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Slice, stab, pierce, smack

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I'm having trouble coming up with damage types. I want the damage types to be generic in their name and description, and not specific to any type of weapon or ammo. This is a lot more difficult than I expected :) Here are some damage types that I believe are very unique. Either as to how they apply damage to objects or how armor can deflect them:
  • Blunt
  • Blade-slice
  • Blade-stab
  • Arrows / bolts / darts / shurikens
  • Bullets / Frag-Grenade-like fragments
  • Energy (lasors)
  • Plasma
  • Explosive
  • Heat (fire)
  • Cold
  • Optics (flashbang)
  • Hearing (sound waves)
  • Respiratory (poison or gas grenades)
There are a two issues I need to overcome. First, I don't want the player to be aware of any damage types unless they pertain to the situation. In other words, I want to let my player know what his armor abilities give him/her, but without showing them every attribute every time armor status is viewed. Sounds impossible? Obviously some armor that's made to stop blade stabbing is going to be somewhat effect against bullets - or at least better than others. But I don't want my player to be aware of every type of damage in the game world after equipping one item that might slightly protect them against everything a small bit. One possibility would be to prevent displaying any damage type until the player is attacked with an element. This way the player actually learns damage types as they are inflicted. Any other ideas? The second issue is the naming / describing of some of these damage types to prevent associating them with any specific weapons. The specific two I'm currently stuck on are arrow type projectiles versus bullet type projectiles. How can I name and describe the differences between arrow damage and bullet damage? Obviously, a wooden shield is not going to defend as well against bullets as it does against arrows or darts. I would prefer to avoid naming one low velocity projectiles and one high velocity. But if anyone is clever enough to come up with better names meaning the same things, that would be pretty sweet. Anyway, that's it. Sorry for such bulky wording. And thanks for any suggestions.

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Hay, this game sounds gory :) I like that...

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I want to let my player know what his armor abilities give him/her, but without showing them every attribute every time armor status is viewed. Sounds impossible? Obviously some armor that's made to stop blade stabbing is going to be somewhat effect against bullets - or at least better than others.

A lot of the time this might come down to common sense, most players will know the benefits of a flack jacket V's a bullet, or a suit of armor V's a club. Come to think of it, how many types of armor can you have? If your making up types than make it clear through their names, example: Teflon vest clearly good against heat, but crap against bullets :)
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The second issue is the naming / describing of some of these damage types to prevent associating them with any specific weapons. The specific two I'm currently stuck on are arrow type projectiles versus bullet type projectiles.

Thats a tricky one, I can't figure out what your games about but the biggest difference here seems to be the age of the weapon.. so how about an age class for all your weapons like: 'Ancient' / 'modern' etc so An arrow would become an Ancient Piercing, and a bullet - modern piercing...

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Flak jackets aren't effective against bullets, they're made for catching shrapnel, and even in that respect they aren't very good. Kevlar is crap against stabbing weapons, unless you've got the plates underneath.

I think you could simplify your equations a bit (for kinetic energy weapons at least) just by using two elements, that is the force being applied, and the area being applied. So like a bullet hits a guy with level 3 Kevlar (tm?) armor, the energy is converted from a piercing energy to a blunt force trauma type injury. You're still being hit by the same amount of force, but this way your character can absorb a certain threshold of energy without suffering injury. So you figure the mass of the victim and the energy of the round to determine the total amount of damage done (I suppose you could use HP as a quickie substitution for body mass)

As for the arrow vs. the bullet, you figure that the only difference is the energy being delivered, so I would just group it in Kinetic Kill Weapons or something.

Also, the British and Americans use a special ceramic armor to defend against various plasma injector warheads (Shape Charges) so that's something you might add in, and I think the British are also working on some kind of new armor that uses huge amounts of electricity to deflect plasma.

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Mmm tough actually, there are many ways you could split it. Define all the major categories then think of names for all the combinations.

Area of Effect
--------------
Blunt/Sharp -> extreme blunt covers large area, extreme sharp covers tiny area so Blast = affects everywhere, Bash = medium sized region e.g. head, Slash = long narrow region e.g. across chest, Stab/Pierce = tiny region e.g. heart, eye etc

Method of Delivery
------------------
Chaotic (e.g. expanding gas - explosion), Projectile (e.g. bullet, laser), Long range tethered (e.g. morning star?), hand-held (e.g sword)

Method of Damage
----------------
Thermal (Hot/Cold), Optical (Light), Nuclear Radiation (alpha, beta, gamma), Other Radiation (microwave, x-ray etc), physical/kinetic, acoustic (sound), pressure (air), Chemical


e.g. a bomb would be Blast+Chaotic+Thermal/Optical/Pressure
a bullet would be Pierce+Projective+Kinetic
a sword would be Stab/Slash+Hand-Held+Physical
a laser would be AnyArea+Projectile+Optical/Other Radiation
a flash band would be Blast+Chaotic+Optical+Acoustic+Pressure

This is the system I'm using for a game :D

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Kevlar is effective against light munitions e.g. pistols, machine pistols etc. When you're shot you'll still get knocked for six.

A flak jacket is effective against high caliber riffles - it is for stopping bullets. It's not commonly deployed because it's too heavy to use in the field and resticts movement too much.

