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Sick of uninspiring combat...

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So I recently got Morrowind, and I''m loving it. The magic system is great, the graphics are incredible, and the world is huge. (Much similar to previous Elderscroll releases.) The plot is interesting, though not as entirely engaging as it could be, it surely lets the players get their footing and all advancement they want before getting into the storyline. It certainly, IMHO, is a better game than Neverwinter, though it''s seriously lacking in some areas that make Neverwinter cool (multiplayer, henchmen, etc.) But then I get into combat... (non-magic)... Gee, this hasn''t changed much since, say, NetHack. Damn, was I disappointed. No strategy, no shieldblocking or parrying, the best tactic is to mash the mouse button like you''re playing Joust. What''s that doing in an RPG anyway? I''m fine with it in an adventure/action-RPG like Diablo, but this? I should be deciding what stance the character should be in, deciding which baddie and even what body part my character should be targetting, not greatly shortening the life of the buttons of my expensive cordless optical mouse. (NWN handles combat a bit better than this, but not much.) And what of the visuals? I''d expect with movie successes such as The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (and lesser-successes of Brotherhood of the Wolves and The Muskateer) there would be an interest in more realistic, fast paced, intense combat. like... different attacks, shield blocks, parry-ripostes, counter-attacks, kicks/punches/tackles/pommellings interspersed throughout... constant fast-paced movement a la John Woo style combat... Instead, Morrowind treats me to characters making the same hack-attacks over and over again without any regard to what the opponent is doing... and NWN is slow and uninspired as well, though it does make an attempt to have the players flank and position themselves for attack. So... Are you a game designer assigned to combat looking for fresh inspiration to make your game stand out? Watch some Jackie Chan movies. Pick up The Muskateer too, ''cause the swordsmanship in that movie is pretty good. Watch the fencing sequence of The Princess Bride. Watch BRAVEHEART for some really good large-melee combat. Now put that into your game. Want the absolute best knowledge of how combat works-- so much more than what you could gleem from watching movies? Go find your local SCA branch or other group that does swordplay. (Please avoid NERO or other "LARP" style groups that do not accurately simulate combat--- I suggest SCA ''cause they''ve worked the hardest to create rules that are both realistic and historically accurate, as well as very safe.) Watch them fight. Ask questions. Then, ask ''em to suit you up and find some well-experienced opponent and ask them to fight you half-speed. (After, say, 10 minutes your arms will be ready to fall off, so best take a break and try again in a bit.) If you''ve found a good group, they should be MORE THAN HAPPY to tell you ALL about it, suit you up in their armor, and let you experience combat first hand. If by now you have completely become enthralled by fighting, by all means, get into it and have fun-- I''ll see you at war. If not, that''s fine too-- just as long as you''ve enjoyed your experience, have gained quite a bit of knowledge of how combat really works, and can successfully encorporate that into your game. -Desco- (P.S. I hope this didn''t sound too much like a troll for the SCA, but I feel the knowledge I''ve gained from it would seriously go a long way to improving a game''s combat system.)

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I think you''re right, this is why Castlevania games since Symphony of the Night have been so popular, as well as Devil May Cry, though that didn''t really have as much of an RPG feel.

Horrible combat is why I also don''t like most MMORPG''s out there but am looking forward to joining something like Planetside, Darkspace, and Ace of Angels where combat is the point of it all as soon as I get over my case of not having a job.

Join the campaign to make RPG''s adopt either action/adventure or realistic combat systems today!!

Also, since Desco has mentioned SCA I will mention arma, formerly haca, at http://www.thehaca.com which I don''t belong to but figured I might as well mention them.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
So you want Mortal Combat/Streetfighter with an RPG layer?

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The game "Gothic"(and probably also Gothic II -havent played it yet) , which is very similiar to Morrowind features the best close combat in 3D I''ve ever seen. You start out at unexperienced-level with all kinds of weapons. After learning swordsmanship level 1,for example the character holds the weapon differently, performs special moves, is faster at swinging the weapon and has a lower probability of being "delayed" in his attacks. After level 2, the special move looks differently, and the attacks get even faster. The fighting looks great and is very fun, almost arcade-beat-em-up style sometimes.
At the same time, fighting is pretty easy. You simply look at the person you want to attack and then hold the left mouse button. As long as the mouse button is pressed, the "move" keys perform weapon swings instead of actually moving the character. The special moves are performed by repeatedly pressing the "move-forward" key, but timing is very important- if the character hasn''t completed the previous swing yet, or if you press to late, the character will get "stuck" in the move, becoming an easy target for a counter attack.

