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need advice on combat system in shooter/RPG

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high, ive been working on a top down action RPG for a little while (its 2d but i use OpenGL)... anyway, right now im focusing on the combat aspect of the game... the games combat will all be in real time. right now, the player can target an enemy by pressising a button, and the gun will do all the aiming.... you can cycle who your targetting by pressing a button.. anyway, i was thinking maybe this isnt a good way to go. the combat system is probably the most important aspect of the game.. i want to make it as fun as possible, and i plan to eventually make it online so 4 players or so could connect and death match each other... anyway, im starting to think the way i handle combat is lame.. i dont like auto-targetting. i think it would be a lot more fun if you could freely aim at enemys, but heres the problem - this would be a real pain in the ass to implement. i would probably have to change the view of the game from standard square tile based view (ala final fantasy 3).. and change it to more of a birds eye view (GTA 1 and 2)... this way, i could allow for full rotation of the players/enemies/weapons without much trouble.. but im not sure if i want to do this. the artist has already done some artwork, not much but some.. i would hate to have to throw it away but i will if i want to. im just not sure on what to do and would like opionions (maybe i could keep the view i have with free aiming ? would this be possible / look good?).. any help is appreciated. thanks!

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Hmmm, i think it would take a LARGE peace of "RPG" from it, BUT it would make the game more fun. I say, finish what youve started with, and then, if possible, mod the game.

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Yes, it would be difficult to implement keyboard-based targeting (like GTA 1 & 2: rotate your character to align him with enemy & shoot) with your chosen perspective... How about a mouse-driven interface? Press a button to draw your weapon (meaning you can''t move (or maybe slowly? or maybe the mouse cursor moves/shakes when the character does (difficult to aim while running) ) ). A crosshair mouse cursor appears over your character... point on your enemy and shoot (be sure to check the line-of-fire for obstacles... walls... other characters...) Let the mouse cursor jump upwards to simulate weapon kickback... With a minigun-like weapon, the cursor should jump around a bit to make the player work a bit to aim at the same point... Have the character face the mouse cursor as well as possible with the discrete steps you have sprites/graphics for...

It''ll be a bit like the old SNES game Shadowrun... (isometric tile-based game...) (screenshot)

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zad - your right. but i definetly am making this an RPG...it will just be heavily action based...

ksero - i was thinking about mouse aiming... maybe ill just go with that? wherever you click, is where your character turns/ you fire.... not a bad idea, although things will turn into a click fest.. it could be fun (more fun then auto aiming?). also, funny you mention shadowrun because that is my main inspiration for this game (genesis version only!).. i hated the SNES version... also, in that game it was almost like you had a mouse, only you used the control pad (yuck)...you aim with your "mouse" and then click to shoot im pretty sure...

thanks for the suggestions...

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