Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

DragonWolf

Combat systems in FPS/RPGs

Recommended Posts

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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 ^^)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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 ^^

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You shouldn''t have any such complex system--games today have too many controls as it is: a FPS needs one or at most, two weapons/devices, because that''s as many buttons as a standard PC mouse has. It could be argued that a wheelmouse allows controlling more items, but the problem with adding more weapons is that it becomes questionable which is the best for any situation- and then the game becomes one more of luck than strategy. All a "weapon" does in a computer game is serve as a test of hand-eye coordination, and the coordination is potentially the same no matter what the weapon you''re using is.
....
-Or maybe I''m wrong. But if so, then how many weapons is "enough"? How about thirty different weapons? Fifty? A hundred? What would a hundred different weapons do differently? "Arranged" smallest to largest, there probably wouldn''t be a lot of difference from one to the next, so a hundred wouldn''t serve much of any purpose. IF a game is lousy, ading more different weapons isn''t going to really help it much, if at all. And that''s my point: ideally, if you''re going to have different weapons (of any kind, including majic whatevers), they should be easy to control/use (so it''s best if there''s only two!) and each weapon should have one use it succeeds at, and everything else it fails at, or fails enough that it''s obvious the weapon is being used incorrectly.
~

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For FPS'', you''re absolutely right. The modern PC FPS player will be mad at you if you try to make them use any keys other than WASD+space regularly. Everything else that happens frequently should be on the mouse.

Things like crouching, weapon selection, and "Use Object" actions are what I would consider secondary actions -- these are all on the keyboard because they are actions that will not need to be used quite as often. Still, they are always easily within the players reach -- his/her palm need never leave the palmrest below WASD. Actually, some of these "secondary" actions are often available on the mouse as well (as in the case of weapon scrolling using the wheel on a modern mouse).

All "twitch" actions -- especially attack actions -- should be immediately accessible on the mouse with ONE CLICK -- no combos, no special moves -- ONE CLICK, ONE KILL (potentially). Hence the word "action" as I said before.


Brian Lacy
Smoking Monkey Studios

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

"I create. Therefore I am."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Go download the Arx Fatalis demo and you''ll see a system of ''symbol''-based spellcasting, where you have to trace ruins in the air with your mouse to empower yourself with various spells. Rather ingenious, but it can be a tad maddening. Typing combinations of words to cast spells is a completely ridiculous idea as far as I''m concerned. This is a concept that''s been raised at various times over the past year or so, and in my opinion is a huge digression from the current trend in control and interface design...

_________________________
The Idea Foundry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by irbrian
All "twitch" actions -- especially attack actions -- should be immediately accessible on the mouse with ONE CLICK -- no combos, no special moves -- ONE CLICK, ONE KILL (potentially). Hence the word "action" as I said before.



Exactly why I all but gave up on the system I described. While I do not there is a problem with combos for more potent attacks, things like blocking would be too difficult. Perhaps if it was not amadextrous, it would work.

I do not agree that there should be no combos or special moves. This severly limits what is possible. What if I want to do something besides shoot or swing? There are not a lot of buttons I can use.

quote:
Original post by Lubb
How about thirty different weapons? Fifty? A hundred? What would a hundred different weapons do differently? "Arranged" smallest to largest, there probably wouldn''t be a lot of difference from one to the next, so a hundred wouldn''t serve much of any purpose. IF a game is lousy, ading more different weapons isn''t going to really help it much, if at all.

...

each weapon should have one use it succeeds at, and everything else it fails at, or fails enough that it''s obvious the weapon is being used incorrectly.



I totally agree with not having a lot of different weapons. The more weapons the less the differences and the useless decisions.

I do not think I agree that every weapon should have only one use. In the control scheme I mentioned, one of my goals was to have weapons that could be used in a variety of ways. If you have one sword of orc slaying and one sword of goblin slaying, and one kills orcs the best and the other kill goblins the best, you are eliminating choices that the player can make. Why not have one sword that does lots of damage in general, and is good at close ranges, and can do more damage versus trolls, and also can be use to block projectiles. And, also have a bow that leaves you defensless when its uses, but can hit from a very long range, does more damage versus bandits, but there arrows can be poisoned. This would make the choice more interesting. Where having specific weapons be ther best at specific things would effectively eliminate the choice and make it boring.

Mabye I misunderstand you, but do you see my point?

quote:
Original post by DragonWolf
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 ^^



Sure.

And as for the issues you mention, I already relized those. The camera angles expecialy was something I could not think of how to implement. Having seperate control to move the camera would make it very conplicated I would think. The only thing I could think of was make movements very obvious. Like you can easily tell when you are being slashed at from the left because the enemy brings his arm far back. Not very clever, and Im not even sure it would work. As for the inventory, it isn''t as complicated as I make it sound. Quick-key assignments would be great however. I designed it in that way because another one of my goals was to have zero on screen interface (no stats, or bars or anything). It would all be accesable through (hopefuly) quickly accessed menus.