Well, I hope my description is somewhat understandable. The only bad thing about this is that there are only 2 levels of experience for every weapon type, but it didn''t matter alot to me.

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quote:
So you want Mortal Combat/Streetfighter with an RPG layer?


Sure, why not (though Soul Calibur would be a better comparison)? A true fighting engine wouldn''t be something you would want to implement in a MMORPG (due to lag), but I see no reason for a single-player RPG like Morrowind not to implement such a system. Hell, even a beat-em-up fighting system like Final Fight or Dungeons & Dragon: Shadow Over Mystara would be a huge improvement.

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quote:
Original post by Evil Bachus
A true fighting engine wouldn''t be something you would want to implement in a MMORPG (due to lag),


That''s what I''ve always thought(and feared), is that why MMORPG combat blows? I''ve heard some new console fighters are going to add online play.

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I think the combat system doesn't evolve much in RPGs just because most players doesn't want to bother fighting too much, they just want to hack'n slash, that's so easy.

Fights in Morrowind are kinda simple, but there's some cool stuff like falling on the floor while fighting.
Oh and by the way, the Morrowind plot becomes great later in the game :-) I'm loving it too.


[edited by - Cahaan on May 28, 2003 5:47:15 AM]

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It's reasons like this that Infinity (my long awaited MMORPG Design) will indeed last forever.

Fighting techniques are only scratching the surface of the melee system, well, all battle actually. You see, the main ingredient of the game will be specialization, which goes for combat skills as well. Players will be able to customize their own fighting styles and moves, and the true warriors will be able to devise truely wonderful and creative special techniques. Whats more is the fact that this fighting system will be quite easy to get used to, and the better your fighter gets at using the same areas of skill, the more devestating their blows will become.

And one thing that will cross boundaries - skills that intersect to become truely powerful (like crossing a melee attack with a form of magic or using a ranged weapon alongside your melee attacks). There will be tons of mixed choices, all dependant on the character's individual ability and the player's cunning to bring it together in the right way!

You can expect to see some very interesting battles!

- Christopher Dapo ~ Ronixus


[edited by - ronixus on May 28, 2003 7:01:41 AM]

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No no no!!! Y''all completely misunderstood my point...

First of all, yes, in "Action-RPG" games like Diablo or more into the "Action-Adventure" games like Devil May Cry and (the REALLY frickin'' cool game) Eternal Darkness, a more complex fighting system where the user controls every action would be good-- even up to a streetfighter/mortal kombat system with RPG elements...

But that''s NOT what I''m talking about. An RPG-- a "Role Playing Game" allows you to assume the role of a character. Your conciousness and thoughts, but with the character''s body, skills, and intellect. Games like these (both pen-and-paper and computer) should **NOT** require the lot of motor and hand-eye coordination skills that actual fighting or fighter games do-- because you''re assuming a role and you''re using THAT CHARACTER''S skills. (Precisely the reason I dislike LARP-Combat systems like NERO because it can''t make up its mind whether its your skills in combat or role-playing.)

So I do NOT WANT to have to grab a USB gamepad to play Morrowind. I do NOT WANT to have to press the mouse button for every move I want my character to perform because that''s not using the character''s skills, it''s relying on my own. What I want is your typical RPG interface where you tell your character who to attack, how to attack ''em, what weapons to use, when to use potions, etc. (Like all the greats such as Final Fantasy, Ultima, etc) The only difference is I want to SEE really good animated sequences of them advancing, retreating, slashing, thrusting, blocking, spinning, flanking, parrying, riposting, circling, stagering from a really strong hit, clutching their wound, limping, getting backed into a corner, etc. You get the idea. Like I said, it''d be like watching good movie combats (Crouching Tiger or The Muskateer), only now you have input into who they attack and how. But instead, what we have now, is all involved parties standing erect, without moving, swinging their weapon the same way over and over and over and over... Monotonous... boring... uninspiring.. completely unrealistic.


Don''t get me wrong, games like Soul Calibur, Castlevania, and the Gothic game that FiveFootFreak described are really cool and have their place. Even Action-RPGs like Diablo and Dungeon Siege are cool, but not what I''m talking about. I''m specifically talking about full-fledged RPGs like Morrowind or Neverwinter Nights. Where storylines are thick, complex, and intriguing, and more important than hack-and-slash combat. Even MMPORPGs would serve well to improve the combat animation (which is essentially all I''m talking about improving). MMPORPGs would suffer greatly from a system like others were describing where the player inputs every command ''cause they are NOT Quake servers, and it would definately open up the game to a lot more lag and cheating than ever before.


Cahaan-- I didn''t mean to bash Morrowingd''s plot. I just meant from the very beginning, they leave you very alone, not bringing you into the storyline. It''s up to you to seek out storyline... Whereas with NWN, they pull you in immediately by placing you in a situation where you HAVE to become part of the story. It''s just two different ways of doing things, and they both have their advantages and disadvantages, but I think NWN''s approach is a little better ''cause it pulls the player into an intriguing plot immediately, rather than having the player run around killing rats and finding mushrooms for some dork before the actual plot begins.

RolandofGilead-- Never meant to dis other respectable groups like HACA/ARMA. They''re good fencers, and actually care about things like realism, historical accuracy, and safety. I''ve fought their guys many times, and always had a good time. However I stick with the SCA ''cause they got a lot more going on, plus HACA doesn''t have anything that plays like SCA armored combat or battles of 3000+ people per side. (Yup.)


-Desco-

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Desco
Cahaan-- I didn''t mean to bash Morrowingd''s plot. I just meant from the very beginning, they leave you very alone, not bringing you into the storyline. It''s up to you to seek out storyline... Whereas with NWN, they pull you in immediately by placing you in a situation where you HAVE to become part of the story. It''s just two different ways of doing things, and they both have their advantages and disadvantages, but I think NWN''s approach is a little better ''cause it pulls the player into an intriguing plot immediately, rather than having the player run around killing rats and finding mushrooms for some dork before the actual plot begins.


You CAN go into the main plot immediately with MW, but what I consider to be one of the great things about MW is that you don''t HAVE to, there''s lots else to explore. As for MW leaving you alone, it''s less than five minutes after character creation that the seed for the main plot has been sown. The difference may be that the freedom of exploration that MW gives you compared to NWN makes it feel less of a spoon-fed main plot.

I think the difference of opinion is whether you want a story which you basically read though the dialog or a world to explore and learn about, I''d personally take the latter and much prefer MW because of it.

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Quite frankly- FF combat is some of the most horrid, ugly, nasty combat I''ve ever seen.

I recognize your point, but (1)Turn-based is so awful, it should have disappeared with DOS, (2)You ARE the character, your skills ARE the character skills.

Have you ever played Jedi Outcast ?
That''s got a reasonably good combat system.
No, its not a RPG, but consider- it has spells(the Force), and weapons(lightsaber and guns).
(They might have a demo out I dunno)

And I do tell you, it is outright cool to watch good saber fighters duel- you see them jump, twist in mid-air, etc.

Now, it is much less complex than a full-fledged RPG, but still the kernel is there to take that system and expand it into something that is very quality.

~V''lion

Bugle4d

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I don't like Morrowind at all, it's slow (poor engine performances), there's little action, no interesting story, bad battle system, and ugly chars (no skinning), but beautifull landscapes...

As you said NWN battle system is no better than Morrowind or FF, but I know a game which I really like, with a really interesting, simple, good, efficient, and elegant battle system, allowing you to break attacks, defend, move... it's the Grandia 2 battle system.

The game has been released on PC (First on the DC, the platform I have it on), and if you can find it for a low price, it's worth buying it, if not for the game itself (best computer RPG IMO), for the battle system, which is truly dynamic and involving.

Note that many CRPGamers are not very skilled with the controls, contrarily to the FPS gamers (wonder why ), so it's unlikely that a dev will make such a game require good control skills due to the targeted public. (like Jedi Outcast controls)
Great freedom = many choices = hard to master controls most of the time.

Still you'll see that between Grandia 2 and FF/NWN/Morrowind there's a ocean. (yep that big difference)

-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-


[edited by - Ingenu on May 28, 2003 3:14:38 PM]

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Anyone who wants an RPG that battles like a fighting game should
definitely check out the "Tales of.." series of SNES/PSX console
games.

Tales of Eternia(Tales of Destiny 2 in the US ~.~) is one of the
most fun games I''ve played. Tales of Destiny was also really
really good(gets just a slight knock down for having battles show
up just a ''little'' too fast for my taste).

I have yet to play Tales of Phantasia, however.

-Hyatus
"da da da"

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Hey, I''m with you on this one Desco. I quite like the combat system in Dungeon Seige. Depending on the weapon, you attack in different ways (a dagger leaves you stabbing, a pole gets you swinging, etc). Shame about the actual gameplay, but the combat animation is good. Could be more varied for a given weapon, but they certainly made an effort.

You don''t have to do anything other than point & click, but the character does a number of different moves that relieve the tedium.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
(1)Turn-based is so awful, it should have disappeared with DOS,

Some people do like to issue combat orders at their own peace, without striving to hit that exact on-screen icon/ key combination they have on mind before they''re hit by computer opponent who doesn''t have to wrestle with the user interface.

(2)You ARE the character, your skills ARE the character skills.

This leads to ridiculous connections where my ability to quickly hit buttons determine my in-game character''s ability to say, fly or cast a healing spell. Or even worse, where all the abilities of the whole party of in-game characters are determined by the same single factor -- my hand-to-eye coordination. Which in turn leads to things like novice knight being as effective in combat as the world''s most famous paladin, because i can issue commands for both of them equally fast...

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Hey, please, this isn''t an MW discussion.. please stop all discussion on it ''cause I don''t want this thread to get off topic.

Vlion-- Sorry, but that''s about as ignorant as saying "2d games are so aweful, they should have disappeared once 3d games came around." Besides, if you''ve played any of the more recent FF games (>=7) they''re not turn based. The game prompts you to decide the character''s next action, and you input it, but the character doesn''t necessarily "do" that action right away. Also while you''re decided what to do, the characters and enemies are still fighting and carrying out combat. So it''s a lot like NWN''s combat instead, where you queue up commands. FF just chooses to only let you queue one command at a time, whereas NWN allows you to queue many.

And your point (2) is just plain wrong. In a ROLE playing game (narrative, LARP, or computer) YOU are assuming the ROLE of a character. It''s the character''s skills, it''s the character''s abilities, and the character''s body. It''s just that you are makign the decisions for him/her. Your skills don''t matter. As the last Anonymous Poster said, it doesn''t make sense (in an RPG) that your ability to jam buttons should determine your character''s ability to fly or fight; just as MY skill as a swordfighter means beans to an RPG. If you''re talking about an action/adventure game like Diablo, that''s a different type of game, and hence, NOT what I''m talking about.

SoaringTortoise-- never actually played Dungeon Seige, but I''m sure I''d have something to complain about w/ it''s combat too :-D.

-Desco-

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quote:

What I want is your typical RPG interface where you tell your character who to attack, how to attack ''em, what weapons to use, when to use potions, etc. (Like all the greats such as Final Fantasy, Ultima, etc) The only difference is I want to SEE really good animated sequences of them advancing, retreating, slashing, thrusting, blocking, spinning, flanking, parrying, riposting, circling, stagering from a really strong hit, clutching their wound, limping, getting backed into a corner, etc. You get the idea. Like I said, it''d be like watching good movie combats (Crouching Tiger or The Muskateer), only now you have input into who they attack and how.



Quite my intentions

You see, in Infinity you will be in charge of ''effecting'' decissions for the character, what attacks they will most likely use and when it''s best to use them, and the decision on what target to attack...

They will mostly do the rest! The most you (might) have to do is determine when the character should be advancing or defending an opponent (or group of opponents and most likely movement in the area. There will also be the direct option to alter their fighting in different ways as well, especially if they go from ''only melee'' to ''only magic'' offenses, but it could also be left to the character.

All sorts of strategy will be accounted for and even some creative dynamic dialogue that you''ll just have to wait and see! But it will happen, very soon maybe!

Any thoughts?

- Christopher Dapo ~ Ronixus

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ok I'll describe Grandia 2 battle system (still should play the game it's easier to understand it that way)

The timeline

As you can see on the image above, you've somekind of timeline in the lower right corner, with an icon per character.

First you travel along the line in the blue area, the speed at which you travel in this area depends on your character speed, the place where you enter the blue area depends on your previous action. (some actions are not as exhausting as others)

Upon entering the red area, you choose an action, you can move, attack, use item, use magic, defend, use special attack, or break an attack.
Given your character traits and the action you've chosen, you'll move more or less fast on the red area, but always at a constant speed. Special attacks are slower than many other actions, and the 'break' action (don't remember it's true name ingame) is the fastest.

The intent an purpose of the 'break' action, is to attack your ennemy to slow him down, or cancel his action. (either it'll move backward in the timeline, or it'll restart at the beginning with a penalty [that is not even on the blue area])

Now what's usefull, is that 1st you can now when each creature (and characters) will act, and so plan ahead.
Knowing that most powerfull attacks do take more time (you travel slower on the red part) you'll try to select them when no ennemy is close to entering the red part (at the 'COM' word), to avoid being canceled.
You can know the ennemy attack power by seeing on fast it moves on the red part of the timeline, the slower the more powerfull.
So when you see an ennemy slow on it, you'd better try to 'break' its action.
Your character can move across the battlefield, which is very usefull when your ennemy has area of effect spells, you'll prolly want to surround your ennemy to avoid being caught in area of effect spell, and have bonus (attacking from behind helps).
Also you can put some characters behind the others to cast spells, they are unlikely to be targeted, except if they do much damage ^^

you can see the action selection menu here


-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-


[edited by - Ingenu on May 29, 2003 10:01:32 AM]

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Ingenu-- yup. That''s pretty much how all FF''s have worked since 7. ''cept intstead of one timeline for all players (incidentally, I''m getting a 403 for the first pic you linked to, but not the second), Final Fantasy 7 had a small meter for each character next to their health, magic, etc meters. When the character makes an attack, it empties. It''ll fill up (also at a constant rate) during combat, all while the action is taking place. When it gets to a certain point, the character can make another attack. I believe (but I don''t remember ''cause it''s been a while) that if it got completely full, a few more "super attack" options were available.

This is system works well for a game ''cause it works like turn-based combat, but also accounts for the characters'' speeds and other time factors that turn-based combat doesn''t handle well... however... realism takes a back seat, but atleast it''s still in the car. The thing I totally hate about these kind of methods is NO ONE EVER STANDS STILL DURING COMBAT!!! I realise that these are simulations of combat, not real combat, and like I said it is a good system. However, they could atleast make the combat LOOK realistic instead of just standing there looking at each other from a distance.

Sure, in one-on-one combat (or small-team, like two-on-two) there''s a lot of circling, feigning, and watching the other guy, waiting for a good time to attack and attempting to psyche-out the other guy. However, once an attack is made, it is NEVER just one attack (maybe a counter attack) and the two combatants seperate. Melee combat (ATLEAST 5 per side) is a different story. Small team combat tends to break up into a few one-on-ones, or the occasional two-on-one or two-on-two, whereas when melee combat teams tend to stick shoulder-to-shoulder. There''s a LOT more defensive movements, letting the combatants with the longer blades (in fencing) or the spears (in armored combat) do most of the work, while everyone else blocks the other side''s spears attacks.

Here''s another clue that I think a lot of game developers need: WHEN A COMBATANT MAKES AN ATTACK, THEY RARELY "MISS"!!! All these games (as with D&D, which most games are based on) you miss atleast 50% of the time, or a lot more. EVEN NEWBIES RARELY "MISS"! Most attacks are BLOCKED by the opponent, dodged, or parried. A "miss" means that if the opponent does not attempt to evade or stop the attack, it wouldn''t have connected anyway. (Fencing has a bit more missing for newbies ''cause they haven''t properly learned their distance yet.) This leads me to another problem I have with RPGs, which I will not spend more than one or two sentances on: Dodge and block are NOT skills that some characters do not have, they are INSTINCTS that every living thing has! (Don''t believe me? Swing a stick at your best friend and tell me they don''t try to avoid getting hit.) But yes, they can be honed and improved like skills.




Ronixus-- Quite... Yep, that''s what a real RPG should be-- players make the decisions for their character, and no skills (other than perhaps strategic or logic) of the player should effect the effectiveness of the character. I do, however, see the supposed-problem with that and the reason why developers are tempted to involve the player more in the actual skills part of the fighting: Just making the decision who to attack and watching the characters act that out can be boring! Kinda like "Coach Mode" in Madden ''98 for the Genesis. Especially if all the on-screen characters are doing is stepping forward, hitting, and then stepping back and waiting for the opponent to do something. If the combat animation was a lot more realistic or Matrix/Muskateer like, players would be a lot happier just to sit back and watch the proceedings.

However, ideally, the player should have a LOT more ability to effect combat. Actually it should be optional. The newbie player should be allowed to basically treat the character as an attack dog-- the player clicks the enemies and says "Attack!" and the character does it''s best to dispatch of them... However, the player who chooses to should be more involved-- making decisions on which enemy to attack, what body part to aim for, which style of attack to use, when to advance/retreat, take a more offensive or defensive stance, switching weapons, using spells or magic items, etc. And yes, by doing these things, the player should make the character more effective than if the character is allowed to make most of these decisions.




Basically, what it all boils down to (and this goes all the way back to D&D) is this is what happens when computer-oriented, not combat-oriented, people try to design a combat system.

-Desco-

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quote:
Original post by Desco
Ingenu-- yup. That''s pretty much how all FF''s have worked since 7.


nonono, I''ve played FF too The only common thing is that you have to wait before attacking, no counter, no different action speed... far less involving.

quote:

NO ONE EVER STANDS STILL DURING COMBAT!!!


Indeed, anyone having practiced martial arts now this.
In grandia2, the characters move a lot, they don''t stay where they are, they move to strike the ennemy, then either go back to their previous place, or in another. And since many creatures can act at once, you see a lots of things going on at the same time, nothing like FF "I''m stuck to the ground and jump to strike my ennemy".

quote:

WHEN A COMBATANT MAKES AN ATTACK, THEY RARELY "MISS"!!!
...
EVEN NEWBIES RARELY "MISS"!


Well... he''ll hardly put the master into troubles, the simpler dodge move would probably suffice... in pen & paper games, you don''t want to roll dices all the time, so a simple miss 50% of the time makes it easier... But for a computer...
BTW in Grandia 2, you don''t miss that often, in fact, you miss rarely.

quote:

Dodge and block are NOT skills that some characters do not have, they are INSTINCTS that every living thing has!
But yes, they can be honed and improved like skills.


Yes, at the basics they are instincts, but to make them efficients, you need some training, so they are skilled, skills that each and every character automatically get, obviously.

quote:

...player...should be making decisions on which enemy to attack, what body part to aim for, which style of attack to use, when to advance/retreat, take a more offensive or defensive stance, switching weapons, using spells or magic items, etc. And yes, by doing these things, the player should make the character more effective than if the character is allowed to make most of these decisions.

Basically, what it all boils down to (and this goes all the way back to D&D) is this is what happens when computer-oriented, not combat-oriented, people try to design a combat system.


That''s exacly what happens in most games, with some knowledge you know which strategy to use against which monster, and it shorten the fight...

A real fight is something really exhausting, so you can''t ask your players to put that much energy into a game, not counting that he''ll prolly have to fight many times.
You need to analyse a fight and decide of an atomic set of actions, which, in your opinion, it can be divided into, then make rules around those actions, how they interact... before giving the players the options.
Many people build games over previous games experience, this is clearly cutting innovation.

Now that you said all that was wrong, what about designing something that would be good ?


-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-

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Just to address some concerns

quote:

Just making the decision who to attack and watching the characters act that out can be boring!



It can be is true, that''s why you will have the option to change their actions in mid fight, it just won''t be so much based on player skill, just ressing a different key or moving. However...

quote:

If the combat animation was a lot more realistic or Matrix/Muskateer like, players would be a lot happier just to sit back and watch the proceedings.



...This _is_ the type of detail that will be worked into the game! And the best part is the player will have the option to refine the techniques to their desires and _make_ their character as skillful in their mastery as they would expect to be, especially at higher levels of experience! Sort of a pre-programming system that has default actions tat can be altered individually by the player. For instance:

Forward -
- Attack 1 - Verticle Slash (default - lvl 1)
- Attack 2 - Horrizontal Slash 2 (default - lvl 2)
- Attack 3 - Parry (default option)
- Defend 1 - Verticle Attack - Block (default - lvl 1)
- Defend 2 - Horrizontal Attack - Block (default - lvl 1)
- Defend 3 - Parry (default option)

...Can Be...

Forward -
- Attack 1 - Dodge Left, Vertical Slash (lvl 3 Fighting Tech. + lvl 2 Defensive movement)
- Attack 2 - Double Stab 1, Elbow to Head (lvl 2 Fighting Tech. + lvl. 2 Hand to Hand Tech.)
- Attack 3 - Flipover 1 (lvl. 2 Evasion Tech.)
- Defend 1 - Steel Press vs. Vertical Slash (lvl 4 Fighting/Counter Tech.)
- Defend 2 - Jump/Dodge Horrizontal Attack (lvl 1 Defensive Movement)
- Defend 3 - Parry (default option)

This way, during a fight the character will use the chosen techniques as properly as they can, without you needing to specify it before they do it (though you can change to a different set as an option in mid-fight) and it will also be great to watch as two or more comatants test their skills against one another

This is not the finished combat set though, just an example!

- Chris

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This is a very interesting topic, but I just thought of a good idea for handling combat in a 3rd person view, and since I''m at work I don''t have time to read through the whole thread.

I''m not sure if this would work for mass combat, or even more than one opponent. This is a system to improve hands-free combat (like in many MMORPGs) where the character does all the work, and all the player does is target, and handle things like retreating, healing, special attacks, etc. Basically this system is purely visual, but should hopefully go a long way to make hands-free combat look more appealing.

Combat is broken into two stages: Attack and Defend. The opposing characters'' Attack Speeds determine how often they get to attack vs. defend. When Character A attacks, Character B is defending. The animations the characters go through is choreographed (depending on the weapons used by the characters) -- in other words, if Character A is using a swords-style attack animation involving a right-to-left slice move, and his opponent successfully defends, the opponent''s animation would involve using his weapon to block the slice move. This combat style would be very dynamic and could move very fast, giving the whole fight a fluid feel.

****************************************

Brian Lacy
ForeverDream Studios

Comments? Questions? Curious?
brian@foreverdreamstudios.com

"I create. Therefore I am."

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Guest Anonymous Poster
combat... Well, I''m a turn-based fan as far as RPGs go. When I''m playing an action/arcade game, then I expect to have to challenge my reflexes. In an adventure or RPG, that''s not what I want - I''m playing mostly for the story.

QFG4 (Sierra) had a handy ''Strategy Mode'' for those of us who''re fairly crap at combat to be able to set AI controls for the character and let the computer handle it. In a game that''s all about combat, this would be boring, but since this *isn''t* all about combat, making the arcade-reflexes optional is nice.

Fallout had turn-based and the fun of called shots. Nothing like getting that 99% hit-chance over a target''s eyes or genitals to make you grin - and the descriptions of the HORRIBLE PAIN you inflicted on your adversaries. So yeah, turn-based with strategic options like called shots and burst-fire made combat interesting for me.

I like the strategy of turn-based. I like being able to sit back and think over how the last round went and what I might need to do differently. I like knowing when my commands will be carried out (which Fallout was very good about!) That''s one of the problems with NWN''s combat system... a player command submitted at the wrong point in the ''round'' (and you can''t tell what the round IS) may be wiped out and ignored by the computer''s default AI - how many times have we died while frantically clicking "Drink healing potion, idiot!" over and over again and having the character ignore you?

IMO, turn-based (and party-turn-based) allows for harder and more-complicated battles because you can time and coordinate your actions more precisely. Frantic clicking doesn''t leave much room for thought. I receive a much greater feeling of accomplishment from carefully positioning my party around the dragon and coordinating our efforts of fighting and running to keep it from being able to focus too much on any one person, therefore all coming out alive... than I do from my single character clicking on the dragon until it dies.

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
combat... Well, I''m a turn-based fan as far as RPGs go. When I''m playing an action/arcade game, then I expect to have to challenge my reflexes. In an adventure or RPG, that''s not what I want - I''m playing mostly for the story.
...
IMO, turn-based (and party-turn-based) allows for harder and more-complicated battles because you can time and coordinate your actions more precisely. Frantic clicking doesn''t leave much room for thought. I receive a much greater feeling of accomplishment from carefully positioning my party around the dragon and coordinating our efforts of fighting and running to keep it from being able to focus too much on any one person, therefore all coming out alive... than I do from my single character clicking on the dragon until it dies.


