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DragonWolf

Combat systems in FPS/RPGs

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Hi all, I''m always wondering what kind of combat systems are best suited for games. The system I''m most interested in is FPS hand-to-hand combat and magic use. I think for hand to hand combat in FPS a 3rd person view like in JK2 is probably best suited, but I feel this is still flawed slightly. Any ideas on extentions or alternatives to this? As for magic use, I know it depends on the type of magic but what systems would be good. I would like to implement some method that involves the players skill. Such as drawing out symbols, or clicking several buttons in a sequence so that the player can learn as if they were the caster. There is also the problem of targetting, should it be auto targeting, FPS style or what? I would like to try and implement the drawing out symbols method since I feel it would be interesting. Small symbol (like a slash) can be used for small simple spells and combat spells, while complex symbols can be used for much more powerful spells, like spells of summoning. DW

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Black & White uses a system like that, where you have to draw patterns with your mouse.

I hated it.

The mouse is not really suited to draw symbols with in a real-time environment. (well, you could argue that I simply do not have any mouse-drawing skills)

I guess a touch pad would be a better alternative, but I guess most desktop PCs do not have that option. Drawing with my fingers seems like a much more natural motion, and much easier.

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B&W symbol drawing wasn''t bad if you had an optical mouse, but I still didn''t like it. I think NWN had the right idea with the right click to bring up a spherical menu of available spells, it is just that for a real time game NWN has way too many levels in its menus.

Bleu Shift - www.bleushift.tk

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Its a hard question. Personally I would like to see a "Busihdo blade" type of sword combat system. Im sure there are many posts on this. My problem with implementing a bushido blade system (it is based on skill) is that it lends itself to a controller not a keyboard/mouse. Most people i think dont have these, and I feel kind of weird leaving the standard pc gear behind. Magic is a different thing, go diablo2 skill selection.

btw, NWN is one of the worst games Ive ever played. A billion people on screen, each a badly written or voiced 5 min conversaition. The worst menu, when playing zoomed out, you cant see any detail on your character. The character fights for himself, bad fighting, bad gameplay. Super nintendo looked alot nicer... Secret of mana is just beautifull. Look what 64 mb texture packs got them... How the hell did it take 5 years to make that game? TsR died with wizard, that shouldnt be a question anymore.

anyway, sorry about the rant.

goodluck with the fighting system. I dont know about skill, but diablo2 was/is definetly fun as far as combat goes (against good players).

-kilj

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hmmm.. What about a typing system where you have to type a sequence of characters or words. quick spells only require 2/3 letters while more powerful spells require longer sentances..

i.e. "Fireball" or "FBall"
or to make it more interesting
"Kal Tar" or "Sor Port" (like UO spell casters hehe ^^)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by DragonWolf
hmmm.. What about a typing system where you have to type a sequence of characters or words. quick spells only require 2/3 letters while more powerful spells require longer sentances..

i.e. "Fireball" or "FBall"
or to make it more interesting
"Kal Tar" or "Sor Port" (like UO spell casters hehe ^^)


Ooh, I thought of something like that once. First word meant the sphere/realm/element of magic, second word meant the form the spell took, the third meant the target, if applicable. That meant in order to cast a spell to directly affect something, you had to know its magical name. In order to directly affect a person you would have to know their true name, and the techniques of discovering someone''s true name was a talent only great wizards possessed to any significant degree. Note that this doesn''t mean that you can''t throw a fireball in someone''s general direction w/o a name, but with a name you can make them burst into flames or dance around like a puppet.

Hmm, that makes three word spells more powerful. Two word spells you just Sphere, form, and point. You could miss. Three word spells never miss(however there could be magical protection or resistance)

Ooh, this isn''t practical, I''m sure, but if you could toss voice recognition in there you could say it instead of typing it. That would be cool, and as long as it worked well, convenient.

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JKII had a lot of potential. I''m hoping in a couple years I will work on a game based on a concept of mine which si similar. Sorta futuristic cyberpunk with swords. With a complex and precise fighting technique like JKII.

It''s a good base. And much can be added or modified from it.

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I was working on something like what you are describing a while ago. I never really finished it, but I did have some ideas that I was playing with so I will give you a brief description of what I had in mind and what the flaws are.

The system is for a 3rd person perspective action adventure game. One of my goals was to provide a combat system that alowed a huge amount of freedom with simple intuitive commands.

The combat is amadextrius. It uses a combination of swords, bows, and other melee weapons (dependant on the character) along with a magic system I call channeling. Channeling is a system of combining basic energies to make more complex spells.

The controls are similar to those of a standard fps with the exception of a few extra button and slightly different mouse contrtols. Basic movement is with the "WSAD" buttons, crouching uses ctrl, jump uses space. With the mouse the left button is the left hand action command and the right button is the right hand action command. There are also shift commands that are used to modify existing actions. There are also inentory and channeling menus.

I will give and example of how this control scheme would work during actual gameplay. Lets say I have a suspicion that there are some bandits down a dark street. First I want to prepare a fireball. I hold down the channeling menu key and the menu slides down. It consists of symbols denoting the base energies. When a menu key is held down the game changes from mouselook to a mouse pointer. I point to the fire symbol and click it with the left button, then I point to the kenetic symbol and click that with the right button. This assigns fire to my characters left hand and kenetic to his right. I release the channeling menu button and hold both mouse buttons simultanously. I now have a fireball equiped in my left hand.