New materials are being developed which harden instantly when an electric current is passed through them. You can use this to have a flexible jacket that stiffens to stop the impact of a bullet when it touches the surface.

Plasma based weapons?? Not really heard about this but flamethrowers would fall in to this category. I can't see you feasibly deflecting the heat away.

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Original post by DogCity
A lot of the time this might come down to common sense, most players will know the benefits of a flack jacket V's a bullet, or a suit of armor V's a club. Come to think of it, how many types of armor can you have? If your making up types than make it clear through their names, example: Teflon vest clearly good against heat, but crap against bullets :)

I'm slightly worried that I might end up with too many types of armor for descriptive names to work. Some equipment also uses made-up materials, so players will not be able to use common sense in those situations.

I also don't want the player to have to compare all of these values for every change of equipment, so I still like the idea of hiding the data. Perhaps some other way to convert it into a format that's easier to read quickly. Maybe by grouping categories together. Like displaying arrows and bullets as a "projectiles" category. Simply add them together. The same with other types, such as slice + stab, and explosive + fire. I could narrow it down to about five displayed types, I think. The only problem would be that the player is losing details. If their armor protects heavily against slicing but not much at all against stabbing, they'll have no idea.

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Thats a tricky one, I can't figure out what your games about

It's set very far into the future. But technology is set back to the dark age style of living. So brand new types of medieval weapons (automatic crossbows, arrow-head bolting pistols), as well as classics (only so many ways to invent a long metal blade thingo), and there are rare modern and futuristic equipment scattered around in bunkers and the like.

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Original post by Horatius83
I think you could simplify your equations a bit (for kinetic energy weapons at least) just by using two elements, that is the force being applied, and the area being applied.

As for the arrow vs. the bullet, you figure that the only difference is the energy being delivered, so I would just group it in Kinetic Kill Weapons or something.

It's not quite that simple. Consider a chainmail type that deflects arrows well. Bullets could fly right into the holes (Although I obviously can't calculate whether or not they really go into the holes). So the chainmail would have a very low rating against bullets - practically worthless. With perhaps an accasional random deflection.

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Also, the British and Americans use a special ceramic armor to defend against various plasma injector warheads (Shape Charges) so that's something you might add in, and I think the British are also working on some kind of new armor that uses huge amounts of electricity to deflect plasma.

That's pretty interesting. Thanks for the information :)

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Original post by Metorical
Mmm tough actually, there are many ways you could split it. Define all the major categories then think of names for all the combinations.

That was how I started it. But I wanted to allow very specific behaviors for specific types of damage.

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Plasma based weapons?? Not really heard about this but flamethrowers would fall in to this category. I can't see you feasibly deflecting the heat away.

A large steel shield would deflect the heat pretty well (dragon fight!). The damage types are also not exclusive to weapons. For example, the heat and cold types are used for weather effects.

Thanks a lot for all of the suggestions.
I wish I could make up my mind.

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Original post by Kest
I also don't want the player to have to compare all of these values for every change of equipment, so I still like the idea of hiding the data.


Who is your target audience? If it's hardcore number crunchers, then lots of permutations in weapon and defensive effects will probably be pleasing. But if its a wider audience, it's going to be pretty annoying to search through more than a few combinations. A player often simply wants to know what the bad guys are packing so that he can dress appropriately. If you create too many permutations, there's a strong chance that the amount of armor required (not to mention weapons to attack with) will balloon and that you'll need to segregate your enemies into less interesting packs (or risk the player constantly being unable to defend an irresistible attack).


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It's set very far into the future. But technology is set back to the dark age style of living. So brand new types of medieval weapons (automatic crossbows, arrow-head bolting pistols), as well as classics (only so many ways to invent a long metal blade thingo), and there are rare modern and futuristic equipment scattered around in bunkers and the like.


[evil] Don't take this personally, but in the name of all of humanity's unborn generations I beg of you to be more inventive than this! Please, whatever you do don't resort to the lazy a** "it's the future but really the past" creative bankruptcy that serves as the foundation for:


  • Traveller / Megatraveller
  • Noble Armada
  • Emperor of the Fading Suns
  • Space: 1889
  • Warhammer
  • Star Wars
  • Several of the Final Fantasy games
  • etc. etc.


Sci-fi RPGs are rare enough as they are. Putting automatic crossbows (and "lazer swords" too, presummably????) is like giving a starving man ripe, delicious looking apple made of wax. Biotech, nanotech and cybernetics offer acres of creative freedom. If you MUST go the route of "it's the future but the past" at least vary the shape of weapons (like the Klingon Ba'tleth) and give us nifty stuff like heat-seeking glaves or genetic signature swords (which would explain Excalibur, by the way).

(PS: I'm not anti-medieval so much as just tired of the lack of creativity)

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flak_jacket
Flak jackets are not meant, nor are they effective against bullets of any sort.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HEAT
It doesn't state it as being plasma, but it is high velocity jet of molten metal.

As for the chain-mail, a bullet will pierce through plate-armor, so chain-mail would be no problem. This is why you didn't see many knights after handheld firearms got popular. I think the whole purpose of chain mail was defence against cutting weapons like swords and axes, I'm not sure if they were much help against any sort of piercing weapon.

I guess to expand my previous post you could divide it this way:
Weapons that operate off of kinetic energy (bullets, KE-Warheads, the Rod's from God concept)

Weapons that operate off of oxidization or vaporization (changes at the molecular level) you've got your LASERs, Particle weapons, HEAT might apply

NBC's of various sorts, weapons harmful to life but which have little effect on machinery

EMP, Computational, jammers, electronic weapons designed for the purpose of altering and or destroying communication networks, command and control structures. This could be anything from small bits of tin-foil and graphite streamers to a small yield nuclear device detonated in the upper atmosphere

Psy Ops(which is really hard to do well) initiatives designed to reduce the enemies willingness, or capability to fight.

I'd be very interested in seeing a game with an in depth combat system (as opposed to Tanks vs. Infantry vs. Aircraft type stuff) good luck on your project!

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I think that "damage types" come down to some relatively basic (used liberally) physics equations [see math board]. While I have no idea what these equations are, I know that while we oral conversers like to have fancy names for everything, really a sword is just causing a wound with X amounts of force over Y amount of area. If you slash, you have less amount of force, but perhaps the razor's-edge of the blade lets it cut easily through anything(see Lightsaber). However, a good thrust, utilizing only the very tip of the blade(small size) focuses the force of the impact in such a way that you can ram your blade through your opponent to the hilt, cutting your swath of destruction right through their lower intestines.

A bullet would work the same way, only the force is much greater(over a certain range) and the impact area is much smaller, allowing it to pierce just about anything(see FMJ-AP munitions). So, we take the example of a billy club, large and heavy, so we can only apply so much force and the impact is distributed over a large area, allowing for a more "concussive" attack rather than actually penetrating the victim(hypothetically).

Where does this all get us? Well, if you armor has a "toughness" of 5, and we assume that after some quick equations a thrust from a dagger only does 4 units of "attack force" then we can assume that the thrust is bounced off of your armor, though some slight chinking/denting/general wear and tear may occur to your armor as a result.

Another important factor in this model I believe, would be to target specific body parts and allow them to become disabled, giving each body part an "HP" if you will. Once a limb is damaged to a certain degree, it becomes useless. This allows for further depth to the system as well as instant kill shots if the damage is applied locally to the head/neck/heart region(Instant-Kill Zone). It's a lot of numbers that need to be stored on armor types and weapon types, however, they're all for the most part, integers and so not all-together very consuming on resources in the long-haul.

As for... damage "types". We would need to track what the armor is made of and have a hash-table of the proportional weaknesses to certain types of damage. For example, player X has "The Uber Fire Sword" but player Y has "Armor of the Ice God". Player X's sword has the special flag/value of "Fire" "15". Meaning on our sliding scale, every impact X makes does 15 "points" of fire damage to whatever it strikes. Player Y's armor has the special flag/value of "Ice" "12". Since Fire and Ice would be polar opposites on the grand scale of things then we can logically assume that Player Y has 12 points of resistance to "Fire" type damage, but since Player X has 15 points of fire damage, he sneaks through 3 points, doing damage perhaps to Player Y's armor or person. Or we can go the alternate route and trace material types to the extent of (steel, wood, leather, etc...) and use the real-world(or pseudo-real) values that would be applicable in such situations. For example, we know that wood reacts(catches fire) at X degrees, while steel reacts(melts) at Y degrees. This could be the easy enough difference between not only what happens to the player's armor or person, but whether or not elemental type damage is effective or not.

Then again, we must also logically consider what would happen to Player Y if he were hit with a flamethrower, regardless of his armor, how would his body react? I don't know, but I'm sure the research is out there for the looking. If you're going for depth there's no better place to start than with the truth and build up from there. After you know the Real-World statistics for your established weapons, you will have a good basis with which to judge your fictional damage/weapon/armor types upon.

Anyway, good luck, that's my two cents.

Vopisk

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Are you sure you need all those damage types? I'm very much in the school of designing games first from the point of being fun, then trying to make them make sense later. I'd only include all these different damage types if it adds to the enjoyment of your game.

For example, both Freedom Force and Pokemon have complex system of damage based on elemental types, but that's because it adds to the strategy. If your hero is made of metal, you know that you will be good against bullets, but weak against electricity, and so on. However, in a generic RPG setting, it probably isn't a good idea to have more than a couple of damage types. If I need a degree in inorganic chemistry just to understand the defensive part of combat in your game, then it's unlikely that I'll enjoy your game.

I'd definitely report the defensive qualities of armour to the players, however. There has to be some information for them to base their decisions on. You can simplify the descriptions to generalities such as "Plate Mail Armour: Very good against piercing weapons, good against blunt, weak against electricity" for example, but the info. should be there.

Plus I also agree a little bit with Wavinator's miniture rant against the "future dark age" issues with your weaponry [smile]. I'm not really against it if you can make it work, but it seems a bit to me like you want to like RPGs with both swords and guns, and have warped the game world to include both. I don't mind using melee weapons in a sci-fi game if there's a reason for it, but for some reason most games make melee weapons better than guns, which confuses me (why doesnt the army just issue every soldier with a broadsword then?).

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Original post by Wavinator
Who is your target audience? If it's hardcore number crunchers, then lots of permutations in weapon and defensive effects will probably be pleasing. But if its a wider audience, it's going to be pretty annoying to search through more than a few combinations.

I want to provide for the crunchers, but let others stream it through. Not quite sure how possible that is.

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A player often simply wants to know what the bad guys are packing so that he can dress appropriately. If you create too many permutations, there's a strong chance that the amount of armor required (not to mention weapons to attack with) will balloon and that you'll need to segregate your enemies into less interesting packs (or risk the player constantly being unable to defend an irresistible attack).

The player will rarely be in situations where he needs to dress for the occasion. Armor is also adjusted into. Each unique entity levels up for the character who wears it. That means the less they change, the better.

There may be critical enemies in the game that are difficult to defeat with certain equipment. And of course there will be situations where a player might find armor that outclasses his own. But they won't be fighting sub machine guns in one corner and archers in another. The game will prepare them for such encounters if this occurs.

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[evil] Don't take this personally, but in the name of all of humanity's unborn generations I beg of you to be more inventive than this!

Inventive? As far as I know, there are no settings that are similar to what I have planned. Games or movies. Perhaps The future part of The Time Machine is the same feel, though. I can name far more settings that take place in a futuristic future than I can a reverted medieval age future.

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Please, whatever you do don't resort to the lazy a** "it's the future but really the past" creative bankruptcy that serves as the foundation for:

Sorry to disappoint you, but the setting is already firmly decided on. Although I don't follow your idea that this is a lazy setting. You think it's more work to create or design something that is purely futuristic? The amount of imagination and creative work can be the same. It sounds like you're just assuming too much.

Then you give me a list of seven games?? Wavinator, I can name 50 space games. Hell, almost every freak'n atari game ever created took place in space. StarWars and the like do not even come close to my design. It's difficult to comment on Final Fantasy. That's like saying my setting has been used by the Outer Limits show. So has every other setting.

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Sci-fi RPGs are rare enough as they are. Putting automatic crossbows (and "lazer swords" too, presummably????) is like giving a starving man ripe, delicious looking apple made of wax. Biotech, nanotech and cybernetics offer acres of creative freedom. If you MUST go the route of "it's the future but the past" at least vary the shape of weapons (like the Klingon Ba'tleth) and give us nifty stuff like heat-seeking glaves or genetic signature swords (which would explain Excalibur, by the way).

Please focus your eyes on these words: Dark Age. Caves. Bands of barbarians. People hunting each other. Not castles. Not empires. Not cybernetic dogs. Futuristic equipment will serve as a sort of magic. Very rarely found, and very limited ammo or batteries.

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(PS: I'm not anti-medieval so much as just tired of the lack of creativity)

Perhaps you could more accurately describe what creativity is lacking in my game's setting that is not lacking in your own?

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Original post by Kest
Please focus your eyes on these words: Dark Age. Caves. Bands of barbarians. People hunting each other. Not castles. Not empires. Not cybernetic dogs. Futuristic equipment will serve as a sort of magic. Very rarely found, and very limited ammo or batteries.


So is it a bit like Fallout, but with futuristic weapons being even more scarce? That's okay then. I was a bit worried that the game world combat was one of the kinds that doesn't make sense (guns being weaker than swords, having magic for no particular reason etc.) which isn't what you seem to be wanting.

However, back to the topic, if the futuristic weapons are very rare, then I probably wouldn't worry about too much about including many different damage types for those weapons, since not many people will be using them.

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Original post by Trapper Zoid
So is it a bit like Fallout, but with futuristic weapons being even more scarce?

Hmmm, something like that. Fallout focused on the guns, though.

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However, back to the topic, if the futuristic weapons are very rare, then I probably wouldn't worry about too much about including many different damage types for those weapons, since not many people will be using them.

If I don't worry about it, it won't be included. If a gun can be used like a normal weapon, the game needs to deal with it in the same way, regardless of how rare it is. But that was my first issue. I want to avoid damage types that are specific to futuristic equipment. I want to make sure that other things can cause the same damage. A ninja fragment bomb, for example, might throw high velocity projectiles that have an effect just like bullets.

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Original post by Kest
If I don't worry about it, it won't be included. If a gun can be used like a normal weapon, the game needs to deal with it in the same way, regardless of how rare it is. But that was my first issue. I want to avoid damage types that are specific to futuristic equipment. I want to make sure that other things can cause the same damage. A ninja fragment bomb, for example, might throw high velocity projectiles that have an effect just like bullets.


Well, "piercing damage" and "blunt damage" will account for lot of your weapon types, futuristic or old tech. However, looking through your list, there's a lot of stuff that I think would be future only (energy, plasma, explosive, cold, optics, hearing and respiratory). I'm not sure whether you'd need that many different types for rare weapons, so maybe you could scale them back to something a bit more managable.

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Original post by Trapper Zoid
Well, "piercing damage" and "blunt damage" will account for lot of your weapon types, futuristic or old tech.

Those account for the damage type, but not how it penetrates or inflicts itself. Slicing across armor with a sword is entirely different than ramming it with a spear. The difference is just as extreme as a club smack versus an arrow. Chainmail doesn't protect nearly as well against stabbing as it does slicing. In fact, it might entirely deflect a weak slash. But a weak thrust would send someone to their knees. If I want to have purpose for the different armor types, I need variation.

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However, looking through your list, there's a lot of stuff that I think would be future only (energy, plasma, explosive, cold, optics, hearing and respiratory).

Energy and plasma, perhaps. But the others will be included pretty often.

Explosives will be pretty common. Mostly for illusion or dismaying the enemy, but also for simply blowing people up. Most advanced bombs will require hefty intelligence attributes to operate, so they will be one item that has been left alone through the period. IE, there are still a lot of them around - unlike guns or grenades.

Cold is applied by weather. If your character is running around naked on a snow mountain, he will eventually get sick and get temporary negative attribute effects. If they do this often enough, their body-armor attribute versus cold will actually increase. Even with heavy clothing, some environments may require occasional fires to keep your party comfortable. Weather heat is generally more forgiven, but it does have small effects on performance. This means a character might fight much better with a certain armor type, even though it doesn't protect as well against general attacks. It will also be entirely plausible to weaken hordes of enemies in this way. For example, a certain enemy may be holed up in an underground bunker. That enemy may be more vulnerable to heat than most. And the bunker heating generator may still be operational. Sneak in, crank it up, take advantage of them.

Optics, hearing, and respiratory are very generic forms of attack. In fact, I would love to get all of my damage types to seem more at this level. An example would be a gas bomb (advanced or not) or any toxic environment. A gas mask, which does little but protect against respiratory attack, would entirely null the effect. Even a cloth mask would help a lot to keep toxins out. Simply wearing such a mask and carrying a weapon to inflict an area effect of that damage would be a pretty effective strategy.

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Original post by Kest
Those account for the damage type, but not how it penetrates or inflicts itself. Slicing across armor with a sword is entirely different than ramming it with a spear. The difference is just as extreme as a club smack versus an arrow. Chainmail doesn't protect nearly as well against stabbing as it does slicing. In fact, it might entirely deflect a weak slash. But a weak thrust would send someone to their knees. If I want to have purpose for the different armor types, I need variation.


How about "piercing", "slashing" and "crushing" then? Isn't that what they use in D&D? I'm not sure if you can break down physical damage much more finely then that.

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Explosives will be pretty common. Mostly for illusion or dismaying the enemy, but also for simply blowing people up. Most advanced bombs will require hefty intelligence attributes to operate, so they will be one item that has been left alone through the period. IE, there are still a lot of them around - unlike guns or grenades.


Are there any types of armour that would good defense against explosions but not against physical types of damage, or fire?

Your description of how temperature works seems a little complex! Can you implement all this in a game, and still make it understandable to the player? But if you want to do all that, I think the thermal protection of all clothing will have to be included as a separate attribute.

As for optics, respiritory etc., most games tend to group these kinds of things by effect as well (stun, confusion, blindness etc.) But that won't really do for armour, so maybe just limit these things to the senses; protection for eyes, ears and breathing, as you've already done.

If you're worried about overloading the player with information, then just giving general descriptions like "Ear Muffs: Provides protection from sonic attacks" would be okay; you wouldn't need to go as far as "+25 protection". You could even just include this info. in a custom text box that you type out yourself for each item.

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Original post by Trapper Zoid
How about "piercing", "slashing" and "crushing" then? Isn't that what they use in D&D? I'm not sure if you can break down physical damage much more finely then that.

I would love to do this. But how do I define armor that completely stops a relatively large arrow, but bullets or small fragments cruise on through it? Regardless of the velocity of the projectile, size also matters. Any other way that I try to imagine explaining to a player that their equipment behaves this way seems more complex than showing them two types of projectile values.

The same idea goes with stabbing versus piercing. Should I really imply that any armor that defends against arrows can stop a thrusted sword or spear just as well? If some hidden calculation makes the sword more effective than the arrow, wouldn't that be as bad as hiding it from the player? My only concern is to keep it friendly/tidy for the player. The inner working complexity of the attack versus defense system doesn't worry me much.

Don't give up just because I'm stubborn, though. Your suggestions are really helping me get a grip on the layout.

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Are there any types of armour that would good defense against explosions but not against physical types of damage, or fire?

Great point! Explosions can be decently represented by an area effect of blunt force and heat. It's not exactly blunt, but tightly packed air thrusted into armor would be very similar to a blunt whack. So out with explosive.

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Your description of how temperature works seems a little complex! Can you implement all this in a game, and still make it understandable to the player?

It's not really that complex. Look at temporary effect systems in simple RPGs, such as haste in Final Fantasy. Temperature will work the same way. An area effect that encapsulates the entire area or region will constantly apply very small changes to the status it adds to characters. Armor or clothing will filter some of the changes as well as sometimes modify the temporary effect itself. For example, warm clothing will continuously remove cold status effects.

