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Firestone Saga - Designing a strategic combat system

Untold Tales


Without an exciting combat system, adventure games can feel like walking simulators. To prevent this, I designed various interactions and doubled down on the "tiles decaying into lava" mechanic.  Adding more interactions for skills you've already implemented is a great way to add extra depth. 


Tactical combat

When dealing a fatal blow to an enemy, you get the chance to knock them back. Since most enemies have death effects, this combat trick can feel very rewarding. Pushing a Roaming Flame towards another foe can result in an easy double kill and slaying a skeleton over lava will create an icy bridge. 



Here come the bugs 

Halfway thru this project I decided on creating real time events that can trigger (like a bear trap) even though the main gameplay is turn based. This change created a swarm of bugs and I tried to tackle them one by one which was a mistake. When you find a bug, it's worth the time to investigate the root of the problem instead of creating a band-aid fix. Quick fixes can be helpful if you're on a short deadline but they are not reliable and can bite you in the ass later.


Outwit hostile enemies

Originally I never coded anything to prevent the player from easily disengaging combat but this caused a couple problems. While fighting the player never felt in danger of dying and the fights didn't feel unique since you could always run away. That's when I decided to give each monster their own personality in regards to how passive or aggressive they act. Certain enemies will chase you down if you hit them once while others will start running at you if you walk near them. This can even be used to the player's advantage by pulling an aggressive enemy into a trap. 



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