I now hold the inventory meny command and that menu slides down with all my current items displayed. I use the mouse pointer and right click my sword assigning it to my right hand. So I now have a fireball awaiting in my left hand and a sword in the right.

I run down the street and sure enough there are a group of bandits. First to get their attention I click the right mouse button, releasing the fireball. I then hold the inventory menu key again and select another sword into my right hand.

Now right clicking will do a swing with one sword and left clicking will swing the other. However, I can hold the shift key one to change the left click command to a block, and I can hold shift two to change right click to block. When I am blocking with a weapon this also changes the movement keys so they now act as a dodge. Moving the mouse while blocking changes the are that I am blocking. So if I am being attacked from the left I can block and move the mouse to the left, or if the attack was wide enough I could dodge to the right.

So I engage the bandits carefully dodging and swinging. Stabs can be done by lunging forward and attacking. And right slash, left slash, and chop are handled just like Theif.

Acrobatics can also be done with logical combinations of keys. Such as running forward and hitting crouch will do a slide. There are some others that borrow from Oni and The Opera (Half-life mod), such as wall jumping, flips. More complicated attacks can be used by combining attacks with acrobatics.

Channeling can also be used to apply effect to weapons. So I could have my sword in my right hand and fire selected in the right and click and hold both buttons to light my sword on fire. And non-combat items are selected just like weapons and used like weapons (eg. selecting a key into the right hand and right clicking to use it on a door).

Thats the basic idea. The flaws I foresee are that the blocking and attacking may be to difficult unless the enemies attack slowly. Also channeling could get tedius, so I plan on adding some sort of scroll so players can precreate spells and just equip the scroll, but I do not know if that is enough.

So thats about it. Hope it was not too boring. It was designed for a little project where I wanted to have a cyberpunk/fantasy setting, but told from the fantasy side. So its fantasy city, but with neon lights, comples machinary (inspiration from William Gibson/Bruce Sterling''s Difference Engine), and guns (flint lock pistols). So the technology will be replaced by alchemy and machinary. So comments on the controls scheme would be appreaciated. Its not really finished so go easy on me.

PS: My word proccessor keeps crashing so the spelling is most likely horrible. I will reset and edit this when I get the chance.

PHRICTION

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I only skimmed over the last few posts, I just want to throw in my two cents. A FPS is an action game. A 3rd person shooter is an action game. In action games, there''s one thing you have to always keep in mind -- Action. Memorizing combinations of buttons or special mouse cursor movements to perform spells is not conducive to action gaming. Thats why every successful action game and mod out there that has a magic system, still uses instant spell casting, a la Wheel of Time. You may have to learn the skill first or pick it up or whatever, but when the player goes to use the skill, one click should send that baby flying.. otherwise, he''s probably toast.

As for hand to hand combat, its something thats never been properly implemented in an action game in my opinion. That''s not to say it can''t be; its just that hand to hand combat in real life requires real finesse and skill to perform, especially with a blade. And moving the mouse just doesn''t cut it. You can have the character automatically perform the fine manuevers, but even then, its difficult or impossible to respond to an enemy combatants moves with precise timing.

One option there might be to invent a new type of controller that is specifically designed for hand to hand combat, but thats expensive and inconvenient, both for the developer AND for the player.

Until someone develops a character control scheme that suitably mimics the finesse of a skilled swordsman, properly implemented hand to hand combat in a game is a pie in the sky.


Brian Lacy
Smoking Monkey Studios

Comments? Questions? Curious?
brian@smoking-monkey.org

"I create. Therefore I am."

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When I saw FPS RPG or 3rd Person Shooter RPG I mean an Action RPG using the FP or 3rd Person view. I think people gathered this from my original post.

Controllers are always a no-no in my opinion unless you create a game so wanted by the public that they all go out and buy it.

The magic system I am thinking of would be something simple like pressing the spell key, (say "G") followed by a short sequence of letters (say "L,M,P")

This will tend to cause the player to stand still (which in my opinion is what spell casters should tend to do) but they can still move if they can reach the movement keys and press the spell at the same time or by alternative methods such as binding the spell keys to keys closer to the "wasd" characters.
Then using the mouse button to activate the spell.

As for the two hands with the different mouse buttons. I like this idea and I might consider using it same for the shift key and left/right mouse buttons. But as for changing inventory, it sounds like it takes too long so will create quick binds for changing items. (1-0 for left hand, shift 1-10 for right hand or something)

I like the thief/Kain sword to sword combat system, though I found the camera angles annoying and movement was limited to simple rotating around your target. I think I''ll use a similar system but might try improving on it.

As for setting, although I''m not the storyline designer or concept artist for this project I personally want to steer away from the fantasy setting since I feel this has been done too much. We are planning a Neo-High-Fantasy (ff style) storyline atm.

Thanks for the input guys.. its really helped.

DW

PS: PHRICTION if you ever finish that document I would luv to have a browse through it for ideas to steal if you don''t mind ^^

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