The character's body parts are actually armor items in my game. They are the exact same system, just hidden from inventory view. This means different characters or races can have natural defenses or abilities, using the same systems as normal armor. It also means a whack job doctor can cut off your damaged forearm limbs and add robotic replacements. Or at least that would be possible with the engine ;)

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But if you want to do all that, I think the thermal protection of all clothing will have to be included as a separate attribute.

I believe I'm going to completely remove cold as an attack type, change heat to simply fire, then add temperature heat and temperature cold. But these two can be displayed in a different area. So that's minus one more.

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If you're worried about overloading the player with information, then just giving general descriptions like "Ear Muffs: Provides protection from sonic attacks" would be okay; you wouldn't need to go as far as "+25 protection". You could even just include this info. in a custom text box that you type out yourself for each item.

That gives me a great idea. What if the player cannot even determine the exact effects of the items? The general description could be listed, with obvious stuff, but not the numbers. What if the player could take items to special NPCs and receive huge mega detailed statistics for them? This would give players a pretty inventory screen, while giving hardcore munchkins all the details they can handle. If they wanted to figure it out without traveling to an NPC, they could always wear the thing and see what happens. Not knowing exactly how something works may just add to the depth. Items will rarely be actually purchased - most will be found while treasure hunting or pulled from dead villains. So this could add a lot of experimentation.

Thanks for the suggestions :)

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Original post by Kest
I would love to do this. But how do I define armor that completely stops a relatively large arrow, but bullets or small fragments cruise on through it? Regardless of the velocity of the projectile, size also matters. Any other way that I try to imagine explaining to a player that their equipment behaves this way seems more complex than showing them two types of projectile values.


Does armour work that way? I haven't looked into it in great detail. I thought that an arrow and a spear would be deflected by the same sorts of materials, but I haven't done any extensive tests to find out [smile].

I can see how a bullet might be treated differently, as the velocity is higher. I suppose you could go into fine detail about how an armour type would dissapate momentum or deal with high impact forces, but that seems a little bit much for a single stat. If you wanted to deal with bullets separately you could have a "high velocity projectile" property for bullets, shrapnel and things like that. Arrows might be somewhere inbetween bullets and daggers, so you could put them in either category, or a little bit of both.

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It's not really that complex. Look at temporary effect systems in simple RPGs, such as haste in Final Fantasy. Temperature will work the same way. An area effect that encapsulates the entire area or region will constantly apply very small changes to the status it adds to characters. Armor or clothing will filter some of the changes as well as sometimes modify the temporary effect itself. For example, warm clothing will continuously remove cold status effects.


It's not that temperature is complex in and of itself, it's just if you have too many of these considerations then there will be too many variables for you to manage in your game, and too much info. for the player to wrap their head around.

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That gives me a great idea. What if the player cannot even determine the exact effects of the items? The general description could be listed, with obvious stuff, but not the numbers. What if the player could take items to special NPCs and receive huge mega detailed statistics for them? This would give players a pretty inventory screen, while giving hardcore munchkins all the details they can handle. If they wanted to figure it out without traveling to an NPC, they could always wear the thing and see what happens. Not knowing exactly how something works may just add to the depth. Items will rarely be actually purchased - most will be found while treasure hunting or pulled from dead villains. So this could add a lot of experimentation.


While I have no problem with stat. hiding behind fuzzy descriptors, the problem is that a lot of RPG players (particuarly the hardcore) love that kind of stuff, and having to track down a special NPC will annoy them a lot. And it seems that your type of RPG design, with heaps of different types of weapons and having to deal with many different types of damage, would appeal mainly to the hardcore. I'd think they'll get annoyed at not knowing exactly that the gloves that they've just looted off their enemy is the Pink Fluffy Mittens of Thermal Protection +7 and Pick-pocketing +13. It's a bit sad, but that's what the term "RPG" has come to mean these days.

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Thanks for the suggestions :)


No problem! [smile]

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I haven't read all the posts so I may be retreading here...

Blunt - base damage type

Blade-slice - base damage type slicing

Blade-stab - base damage type piercing

Arrows / bolts / darts / shurikens - piercing

Bullets / Frag-Grenade-like fragments - base damage type ballistic

Energy (lasors) - base damage type heat

Plasma - base damage type heat

Explosive - combination of Blunt, heat, and ballistic (if shrapnel)

Heat (fire) - Base damage type

Cold - Base Damage Type

Optics (flashbang) - Base Damage Type STUN (Temp damage goes away quickly)

Hearing (sound waves) - Base Damage Type STUN

Respiratory (poison or gas grenades) - Base Damage Type Toxin

So basically what you have are a few different damage types

Slice
Blunt
Pierce
Ballistic
Heat
Cold
Stun
Toxic

Now the different weapons may have secondary effects. I.E. Flash bang will be stun damage, AND temporary blindness..

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Original post by Trapper Zoid
Does armour work that way? I haven't looked into it in great detail. I thought that an arrow and a spear would be deflected by the same sorts of materials, but I haven't done any extensive tests to find out [smile].

Well, like I was saying before, I would like to make each type of damage specific. It would allow me to keep the damage / defense system very simple, while still providing specific defenses for each type of attack.

Chainmail versus bullets is a really great example. Chainmail is a very unique type of armor, having holes in it. Bullets are small enough to pass through some chainmail. So in effect, I can provide random deflection to a point where bullets are sometimes not absorbed by the chainmail at all, and other times completely deflected.

So certain chainmail start-up scripts can add a flag to it's defense[bullets] properties to impliment random deflection (this flag being allowed for any defense). If my 'projectiles' damage type included both arrows and bullets, I would have to add very complex routines to define exactly how the random deflection works - mainly based on the size of the object in this case. This is just an example, though. There are many situations where having exact control is a really great thing. The down side is that all weapon types must find a way to be defined by the limited specific types. Fortunately, I think I have all I'll need.

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It's not that temperature is complex in and of itself, it's just if you have too many of these considerations then there will be too many variables for you to manage in your game, and too much info. for the player to wrap their head around.

I passed up 'too many' variables a long time ago :)
Being serious, that's why I included temperature as a damage type - to make it use the same system as everything else. That means everything it needs to function will already exist.

My characters have comfort levels. There will be no display bar for warmth or cold, just one comfort. Being really hot or really cold will diminish the comfort level. Comfort levels define how fast characters heal, how fast technique points regenerate, stamina, etc. Really low comfort levels can eventually make the character get sick. But it's effected by many things, and is actually easy to manipulate. You can remove negative effects of anything by adding positive effects of anything else. For example, if you get hot or cold enough to start losing comfort, you can increase that lost comfort by eating or sleeping. Before anyone adds that my game sounds more like a simulation than an RPG, I'll go ahead and make that point for you. I won't have much of the killing hundreds of giant spiders type experience. The game will focus heavily on surviving on your own in such a terrible world.

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While I have no problem with stat. hiding behind fuzzy descriptors, the problem is that a lot of RPG players (particuarly the hardcore) love that kind of stuff, and having to track down a special NPC will annoy them a lot. And it seems that your type of RPG design, with heaps of different types of weapons and having to deal with many different types of damage, would appeal mainly to the hardcore. I'd think they'll get annoyed at not knowing exactly that the gloves that they've just looted off their enemy is the Pink Fluffy Mittens of Thermal Protection +7 and Pick-pocketing +13. It's a bit sad, but that's what the term "RPG" has come to mean these days.

I have to agree. I'm one of them. But I also enjoy figuring things out on my own. I don't like the systems where you simply look to see how much your stats are effected before equipping something. I don't like the "Equip Best" buttons. It takes a lot of the fun out of it. Maybe I'll just not have the NPCs at all. Maybe I'll try to come up with interesting gameplay methods that the player can use to discover the abilities of items on their own. Mannequins? Identify skill (which takes you to a seperate screen)? Something.

Has anyone actually played a game that used complex inner-working attack/defense systems without displaying the details to the player? I have yet to see such a thing.

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Original post by Kest
Chainmail versus bullets is a really great example. Chainmail is a very unique type of armor, having holes in it. Bullets are small enough to pass through some chainmail. So in effect, I can provide random deflection to a point where bullets are sometimes not absorbed by the chainmail at all, and other times completely deflected.


Does chainmail protect against arrows as well? In any case, that's just one extra damage time.

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I have to agree. I'm one of them. But I also enjoy figuring things out on my own. I don't like the systems where you simply look to see how much your stats are effected before equipping something. I don't like the "Equip Best" buttons. It takes a lot of the fun out of it. Maybe I'll just not have the NPCs at all. Maybe I'll try to come up with interesting gameplay methods that the player can use to discover the abilities of items on their own. Mannequins? Identify skill (which takes you to a seperate screen)? Something.


I don't mind having some vaguness in how effective weapons are; it's just that you will need to provide some feedback to the player as to which weapons are good or bad against different enemy types. It's similar to those RPGs where some monsters have immunity to weapons; you have to make sure the player knows that their weapon is doing no effect (by having their avatar swear, for example). It could also help if you provide either some sort of trainer that tells you which types of weapons are useful against different types of enemies, or at least have it make sense (using flame against wood, for example).

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Has anyone actually played a game that used complex inner-working attack/defense systems without displaying the details to the player? I have yet to see such a thing.


Yes, many games do. Nearly every FPS these days will have different weapon effectiveness against different types of enemies. RTS games have different rates of effectiveness of different types which usually isn't displayed (how much better an archer is against a footsoldier, for example). Most console RPGs don't tell you by how much a fire attack will damage an ice enemy. Heck, Pokemon has quite a complex weapon damage system buried in its core; the figures aren't shown for that. It depends how "complex" you want to go, though.

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I have decided, in the text-based game I am designing, to take away the levels of players, and the increasing HP as well. Basically, everyone gets about the same amount of HP, roughly.

What I left is damage types and armor types, which work in pretty much the same way as rock-paper-scissors. You choose the type of damage you deal, and the type of damage you withstand, and you head out and try to kill something if you fancy it.

But I added another feature. Different attacks for different levels of mastery. These different attacks are either dealing a different type of damage (think a sword slash and a sword stab, or an axe slash, and an axe stab, dealing concussion damage), or dealing a different quantity of damage, or dealing the damage in a different way, to the opponents weapon instead of him directly, making him weaponless if you successfuly destroy his weapon.

