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Paul Cunningham

The Health Metre, who needs it?

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First there were lives and now there''s health metres. The impact that these changes have had on games have been quite profound. So why not work out a better system to using health metres. Shields are basically another layer of the health meter which doesn''t really add that much past the point of having health. Why not scrap health metres altogether? You could just have armout class instead... either your hit or you not. Or something along these lines. I love Game Design and it loves me back. Our Goal is "Fun"!

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A good system for 3d shooters and such is the body part damage system, this has been used in a few games (can''t think of any off the top of my head). Basically you divide the body up into several segments (torso, head, left arm, right arm, left leg, right leg) and each takes damage seperately. Being damaged in a certain area has a certain affect - being shot in the head will most likely kill you while being short in the leg will make you limp badly, slowing movement speed. There can be varying levels of injury too, so while a small fracture in the leg might slow you down a little bit, having your leg blown off would result in you practically crawling on the floor.
This system works really well in 3d shooters - most 3d shooters already implement damage areas on the body (i.e. Soldier of Fortune for the most.. vivid.. example.) Making these damage areas map to body parts is relatively simple and could add a lot of depth to a FPS, especially in multiplayer mode.

-RWarden (roberte@maui.net)

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The body part damage system would work well in RPGs also.

Then you could figure out what part of the body was protected. Like, if you''re wearing armor on your chest but not on your arms the arms would be easier to hit.

Instead of a health meter a textual or graphical representation of how hurt you are would be more realistic.



"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." --William Blake

"The road of excess also just ends up making me tired because I'm too lazy" --Nazrix

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Again, it depends on the game. I envy Bushido Blade for it''s lack of a health meter, but if you took the health meter out of Soul Calibur you''d be destroying a terrific game. Think carefully about what you want and choose your design accordingly.

And you all know my dream... to create a game where the health meter is unneeded because cobat only happens as often as it actually would in a very violent society! Where wounds are obvious because they occur so rarely! Wheee. It''ll never happen.

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Just look at the game, trespasser. Instead of a health meter it had a ''health'' tatoo. Depending on how hurt you were, it would change colors, and if you died, it would have a skull and crossbones over it. It was kinda neat but I still prefer the idea of having a body part damage system.

Shrapnel Games

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What about using a health status system like how trolls get hurts in DnD. When your hit you lose critical abilities, if you''re given enough time then these abilities will regenerate. So the idea is to "make sure" your apponent is dead before leaving them.

Or having weakness systems, in this system you the player chose what will hurt you most (fire, water etc) and what will not. So your human opponents have to find out and well as you finding out about their weaknesses.

Also, what would it be like if your health wasn''t displayed but you still had it. Why not as least have this option in the game anyhow? Just for fun.


I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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The armed goblin approaches angrily.
> attack goblin
The swing is wild, and glances the goblin''s shield.
The goblin takes a stab at your abdomen.
Ouch, that hurt
> examine wound
It looks pretty bad, your leather armor is rent up and blood is trickling out.
The goblin takes another stab at your abdomen.
Ouch, that REALLY hurt.
You feel yourself getting weaker.
> flee
You manage to run away from the goblin far enough for him to lose you before you collapse in exhaustion.
> examine wound
It looks terrible, your leather armor is useless now, and you''ll need a physician to close that wound.


That''s how I''d do my health and interaction system.


Give me one more medicated peaceful moment.
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~
ERROR: Your beta-version of Life1.0 has expired. Please upgrade to the full version. All important social functions will be disabled from now on.

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Pfft, enough ego rub already Landfish, get some comments in so we can argue!


Give me one more medicated peaceful moment.
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~
ERROR: Your beta-version of Life1.0 has expired. Please upgrade to the full version. All important social functions will be disabled from now on.

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o.k.

So let''s build on that scenario, shall we? Where does it go from there. How are physicians handled? Will you just walk away fine after each visit? Or does he demand that you wear a cast and use crutches, and eventually suffer a nervous breakdown from caring for so many "adventurers" who ignore his diagnosis?

More importantly, how are you going to handle a hit-by-location system in a text based RPG? What about a realtime one? Hmm?

Wow. Enough questions for you?

