Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Zaxx

Combat: dodging and the importance of Strength vs. Agility

This topic is 4830 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I'm trying to think of a simple combat system for a theoretical rpg-ish game. It's real-time and simplified, but it deviates from the standard "health" system. Mainly I want actors to have a "dodge bar," which represents how many hits they can fend off before succumbing to a fatal blow, though it doesn't mean they actually get hit. Gameplaywise I imagine it would be a lot like health as we know it now, except the dodge bar will always be rising. An attacker is trying to deal "damage" faster than the defender's doge bar can recharge. My real question is how to involve the various stats I want to have involved here. The thing is, I want my game to be as straightforward and streamlined as possible. Because of that, I came up with only two physical traits something can have: Strength and Agility. I want them to be of equal importance to a character, so a player can choose which stat to invest in. I want a character that's all strength to be equal to a character to be all agility, but for both characters to have to employ different fighting styles. Meanwhile, a character with both high strength and high dexterity would be the most powerful. I want this system to be as deterministic as possible; no dice rolls if I can get away from it. It's just that, from what I've been able to come up with, agility tends to trump strength in combat. I decided agility would determine how fast one's dodge bar refills. When I think about it, agility could also affect how often an actor can make an attack and how accurate its attacks are. That doesn't seem to leave much stuff for strength to do. Strength would affect how powerful one's blows are; stronger blows would take away more from the target's dodge bar. But agility can have the same affect, since one attacks would be more accurate with higher agility. I suppose to determine how much the dodge bar gets depleted I'd sum the actor's strength and agility, but I could do that with just an "attack" stat instead. So, what roles do you people think Strength and Agility can have in combat while being equally important?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
I have a very funky idea....sort of...

The PS2 controller is fairly nice because its buttons are pressure sensitive. So, remeber one of the first RPG Adventure games on the PS2 called Evergrace? Well, it had the nice system when the strength of your attack is based on the strength in which you press the button. Of course, the more powerful the attack, the slower it was to hit.

So, combine that with dodging and timing and agility, we may get a very intense combat system. Let's say the opponent can choose from a series of 4 different attacks. To dodge those attacks, you have to hit the right dodge button corresponding to the attack at the right time. The speed of your opponent's attack will then be matched against your agility stat. So, somewhere in between the time your opponent initiates the attack and when the attack actually lands, the button you need to press will show up on screen. Your agility stats matched with the speed of the attack will then determine how soon and for how long the button you need to press is displayed on screen. So, the outcome is fairly deterministic on skill. As your agility improves, you'll have a longer amount of time to respond.

Mix in a few more variations with possible counterattacks, and you might get something interestingly intense. I think....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...And all I had in mind was a small zzt-style ASCII roguelike engine that I could get working in two or three months. [looksaround]

It's just that I've been thinking about I guess we can extend the issue to rpg stats in general. What kind of qualities would one expect from someone with lots of physical "strength," as opposed to someone with lots of physical "agility" or "dexterity?" Can the two traits be treated equally or does one tend to be more important than the other, especially when trying to create "realistic" combat (where people don't just keep smashing axes into each other until someone runs out of hp)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, your fight system seems to be a meter race with agility giving you a longer, more robust meter and strength letting you take bigger chunks out of the other guy's. So it's mostly your strength versus his agility, and his strength versus your agility. What if you spruce it up with a couple of special moves that pit strength vs. strength and agility vs. agility?

A "bash attack" could be a gambit to do huge damage to the enemy's bar by kicking a bucket at him or flipping a table over. If it succeeds, he'll be knocked down or stunned, causing a huge reductin in his dodging capability. This would succeed or fail based on a formula that factors your strength in heavily, since it will be a feat of brute force. An enemy with high strength would be more likely to withstand or even repel this attack.

A "reposition" maneuver would be an attempt to replenish your own meter by regaining control over your distance. You could swing on a chandelier or do a run-up-the-wall backflip or something. An agile opponent would be able to follow you, but a slower one would just barely be able to reaquire you as a target before you reengaged, so his meter would stay the same, though yours would get a boost.

I've been playing Sid Meier's "Pirates!" on the XBox, and the sword fights in that game are basically a tug-of-war, with paper-rock-scissors matchups determining which way you go. It's childishly simple, and yet it's so much fun I can't stop starting bar fights, and sometimes I'll board an enemy ship even if I know I could defeat them with cannon fire alone. If your system can capture that simple fun-filled experience, you'll be golden. Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You're right Iron Chef. It is a meter race I have in mind.

The strength vs. agility thing was the first thing I thought of, and is probably the best system for my game's purposes. It's just that then I start thinking about how agility can have an affect on hitting an opponent as well; while high strength allows harder & more forceful blows, high agility allows quicker and more accurate strikes. One way to take into account both strength and agility when determining damage is to just add the two values together, but that seems kind of pointless to me (remember that I'm trying to avoid randomized elements).

What I'm really trying to wrap my head around is what specific roles would strength and agility have in attacking and defending. Maybe if I thought about the extremes and picture how fights between two people with either high strength or high agility would look like (eg. The Rock vs. Jacki Chan, Jacki Chan vs. Jacki Chan, & The Rock vs. The Rock).

I'm going on like this about the stats because I think my system uses them differently than one where hp is involved. Traditionally strength affects how much damage is done, agility/dexterity affects how likely damage is done with a hit, and sometimes there's constitution which determines how much health you get (for my system I assume strength and constitution is the same thing).

The special moves you came up with are pretty good, Chef. Wanting to keep things simple, I wasn't thinking of introducing special moves (yet), but I did have an idea about physical damage. As I said, the dodge meter I have in mind does not represent any actual injuries. However, I've been thinking that each attack can sometimes inflict actual physical damage on the target, which can be thought of being critical hits. There's no hp loss involved; instead the target's strength or agility is reduced by some amount.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think that one key factor is lacking from your formula so far:

The ability of the stronger player to take a hit.

What I mean is, someone who is very strong, and given that we're talking about "dodging ability" rather than a "health meter", we can assume that if they are able to "dodge/parry" the attack, they have a good chance of being able to repel or block an attack or even if the attack is successful, take a lickin' and keep on tickin'.

Someone with high dexterity on the other hand, may be weaker physically and more prone to suffering from a powerhouse hit from the stronger guy, though they're heightened agility gives them a better and more frequently likely ability to dodge.

I don't think that there is any real way to pull this system off without having a randomized element, because otherwise, the guy with one extra point in any given area will win if both elements are balanced equally, and then you don't have a combat system, you have a ASCII-based movie playing in front of you. Sit back and await the outcome.

Different types and methods of attack are a good way to screwball things up and make a more "random" outcome while not deviating from the emphasis on player stats or skills. If person X, who has high strength has different sets of attacks than person Y, who has high agility, who has different sets of stats from person Z, who has a balanced mixture of both, we can assume that certain attacks will be altogether (nearly) impossible to pull off one against the other because of the polarity between the two, however, person Z has it best as he has a mixture of both and can take on either opponent and stand a fair chance of winning, while player X and Y going at it would be an apocolyptic battle as one represents (metaphorically) good and the other evil, counteracting each other in a long, drawn-out process where it would be up to some random element to finally give one or the other the upper hand.

As far as the alliteration to Pirates! goes... I have loved that game since the late 80's when it came out on the old Mac II's and can't wait until I get a chance to play the new, revamped edition. The benefits of the fight system in Pirates! (a la the classic 80's system) were an overly simplified user interface, in so much as you could either advance or retreat, block low, middle or high and attack in either of those three positions, making it very arcade-ish in the sense of the original side-scrolling fighters. However, you had a choice of weapons [key point] which also came in a series of threes, a long sword that was slow, a short sword that was very fast and a medium sized sword that delicately blended both the speed and toughness of the other two. The game then became a delicate dance between trying to get in your own shots while deflecting the other (AI) player's shots. This however, used a health meter to determine the winner of the fight.

As Iron Chef said, the key was the ease of use. K.I.S.S. We all know what that means but maybe once in a while we should actually apply it?

Anyway, that's my two cents, something to chew on,

Vopisk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The more I think about Pirates! the more it seems to be a dissertation on simple, well-balanced combat dynamics. The sea battles use crew, hull, and sail to affect rate of fire, turn rate and speed, respectively, and different shots reduce each of those attributes with time. Your "critical hit" idea, Zaxx, brought that to mind. It does indeed seem like it would led to a spiral of doom as a slight disadvantage would reduce your effectiveness so you'd get hit again and be further crippled, but Pirates! gets around this by giving you a chance to make a last desperate charge and board the enemy ship, having a chance to win the fight on the deck even after you've lost it on the water. Even in swordfights, though, your relative crew stength serve as an ultimatum, since you'll surrender when your crew is defeated, and so will the enemy captain.

