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Mano a Mano

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Assuming that you have a game where it is simply one on one combat (in my case, you versus the computer), how do you think you can best keep the game interesting? I find that when you simply have two players, the obvious direction of character movement will be towards the opponent if you are stronger and away from the opponent if you are weaker. In such a game, I see problems due to lack of tactical flexibility. In a RTS game where you control many units, or an RPG where you control one character against many opponents, there is always something to cause you to vary your strategies. In one on one combat, there are less factors promoting this. So what would you do to spice up one on one combat? I'm thinking that having external influences (e.g. neutral computer controlled gun turrets, obstacles, traps, etc) would help make the game less straightforward than simply charge the enemy and beat them till they submit. I also think problems could arise due to the fact that as there is only one player to focus on, it becomes a game of chasing, and chasing around after an intentionally evasive opponent to me seems very dull. If you had teams of players, you could at least play a game of cat and mouse with several people taking part (therefore making it much less predictable and more interesting as a result). However, due to the control issues of multiple character teams, I'd prefer to stick with a one on one game. So how would you go about making things more tactically interesting? I'm also thinking that taking the focus of straight combat would help. For example, I'm thinking about adding a weapon that stops player movement while held, but can be bounced off of walls and recaptured, with the player being able to move only when they have fired the weapon (kinda like a predator disc). I think this would provoke tactical playstyles that are less chase oriented and more thought oriented as the player would have to weigh up whether to bounce the weapon from a wall so as to be able to move closer to the objective, whether to fire the weapon at the enemy, with the risk that they miss and the enemy picks up the weapon, or whether to hold tight and wait for the enemy to come into a better range. So that's one idea I have had, I would love to hear others ideas! (Sorry for being vague onmy game idea, but I'm using it for the 4E4 contest so don't want to give too much away)! Cheers, Steve

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Original post by Mephswould have to weigh up whether to bounce the weapon from a wall so as to be able to move closer to the objective, whether to fire the weapon at the enemy, with the risk that they miss and the enemy picks up the weapon, or whether to hold tight and wait for the enemy to come into a better range.
Sounds like dodge ball to me.

If you do some more research, and give it some more thought, I think you'll find that combat between two participants can be a highly varied, tactical event. Do a little epee fencing and you'll see what I mean.

You're right, though, that in most video games combat turns into a chase. There are many reasons for this. ONe of them, I think, is HP. If you get down to just a few HP, you'll stop fighting and just run until you find a health pack or something.

Have you ever played Karate Champ? It's an old fighting game from the eighties. It was based on points, and you'd go to the first touch. You had a handful of moves and blocks, but only rarely did you have a round last longer than four or five seconds. You go, you fight, someone scores, and you reset to the starting positions.

That's a good way to keep 1v1 fighting fresh. You never get cornered and beaten down for a whole match, and you never find yourself hopelessly at a disadvantage, becasue the playing field levels after every point.

Your ideas about environmental hazards are also good. I recommend that you read Miyamoto Musashi's "Book of Five Rings" and build your game such that a few of his principles can be applied in it. If you can use distance, timing and the arena, you'll have a good time. If you can have a chance of seeing what your opponent will do next and reacting to it, you'll have a great time. If you have a wide array of moves that cancel one another, you'll have a super time. Soul Calibur stays popular even without environmental hazards.

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You might give the Hero

You could make it a boss battle... in which things get intresting -- think of Zelda Orcania of Time.

Some ideas:
Hero vs Rock Golem: The battle area is a small room. The Golem is very slow (both physically and mentally), it does massive damage and has lots of health, needless to say you cant fight it head on. Around the room there are traps of some sort, you must lure the gollem to these traps, which will somehow stun the beast for a time (which you then damage the Gollem). The Gollem will always walk towards the hero trying to inflict damage, the more damage the Gollem takes the quicker it moves, the less time it will be stunned in the traps.

Hero VS Wizard
The Wizardis able to fly around the room casting various magic spells. One such spell always targets you current location, so you have to keep moving. This spell takes time to recharge, you will be given a chance to strike the foe (its weakness is somepoint on its back) using your bow and arrow. The wizard might have another spell where it spawns minions, and/or a node of power --which renders the wizard invincable until its destroyed.

If you dont want the chasing/chaser then you might look at something like super punch out.

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Uh oh, what I'm gonna say might help a rival on a competition.. I must have gone nuts... ;)


First the 2 obvious things are to, either have more than one condition that makes the fight winnable, or have many ways of reaching the condition needed to win.

I'm assuming, that when you enter the fight, both players have exactly the same abilities. No one choosed a character, no one has more levels than the other, a ranking or any sort of handicap.

1. All moves could have some sort of counter move.

-Running backwards would be slower than running forward so it would be a waste to plainly run. You have to at least land a good blow and push player1 far enough to have time to run and plan a strategy.

-When player1 runs forward to catch player2 fleeing, you would have to get close to player2 with an attack, a blocking, or some way of hurting him or avoid being hurt, or both. However the speed at which player1 runs will only do moves that don't cover a wide area, and player1 the recovery from the move is slower than if player1 wasn't running, even if the move hits stronger than normal because of the added speed of the running but because of all this player2, that was fleeing, could just jump if the attack wasn't aereal, or crouch if the attack wasn't low, and since player1 was rushing player2 has the time to attack, just when player1 recovers from his move.

Things keep going like this. Stuff was getting too complex on posibilities, like what if player1 or player2 decided to back away, and reenter the battle with an attack, what if both players attack, etc.

2. Of course, the moves I sayd wouldn't be the only moves; I just mentioned the moves that would work always for countering. But what if the distance between player1 and player2 is too big for player2 to hit player1 with the punch he is doing, but it is just fine for player1's kick to reach players2 head?

So maybe what I'm saying here is that you could have many moves that can be good in more than one situation. However the line between how useful each move is should have as many factors as posible included.

Some factors that could affect how useful a move is:
*The speed at which the 2 players are moving(running speed could add damage)
*If a player is in midair or not
*What kind of attack/block/dodge the opponent does(if both players punch the attacks could crash and damage both equally, but if you have a kick against a punch the kick probably would be the winner)
*Reach of the move(the more reach, the longer the distance can be between players)
*How hurt you and your opponent are
*If the arms or legs of the attacker are tired(done too many kicks or too namy punches, could be some sort of extra negative impact on players who miss excesively)
*The area in which the hit lands(It's not the same to punch you in the chest than it is if I punch you in the face)
*At what stage of the move was when the hit landed(A punch gains speed until a point, then after it no more speed is gained and the punch slows down, a punch at the exact point when it is at the max speed would deal the most damage)

Also you could provide similar moves with the same uses but that differ on the approach. Like having a straight punch that does 3 damage and has 2 speed, and also having a straight punch that does 2 damage and has 3 speed. The difference is small, but noticeable and something that should be taken into account.

3. You mentioned a hostile enviroment.
Making the world the players fight in variate would give a tactical territory approach.
How about a manipulable world?
For example:
The level is composed of 3 areas, one at the top, another in the middle and one low. Players start in the middle.

At the top, there is much space to fight, jump and try crazy moves. A happy happy fun place. Just a few high platforms that disappears 3 seconds after being touched, blocks that make players bounce when you touch them, and left and right borders with walls made out of these bouncing blocks. After being used twice these blocks would break too, so after a while there would be no ground to fight here so players would fall into the middle.

At the middle, there are a few spikes(electricity, acid, or anything that is on the ground and hurts can be used) that should be jumped to avoid damage, ocasional random quakes that make some of the blocks that make the platforms fall down, so also this one, after a while, would be destroyed and that that is left is the lowest part.

So the lowest area has constant quakes even tought nothing falls here, lava pits that are really really harmful but they arent instant kills, rocks falling and jumping all over the place, explosions happening here and there and small sudden eruptions make some lava to get too close to the players. Things get worse over time, until someone loses.

4. Items
Maybe some randomly positioned items. These could all be used against the one who first got the item. For example a throwing knife, you throw it to your opponent, and if you miss, the opponent can pick it up and throw it back.

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