Agreed, that''s why I shown the Grandia 2 battle system, an improvement over turn based is that it''s realtime, with freezing when you have to select a character action.
That allows you more subtle speed improvement of the character (don''t step from one to two actions a ''round'')

Since you can place the characters (unlike FF) around the dragon, you get additional bonus and avoid everyone being caught in area of effect spells/effets (fire breath...)

I don''t like either the idea on relying on player skills to win, well you already rely on its understanding of the story, involvement in the game to understand game mechanics, and other abilities, no need to require even more skills.


-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-

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Ingenu--
quote:

Now that you said all that was wrong, what about designing something that would be good ?



I''ve ideas, and basic system designs on paper. But that''s another thread... Besides, I started this thread not to complain about the rules and the systems of mathimatically/systematically figuring out combat, but rather to tell future developers to make combat atleast LOOK good. A lot of the systems in use today are good representations/simulations of combat, but they still look like Rock-''em-Sock-''em Robots.

I''ll work on a brief design document for a combat system that *I* think accurately represents real combat. I don''t want to get too detailed, however, because any time I do I get too bogged down with the numbers and give up. :-)


Right, and I completely agree with making basic dodge instincts more efficient through training.. When I''m fencing, I can dodge by taking a very small leap backwards so the tip of my opponents blade misses by just a couple inches. Whereas the untrained individual would jump back as far as possible. The reason? It puts me in a much better (closer) position to make a counter. My point is *NO* living creature when threatened will stand there and just allow their attacker to hit them without trying to dodge.

Yeah, the entire FF series was the same way as you described Grandia as working. It just has to do with the genre. They follow more of an Anime style, rather than an RPG style. Misses and dodges actually rarely happen, and in the beginning the numbers are low, but the appeal is in later is these hugely powerful creatures and these insanely powerful attacks. That''s why we see numbers in the tens-of-thousands appearing above the opponent''s head, and he still doesn''t go down.



irbrian--

I hate to rip into your design, but while this is a tried-and-true formula for RPGs, it''s completely misrepresentative of ther way actual combat works. Now, what you''re talking about is puting well-choreographed animations to the proven formula "under the hood", and that''s essentially what I was asking for from the beginning of the thread.

Here''s the thing-- while training newbies, once we have them comfortable with weapons, armor, getting hit, and striking properly, the next step is the most difficult. We have to get this "attack mode" vs "defend mode" idea OUT OF THEIR HEADS! They should be in COMBAT MODE all the time, meaning at any time they''re ready to defend, attack, or both. In sword-and-shield combat, you defend with the shield (left hand), and attack with the sword (right hand), SIMULTANEOUSLY. The two arms work INDEPENDANTLY too.

The next problem I have is this concept that a character''s speed determines how often they can attack. While that may be true, it''s horribly exaggerated, and leads to the absolutely deplorable situation where a (less experienced) character stands "stuck to the ground" for 5-10 seconds before making an attack. But... Like I''ve said, this is a formula that (while not realistic) is easily understood, easily programmed, is a decent simulation, and makes sense to most gamer types.



Anonymous-- "Drink healing potion, idiot!"

heheh yeah, the problem with a queuing system... However... picture me kicking your ass up and down the block. (I''m a big guy too) There''s a band-aid and a Vicodin in your pocket. Do you really think you''re going to be able to get them out of your pocket, remove the band-aid from the paper and peel off the things from the sticky part, and then be able to open the child-proof cap (that I can''t even do in my kitchen) while I''m slashing at your arms with my sword and kicking you in the face? It''s a drastic example, but yeah, getting your ass kicked makes it difficult to do certain activities.



Ingenu (again)-- There''s no such thing as realtime combat... atleast there never has been in a computer RPG. If you want realtime combat in an RPG, the computer simulation has to move and treat the characters as if they were Street Fighter or other action/adventure characters, know their movement speeds, and figure out the details for every kick, stab, slash, etc., counting on body positions to see if the target is in a good position to defend.


-Desco-

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