Archived

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

Trigomaq

Trigger Design Part One: Innovative RPG Battle Systems

Recommended Posts

If you were to design an RPG game what will be your battle system? "....If heaven was around the way.......a fiend who wants to get high, would he stop smoking? Knowing on his own two feet we could just stroll in......and escape from craziness and I bet you theres a heaven for an atheist." - Nasir *NaZ* Jones(courtesy of "God's Son") [edited by - Trigomaq on May 7, 2003 9:18:50 PM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For me, I''ll take turn-base over realtime any day of the week. I would like to design a game in which a great deal of thinking is required. Very few real-time battle system games have failed. Of course Zelda is an exception because it was fun..........

In the turn-base system I would like the character to be able to "summon" weird/scary creatures. I got this idea from Golden Sun. I would also like the characters to merge with other characters to form super-beings of some sort in order to defeat some bosses.

Another idea I like is having the character aboard a gundam-like ship equipped with heavy artillery. This idea was, of course, borrowed from Xenosaga/Xenogears.

As for special attacks? I don''t know honestly. I''m still deciding on just having a special guage similiar to the Over-Drive guage found in Final Fantasy X and the in-fight tech attacks in Xenosaga.

"....If heaven was around the way.......a fiend who wants to get high, would he stop smoking? Knowing on his own two feet we could just stroll in......and escape from craziness and I bet you theres a heaven for an atheist." - Nasir *NaZ* Jones(courtesy of "God''s Son")

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A very open ended question. I designed one for a role-playing game that has been collecting dust in a three ring binder. I will get to implementing it on the computer at some point but you need to walk before you can fly so I'm making a bunch of classic arcade games first.

The first thing I did was make the system so that the character's level does NOT effect the number of Hit Points they have. And no matter what, there is always a possibility of a low level character/creature being able to hit an uber-character/creature. Of course, the chances would be extremely thin. I had implemented a Luck value in the RPG that the player could use to modify their To Hit, Damage, and Resistance Rolls. How to implement that in a game would be virtually impossible. Any ideas would be read... hint, hint.

One thing I did when computing damage is to take the To Hit value and subtract it from the number rolled. This result would be added to the Damage roll.

My damage system was based on a single chart indexed on Weapon Dmg Type(A, B, etc.) and Weapon Physical Type(Puncture, Blunt, Slash, etc). If a Critical Hit occured I had a Crit Chart based on Hit Location. These charts would have special damage characteristics. Here is a sample list:

Blood Loss
Broken Bone
Eye Loss
Ear Loss
Blindness due to blood
Knockdown
Knockouts
And many more modifiers that could permanently lower your characters statistics, movement rate, etc. You get the picture. However, implementing them and keeping the game fun and the player frustration level low may be very difficult to achieve on the computer.

EDIT: I forgot that there was a Critical Failure also where the player could drop their weapon, nick themselves, or even embed that double bladed axe in their foot.

For your basic character statistics I had them roll a number for their BASE and another number that would be their ACHIEVABLE on stats that could be raised through physical practice. This would mean Strength, Dexterity, etc. Lift weights = get stronger, stretch more = more dextrous.

One last thing, the game was play-tested for almost 3 years with friends. Combat was fast, the damage system realistic enough to spark the imagination but not so detailed as to get bogged down. After exposure to AD&D and RoleMaster, I attempted to create something in between.

Anyway, whatever you do, make sure you load your charts and data from a database or your own files. DO NOT HARDCODE! You will be doing alot of tweaking to get the balance right and recompiling could become a serious headache.

Happy Coding!

[edited by - LordShade on May 1, 2003 10:20:48 PM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
if done right, realtime tactical is the best (with no pause support)

baldurs gate is not a good example because the control over party member is bad, so they have to use pause

chrono cross is not an example cos its not real time.

i cant think other game uses real time tactical fighting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think that realtime only really workd well with a 1:1 player/character ratio. Star Ocean 2 had a fun realtime system, but the AI characters were dumb as posts. SoM was totally rescued by multiplayer. My AI guys had a tendency to dash themselves against enemies or stand still absorbing arrows. No good.