Sorry for the quotes being out of order

Phriction

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
I do not think I agree that every weapon should have only one use. In the control scheme I mentioned, one of my goals was to have weapons that could be used in a variety of ways. ...... Mabye I misunderstand you, but do you see my point?

-No and no. No #1: You mentioned two fundamentally different examples right off: a sword that does lots of damage but only at short range, and a bow that does less damage but at farther ranges. ~ No #2: The problem with making all the weapons somewhat like each other is that you move towards the "100 different weapons" situation. It becomes less clear which is best for any situation, and it sounds like you''re adding control complexity just to make the game more challenging. And that''s the reason so many games are poor quality: instead of providing a challengine environment they complicate the controls, because complicating the controls is easier to do.
~

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To many FPS/action/RPGs reley on "semi-realistic weapons"...thus you end up with hundreds of relitivly useless weapons, none really better then any others....but I assume this is due in no small part to the general misconception that quantity is better then quality of player choices/actions.

I think it is better to give players weapons that have specific functionality, in that they have a specific purpose, but a wide field of uses....and the most interesting of these are weapons that "change the rules of the game"...er...by useing them the situation changes.

An example is in the old NES game Metroid...players had a "ice" beam...that allowed them to "freeze" enemies and use them as "stepping stones" allowing players to reach new game areas.

here are four simple weapons that, I think, would work great for a multiplayer FPS:

1) basic laser machine gun...unlimited ammo...fires very rapidly but each shot does very little damage...when fired it forces the player to face in subtle random directions, makeing it hard to constantly hit far away targets, or nearby moveing ones....when hit...the blast causes a little bit of a "knock-back" effect...meening it pushes the character in the given direction.

2) big hammer...this does the most damage...but range is very limited, and it takes time to "charge up" the swing...but a good solid hit can dish out the damge...when the hammer is swung...and misses it''s target, it strikes the ground, knocking nearby characters away from the player slightly (but not causeing any damage)

3) grappleing hook...when fired player cannot move...the hook travels at a medium speed (about like a Quake rocket)...when it comes into contact with a wall/character (whatever it hits becomes imobile...er...characters can still turn in place and fire weapons, they just can''t move)...it rapidly pulls the player to it/them (pulls them much faster then it travels by itself)...when the player "lands" it dishes out damage to the attached surface...the further the player was pulled...the greater the damage....this allows the weapon to do near hammer type damage to far away characters.

4) the "freeze" yo-yo...this is like the grappleing hook above but range is limited to about 15-20 feet...it rapidly shoots out a yo-yo...which freezes whatever it makes contact with...it only freezes for a few seconds, and does 1 point of damage...

pretty simple and straitforward...each weapon can complement the other, with none being completely useless...and without any other "rules" the weapons lead themselves to teamplay as is

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was talking about two weapons. It would be a different situation if yhou had a hundred different weapons that all did diverse things. That would cause confusion because of too many choices. The examples I provided were admitantly poor.

Are you saying something more like a sword that only damages orcs, and one that only damages trolls? Clarify what you mean by "one use it succeeds at, and everything else it fails at".

I am not talking about having dozens of weapons. I am saying something like one sword, one bow, one staff. Not fifty swords with slight variations. So their purpose is obvious (the sword is close combat, the bow is long range combat, etc) but what they do is not bound to one thing (like slaying orcs). So you can shoot the rope that suspends the anvil over the trolls head, to kill him. Or you can hack the chains to release the cyclops. Regardless of my examples, my goal is not to make a weapons with a bunch of tiny little quirks, but rather weapons that reacte with things in a obvious ways. And, to combine those obvious reactions with obvious reactions in the magic system to create more complex reactions. For example: poison magic poisons creatures that are not immune to it, and arrows pierce things from distances, so combining poison magic and arrows, the player can poison a creature from a long distance.

There is no added complexity for the purpose of increased difficulty in normal fighting. But, chalenging moves will yield more rewarding attacks. Such as extreme sports games. On Tony Hawk if you do a 720 method, you get more points than doing a kick-flip, because it is more challenging. They could have assigned 720 method to one button, but that would reduce the verstility of the system 9reducing the amount of actions you can do), and remove a challenge. So the the purpose of my system is to provide versatility (allowing a large amount of actions) and reward the more difficult actions with higher damage, or demobalizing, or something. It differs from Tony Hawk in that the complexity is the side effect of the versatility, and there would be no reason to execute the more difficult actions if there were no reward.

So a large amount of moves that differ in their effect adds a lot of interesting choices in combat. I can play dfensively by blocking until I see an opening, or I can play agressive and try to kill everyone before I take to much damage. Or try to execute a difficult move and behead the guy or play it safe and just jab at him. Or I can try a difficult spin attack to damage several enemies, or I can try a difficult bash attack to completely destroy one enemy.

Phriction

EDIT:
The post by MSW was not here until I finished writting this, but that is what I am trying to say (along with other things). Many purposes, but it only really "does" one thing. Bravo on saying that so much clearer than I could.

[edited by - phriction on October 8, 2002 5:33:38 PM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites