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Real-time fighting styles

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Fighting in 3-Deminsions really limits the types of moves that fighters can execute. You can't do dragon punch (F,D,DF,F) type motions. You're limited to holding directions and pressing or holding certain buttons. This means the number of attack types will be pretty limited compared to what I want. The only solution I could come up with is fighting styles. I could run pretty far with the fighting styles idea in the RPG sense as well. The last thing I want is to require entering a menu and selecting a style. I want it to work very quickly. At least something you could do within a second or two, in between combos or enemies bouncing off of you. I want it to be part of the fight. With a keyboard, this isn't much of a problem; there are tons of keys. But I'm also designing it to fit onto a PS2 controller (or just any 8 button controller), and it's very easy to run out of buttons. Here are the primary combat controls so far:
  • Combat mode - Enter or exit combat mode and toggle weapons
  • Block - Also performs a counter if it's tapped quickly
  • Jump - Lots of different jumps, IE Block + Jump performs defensive hop
  • High Left - High swing-left type attacks
  • High Right - High swing-right type attacks
  • Low Left - Low swing-left
  • Low Right - Low swing-right
  • Shift - Alternates other buttons. IE, Shift + High Left could drop weapons
There are several more, such as dropping, throwing, and picking up stuff. But that's what the shift is for. There are also more actions for players who want to move with keys or buttons, as they need to have a method to toggle movement speeds if they want that. The controls are completely configurable. The above are really just actions that need mapped to something. For example, you could map High Left to the left mouse button, then low left to shift + the left mouse button. Players can also use the 4 D-pad (or POV) directions on a PS2 type controller for non-intensive actions (like dropping stuff and changing fighting styles). I'm thinking at least around 8 to 16 styles. I wouldn't expect anyone but munchkins to actually learn enough to use all of them, but they are there and there's no reason someone couldn't use them all in one fight - other than lack of controls to toggle between them. It seems like a nightmare. Does anyone have any ideas? If your rating is maxed out, I'll at least kiss the ground you walk on :)

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Honestly, there can't be any practical solutions to your problem without limiting the real time quality of gameplay.

As of now, games can only use their controllers to interface with the players, you can't go beyond that.

For using a PS2 or similar controller, you should have some seldom used button to scroll through fighting styles while also having a button that can pause combat while you switch. (this was the solution for a couple of games, the most recent I can remember being jade empire)

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Jila, would your design work if you mapped the "attack high/low left/right" to either a second controller stick, or to the primary controller stick while an attack button is pressed? That way you only need five buttons (Attack, Jump, Block, Combat Mode, Shift). I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be too hard to reduce this further with some minor gameplay tweaks (could you have automatic combat mode if you are close to an enemy?)

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Quote:
Original post by Jiia
If your rating is maxed out, I'll at least kiss the ground you walk on :)


[attention]

Back on topic: I don't think you mentioned this, but you can press different buttons in different sequences in order to trigger attacks. For example in ninja gaiden (wasn't a fighting game) or one of the newer mortal kombat games you could do x x y y y x or A B A A. Not as nice as directional button modifiers but it should work in a 3d setting (although the mortal kombat gameplay was essentially 2d).

As for the concept of different styles, a fairly recent xbox game "Jade Empire" employed this concept. I haven't actually played it, but here's what I've read: The player gets a few attack buttons, something like weak and strong buttons and depending on what style is currently equipped a different attack gets executed. The styles could be weapon based or hand to hand based or magic based, with these types of attacks executed when that style was equipped. I think certain styles were mapped to directions on the d-pad so the player could toggle between them on the fly. You'll probably want to check some previews/reviews/FAQs on Jade Empire in order to get a better idea.

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You guys gave me a pretty decent idea. What about specifying sequences on the D-Pad or POV? For example, one could switch to boxing by pressing up,up. Then switch to karate with left, right. I might as well let the player map the styles to whatever sequence they want, since I'm not trying to make it difficult to switch, I'm just trying to make it possible.

But then there's the problem with the keyboard. I don't want to make keyboard users perform sequences when they have so many buttons. I guess I'll need to have the same sequence-setting menu allow single buttons to be set as well.

I think this is a pretty nice solution. I might even let them re-use the D-Pad for other actions by allowing them to set a certain button that must be held down while they execute the sequence.

I have a lot to think about. I really appreciate the help :)
Argg, rating maxed ... *wiping dirt from face*

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Original post by Jiia
Fighting in 3-Deminsions really limits the types of moves that fighters can execute. You can't do dragon punch (F,D,DF,F) type motions. You're limited to holding directions and pressing or holding certain buttons.

You can use 'modifier' button -- while pressed, the directional keys function as 'combo' input executed in direction character is currently facing. So e.g. the draagon punch you mention would be something like: hold down Shift, F D DF F, release Shift (the attack already is being executed by then) Shouldn't take the user too long to get used to ^^;;

(the keyboard does have many buttons, but when i play i rather watch the action on screen, with my fingers on the exact buttons i need to control game play... instead of being forced to look down on the keyboard every few second in search of that special button that happens to do what i currently want to do)

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I've been thinking more about ways to increase the complexity of combat without straining input controls too much, and I think I've got some pretty nice ideas.

All attacks initiate from a fighting state, and require very simple sequences to execute. There will be some hard-coded fighting states, such as air-born, running, standing, blocking, and moving. Then there will be custom fighting states that are defined for each weapon type. For example, an unarmed player could be moving forward, then press [Back and High Left] to perform a rough boxing-like uppercut. An animation event near the end of that uppercut would start the "Right Side High" fighting state. Another move, such as a right backhand, could be intiated from the Right Side High state. The uppercut move could also choose to go into an entire looped state at the end, where there is no time limit to execute the next move, effectively changing the stance. This means it would be possible to use that Right Side High state to execute a certain move that changes into a completely different style of fighting. So instead of stopping between combos to change styles, you could change styles during the combo :)

Still some rough edges to think about. Any opinions?

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Idea:
Combat controls
primary action
secondary action
shift
block

Movement controls
jump
crouch
wasd walk/run

Directions
attacks are done forward(normal height)
low attacks are done while crouching
high attacks are done with shift+attack
crouching+shift gives a normal/high attack while crouching

Weapons
Unarmed:
primaray attack - punch
secondary attack - kick

Sword:
primary attack - slash
secondary attack - puch/kick
etc.

Combos
Combos result in two things, based on the current stance doing a certain combo you can change(and doing another results in dealing damage or increasing your "whatever" (hp, stamina, block power etc) ).
ie in the non-defensive "crazy tiger"-stance doing a backroll(doubletapping back perhaps) changes the stance to the more defensive "tired horse"-stance.

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Quote:
Original post by Jiia
Fighting in 3-Deminsions really limits the types of moves that fighters can execute. You can't do dragon punch (F,D,DF,F) type motions. You're limited to holding directions and pressing or holding certain buttons.


I don't really see why 3D really has to make this design impossible.. in 2D there is more than one situation for Dragon Punch.. if you are on the left side of your enemy you'd hit F,D,DF,F which would be the same as doing a Quarter-Clockwise Down motion.. but if your enemy is on your left side, you'd still hit what is considered F,D,DF,F but in this instance it will be a Quarter-CounterClockwise Down motion. This has been used in every fighter I've ever played. My question is, why can't this concept be translated to (full on) 3D? If an attack requires F,F+X then the player would know to motion twice Towards the enemy and then press X, no matter where the enemy is standing this combination would issue the attack.

[Edited by - ferr on August 1, 2005 11:59:54 AM]

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One problem is that my game is targeting control with an analog or WASD type keys. It's not easy (IMO) to do 2D fighting sequences with either. The other problem is that the player can move in all directions. Pressing forward in a 2D fight is fine considering you're just going to move closer to the enemy. But you'll notice that few moves use up. They knew it would be too easy to jump if it were used. In 3 dimensions, how do you know when the player is trying to do an attack sequence, or turn, or move around? What if your character is so responsive that he spins 35 degrees while you try to execute a fireball motion?

I've been considering forcing all combat to be one on one. So multiple enemies would simply wait for a turn to spar with you. If I did this, there might be some way to lock the player's direction toward the opponent. But then I have to add more complication by giving the player some way to break free of this magnitism and/or change targets. The picture gets messy in my head.

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"I've been considering forcing all combat to be one on one. So multiple enemies would simply wait for a turn to spar with you. If I did this, there might be some way to lock the player's direction toward the opponent."
This is actually what they do in Kung-fu movies. It's affectionately known as "noodle time" because each guy waits his turn - eating noodles - until he gets to attack the hero.


I actually started a thread on this very subject awhile back and am still working on this.

There's a great mod for Unreal Tournament called Muralis that was one of the first mods to really do melee right in an FPS. Of course Epic decided that they would come out with their official version, but Muralis has some great ideas.

They use the keyboard for full effect with stuns, staggers, launchers (put your opponent into the air!), sweeps, disarms and other stuff.

Its worth DLing the mod just to read the ReadMe description of the gameplay.

I have the additional burden of wanting to mix wrestling and different styles (boxing, martial arts..etc) into the h-2-h system.

Im eagerly watching this thread...more discussion please!

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Original post by Jiia
One problem is that my game is targeting control with an analog or WASD type keys. It's not easy (IMO) to do 2D fighting sequences with either. The other problem is that the player can move in all directions. Pressing forward in a 2D fight is fine considering you're just going to move closer to the enemy. But you'll notice that few moves use up. They knew it would be too easy to jump if it were used. In 3 dimensions, how do you know when the player is trying to do an attack sequence, or turn, or move around? What if your character is so responsive that he spins 35 degrees while you try to execute a fireball motion?


WASD keys I can see not working, but you mentioned Analog.. am I to assume that you're using a controller as an optional form of input? If so then why not just use the digital pad as well.. I must be misunderstanding that.

Also: "In 3 dimensions, how do you know when the player is trying to do an attack sequence, or turn, or move around?" The same could be said in 2D fighters, how do you know when you're jumping or just tapping the Up direction to issue a part of a combo.. I think it's all in the design, a small delay in the time it takes for the average player to reach from point A to B, where point A is the first part of a combo and point B is the second part (i.e. point A = F, point B = DF). If the time expires then the alternative "movement" function will ignite. The delay time should be extremely minute so that it is not evident to the user at all.

"What if your character is so responsive that he spins 35 degrees while you try to execute a fireball motion?" Again, something that also occurs in 2D, you'll notice that Ryu from Street Fighter will duck down, then come up when performing his Hadoken attack, which is D,DF,F+Punch. This can also be solved with that time delay thing I spoke of earlier.

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How about lock-on?

Hold in R1 to focus on an enemy. While locked, the left stick becomes advance, retreat and sidestep. Then just use those simple motions and two or three different attack buttons to do special moves. Up, down, half-cirle right would be expressed as a tiny little footwork dance, but would turn your punch into a fireball or your kick into a swirling teleport.

This same system could facilitate different types of swings, like in Zelda or Kengo. A whole diverse 3D array of moves could be made possible.

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I'm suprised you guys are endorsing circle rolls and dragon punches on a PC game. Those motions are really difficult with keyboard keys. I think? I mean I've always owned a USB device that lets me use my PS2 controller to play such games on the PC, so I've never tried to get used to WASD other than to just move around. But I'm almost certain I've seen others complain about such things being forced onto the keyboard in this forum. You can't exactly allow the player to choose if they want to use sequences or not.

Quote:
Original post by ferr
"What if your character is so responsive that he spins 35 degrees while you try to execute a fireball motion?" Again, something that also occurs in 2D, you'll notice that Ryu from Street Fighter will duck down, then come up when performing his Hadoken attack, which is D,DF,F+Punch. This can also be solved with that time delay thing I spoke of earlier.

But Ryu doesn't suffer for ducking and taking a step forward as he tosses his plasma. If he were to turn to the left and run three feet, it would ruin the whole attack.

The timing trick works, as I've used something similar to allow pressing two buttons at once. But it also makes the controls feel less responsive. It's also difficult to time directional movement. I mean the time it takes to roll from down to forward is nothing compared to rolling back to forward to back. The easier (slower allowances) I want my moves to execute, which I want very easy, the less responsive everything will be.

Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
Hold in R1 to focus on an enemy. While locked, the left stick becomes advance, retreat and sidestep.

This would be the best controlled method. But is it possible to do locks without using buttons? If I remember correctly, I never used the lock on feature of Zelda unless I couldn't see correctly, or was shooting spiders with a bow, or fighting some bosses.

What about a combination of both of your guys' ideas? What if attacking someone starts a lock-on, then you have to hold a certain direction (like away from the enemy) for a few seconds to break free of it? Ermm, though that would make it nearly impossible to back up while staying in the fight.

The button lock might be my only choice. Or maybe a quick press of the "combat mode" button to break free of lock-ons, while finding ways to make their engagement automatic.

Thanks for the ideas so far.

[Edited by - Jiia on August 1, 2005 10:36:03 PM]

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Original post by A_Borellus
play Mount & blade.

It's quite a bit different from my own. It's combat is really fun, but it's also pretty limited. From what I could tell, there were only about three or four attacks.

The main difference is the view. Mine is from an overhead perspective, like Diablo, not shoulder or first person. That means the same controls that move you also rotate you. It makes a huge difference in this situation. It also makes pressing directions relative to your character with a keyboard very tricky. For example, if you're facing diaganol up-right relative to the screen, LEFT would be (with WASD) A+W. It's not bad, but it's not as nice as analog, and not as nice as keys with the camera directly behind you.

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"It's also difficult to time directional movement. I mean the time it takes to roll from down to forward is nothing compared to rolling back to forward to back."

Well, you have to keep in mind that when you are "rolling back to forward to back" you are setting off a combo, BUT there is more within that initialization than the way you describe it so bluntly. That combo would read out as F,DF,D,DB,B,DB,D,DF,F,DF,D,DB,B. Now let's say the time we have determined the average player will get from F to DF is 10ms, when the player first presses F it waits for the next input, if the 10ms time expires without new input then the movement function occurs. If DF is input within the allotted time, then another timer starts up doing the same thing as before. With this in mind we should conclude that the time it takes to "roll from down to forward" and "rolling back to forward to back" is actually irrelevant. It's not about 'how fast can the player execute Foward, DownForward, Down and how fast can a player execute Clockwise, Clockwise, QuarterCounterClockwise Down' but how fast the player can get from input X to input X+1.

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That's a pretty good solution. I guess it might be possible to add in simple rolls like the quarter circle. I still say a dragon punch style motion is really difficult with an analog stick :)

I think your delay is a bit fast, though. I don't think I can even blink my eyes in 10 milliseconds. My old 2D fighter used a delay of 150ms, and it was pretty comfortable. The time limit I used to allow pressing down two buttons simultaniously was even 50ms (50 was allowed between the buttons going down).

Anyway, thanks for pushing that. It gives me more hope to add more than a few attacks to each fighting state.

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Yeah, what's the deal about the analog? Are you using a controller for this?

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Using a controller for what? An analog fits the game the best. Imagine being able to play Diablo with one instead of point and clicking. That would be very similar to the feel of my game. Well, if Diablo wasn't so stiff and tile based, and if characters could move at infinite ranges of speeds, and it was 3D.

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Original post by Jiia
Using a controller for what? An analog fits the game the best. Imagine being able to play Diablo with one instead of point and clicking. That would be very similar to the feel of my game. Well, if Diablo wasn't so stiff and tile based, and if characters could move at infinite ranges of speeds, and it was 3D.


Where is your analog stick located? My keyboard certainly doesn't have one.

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I played Mount and Blade a long time ago...he posted on RPG Codex during development asking for help with a name for the game :)....Ill have to replay to remember it.

Im still working on a system myself...here's what Im thinking:

w, a, s, d = movement
q= punch
e= kick

then 3 inputs from the movement keys (up, down, right, left):

1st = style of movement (we have 3 schools: brawling, martial arts, wrestling/submissions)

2nd + 3rd = combo of type of movement type (we have damage, stun, block, counter, drop, disarm, evade, and launch)


Sooooo...if you wanted to get a brawling kick that did damage you'd hit: e + (up) + (right) + (down)

or for a martial arts punch: q + (right) + (down) + (down)

Im still toying with it in my mind. Im wondering if I ought to incorporate high middle and low into the equasion or if that's just to terribly complicated. If you split someone up into 9 hitboxes would you really be able to predict which one to hit or defend?

Oh well...Id love to find out how the OP's decision is coming along.

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Original post by ferr
Quote:
Original post by Jiia
Using a controller for what? An analog fits the game the best. Imagine being able to play Diablo with one instead of point and clicking. That would be very similar to the feel of my game. Well, if Diablo wasn't so stiff and tile based, and if characters could move at infinite ranges of speeds, and it was 3D.


Where is your analog stick located? My keyboard certainly doesn't have one.

Oh, you were asking if I'm using a controller as I'm developing the game? Yeah, I'm using a Playstation 2 controller. But anything will work. Why do you ask? Because I'm inept at throwing dragon punches with an analog? I've tried playing Street Fighter with one, and it's true. I can toss them out easy with arcade sticks or D-Pads, but the smoothness of analog makes it difficult for me to judge how far I need to press to register each direction. It may just be because of lack of practice with it.

Quote:
Original post by Vanquish
Oh well...Id love to find out how the OP's decision is coming along

I'm planning to just stick with simple motions for now. Once I get attacks rolling out, I might try to see how difficult some things are to pull off with the keyboard and analog.

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Original post by Jiia
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Original post by ferr
Quote:
Original post by Jiia
Using a controller for what? An analog fits the game the best. Imagine being able to play Diablo with one instead of point and clicking. That would be very similar to the feel of my game. Well, if Diablo wasn't so stiff and tile based, and if characters could move at infinite ranges of speeds, and it was 3D.


Where is your analog stick located? My keyboard certainly doesn't have one.

Oh, you were asking if I'm using a controller as I'm developing the game? Yeah, I'm using a Playstation 2 controller. But anything will work. Why do you ask? Because I'm inept at throwing dragon punches with an analog? I've tried playing Street Fighter with one, and it's true. I can toss them out easy with arcade sticks or D-Pads, but the smoothness of analog makes it difficult for me to judge how far I need to press to register each direction. It may just be because of lack of practice with it.


Well, you're using a controller. Your controller has a D-Pad. So why not use the D-Pad? Maybe you could have the D-Pad as your Movement/Combo/Whatever input device and you could use Analog as your Movement/Whatever input device if you're so inclined on having movement with the analog. I can't stand using analog sticks with fighters, I can never get a real feel for it. Could be from lack of practice, though.

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