If one player is going to coordinate the simultaneous actions of four or five characters, there needs to be some kind of time manipulation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My ideal battle system would be one where it doesn''t boil down to "Attack, Attack, Attack" until you reach a boss. I''d like to see some strategy required to beat the normal everyday encounters, using the different unique abilities of the characters in various combinations.

In no particular order, here are some features I''d like to see that would support that:

- Have status effects (good and bad) actually work most of the time and in some cases be required to beat specific enemies. The enemies would have to waste turns countering those status changes just like the player does (if they felt they needed to). With an ATB system, this would be better, as you couldn''t completely nullify the enemies turn with status attacks if they were quick, as they may get in 2 or 3 turns by the time you could do it again. Immunities would be possible, but sparse, and one enemy wouldn''t be immune to everything.

- Instant death spells that actually work, but they''d be costly or have side-effects.

- Have the fighter type character able to carry and use several different types of weapons. Like a sword strapped on the back, a crossbow hanging from the hip, etc. They''d be able to attack with any equipped weapon in a fight, based on which would be most effective. Weapon types would have different uses against different enemies. Definitely more weapon types than could be equipped, so preparation for a certain area would be necessary based on the monsters found there.

- Elemental strengths and weaknesses for most enemies, for magic attacks, or magic enhanced weapons.

- Perhaps a system where each action in battle takes a certain time to prepare and recover from. If a character is ready, they can initiate an action at any time (maybe pressing a button to pause time and enter a command). If you could tell that an enemy was about to cast some strong spell (you see them start to gather power), you could put up a shield that takes quicker to cast. In preparation or recovery states, characters could be interrupted or vulnerable to certain things.

- For a console RPG, have it be a solo quest where you would be able to use different classes. Each enemy would be possible to defeat with that class, using the skills acquired. A warrior would need the right equipment. Magicians need to use the right spells. A thief would have to time their counters properly (if using a system like I described above) to take advantage of openings. Good for replay value.

I guess my main gripe is that I''d like to see more strategy in traditional console RPGs, and not having any spell or skill that''s "useless". The trick is not turning it into a TRPG in the process, and keeping the battles short still.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is how I will try to implement my battle system (for my slightly futuristic RPG):

- Realtime, because it adds realism, fun, and strategy.
People tend to say "realtime gives you NONE of those, because in other realtime RPGs, noone is moving during combat; they''re just standing there exchanging spells/sword slashes/gunshots. In turnbased games you can move your character behind protection and stuff, use the terrain"

Well, I think tactics CAN be implemented in a realtime combat system. I mean, look at REAL LIFE. or at movies. they are in realtime, and people from both worlds can use tactics (their surroundings, their body and their teammates) to better survive.

To do this, the player can pause, and perform a number of different Special Moves.



Then I want
- Realistic damage system, for the same reason as realtime. A wound will have three effects on a character: Effect, Blood Loss and Pain.

The Effect does something like "worse aim", "lose an ear" etc, in other words it affects the character''s stats.
Blood Loss, well simply put, the character gets worse the more blood he.. doesn''t have
Pain. At a certain threshold, he gets worse at doing stuff.

The character can die from two things:
1) The Effect "Immediate Death" which can happen if the head or torso gets damaged badly enough, or
2) Blood loss.


"Kaka e gott" - Me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well for me its all about having lots and lots and lots of strategy and tactics involved, like a game of chess or Magic: the gathering. No skill/spell/class should ever be rendered usless by other higher end things along the line. Maybe less battles but the ones that are fought are longer and more meaningfull.

The battle system that I am implementing in my game (in my mind that is, i can barely program) is kindov origional in a sense i think. There are random battle encounters out of nowhere with a transition into them (like a FF game) but the battles are more like tekken. It is totaly realtime and playes out like a tekken battle except there is multiple creatures you fight, the game doesnt automaticly aim you at an enemy, and it is fought with weapons instead of your hands, oh and most hits will be alot more fatal than in that game. You get button combos that give you special attacks from weapons, like a sword might have fire strike: x-left-left-o-down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not to sound like an D.H or anything but why do many aspiring game programmers craze for the medieval theme?

To me and several other millions of people, medieval is very boring. Wouldn''t want to have a theme for an RPG to be futuristic, with robots and space aliens? Sounds cooler than being a knight defending your low-populated kingdom from some indian tribe whos chief is sleeping with your mother.

I just prefer science fiction in my RPGs, makes the game more exciting.



"....If heaven was around the way.......a fiend who wants to get high, would he stop smoking? Knowing on his own two feet we could just stroll in......and escape from craziness and I bet you theres a heaven for an atheist." - Nasir *NaZ* Jones(courtesy of "God''s Son")

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I enjoy SciFi RPGs also. Remember though that even in a futuristic environment swords still do the same type of damage. A battle system originally designed for a fantasy can be applied to a futuristic one also. The designer just has to add new rulesets for lasers, masers, particle projection cannons, railguns, and so on.

[edited by - LordShade on May 3, 2003 1:54:54 PM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Live-A-Live!

A pet project by Square, it hasone of the more brilliant battle systems ever seen in a RPG (Though the AI isn't that brilliant). Basically, it's a chess grid, where you and your opponents take turns moving or fighting. All your attacks have set range and direction (Some attacks can only be performed diagonally, etc). Some attacks also have area effects. There are also no "magic points", but the more powerful attacks have charge-up time. There are a lot of fancy effects too, like previously posted, such as broken leg, disabled arms, stunned, poisoned, turned to stone, asleep, temporary level boost, etc.
So what does this mean? This means you get away from the lame attack-button mashing of FF. This means you have to thing several turns in advance. Especially when you have several team members, this gets really interesting.

Screenshot of the battle field (The menu covers part of it, it is really 7*7 squares big.)

Of course, Square could've copied it from somewhere, but I believe this is unique.

EDIT: Typos.
---------------------------------------------
How many nukes could a fat duck duck if a fat duck could duck nukes?

[edited by - Cestps on May 3, 2003 4:57:54 PM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
origin used something like that in Ultima 4 & 5... i can''t believe so few RPGs have battles where you can tactically position your party.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Exile/Avernum I II & III has one of my favorite battle systems. Fights don''t take place in "arenas" that spawn just for the fight; if you go into the ogres'' castle and one of them spots you, you get to fight exactly where you stand, so you can use all of the surroundings your liking

Note that this battle system has basically nothing in common with the one I described above, but I still think it''s great

(plus, it''s probably the best RPG ever, with the exception of Fallout 1 & 2)


www.avernum.com



"Kaka e gott" - Me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Cestps
Of course, Square could''ve copied it from somewhere, but I believe this is unique.


Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Tactics Ogre and the Shining Force series. A lot of games use that kind of system, you just need to look around a bit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I dislike turn-based RPG battle systems because they are WAY too repeatative and eventually get boring.



- Rob Loach
Current Project: Go Through Object-Oriented Programming in C++ by Robert Lafore

"Do or do not. There is no try."
- Yoda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I prefer real-time. And the complex the beter. For example, I hate turn-based. Errors happen. Turns get skipped and doubled. I know this from Pokemon. Real time is the norm. I feel also that the more complex, the better. For example, some people hate rules like ''If an archer is on ground that is higher than the opponent, he gains an attack bonus and takes reduced damage from ranged units below him'' and so on. But I think this makes it better.

This is purple.
This is green.
This is black.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
.......I prefer turn-base. You''re right. The more complex the better, but I don''t see anything complex about a real-time battle system. You just run across and field, take out your sword and repeatedly press A to get pass the skeletons(example taken from Zelda: OoT).

Turn-base requires more thinking, more strategizing. The kids in our world are getting dumber and dumber by the minute. We designers need to construct games that require a great deal of thinking. Mindless fun is in the past man. Time is passing and we need for our games to be more complex. Trust me, its better for the world.

"....If heaven was around the way.......a fiend who wants to get high, would he stop smoking? Knowing on his own two feet we could just stroll in......and escape from craziness and I bet you theres a heaven for an atheist." - Nasir *NaZ* Jones(courtesy of "God''s Son")

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On the sci-fi vs. medieval debate, it''s easier to brush off a hit with an edged weapon, and say you''re either tough enough to take it on the armor or it just glanced you, than it is to absorb a bullet. More deadly technology is generally found in the futuristic settings, and so you''re left with the dichotomy of "dodge or die". Personal shields, tritanium armor and psionic powers can neutralize this, but orbital cannons and cruise missiles have to be wished away. There''s extremely little potential for classic level-raising role-playing in a semi-feasible future. Who''s going to believe that people who can travel from galaxy to galaxy can''t pick off one silly little hero?

You wind up needing magic, and that''s anathema to a good futuristic sci-fi world. Call it the Universal Guardians or the Green Lantern or the Spirit of the Milky Way, but it''s an awkward fit with titanium bulkheads and seismic graviton beams.

Yes, of course it can be done, and done well, but it takes a level of writing, design, and technical depth that''s really challenging, and few teams are willing to go that far into it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i always liked turn based. or rather games like final fantasy 4 thru 9 (havent played 10 yet... damn i need a ps2) where each character has their own timer bar that fills up at a rate dependent on dexterity. cause if youve ever fought with a broadsword youd know you CANT do something like in legend of zelda where you just swing to your little hearts content, im sorry but thats NOT possible (unless youre REALLY strong, dont ever get tired, or are just so bad ass that it doesnt matter)... with a turn based system that uses a timer bar you can basicly think of the timer bar as the time between swings. the faster/strong you are and the lighter your weapon the faster the bar fills up. whether or not you can actualy move around is really up to the general style of the game. im actualy playing a very interesting and little known rpg for the super NES from Namco called "Tales of Phantasia" (some of the best 16bit graphics ive ever seen, on the same line as chrono trigger or ff6). it uses a semi turn based system where you move your characters back and forth in a 2d battle but you can only attack so fast (no continuous swinging unless the enemey is close to you and even then youll deal next to no damage). basicly you have a point on the battle screen (theyre actualy about 2 screens wide, it scrolls as you move) where your main character will return to after each attack (he runs up to the enemy and hits them, giving you a chance to do various special attacks, then runs back), but at any time you can move to wherever you wish. i must say its very different from anything else ive played. i wouldnt consider it ideal. but its kind of a combination of my ideal system with the ability to move characters around (i guess i never really liked that, unless its like fft or shining force). long story short, for the best battle system (in my opinion) final fantasy 6 is the way to go...

Bungo!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Trigomaq
.......I prefer turn-base. You''re right. The more complex the better, but I don''t see anything complex about a real-time battle system. You just run across and field, take out your sword and repeatedly press A to get pass the skeletons(example taken from Zelda: OoT).

Yes, that happens a lot in many real-time based combat systems. But, it can become a real-time combat system which takes more than just that. Diablo 2 for example (I know it wasn''t an RPG, but it''s a good example of a complex real-time battle).

quote:
Original post by Trigomaq
Turn-base requires more thinking, more strategizing. The kids in our world are getting dumber and dumber by the minute. We designers need to construct games that require a great deal of thinking. Mindless fun is in the past man. Time is passing and we need for our games to be more complex. Trust me, its better for the world.

I agree.

Civilization 3 just came to my mind.

quote:
Original post by Village Specialton
I prefer real-time. And the complex the beter. For example, I hate turn-based. Errors happen. Turns get skipped and doubled. I know this from Pokemon. Real time is the norm. I feel also that the more complex, the better. For example, some people hate rules like ''If an archer is on ground that is higher than the opponent, he gains an attack bonus and takes reduced damage from ranged units below him'' and so on. But I think this makes it better.

I don''t know where to start...

"Turns get skipped and doubled." - I''m sure the designers intended that to attempt to encorporate some strategy elements into the game.
"I know this from Pokemon" - So that means that every turn-based battle system is like that?
............



- Rob Loach
Current Project: Go Through Object-Oriented Programming in C++ by Robert Lafore

"Do or do not. There is no try."
- Yoda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous Poster
It''s hard to know what to pick in games. When you go with a strict realtime system, you''re often reduced to who can mash the attack and potion buttons the fastest, such as Baldur''s Gate: Dark Alliance. With tactical turn based games, you''re often reduced to the big gun effect. This means that you have found a combination of tactics either by tutor, by luck or chance, or by a burst of skill, that is either a 90:10 chance for win:defeat or 100:0. An example of this is Ogre Battle 64. My lead team had a gladiator and a knight with two sorceresses that had morale so high they cast plasma ball every time. Rarely did it take more than one hit to defeat a "boss" character and his entire group. It really ruins a game when you find a combination like this, because it forces the player to make a choice between guarenteed winning and the meat of your game. Trust me when I say that many gamers are vegetarians.** Back to realtime, many maneuvers and tactics are considered cheap. Using a battle engine like this allows a person to time their hits so exactly that they''re never touched by the enemy, or they level one ability to the point where using it ends the skirmish. The point of all that, in case you''re a speed reader or just don''t like me, is that both of the engines have advantages but they also have huge disadvantages that destroy a game.

What should be done is for the creator to analyze a fight. Watch real people fighting, with wrestling (pro OR col), ultimate fighting, movies, television.. and really discover what it takes for a fight to be a FIGHT. Then take this knowledge and incorporate it in an engine that forces a player to learn to fight in your world, knowing full well that cheap tricks and twinky moves won''t save him forever. Give the sense that your character is always an inch from death, that no matter how strong you get there''s something stronger waiting to snatch you up and pop you like a pimple. In the same breath, it must be mentioned that there also needs to be a sense of development. What use is leveling up a character, if the only result is that enemies level accordingly? The player would never fully get to enjoy their newfound strength. An approach to this problem would be skills and items that add new elements to the battle, that can be useful when mastered. The ninja rope in Worms games is a perfect example of a tool that r0x0r5 73h b0x0r5 4nd j00r 50x0r5 when mastered. You CAN win battles by not using it, but more often than not you will be destroyed for not using it. Then, when you master it through practice, you become a ninja kung fu master worm capable of delivering the explosive ninjitsu beatdown with a zero delay holy hand grenade, because you can escape it with the rope. It''s an abstract method of getting to my point, but I think it works. Sort of. Anyway, include things that the player will absolutely enjoy when earned and mastered. Such as, a shuriken that does absolutely no damage when used head on, but drains an opponent''s power as it scathes by. It also sticks into the wall to deliver this effect to whoever comes near it. Or an explosive that works mildly well when hurled at your opponent, but is better used to collapse that teetering rock surface onto his cranium. It might require more work on your part, but it''ll be better for the game.

If you skipped this whole post, essentially I said that think about what fighting is, incorporate it into a game, and give the sense that you''re fighting for survival instead of experience points.



** Used as a metaphor, not to be taken literally.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Then, when you master it through practice, you become a ninja kung fu master worm capable of delivering the explosive ninjitsu beatdown with a zero delay holy hand grenade, because you can escape it with the rope.

::drool::

man i love the ninja-rope zero-delay-HHG beatdown move.... that was a GREAT game

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
......I don''t know man. I''d rather have turn-base in my games. I seriously oppose realtime. Sorry, I just do.

Here are some of the things in the game I''m designing:

TG(Time Guage): I think this idea was taken from Crono Trigger(I''m not sure, one of those legendary RPG games have this). Where you''re presented with a color bar(which I labeled as TG) and you do as many attacks as possible until the bar(TG) expires.

TG Mode: This mode gets initiated during combat when the player chooses "attack"(working label).

Climatic Combos: Of course during your attack time in TG mode you can connect single/simple attacks to form "combos"(nothing new). Climatic Combos are a little different though. The longer your combo, the more damage you do. For example, lets say your character throws two punches one after the other. The second punch will do more damage than the first punch(forget total damage of the combined two punches). Why add this in the game? Gives an advantage to those characters with a high TG level(TG level governs how long the actual TG will be).

Character Mergers/Transformations: I don''t understand why more RPGs don''t have this. It''s a cool feature to me. Being able to transform into a hyper-andriod-like beast during combat is awesome. Also merging with characters to double stats. This is my favorite idea for some reason(merger idea taken from Crono Trigger and transform idea sorta taken from Xeno Saga/Gears).





"....If heaven was around the way.......a fiend who wants to get high, would he stop smoking? Knowing on his own two feet we could just stroll in......and escape from craziness and I bet you theres a heaven for an atheist." - Nasir *NaZ* Jones(courtesy of "God''s Son")

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My text RPG is turn-based. However, the intervals of turns depend on the agility stat of the character and the enemy. A secondary battle-interval stat is derrived from agility. A counted loop goes through numbers, and whenever a number that is a multiple of your battle interval comes up, you attack.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites