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Weapon swapping vs Holsters and Sheaths

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I've run into a problem. It's pretty simple to explain. Imagine characters who actually wear visible holsters or sheaths that perfectly fit their weapon. When they enter or exit combat mode, they have specific animations to pull or stow that weapon. This is great, because the only alternative is to make weapons vanish when combat mode is exited, or make some generic sheath that magically holds any type of weapon (not sure how possible that would be). The problem is with swapping weapons in real-time. What if characters can toss their sword into an enemy's chest and quickly pick up an axe laying beside them? Does the holster magically vanish and a new one grow? Does the character wear six or seven holster types all over his body just in case? Does he just give you a dumb look when you try to put away the axe? I could actually manage axes and swords, as designing a sheath that fits both would be pretty easy. But there will also be bow & arrows, knives, staffs, etc. Believe it or not, I've actually considered limiting characters to certain weapon types in order to get around this problem. The best alternative that I can come up with is to just give them three or four holsters. One for knives or darts on the right ankle, one for swords or axes on the right side, and one for shields or bow & arrows or staffs on the back. Does this seem crazy? It would also allow them to equip three weapons of different types (couldn't equip a shield and staff together, or not an axe and sword at the same time) and switch between them during combat. Should characters also have to buy sheaths in order to store these weapons? They could use weapons regardless, but just not put them away without dropping them. This would allow them to unequip them like normal clothing. Anyway, any thoughts are appreciated.

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I do no think that games should be made over-realistic. Instead of thinking what would be the most realistic way of doing things, one should rather think "how should I do this to maximize the gameplay experience?

Think of quite realistic games as GTAIII and Battlefield 2. If these games would be trying to be as realistic as possible, they would both suck!

So my advice is that you should allow characters to carry quite many items at once, and simply switch the holster to fit its weapon i.e. without the character actually changing the holster.

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The sheaths & holsters idea sounds possible, but it should be made so it enhances the gameplay, not just because it's realistic. If the player has to make a choice between an axe and a sword before entering a dungeon and each of the weapons is good for different situations, that's gameplay. On the other hand if the player wants to use a staff as main weapon, but can't carry a bow because of this - now that sounds annoying and over-realistic.

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Original post by Enselic
I do no think that games should be made over-realistic.

It's not about realism, it's about detail. Things fading in and out or vanishing really clash with the rest of my game. There are no floating powerup GTA icons or etc representations in the world.

However, none of the ideas I've mentioned would require the player to change holsters. That would be worse than the problem of not being able to switch weapons in real time and having to visit the inventory. I'm looking for a way to be realistic and make it flow smoothly, at the same time. I'm not planning on ditching one for the other.

Quote:
Original post by Digibo
The sheaths & holsters idea sounds possible, but it should be made so it enhances the gameplay, not just because it's realistic. If the player has to make a choice between an axe and a sword before entering a dungeon and each of the weapons is good for different situations, that's gameplay. On the other hand if the player wants to use a staff as main weapon, but can't carry a bow because of this - now that sounds annoying and over-realistic.


He can carry both in his inventory (not realistic). He just can't instanty switch between them during combat. The weapons in holsters would just be there to hold your currently equipped weapons. You could also be shooting a bow, throw it down, and pick up a staff. If you wanted to keep the bow but stow the staff, you would have to make a trip to the inventory to unequip it.

This is just one of my ideas. My reason for posting is actually to get new ones.

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have a key/button for draw/sheath weapon, and if you press it while carrying a weapon (or item even) that you didn't have before, just animate your character putting it into his backpack if he's carrying one, and if not, just have him tie it to his belt or put it through, or if it's something smallish, like ammo or a magic berry depending on your setting, just put it in your pocket. i mean, just think about what you'd naturally do when putting something away.

sheathing could introduce a lot of interesting gameplay decisions, like which items to keep close to hand (can't have 20 things jingle-jangle on your belt), which ones to keep in your 'inventory' and such.

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How about classes of holsters/sheaths? Your belt could contain all of them, and you'd just have one of each class of weapon at a time.

As any swordsmith will tell you, a sword's sheath is usually one-of-a-kind, like the sword it's made for. If you buy a sword, you will get its sheath, too. So on your left hip, there should be a "sheath loop". You drop the scabbard in there, and the sword is equipped. On your right hip, you can have the axe loop, which is just a strap of leather for the haft of the axe to drop through, like a hammer loop on carpenter's pants. It can also be used for hammers or maces. Finally, you can equip a bandolier that will hold a staff weapon, like a spear or poleaxe, on your back. Bows could take advantage of this, or just be slung.

This simple, modular system could accomodate a large number of weapon configurations. Since your game seems to be going the "feasible" route, you probably won't be carrying sixteen swords and eight axes and a dozen bows everywhere you go. Making players swap out their current sword for a new one could be a good gameplay element.

Rune just had the weapons "stick" to the player model at the approriate place. Unless your graphics will be super-terrific, this is probably the best and simplest way to get the effect you desire.

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Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
How about classes of holsters/sheaths? Your belt could contain all of them, and you'd just have one of each class of weapon at a time.

That's very close to what I want to do. I'm just not sure I can fit all of the classes onto characters at once.

Quote:
As any swordsmith will tell you, a sword's sheath is usually one-of-a-kind, like the sword it's made for.

If I did go the full route, it would make things very rough on the player. To avoid the fading and appearing trick, I would be forced to make the player go into inventory and equip the different type of sword just to change the sheath. It's not going to be easy making sure every sword can fit into one holder, but if I keep it really simple such as a band, it might work out. I'm just not sure what else I can do.

Quote:
Unless your graphics will be super-terrific, this is probably the best and simplest way to get the effect you desire.

I wish I could find a solution for something somewhere in between simplest and super-terrific. I would go with terrific, but it doesn't seem possible unless I want to annoy the crap out of the player.

The whole reason I'm concerned is for the dynamic actions such as picking up weapons, dropping weapons, throwing them, posting them into the ground, into trees, and into people, all in the sweat of battle. Even if I did force the player to equip something in inventory before they can sheath a weapon, there's no reason they wouldn't be able to weild any weapon at any time doing all of these things without looking at a menu. It just seems strange to have to visit your inventory and equip something before you can sheath the gear you're holding. Especially for players who don't rely on certain weapons, who use the weapons of their fallen enemies on the battlefield to fight more enemies. When they get done fighting and want to keep whatever random killing devices they happen to be holding at the end, I don't want to make them go into a menu to store that stuff.

If I have to settle on the simplest 'sticky' solution to get the dynamic actions, I probably will. It would take a load of work off of my back.

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Okay, how about a permanent/temporary weapon system? Have your "equipped" (via the inventory screen) weapon. You hit the "draw" button, and he gets it out. However, in the heat of battle, you can pick up other weapons, boards, rocks or anything else and wield it. Your "permanent sword" goes back into the sheath and the "temporary" weapon takes its place in your hand.

You can swing or throw that weapon (perhaps some attack combos and finishing moves would leave it embedded in a foe), and when it's gone (thrown, dropped, broken, used as a platform) then your character reverts to the "permanent" weapon. In a lull in the action or after a fight, you can pick up a secondary weapon, go into the inventory screen, and make it your permanent weapon. Then your old sword becomes temporary and you can discard it or carry it around.

If you go with weapon types, then you could have two or three permanent weapons (a sword, a bow and a mace, for instance) strapped to your body, and the same dynamic could be used to adjust your standard arsenal.

Zelda: Wind Waker let you pick up clubs, torches, swords and naginata that enemies dropped. You couldn't do much with them, but they were usually quite powerful, and some had puzzle-solving properties. Ultimately, though, you would ditch them in favor of your default weapon (which was way tougher by the end anyway).

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within used a two-handed system that let you equip a beaten enemy's weapon in your weak hand and do serious damage with it before discarding it and hanging onto your right-handed weapon.

In Psi Ops, you could pick up a variety of weapons from the enemies, but ammo was scarce, so you'd often have to resort to your pistol.

Blood Omen 2 let you take enemies' weapons, but they were fragile, so you'd eventually throw them and go back to your claws.

Halo 2's dual-wield system lets you hold a second gun in your left hand, but you drop it automatically when you throw a grenade, do a melee attack, man a gun turret or drive a vehicle.

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Sounds like more trouble than its worth...

Say the player is holding a sword and has a battle axe holstered to thier left side...some ugly creature is chargeing them that is more prone to damage from the axe...so the player switches weapons...the animation of the player putting the sword in the right side mounted sheath is played...then the animation of the player retrieveing the left side holstered axe is played...and now the player is ready to do battle.

course the more perceptive players may reailise that simply dropping the sword and arming themselves with the axe can be done much faster then running through the swap out animations...but then once done with battle players would have to go back and pick up the sword...which is also a point of detail that could possable make the game unwinnable (drop a special sword some levels back that can only be used to unlock "the door of great mirth" or somesuch...course prohibiting players from dropping such special equipment, when less special equipment can be dropped at random, is also one of those details that tends to get in the way of immersion) anyway, do this more than a few times and such hoslster and sheath realistic detail becomes much more a point of frustraition than any noteworthy feature.

A simple and quick animation of the player character reaching into his backpack works very well. It informs the player that the character is swapping weapons (particularly usefull, over just poping the new weapon into place; when swapping between simular looking weapons). but it's not so overly complex as to require tons of development time tweeking the game balance (as in my example above where dropping a weapon to switch to something else would be much quicker then holster/sheathing it)...

Also...I hope there are TONS of very important gameplay actions available to the player when all his weapons are holstered/sheathed...and I don't mean just talking to NPCs!

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You should consider looking at Planetside, Iron Storm, and Deus Ex: Invisible War. All 3 games show what weapons characters are carrying externally, usually on the shoulders and hips (there are no magical "holsters" that cover the weapons). Really, there's little need for actual visual holsters, since you could just as easily clip the gun to your belt, or have a small loop to put your sword through.

You could make the shealth's separate items in themselves, so you can only shealth your sword on your hip, but not an axe or dagger unless you unequip the sword shealth and put on a different shealth (or no shealth at all?), etc.

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