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Physicians:
I already suggested vaguely in my post:
"You manage to run away from the goblin far enough for him to lose you before you collapse in exhaustion"
Time is a factor in wounding, so it''s a factor in healing as well. A physician can "stitch you up" ( possibly translating into a reduced susceptibility to disease, and an enabling factor for NATURAL healing ). It stops the bleeding, and starts the healing process. If you keep walking around, you''ll heal at your natural, terribly slow rate. You might have magic or somesuch to speed it up, or stay in hospital or something.

Hit by location in text-based:
More or less random, unless you do a targeted attack.
Normal attacks will hit torso, targeted attacks are more difficult but increase the chance to hit a particular body part.

> attack goblin''s nose
vs
> attack goblin

it might even just be an embellishment issue. Perhaps a torso hit doesn''t do anything different to a leg hit, it''s just related with different words.

I am not going real-time for a while yet, I have never really liked real time roleplaying games. I need time to formulate my answers, and think through the proper responses for my character...




Give me one more medicated peaceful moment.
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~
ERROR: Your beta-version of Life1.0 has expired. Please upgrade to the full version. All important social functions will be disabled from now on.

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For a graphical real-time hit-by-location game, I was thinking about making it so that there would be a few buttons where you could select the body part you want to hit, and that body part would continue to be selected until you select another one. Assuming all body parts are equally selected, the head would be the hardest to hit because it''s a small target and so on...

Another approach could be to make it so it''s random like Keith said unless you specify otherwise or make it so it picks the torso area unless you specify otherwise because that would be the easiest target I would think.



"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." --William Blake

"The road of excess also just ends up making me tired because I'm too lazy" --Nazrix

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Why am i thinking of an old C64 game called Master of Magic, hehe.

I think a better solution to health metre (IMHO) would be using Armour (and armour damage/wearntear). If a hit passes through the armour then you are injured past the ordinary bruise. If its a serious enough injury then it either means character death or paying out your life saving for the best magican to save your ass. You get to keep your character with all its hard earned XP and skills but your as poor as begger.

dsafas

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

Edited by - Paul Cunningham on July 25, 2000 12:34:29 PM

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If you just want a new way of presenting it rather than a whole new damage system, one technique I used was to have a red displacement map fade in gradually from the sides of the screen and the more damage the less transparent it became. At almost full damage you were left with a kind of tunnel vision just being able to peer through the red merk in the middle. (well that was the idea anyway

Another thing to think about, remember the little head in Doom, take away the actual damage value and you could still judge fairly reasonably your health level. The facial expressions were done quite well, I think that is the key to that type of representation.

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I thought I would use location based damages, each part of the body has its own health meter plus some hits may be critical and could severe an arm or pierce the heart.

Different kinds of armor would protect against different kinds of weapon. For example, leather is good against blunt weapons but does little against piercing ones.

The characters would protect critical locations ( head, groin ... ) by instinct ( if i may say ) or if they choose to.
A character constantly attacking would loose the chance to protect himself. A buckler would help to protect without putting the character in too bad a position.

The player would choose the location more or less with the daggerfall system, in combat the sword would follow the mouse. Of course, if someone else puts himself in the trajectory of the blade ...


Edited by - DungeonMaster on July 28, 2000 1:20:42 PM

Edited by - DungeonMaster on July 28, 2000 1:25:14 PM

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To me the health metre tends to make the character seem like a lump of meat. The character is more than this and i believe it should be displayed to the player in a better way than just being a bottle/bar of blood. What about adrenaline, isn''t the character entitled to a adrenaline rush from time to time. And then you''ve got willpower. Will power to take hit and keep going is far more imporant than a health.

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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In Resident Evil 2, the main screen not have health-metter. Even there no have nothing more that game (and occasionally a timer-metter or some caption). Of course, you can access to menu and see the stats. But is not need, because if you has hurts, then the players will not run and walk very slowly. Even more, when you has close to dead, the players will walk even more slow and more inaccurace (like a zombie).



-eng3d.softhome.net-

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It's still a value right? no matter how the game processes the value...whether numeric or boolean.

the game can change texture or color of icons, or armor, whatever, it's still a value, i think the only difference is how many (multipart leg head arms etc) and how many different values...1-10? 256? true false?....that's the only difference to me.

Edited by - CodyVa on August 1, 2000 4:19:33 AM

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It can also be done with mere calculations. Like the old - I hit - He died - situations. But i guess you still have values.

What i''m looking for i guess are different purposes to these values. all i can see at the moment is a value of damage that can be taken and a value that determines a hit or a miss. (Racking Brains) There''s got to be more. Must think now.

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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