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Kohai

Stamina & Endurance

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How come games rarely use stamina? I think it has a great many uses for games: -say that every action needs some stamina to do -say that every hit stuns an opponent to some degree (to a limit) -say that some moves flow more easily with others -instant combo system -say that stamina recharges depending on your health -if you get tired go rest -if you get ill, rest more often -say that adrenaline gets made at a certain health + danger level -a character can now fight back when losing -say that magic costs stamina instead of mana/mp/ep -say that ''enchantments'' cost stamina per second -now you can balance melee vs. magic -say that stamina can be replenished by food (either instant or over time) -if you want the player to eat food, now you have a reason... I wonder why nobody every uses this stuff?

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Because it''s annoying. I don''t want to hit half as hard just because I ran a mile before getting into a fight. I don''t want to deal with my little guy being tired because he''s been swinging his PUSD for an hour and a half. The character is an in-game avater of the player, and nobody gets tired playing video games.

When you get tired in real life, you want nothing more than to rest. In a video game, when your little guy is tired, you''re sitting on the couch sipping Sprite and waiting for him to get better. It''s time outside of gameplay that serves no purpose to the player, except in a tactical context. For that, you can have a magic bar that goes up when you hold down a certain button (Think Musou in Dynasty Warriors) or else require the player to buy little potions and carry them around.

Sure, it''s a great authentic touch, but this is another one of those reality vs. gameplay issues. Gameplay must always take priority. In the rare event that stamina actually contributes to a game, it''s usually a fairly small contribution, and most players wouldn''t even miss it if it was left out.

All that said, I like stamina meters, and am trying to design a good system that combines a stylized stamina/hp hybrid, which will allow blows to stun players or knock them out, as well as gradually incresing performance penalties as blood is lost or strenuous activity performed. I''m having a hard time balancing it. It needs to be realistic enough to allow people to know why they aren''t running so good, but it must also be styled so that nobody will get angry at their little guy for not working hard enough.

If you do it right, then the player will appreciate the character''s fortitude for trying so hard despite his injuries/fatigue. If you do it badly, then you just have a lazy hero.

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I''m no fan of watching a game character rest either. Resting should either be done by speeding up time (resting in an inn, or camping), or by simply having a short recovery time.

Stamina does add a bit of realism to any system, and that''s the main reason I like it. Any player that picks up the game is going to have at least a basic understanding of what stamina is. New players know what it is. Old players know what it is, probably more so than new ones.

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UrbanTerror, a q3 mod, incorporates stamina into its game allowing you to "sprint" but only for a short period of time. after which you breathe heavily (giving your position away to nearby enemies) and slowing you to a walk state. you may sneak or crouch to regain stamina or for faster regeneration, you can stand still. your stamina in the game is relative to your current health, so someone almost dying only has a small amount of stamina as opposed to when you start out you have full stamina. it adds a nice wretch into gameplay and makes the player more aware of how to move around. as far as a roleplaying game i suppose you could make the time in between attacks greater or maybe disable his/her fighting ability when his/her stamina has run out. it should NOT be a major gameplay detail (for rpg''s) though imo.

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I like the stamina system in Q3UT, and have wasted many hours in college computer labs playing it with my friends. It does a good job of impacting your performance enough to make you feel as though you''ve been hurt, without actually making you as useless as you would be had you actually been shot in the chest (I especially like it when it announces that you hit someone in the liver. Heh, heh. Liver.).

Had it been implemented more realistically, I would have just eaten a grenade every time somebody hit me, because the crippling injury inflicted by a bullet would render me totally useless, and I and my team would have been better served by my respawning than by any minute contribution I may have made at that point.

Also, Q3UT had a very neat cripple/bandage system, which allowed you to limp, then stop limping, like in Action Quake. Bleeding was also handled well. Of course, nobody would pretend that Q3UT was realistic, and it was often the butt of fairly crude jokes among players of UT: Infiltration.

So yes, a stamina system can contribute to a game, but it''s rare that one does, and it''s a dangerous path to travel, for a developer. Make sure that it''s a good thing, and not just you being anal.

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I know all about Q3UT, even though I never really played it. I used to play AQ2 so much I almost got kicked out of high school. However, I don''t like when stamina is applied to running all the time. It usually slows a game down too much for me.

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Stamina could be an interesting mechanic, but you have to consider how to use it a little carefully... As earlier postings in this thread have indicated, it could rapidly become more of an annoyance than anything else, however, it could also be an interesting resource to add into a game. There are several games which have used stamina as a resource decently well- Secret of Mana and the Japanese-only sequel, Seiken Densetsu 3, for example, used stamina to prevent the player from attacking constastly. A couple of games I''ve seen have used it to prevent the player from running constantly. The primary thing that comes to mind is the energy meter in the Armored Core games, which does the same kind of things as a stanima meter- it''s a quantity which goes down as you do certain things (such as boost, jump, or use certain weapons), and you''re penalized if you run out of it. However, the common trend in these games is that the stanima meter "refills" quickly enough that it doesn''t slow down the pace of gameplay significanly, which is something you want to keep in mind when implementing it.

The idea of using stamina as a resource in a strategy game is an interesting one- a way to prevent players from ramboing through enemy forces with one super-powerful unit, perhaps? Actually, there were a few strategy games that have used this fairly well- the little-known Playstation game Vanguard Bandits, for example, gave each player a "stanima" meter. This went up as you took certain actions, and if it was full, the character wolud be stunned for a round and unable to attack. Also, in the Civilization games, if a unit moves a few squares, and then attacks, it is less effective in combat. Once again, though, the same warning applies- there''s a balance to be struck between an interesting an annoying play mechanic... The common thread between these two examples is that stamina is easy to recover, and won''t come into play except under certain fairly-specific circumstances.

I think that, in the end, Stamina is a good idea of something to implement if you want to give the player another resource to manage, but at the same time, you''ll have to be sure that it''s not a major impediment to gameplay- the common ideas in the examples I''ve listed above are that Stamina recovers quickly enough that it won''t cause a significant issue in gameplay, and that you tend not to incur penalties until your stanima "runs out" (in all examples except Civilization), rather than as a scaling factor.

- HC

-- EMail: cloweh@rpi.edu
-- AIM: SeigfriedH

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Here''s a link to the system I''ve been working on:

http://www.adeliedreams.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=146

I don''t actually call it stamina, I refer to it tentatively as combat effectiveness, but I''m sure you can get the idea from my description.

It''s for a third-person action/adventure/rpg hybrid, with what we hope will turn out to be a fairly realistic but still fun combat system. It''s not complete yet, but it represents most of my opinions regarding the nature and use of stamina-like systems. Take a look.

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The only reason for a stamina idea would be to slow the player, so that other participants have a chance for action. In effect, its a meter to implement a turn based system. So, when implementing something like this, remember that you have to have your meters compliment each other, and not block each other''s effects. Otherwise the player ends up finishing that soda before his next turn comes up.

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Speaking of RPG''s, Secret of Mana had a pretty unique way of dealing with this. You could attack as much as you wanted, but your accuracy would go down with each swing. You didn''t spend too much time "resting" either, because it only took a second to recharge. This way the battles could be real-time without degrading into Diablo-style hack''n''slash.

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