiny percent chance of randomly missing ("Miss!"), but that percent would get alot higher if you were farther from the physical magic attack, and wouldn't even bother saying "Miss!" if you clearly weren't touched by the magic.

 

Here's the first boss battle in the game: [youtube]

You'll notice on the few misses of the player, his attack was aimed slightly short or to the side, and so had a greater chance of randomly Miss!-ing. You'll also notice that the boss's attacks are so far off (because of the player dodging) that it doesn't even bother saying "Miss!".

 

Enemy attacks sometimes have shapes to them - in the video above, the boss mostly just shoots beams of fire-magic. You can either dodge to one side or the other, or you can perfectly align yourself inside the tunnel-like beam, and it'll pass around you - pretty difficult to do. If you get too close to the boss, he'll switch to another attack where he causes earth spikes to shoot up from the ground all around him in an AoE. If you're careful, you can run closer and be protected in a tiny area around the boss himself, where the boss doesn't get hurt and where you can also not get hurt.

 

This particular boss is rather easy to dodge, but that doesn't apply to the entire game. Some enemies do things like cause avalanches of rocks to fall down, and you have to dodge them all, or else shoot semi-homing arrow missiles at you, or have other methods of attack.

The easiest thing is to keep your distance and blast away with magic, but that's not always an option, and even then you can still get worn down by enemies as they get hits in here or there, and as you run low in mana and don't want to waste items. Melee attacking requires you to get real close, but each melee attack gets you some mana back.

 

Here's the second boss battle, after several more dungeons - maybe an hour or two gameplay later: [second boss]

 

At the end of each turn, where you end up is the center of the new circle of movement you have.

You can get magic or use an item that temporarily increases the radius of your circle of movement.

If you, over several turns, move to the edge of the entire battle area, you can escape battles (except for boss fights) if you intentionally go outside of it and press the 'Action' button.


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#5 andur   Members   -  Reputation: 561

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 12:05 AM

You can add a delay to every action (or at least to slower actions), giving you a natural opportunity to evade it (provided you have enough time).

 

Say you are going to act next in 5 ticks of game time, and your opponent begins an attack that takes 6 ticks to land. Your turn will come up before the attack connects, letting you either move out of the way of the attack or perform a guarding action. Hitting someone is then a matter of either timing your attack right so they don't have time to evade it, or positioning yourself such that they cannot physically move to evade it.

 

Then like a fighting game, you can have different amounts of hit/block stun on moves, or punish someone for missing an attack provided you can move and attack while they are recovering from missing their attack.

 

This would work best in a team based game, otherwise it would be too easy to just pick the optimal move at all times and avoid everything. You'd also want area of effect and other such wide angle attacks to limit evasion and be able to be used to position your opponent where you want them. Same with attacks that push your opponent around, being able to shove a blocking opponent into the path of another of your character's attacks would make for an interesting mechanic.



#6 ShadowFlar3   Members   -  Reputation: 1253

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 01:40 AM

So here's how I see the problem:
 

A) You have your turn, you spend it to do one or limited amount of actions

B) You must evade the next attack or you die

=> C) No other choice but to choose evasion as an action or one of them on every turn

 

So you seem to need some form of evading that isn't just an action you choose on your turn. I don't think some quicktime event like requiring a keypress each turn would be too fun or meaningful gameplay either.

 

How about working with chains of actions that must be proper in order not to die against the current opponent? You could attack, but you must only perform certain kinds of patterns in order to keep your defense and evasion abilities intact enough? Maybe eventually you could "stagger" the enemy so you don't need to worry about defense so much and can land the big damage moves? Would be a bit like FFXIII reverted back to turn-based combat and with defense and forethinking playing much more significant part.



#7 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17729

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 04:23 AM

I like some of the existing ideas, but just to throw an additional approach into the mix, you could have specific actions counter others, so that choosing the correct action can prevent or evade an attack without necessarily simply "wasting" a turn on an evade action.

 

Taking a card-based fighting game as an example, you might be required to play an identical attack (or a non-identical attack of the same type/school/class/whatever) in order to counter.

 

This sort of approach would probably work best with a system of "simultaneous turns", or where some information is hidden until each round is resolved, as it would become more obvious and essentially be a forced choice if you knew up-front what the other player had chosen and which of your moves would act as a counter.



#8 Yrjö P.   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1412

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 06:22 AM

Are there any non-random ways to represent evasion in a turn based game?

Like jbadams suggested, double-blind choice. Both players/AIs make their decision simultaneously before seeing what the opponent decided. This promotes predicting and "reading" the opponent, and tends to make the game massively deeper than it is with visible information.

 

David Sirlin's "Yomi" card game is all about that. You can try it at fantasystrike.com. His earlier, simpler game "Kongai" at Kongregate is also based on the same thing; Kongai is dead as a multiplayer game but you could check it out for inspiration.

 

Another possibility is that after the opponent launches an attack, the player gets a chance to react to it with different defensive moves like block and evade. These would of course need some kinds of tradeoffs; maybe evading puts you to a state where you can't immediately evade again and any attacks you make are weaker ("off balance") while blocking eats into a limited supply of stamina/energy.

 

Or a combination of the two with limited double-blind. You could see the opponent is launching an attack, and get to pick a response afterwards, but you won't know if the attack is real or a feint before you do. Then, "do nothing" or "attack" might also be valid defensive options because they are good against a feint.



#9 Oolala   Members   -  Reputation: 755

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 06:50 PM

How about every turn each player issues both offensive and defensive actions.  An offensive action is an attack, and a defensive action guarantees you immunity from some specific attack or set of attacks for X turns?  High level characters have a variety of offensive actions they can take, and thus have a higher probability of bypassing the defenders defensive actions.



#10 moneal2001   Members   -  Reputation: 593

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 08:46 PM

I remember playing Super Mario RPG.  In it when you are attacked you could reduce damage or even evade attacks all together depending on your ability to press specific buttons during enemy attacks.



#11 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 18132

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 10:34 PM

I remember playing Super Mario RPG.  In it when you are attacked you could reduce damage or even evade attacks all together depending on your ability to press specific buttons during enemy attacks.

 

That was fun - I recently bought the game in the Wii virtual store, and need to finish it. They refined and polished that mechanic even better in Paper Mario 64, and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year door. [video of combat] - anytime Bowser breaths fire, the "Nice!" is the player clicking the action button at the correct timing, to reduce damage. If he does it perfectly, it entirely blocks damage, IIRC.


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#12 Malabyte   Members   -  Reputation: 588

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 11:38 PM

A game I played had a defend mechansim where a character could defend instead of attacking. This would skip your chance to attack, but would reduce the damage done to said character. This was especially interesting when battling ranged units.

 

I didn't read all the other comments, so I might be repeating something. But with SillyCow's comment as a basis, here what I feel:

 

Imagine a game where, in your own turn, you attack and the opponent can defend. Vice versa in his turn. Depending on what you choose to defend and how you defend against it, that will affect how you can counterattack him in your next turn. This way, you will get a turn-based game that is also, to some lesser extent, reactive and immediate.

 

Consider a turn-based card game such as Magic: The Gathering. The entities are cards but the principles are very much the same. You have the ability to play certain moves at certain phases of either your turn or the opponents. Depending on what you specifically play, this can have consequences (either good or bad) for any of the subsequent turns. On one hand, you might play a powerful Wrath of God or Armageddon spell that kills all in-game creatures or lands respectively, including your own. On the other hand, you might want to place that extra Land or other ability that either gradually (over time) or instantly (after a countdown) makes you stronger.

 

Now try implementing these mechanics into a turn-based fighting game between 2 Bushi. No armies, no lands, just the Bushi/Samurai in a turn-based version of Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. Instead of creatures, you could have Chi buffs in soft spots that the opponent could try to attack with his moves. Instead of Lands, you could have Mindlessness or similar that over time gives you a greater ability to recall the various sword moves that you've learned thus far. The sword and other attack moves would be the equivalent to the spells in MtG. And so on.

 

Shouldn't be too hard.


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#13 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5965

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 11:49 PM

You could take a look at Waving hands / Spellcaster / Warlocks / Firetop Mountain for a turn based entierly non random battle mechanic thats pretty neat.


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#14 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17729

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 05:53 AM

Another idea:

 

What if each character/unit/player/whatever had an "evasion" score.  Either an attack value would have to surpass evasion in order to be successful, or if you kept random chance the percentages could be modified based on the evasion score.

 

Every move chosen would also have an evasion modifier.  Say for example that possible evasion scores are from 1 to 20.  You might choose to perform an "evade" action, which is otherwise useless but boosts your evasion score to the maximum value of 20, but if you instead choose to attack you might choose a weaker attack that provides a higher evade value (say 15) or an average attack that provides an average evade value (say +10), or if you're really confident you might choose an absolutely devastating attack that modifies your evade value negatively (-10).  You then have a balancing act where you can still choose any attack, but want to try to keep your evasion score high unless you're sure it won't matter.



#15 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1433

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 04:39 PM

Just a piece of thought; most turn-based games use one of two(or both) mechanics;

first is critical hits, which is basically the same mechanic as one-hit-killing or not, but balanced, usually such a game has ways of healing or even saving (critically) hit characters as well.(which is where the player-interaction comes in again)

Luck in a game is, btw, not just not a bad thing, if balanced out, it also gives randomness to a game, if you're going to make any kind of game that has even the slightest amount of replayability(or even better, some kind of multiplayer) you need to randomize things so the game doesn't behave the exact same way every time and becomes boring and predictable.(remember, there are often only a few objects(characters/items/buildings/fists) in a turn-based game that interact with each other.

The other is "type" meaning a fire-attack will do reduced damage against a water-creature for example; in FF tactics adv. the player got items that could diminish, negate or even absorb type-attacks, which meant that if an opponent did a fire-attack your character could get reduced damage(there were 2 levels of reduction iirc), no damage or even get healed. Pokemon is another example where creatures belonged to a type and could learn up to 4 different attacks which could all be of a different type.



#16 theBenni   Members   -  Reputation: 158

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 10:41 AM

I saw someone mention the quicktime event based dodge further up the thread. I was really impressed with the Gears of War approach to reloading (anyone unfamiliar, you are able (but not forced) to press the reload button a second time during the animation and if you time it correctly can reload faster with more powerful bullets. However, if you time it incorrectly reloading takes significantly longer).

 

This had an impression on me, simply because of the risk/reward element to such a commonplace and fundamental mechanic of the combat.

 

You could try swiping backwards on a character about to receive an attack to dodge, but if the input is not received within a window the character takes increased damage for the hit. This would also allow enemies to make feints and appear to attack one enemy but instead attack another at the last moment.

 

(On a personal note, I had purchased Bushido Blade when I was quite young and it had stuck in my minds for years without me able to recollect it's name. Thanks for the reminder!)



#17 Mysteria   Members   -  Reputation: 251

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 09:30 PM

Another idea:

 

What if each character/unit/player/whatever had an "evasion" score.  Either an attack value would have to surpass evasion in order to be successful, or if you kept random chance the percentages could be modified based on the evasion score.

 

Every move chosen would also have an evasion modifier.  Say for example that possible evasion scores are from 1 to 20.  You might choose to perform an "evade" action, which is otherwise useless but boosts your evasion score to the maximum value of 20, but if you instead choose to attack you might choose a weaker attack that provides a higher evade value (say 15) or an average attack that provides an average evade value (say +10), or if you're really confident you might choose an absolutely devastating attack that modifies your evade value negatively (-10).  You then have a balancing act where you can still choose any attack, but want to try to keep your evasion score high unless you're sure it won't matter.

 

I think this is the right idea.  Couple the "evasion" score with a "hit" score and the battle would consist of constantly manipulating the two scores so that you're evasion is higher than the opponents hit score and vise versa.






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