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benfinkel

Why are RPG combat systems so boring?

108 posts in this topic

really like the discussion so far.

anyways, because most rpg''s i played have boring battle systems, im in the middle of designing a game with a (hopefully) more interesting and fun battle system. keep in mind im only one man so im limiting myself to single player, turn based battle system. here are some key points.

1.infrequent random incounters (also im gonna include an item that can either attract or repel random enemies depending on their relative strength)

2.make enemies genuenly "hard" and take many turns to beat, but the pace of the battle will be fast so as not to bore the player

2. very stratigic fighting. (one way im doing this is all enemies have a degree of each of the game''s strengths/weaknesses like fire,ice, ect, but right now my list is 50+. from there i can design some interesting situations.

3. player will have many choices for each "turn". more than the standard fight, magic, item

4. AI of heros will be very configuarable and hopefully "smart" to avoid boring and obvious choices by the player like "heal my partner that has 2 hp"

5. always keep battle moving. Never have the player siting and watching an animation (like ffX), always have his next options available

open to any suggestions on how to improve upon this outline.




no funny sig yet
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None of you ever played Grandia 2 or what ?
Everything in that game is perfect or almost, the only ''weak'' point, which isn''t even IMO, is that there are not many sidequests.


Random Encounters:
None, all ennemies are shown on screen and so can be dodged to avoid encounters altogether.


Battles:
Fast paced combat, character moving across the battlefield, capable of breaking attack with good timing. Ennemies have weakness that makes them easier to beat down, provided you find them.
Attack, Special Attack, Combo, Break, Magic, Item; that covers pretty much everything you might want to do, not making the system too complex.

All things being able to act inlvoved in a battles are seen on the mini timeline.
(things cause some monsters can have more than one ''body part'' that can acts independetly of the others, such as a plant monster.)

Mini Timeline divided in 2 phases and 2 "events":
-''Wait'' phase during which your character just recovers from previous Action, so its duration depends on the previous Action.
-''COM'' event @ which you choose your Action.
-''Ready'' phase, in which the character ready the Action, duration is Action dependant.
-''Act'' event @ which the character move and acts.

Using ''Break'' attack against an ennemy in the ''Ready'' phase cancels its action, against an ennemy in ''Wait'' phase, that makes it moves backward along the timeline = that costs it time.


Heroes AI:
Different modes available (protect, defend, attack...), with ''override'' option to control each and every character of the party.



-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-
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I think it''s already been mentioned, but Kingdom Hearts uses a loosely Zelda style combat system with up to two AI "wingmen" who can be set to attack specific targets, or asked to help you (in return, they expect you to respond to their cries for help). The underlying XP system is pure SquareSoft, and could almost have been taken out of an FF game (it is a little simplified though). Enemies usually appear out of thin air when you pass trigger points, but are clearly not actually random, and in most cases disappear again if you ignore them and keep moving past. There are three two-button combos to which it''s possible to set any known magic spell and avoid trawling through menus. It is also possible to trawl through menus to access unusual commands (I usually only use it for summoning and the (very) occasional item).

Having the fights take place in real time, with approximately continuous position and timing allowing player skill to influence the outcome (unlike the traditional FF systems, where the only skill comes in executing limit-techniques or in pressing the "action" button as fast as possible to queue attacks asap in the psuedo-realtime system of FF8)
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To be honest, I don''t much like long battles. At the end of the day it''s a problem with the HP system, but there''s nothing I hate more than fighting an enemy with 40,000 HP that really just amounts to 40 enemies with 1,000 HP. Against a weak enemy you attack, heal, attack and it dies. Against the huge enemy you attack, heal, attack, heal, attack, heal, attack, heal, attack, heal, attack, heal, attack, heal, attack, heal, attack, heal, attack and it dies. Jesus. It''s like a war of erosion, and it gives me an opportunity to employ a word I recently learned here: nerfing.

A nerf battle is torturous. One thing that I always hated about advancing in an RPG is the knowledge that I''ll have to spend fifteen minutes in every battle until I''m on absurdly high levels (at which time the "battle start" animation and the "battle end" animation will take far longer than the battle itself). Watching my guys go back and forth with the bad guy, exchanging blows with huge swords and monstrous claws, annoys me to no end. I''d rather see them go rounds than just smack, smack, smack, smack until one falls.

Instead of an "attack" being a one-shot deal, why not turn it into more of a command? Okay, I used to play Magic: The Gathering, and I always liked the idea that when a creature attacked and was blocked, those two critters would duke it out. If one died, then it died, but often as not they both pulled through with some injuries. Why not use a system like that for a CRPG? When Hero attacks Monster, have them come together and go at it. Experience levels, equipment, and external augmentations would come into play to determine the outcome. A supertough swordsman might be able to emerge unscathed from a fight with a novice soldier, but if two decent pugilists measure up, they''ll both lose some teeth.

It would approximate the back-and-forth combat of FF-style RPGs, but would condense the encounters. You could even have a list of "counter" skills that you would be able to choose when your character was targetted. I''d rather see my cleric teleporting or dodging than just taking a hit, and I''d really like to see some planned counterattacks. You could build in a sophisticated (or simple) paper-rock-scissors system for this.
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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
If one died, then it died, but often as not they both pulled through with some injuries. Why not use a system like that for a CRPG? When Hero attacks Monster, have them come together and go at it. Experience levels, equipment, and external augmentations would come into play to determine the outcome. A supertough swordsman might be able to emerge unscathed from a fight with a novice soldier, but if two decent pugilists measure up, they''ll both lose some teeth.


Gameplay : the art of meaningfull interactions.

I don''t see any in the system you talk about.
People like to choose the ''super attack of sudden death that hurts badly'', they like to control what''s happening, not watching out, it''s a game not a movie.

Yet, I agree that a more lethal game system would be more interesting and realistic, that means that you could probably kill an ennemy in as little as one hit.
Still what would be the meaningfull interactions the player will have to take ? Choosing an attack ? Choosing a defense ? Choosing a combat style ?
I can see a game using a battle system like in Jedi Knight.
But that puts a lot on player''s skills... Which most RPG try to avoid using, so maybe a "Use Character Skill" option ?




-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-
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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
To be honest, I don''t much like long battles. At the end of the day it''s a problem with the HP system, but there''s nothing I hate more than fighting an enemy with 40,000 HP that really just amounts to 40 enemies with 1,000 HP. Against a weak enemy you attack, heal, attack and it dies. Against the huge enemy you attack, heal, attack, heal, attack, heal, attack, heal, attack, heal, attack, heal, attack, heal, attack, heal, attack, heal, attack and it dies. Jesus. It''s like a war of erosion, and it gives me an opportunity to employ a word I recently learned here: nerfing.

A nerf battle is torturous. One thing that I always hated about advancing in an RPG is the knowledge that I''ll have to spend fifteen minutes in every battle until I''m on absurdly high levels (at which time the "battle start" animation and the "battle end" animation will take far longer than the battle itself). Watching my guys go back and forth with the bad guy, exchanging blows with huge swords and monstrous claws, annoys me to no end. I''d rather see them go rounds than just smack, smack, smack, smack until one falls.

Instead of an "attack" being a one-shot deal, why not turn it into more of a command? Okay, I used to play Magic: The Gathering, and I always liked the idea that when a creature attacked and was blocked, those two critters would duke it out. If one died, then it died, but often as not they both pulled through with some injuries. Why not use a system like that for a CRPG? When Hero attacks Monster, have them come together and go at it. Experience levels, equipment, and external augmentations would come into play to determine the outcome. A supertough swordsman might be able to emerge unscathed from a fight with a novice soldier, but if two decent pugilists measure up, they''ll both lose some teeth.

It would approximate the back-and-forth combat of FF-style RPGs, but would condense the encounters. You could even have a list of "counter" skills that you would be able to choose when your character was targetted. I''d rather see my cleric teleporting or dodging than just taking a hit, and I''d really like to see some planned counterattacks. You could build in a sophisticated (or simple) paper-rock-scissors system for this.



Have you playerd Tales of Eternia II? I was on fairy low level and didn''t have all supposed moves, it took me 2.5 hour to finish that battle. My hands hurt a lot. And then after he was dead he vaporised me, so I had to do it again. Three times actually. On the third time I have got a brain.

To take everything on just one roll wouldn''t be interesting.
BTW I remmember in FF combat when your opponent healed or something like that and battle started again.
In fact if computer oponent managed to hold enough time he could win on exhaustion. ~_^ I remmember when I healed in Crawl then healed then healed. It surely wasn''t heal and slash. It was more I hope I''d heal enough and dodge next attack so I could get away from that ACID blob. Yes combat, in Crawl, could last one turn by your death.
I''m against simplicism, becose it wont solve anything. The problem isn''t putting more AI into your characters so they would do something more than they just should, but also some AI into opponents. Can you imagine end of FF5 with better AI? It would be nearly unplayable. Then again Omega is nearly always somewhat more difficult, and nobody rants about it.
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I suppose I did a poor job of communicating my idea. I'll try again.

The outcome of physical engagements is, the vast majority of the time, decided by a relatively simple algorithm. Descended from the P&P RPGs of old, things like Armor Class, Attack, Defense, and the associated modifiers are packaged such that a human with a handful of dice can calculate randomness and declare a result before the other players fall asleep or go do something else.

Computer solutions have included more variables, higher resolution in randomness, and extra modifiers. Each of these developments has served to complicate the mathematical computations and multiply the possible outcomes. This is good, and couldn't be done without computers (See Helios's Cows). But things like Armor Class, HP, and item-based stats continue to be anachronistic. I'm no expert in modern combat algorithms, and I'm sure a dozen examples contrary to my next statement are available, but the trend is still there: Boss battles and Player vs. Player fights are so nerfed up that the determination of a winner is based on repeated, often redundant, brute force calculations.

The evolution from P&P to CRPG is incomplete, and the archaic design elements are becoming more obvious as the rest of the system advances, like wagon wheels on a Porsche. Except in cases of specialized attacks or unique items/maneuvers, combat in RPGs is a matter of exchanging blows. If your HP is high enough to risk an attack, you go for it, and if it isn't you drink another magical potion and hunker down. That was how I beat the boss of Dragon Warrior, and that's how you beat the boss of Final Fantasy X. Keep those ethers and potions flowing, and use your strongest attack when the Jecht Beam misses. It's a war of attrition, a powers test to see if you've jacked your stats sufficiently to stand there and take reaming after reaming from attacks that level cities in cutscenes. Totally ridiculous, yet every RPG has it.

Think of how an actual fight between two swordsmen of matched caliber might go. They close, one initiates an attack, the other has a choice to dodge, block, pre-empt, or do any number of other things. Beat attacks, distance parries, blade parries, etc. are all available to a trained swordsman, so the average straight attack is generally unsuccessful, but can be used to facilitate a more successful attack combination, or else used to kill puppies and much slower opponents. I myself have received blurringly fast straight attack to the noggin as a saber fencer, and know that it works, but generally it only works once.

The counterattack is the most underused element of RPG combat in the history of the genre. Sometimes an item facilitates it, other times it's an acquired skill, and in a bare minimum of situations it's inherent to the character. So that first attack is met, and the target either deals with it and re-engages, or deals with it and disengages. My theoretical system terminates with the disengage, since at that time muscle memory is overridden by reason and the player should be able to participate in the reassessment of the situation.

Now, all of this potential is condensed into a simple algorithm that results in either a miss, a hit, or a CRITICAL HIT. A hero with 3,452 HP can withstand 20 hits from enemy X, or 10 from enemy Y, or 3 from enemy Z, or 1.2 from the boss. So you get whacked by the boss, you heal, you get whacked, you heal, until finally he misses, and you hit him, or he gets a critical, and you have to use a Pheonix Down. Jesus. If the guy is that tough, you shouldn't be fighting him.

In normal battles, a more sophisticated HP system and combat simulation will suffice, although the combat simulation can be done internally, without graphical representation. Fallout had all kinds of target zones. You could break limbs or blind other characters, and although I never really had one do it to me, the status screen seemed to indicate a possibility of such crippling blows being dealth to the player as well. It wasn't a perfect system, and had many of the shortcomings I mentioned above, so don't bust my balls about hypocrisy. I'm just citing one feature.

The point is that when two guys fight, having one run over a hack the other and then reversing roles is bizarre and inadequate. Reaction needs to factor in more. Better to have a 10% chance of doing serious harm than a 98% chance of sort of nicking the guy. Now a game with a 10% hit rate would suck, because you'd have to issue the "attack" command ten times before anything came of it. Hence the "engagement" ove "attack" system. You're guy goes in, engages the baddie, they try to kill each other, and either one comes out on top or they stalemate. Then you get involved again. I'd give a bunch of scenarios here, but it's already a huge post, so you'll have to deal with theory.

Boss battles can be done away with entirely in my opinion, unless the boss is one guy that's as tough as you are, and thus has even odds of winning. A half-dozen tough bad guys is good enough for me. Or better yet, a balanced party of skilled opponents to match your group. But fighting a beast the size of a hotel casino that just ate the moon is too crazy to contemplate. It always has to have some weak point that you can reach with a stick while it's massive claws rend your flesh (to be promptly put right with a High Potion). Those battle suck. A lot. Now, that's my opinion, and I'm sure there is a whole Zeromus fan club out there, but it's my (huge) post, and I'll say what I like.

Editted for clarity.

[edited by - Iron Chef Carnage on December 16, 2003 10:39:52 PM]
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I''ll never say enough how stupid it is to use Pen & Paper RPG rules in a computer game. Those rules were made for easiness, so that every player around the table can compute the results and everything goes smooth.
Computer can do much more complex things, just like you don''t simulate physics in a P&P RPG, but computer games do...

Now you said why P&P RPG sucks in a computer game, which I agree with, I still fail to see where you give us an idea of a system that would be interesting gameplay wise.

You have basically two options:
-Rely on player skills (FPS, RTS, Mario, Zelda, Outcast...)
-Rely on character skills (most CRPG, FF, Grandia2...)

The first option will lead to a battle system like the one in Jedi Knight, fast paced, deadly, impressive, but with little strategy.

The second option can lead to:
-choose an action from a menu for your character, and watch the result, since a battle is made over many actions, it gives you strategy choices. (FF...)
-choose a weapon and select an ennemy, the character will attack it until it''s killed or you change target, no menu, somewhat more freedom since you can move/select weapon or spell/select a target. You can even do hit & run tactics...


What''s your idea ?

-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-
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My idea is similar, from a gameplay perspective, to the standard CRPG Final Fantasy method. However, what I propose is a more intricate use of time in the system. I tried not to outline an actual system, because it would invariably have led the discussion into a high-resolution analysis of my prototype, which loses sight of the idea, but I see now that I have little choice in the matter. I''ll do my best.

First, though, some more preaching on the idea. If it bothers you, call me a nasty name and skip my post. My objective is to take a few of the things that current RPGs represent with progress bars, attack animations or hit points and replace them with the actual events for which they stand in.

For this small example, I''ll address HP, active turn meters, and simple attacks. I''m not going to get into magic, or super attacks, or whatever. This will be very basic, and I do not intend it as a game idea. Purely hypothetical; purely academic.

HP, as I stated in a post on the A RPG Without Numbers? thread, isn''t just the pain level and blood loss of a character. It''s a constellation of factors, including physical endurance, evasive capabilities, blocking ability, and in some cases item properties. So when a guy has 500 HP, and can withstand 3 "hits" from an ogre, no RPG designer ever intended that to mean that this guy could take a punch from a twelve-foot monster and keep fighting. HP is "hit points" not "health points". More recently, however, with potions and ethers and such, HP has become a reserve of strength, a cushion to absorb blows. No P&P character could survive having an arrow shot through his eye socket. HP was his ability to escape it, not to withstand it.

So, in CRPGs, where computing power is available and can be used to simulate things like endurance, speed, dodging, blocking, and geometrically accurate hit detection interacting with armor placement, simply awarding a character with 55 more HP at level-up is an anachronism. Better to let that character dodge, or block, or take it on the shield than to just let him absorb another axe-blow. After all, a sword going through the torso of an experienced warrior would do just as much damage as that same sword going through the torso of a serf, or a wizard, it''s just way harder to get that sword into the warrior, on account of his armor, his smarts, and his spear. That''s my take on HP.

Active turn meters are a relatively new phenomenon in CRPGs. I think I first saw them in Final Fantasy 2 (4). The idea is that a little meter fills up at a pace modified by the character''s attributes and equipment, and when it''s full, they get to do something. It''s a quantum leap from "turn-based" games, but it''s still flawed. What is the character doing during that time? Catching his breath? Looking around? Re-establishing a psionic link with the player? No. That feature was intended to cause actions to take time. A slow character takes longer to walk up to the bad guy and stab him than a fast player does, and so what you''re doing is paying the time in advance, and then executing the action instantaneously. It doesn''t take into account things like what kind of attack it was (unless you take casting time into account) or other nuances of the event. Even a slow character can quaff a potion faster than a fast character can run across the battlefield and stick a knife in an orc. A better way to represent the consumption of time must be found.

Attacks are the lamest element of modern CRPGs, but their lameness is closely related to the highly simplified HP system that''s still around. In a nutshell, you hit the "attack" button, your guy sprints over to the target, hacks it mightily, then runs back to formation and chills out while his speed meter refills. Maybe in that time the baddie lumbers over and gives him a scratch or two. The important thing, though, is that all those fancy animations and graphics are but a mask being held up in front of a couple of twenty-sided dice. In an attempt to fancy the system up, things like dodges and parries have been added in, but of course these features are redundant and cosmetic, since their influence on battle has been included already, under the blanket of HP.

Again, modern computing techniques can be brought to the rescue. The numerous factors that are lumped into HP, the clumsy inclusion of time, and the mechanical foundations of attacks are three persistent weaknesses that can be eliminated simultaneously. Here''s how:

A warrior with a sword engages a warrior with an axe. They''ll be referred to by the names of their weapons. For dramatic effect, they''re alone and evenly skilled.

At the outset of the battle, the characters choose actions simultaneously. Speed is not yet a factor. Each selects an action and a target. For this example, there will be only two actions: Engage and Evade.

===================

Sword engages Axe.
Axe engages Sword.

They run, in realtime, toward one another, slowing as they approach contact distance. Sword, being a little faster/smarter/crazier, attacks first, with some kind of slash. Axe manages to dadge the attack by stepping backward, but he is already beginning his counterrattack, a two-handed swing of his massive weapon. Sword, recovering from his first swing, uses his sword to partially deflect the axe and duck under it, and darts a thrust toward Axe. It glances off of Axe''s armor. Axe, using his inertia, comes around again, and sword is forced to disengage and retreat a few steps. The whole thing took about three seconds, and now the player gets to choose another action.

That event was what the active turn meter represents. Both characters have now ended their active attack. Nobody was hurt, but Sword is a little off-balance, so Axe gets to a "stable position" first, and so his player gets to choose an action first.

Axe engages Sword

The choice is made to press the advantage. While Axe takes a few menacing steps to close distance with Sword, Sword gets his act together and chooses his next move.

Sword evades Axe

Sword makes a little feint, and when Axe starts winding up his chopper, Sword gets the crap out of there. He gets out of range and circles a little way to Axe''s left flank, then he''s ready to go again.

Sword engages Axe

Axe is still recovering from his ineffective attack, so when Sword descends on him, he just barely gets the chance to respond. A clumsy block stops Sword''s first attack, but his follow-up cuts Axe pretty badly in the leg. Despite this distraction, Axe keeps his feet and while Sword recovers from his lunge,

Axe evades Sword

========================

And so on. Now, before you start, bear in mind that this was a showcase of the system, and although it seems to be slow and clumsy, the above encounter would take about twelve seconds, not counting decision-time.

In a more casual fight, between Sword and two Imps, it would look like this:

==================

Sword engages Imp1
Imp1 engages Sword
Imp2 engages Sword

Sword closes distance swiftly, beats Imp1''s little spear out of the way and sticks his own blade through Imp1''s head. Imp1 dies. Imp2 takes a shot at Sword from the right, but Sword''s agility and skill allow him to deftly deflect the blow. Imp is now off-balance, and so Sword gets the next move.

Sword engages Imp2

Sword swings his sword at Imp2, and Imp2''s shoddy defensive stance manages only to deflect Sword''s blade enough to earn him a serious chop in the left arm. Now Imp2 get''s to go.

Imp2 evades Sword

Imp2 heads for the hills, but sword is ready to act almost before Imp2 turns around, so the next command,

Sword engages Imp2

Has Sword taking three quick strides and decapitating the imp from behind.

==========================

Four-second battle. No HP (in the classic sense, anyway), no timers, and no exchanging of blows. XP system does its thing, and back to the overworld map, or whatever.

That''s not a perfect expression of what i have in mind, but it should help clarify it. And again, this game would not be much fun, due to the simplicity and limit of choice. It''s not a game, it''s just an example of three aspects of my argument. I may or may not be way off topic.
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That reminds me of the system I was planning on using in a way. In my system instead of the wait time which active time bar act as. There is instead what I''ll call here action time. Thats the time it takes to complete an action. Once that amount of time has elapsed the action is considered completed. However its possible to interupt actions before there completed canceling that action. So the player tries to drink a potion the whole action takes a second. However in that time the opponets arrow strikes the victim. Injuring them and failed luck roll results in the potion being dropped and shattering on the ground.

So when the action time is running the character is considered waiting. While there waiting you can issue more orders to them. There is also recovery time which is the time it takes to recover from an action. The charater can be issued new orders until they recover.

So to use the above example.
- axe man decides to swing their axe.
- sword man decides to swing their sword.

Both action happen at about the same time and both people recive a minor injuries.

axe man then decides to perform an over the head chop.
the swords men however waits and when he see what the axe man is doing. Performs a quick thrust stabbing the axe man through the heart while he''s vulnrable, killing him.

It may seem a little akward but it will seem less so when its being used.
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your example brings up an isssue I struggled with. When Axe is winding up for the big chop, and Sword waits a split-second before running him through, how does the player interact with that? It''s an easy thing to choreograph in your mind, but will the player have to issue a command every six hundredths of a second? That''s worse than what we have. My whole system was an attempt to streamline to process, so that a single "engage" command can result in four attacks and four defenses before the player has to act again. it gives the characters more autonomy, which has its ups and downs.
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I think the simplest solution would be have combat run in slow motion. That would give the player the oppertunity to react in time even though the actual actions take only a second or two.

In fact you could have how slow the slowmotion is be ajustable by the player. So that they can change it to there liking. As well as that could lead to bragging rights. With player saying things like "I play on 1 second slow motion" and there friend replying "Thats noting I play with 1/10th of a second slow motion.



-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document

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But with such tight control of every character action, right down to the specific slash or chop they perform, you may as well just make it an action game.
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Alot of the games mentioned are not exactly popular games, and like stated big game companies are not big risk takers and as such are not going to jump on an idea unless its a sure hit. Panetside is a game that tried to take this concept to MMORPG''s and didnt fail (i thought it was the first intesne MMORPG) but didnt catch on like the Everquest clones did. i think alot of companys live and die by the saying "If it ant broke dont fix it" and as far as there concerned, Everquest DAoC and Star Wars Galaxies still top the charts
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true. But remember the old street fighter 2? There was a quick strong and fierce attack buttons. Why not incorperate something similir into an RPG?

Instead of just pressing X to attack the player could choose the kind of attack by pressing diffrent buttons. Z for quick, X for balanced and C for heavy. Like wise you could have defense buttons. A for dodge, S for block, C for Parry.

It seems to me that designer just has make simple choice when desining their combat system for games. To make it action oriented or Strategy oriented. Combing both may work but you lose the advantages of the two seperate concepts.

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document

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Didn''t XenoGears have something like that? You used action points to execute three different intensities of attacks. I liked the game, and the battles were fun, but the long, sfx-laden combos were a little dry after a few thousand instances.

Maybe if a "strong" attack gave your opponent a better chance of counterattacking or was effective less often, it would be worthwhile. Or if it took longer, perhaps.

I''m disinclined to cram a combat system full of cosmetic features and animations, because after fifty hours of game time, you''ve seen them all. I''d rather lose a battle in FFVII than summon the freaking Knights of the Round to win. It''s like five minutes of crap. At least have the decency to let the player disable the animations. In Ogre Battle 64, I almost never left the animations on, especially when I had a battle going on every six seconds.
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the "sword waiting a moment to see the axe charge up his strong attack" problem could be solved with an "attack if there is an opening" command right under the "quick light attack", "normal attack", and "chop them to hell" options.

of course you''d need a better name for it.
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I believe that Capcom's Kingdom Hearts did a very good job at doing what the OP was speaking of. You still gained levels and increased your abilities like in the Final Fantasy games, but the combat was all done in real time with a look not dissimilar to some other Capcom games such as Devil May Cry or DMC2. You even eventually learn not only new spells to cast but even new combat moves as you gain in levels. And it still kept the same RPG elements as the FF games but thankfully with not so many of those 20 minute long cutscenes.

P.S. To whoever mentioned Morrowind, I must say that the only combat difference between that in Everquest is that you actually had to click the mouse to get the sword to swing instead of standing there waiting. You still stood there looking stupid, just with a tired finger...

~Vendayan

[edited by - Vendayan on December 18, 2003 3:24:25 AM]
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Both sounds like the Grandia 2 battle system, and my own system, I described in several threads already.

Nothing really new, except it''s not the standard battle system.

What I mean is that cutting time into slices won''t help making the battle go smooth, only a real time battle system such as in Jedi Knight would, but that rely on Player''s skills, which most CRPG players don''t like.

-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-
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I think the balance that has to be found is between turning the game into a total twitch reflexes button fest that most fighters are and the non-emersive combat systems of just hitting the A key and letting the computer take over attacking. I didn''t mean an exact copy of soul caliber 2 or what ever fighter is your favorite. The important parts of those systems is the struggle for the control of distance between you and your opponent and the timing to innitiate a particular attack. I never want to see it digress into the complex button mashing that Soul Caliber and others are.
The part I want to see added is the tactical use of distance and the timing of attacks that are the backbone of most fighters. You dont have to have a complicated or difficult to produce attack system to produce that. Of course the more timing you add to a game the more server lag becomes a huge issue. But I think that is the next frontier in creating an immersive online RPG

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As soon as you can''t control movement, you''ve lost everything or almost.
No hit and run attack, no way to use range weapons before getting to close range combat... That''s stupid and that''s the thing to avoid.

NO BATTLE ARENAS !!!, like in FF and even Grandia 2 (although you can move your chars around in Grandia2 at least).
I also think that Diablo/Dungeon Siege systems are nice because of this, and the fact you control what''s happening frequently even though it''s the character skills that are used.

Yet to date, my favorite PC game is probably Outcast, which uses realtime 3rd and 1st person ''battle''. (no arena either)


-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-
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Movement is only part of it. In Fallout, you could run anywhere you want to, if you have the action points. What I wanted, though, was to grab some cover around a corner and crouch down and shoot guys while exposing about 7% of my body for them to shoot back. That''s way better than just havng enough HP and armor to stand in front of a freaking chaingun.

Get some environment interaction in there, and I''ll be delighted.

krez, the "look for an opening and kill the guy" might be better implemented as a "mindset" command. Set it up as "always seek to kill the other guy to the best of your ability" or "bring him in alive" or "minimize contact" at some point in the battle, maybe make it an option with every "action turn". That way, counter attacks and stylistic decisions would be worked in. How many times have you been trying to get that enemy down low enough that you could capture or recruit it, only to have your knight score a critical hit and wipe it out? Tell your guys to shoot to maim, and that problem goes away.

Seems to me that there are two schools of though in the thread, and they''re basic disagreements are overcomplicating the discussion.

On one hand, we''ve got those who want to have maximum, action-style control over the characters. Issues like preserving role-play and the influence of character attributes vs. player skill are relevant to them.

On the other hand, we have those who, like me, want to preserve the RPG "hero attacks orc" format, but evolve it beyond twenty-sided dice and armor classes. For us, issues like proper representation of character actions and skills are the key issues.

These two discussions are bumping into one another and getting their wires crossed, so nobody is really making progress here. What to do...
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I don''t think there would ever be a *best* RPG combat system. Its too much a matter of personal taste. If you want true control over EVERY action play a P&P RPG.

If you want something nice to look at your going to have to give over some control to a computer.



The problem was stated very well in the original post.

There is the action side: You make every move.. the player lives and dies by your skill to mash buttons.

And

There is the choose an action side: You decide what type of move to make and its all done using #''s and given a (over simplified)graphical representation.


Personally I like the type of system defined by Iron Chef Carnage. Although it would be hard to define the whens/wheres you get to set actions up at.

I would think that if you implimented his system with TechnoGoth''s timeing system(you choose how fast the action happens) you could have a good system.

***************************
Also, for me RPG games should hopefully start to add in more quality AI for non-combat interactions. For me I would much rather have quality realistic reactions from NPC''s than see a game(RPG) with a great combat system and go back to Dragon Warrior level NPC interaction

I really enjoy Morrowind, even though the combat system has a simplistic look it *is* a good example of a blended combat system. The damage is figured mostly using stats but its up to you to determine what weapon, when and how to swing it.

But after about 5 hours of playing it I really turned to the NPC and quest aspect of the game, not fighting(which I still enjoy).

******


I guess I really didn''t add any thing to help out, but really just wanted to point some stuff out. I''ll try to work up a technical/gameplay overview of my optimal RPG combat system and post it up in afew days.









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