I advise you to get your hands on an XBox and play an hour or so of Pirates! on an easy difficulty setting to see how simple and elegant the systems in the game are. I think it'll give you a few reference points for what works and what might not. Also, it's a world of fun. Avast!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Zaxx, i think remmoving randomness in combat and putting a dodge bar wont make it a realistic combat.

And i think youre going the wrong way: agility and strength are 2 diferent attributes and should influence diferent things in a combat. The game should be balanced to be equally important in battle (only if the gameplay is only combat. If not you could put some advantage in dexterity or strength in other things)

Putting a dodge bar only would dupe the life bar so the player would have to worry 2 bars. I think thats not a good way. Play Star Wars Galaxies and youll understand what i mean. It have 3 health bars and 3 mind bars, and it gets very annoying.

The best and most realistic way i think (but not very original) about agility x strength test in combat is like this:
- test acuracy and dodging: checking agility x agility if the attack did hit and calculating how much the target got hit.
- test armor: divide checking hit damage by the target class armor
- hit: subtracting remaining damage to HP

The secret to make it right is balance.

Agility should influence the speed of the attack too.

Removing de "dice rolling" will make the fight as simple as "who-have-more-attribute" and it is not very interesting, specially when it involves more than 1 attr. Some luck make the player have to gamble (knowing his own strength, and guessing the other one) if he can win that mean thugh over there. Isnt that what we make in real life? :)

BTW why youre trying to avoid randomness?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Vopisk
...someone who is very strong, and given that we're talking about "dodging ability" rather than a "health meter", we can assume that if they are able to "dodge/parry" the attack, they have a good chance of being able to repel or block an attack or even if the attack is successful, take a lickin' and keep on tickin'.

Someone with high dexterity on the other hand, may be weaker physically and more prone to suffering from a powerhouse hit from the stronger guy, though they're heightened agility gives them a better and more frequently likely ability to dodge.

That's a good qualitative description of what "stength" and "agility" can do when one's dodging. I probably couldn't have thought that up better myself. Thanks. :)

Quote:
Original post by Vopisk
I don't think that there is any real way to pull this system off without having a randomized element, because otherwise, the guy with one extra point in any given area will win if both elements are balanced equally, and then you don't have a combat system, you have a ASCII-based movie playing in front of you. Sit back and await the outcome.

Quote:
Original post by John Kowawsky
Removing de "dice rolling" will make the fight as simple as "who-have-more-attribute" and it is not very interesting, specially when it involves more than 1 attr. Some luck make the player have to gamble (knowing his own strength, and guessing the other one) if he can win that mean thugh over there. Isnt that what we make in real life? :)

You're probably right. It would probably make things slightly easier to think about anyway: agility affects the chance that someone has of hitting someone else, while strength affects how much "dodgeness" is depleated from the target. Then I wouldn't have to worry about how to take both strength and agility into account with hitting and dodging.

Quote:
Iron Chef Carnage
Your "critical hit" idea, Zaxx, brought that to mind. It does indeed seem like it would led to a spiral of doom as a slight disadvantage would reduce your effectiveness so you'd get hit again and be further crippled

Hmmm. I never thought about it leading to a "spiral of death." Thanks for bringing it up.

Quote:
Original post by John Kowawsky
Putting a dodge bar only would dupe the life bar so the player would have to worry 2 bars. I think thats not a good way. Play Star Wars Galaxies and youll understand what i mean. It have 3 health bars and 3 mind bars, and it gets very annoying.

I was indending to get rid of the health bar and just have the dodge bar. In a way, my dodge bar is just like a health bar, except its recharge rate is a matter of seconds.

Quote:
Original post by John Kowawsky
BTW why youre trying to avoid randomness?

I was trying to make the combat (relatively) simple so it wouldn't have to get more attention than the other gameplay mechanics I'd implement in the full game. That's also why I just have two physical stats. I wanted to put some emphasis on player skill as well, considering that I was thinking of this being done in realtime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Zaxx
I was indending to get rid of the health bar and just have the dodge bar. In a way, my dodge bar is just like a health bar, except its recharge rate is a matter of seconds.
This sounds like the shields in Halo 2.

There was a lousy beat-em-up game called "Rise to Honor" that featured Jet Li. It had a blocking system where the "defend" button put you into a defensive stance, and Jet Li would do all the fancy Hollywood fast hands things to block everything the bad guys sent his way (except bullets, naturally). This was limitted by a little meter that would drain while you defended, and when it was exhausted, you'd start taking hits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!