On the other hand, I designed the game to allow for different gameplays. You can play the tank, and absorb damage as you please, you can play the canon and deal HEAVY blows, you can play the machinegun, and deal a great amount of blows, not all being effectives, or you can play the poison, and deal your blows very parcimoniously, but with pinpoint accuracy and death-dealing dexterity. Six attributes, a good twenty combat skills, and another good twenty non-combat atributes, combined with a system in which your size and stature affect the way you move, dodge and parry, plus three out of ten possible natural abilities like "lucky", "fast learner", "natural miner" or "fast healer" ensure that the cookie-cutter syndrome remains at bay, and that the players will CHOOSE the way they play.

(Just to let you know, the game is actually being coded, I'll make an anouncement on the boards when something is released, even for alpha testing...)

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Have you guys ever seen this?
Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

Heh, learn something new every day. I just always assumed it was a name. Note my incorrect spelling (lasors). Anyway, sounds like radiation will give me both my plasma and my energy. Considering the difference in how the ammunition is projected, I think they will both be unique enough.

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Original post by Trapper Zoid
.. it's just that you will need to provide some feedback to the player as to which weapons are good or bad against different enemy types.

Does any game really do this? It would take a heck of a lot of space to describe how effective a weapon is against every enemy type. In the previous games I've played, the only non common-sense method of discovering this is to crack them in the head with it and see what happens. Even then there's sometimes no way to determine (no red numbers pop above their head).

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Yes, many games do. Nearly every FPS these days will have different weapon effectiveness against different types of enemies.

Yeah, I guess I was thinking more along the lines of armor. Oh well, I think I've reduced the list down quite a bit. There shouldn't be much trouble displaying what I have now. I can also decrease the displayed stats if I want to by not showing stats that are below a certain threshold. For example, if a t-shirt protects against fire by 0.01 (bad example), no need to display that.

Here's the list:

  • Low-Velocity ( Large, low velocity projectiles )
  • High-Velocity ( Small, high velocity projectiles )
  • Smash ( Blunt force, or high impacts such as explosions )
  • Slash ( Low force blade slicing, such as with swords or knives )
  • Stab ( Sharp thrusting, such as with a sword or spear )
  • Burn ( Scorching from fire )
  • Shock ( Electricity, such as lightning or an open current )
  • Radiate ( Radiation )
  • Optics ( Damage that is absorbed through vision )
  • Respiratory ( Damage that is breathed in )
  • Heat ( Temperatures above comfort levels )
  • Cold ( Temperatures below comfort levels )

The names still aren't quite final. I actually only got the count down by one. But I added shock and seperated heat / burn. But the way the inventory information screen will be arranged will make it easier to flow through. It won't just be a cut and dry list.

I'm also considering allowing some armors to convert damage from one type to another. Such as a blade stab into flexible armor, converted to blunt force on contact with that armor. So instead of bleeding to death, you get broken ribs :)

Thanks for all of the help. Totally appreciate it.

[Edited by - Kest on September 4, 2005 2:37:12 PM]

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And MASER is the same thing, but with Matter instead of Light. Particle cannons and such.

I think you should carefully consider your projectile damage types. Ballistics guys use the term "terminal ballistics" to describe what happens when a bullet or other projectile actually hits a target. The effect can probably be described with some of the other damage types you discuss, like "smash" and "stab". You might want to cull those from the list, and let them be hybrids, second-order damage types.

Will you have combo damage types? A .45 caliber handgun, for instance, might do both smashing impact damage and stabbing penetrating damage damage. A decent bullet-resistant vest ("bulletproof" is no longer used, for insurance reasons) will stop the bullet from penetrating, but it still gives you a bruise that you'll remember. On the other hand, if it hits you in a soft, fleshy part of your body, like a love handle, it might pass through without imparting much of its kinetic energy to you, but it'll still drill a tiny little hole into your body, which leads to bleeding and shock and what-have-you. Armor might be able to reduce certain types of damage, or even eliminate them, but other types will filter through and hurt you.

I don't know if you're going to model this kind of thing, but "shock" and "blood loss" and "excruciating pain" are big factors in the effectiveness of many weapons. Handgun rounds, for instance, seldom do enough actual damage to the human body to stop somebody physically. Pain, fear and alarm incapacitate the target more quickly and effectively than tissue damage or blood loss do. That why suspects hopped up on barbiturates are such a terrible threat to policemen. You have to either damage their central nervous system or crush enough of their joints that they can't effectively get around.

I think at least "shock" and "pain" should be included, because so much of the effectiveness of inhaled munitions (like tear gas) is dependent upon these reactions, and because that sort of thing could be "levelled" with training and experience, so your badass Rambo guy can shrug off a flesh wound that might have stopped a lesser warrior, even though he wasn't armored.

And if you're going to use terminology like "flak vest", do a lot of research on what exactly you're referring to. Some posts here have addressed a few erroneous assumptions, and others have speculated on different ideas, but you need to do some cramming before you misuse a term. Like "clip". Ugh.

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Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
And MASER is the same thing, but with Matter instead of Light. Particle cannons and such.


Actually, the M in MASER stands for microwave. It's very similar to a laser, just with a different frequency of wavelength.

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