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Meaningful Combat

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The other thing that is forgotten many times, beyond the possibility of no combat in games we talked a whole lot about combat that is more personal and less repetitive and therefore more meaningful in the context of the game and/or story. Death has a lot more power if it is not overused and systematic. So, making death & combat more personal, meaningful, and less frequent is something else that was discussed just as much as no combat. Diablo was going for meaningless combat, and they designed the whole game around that. That was their decision but we had just wanted to discuss something different. http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html "All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

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In Shenmue, every character had a name and a two paragraph blurb. Every last one. While not every combat in the game had a purpose (sometimes they got a teeny bit repetative) therte weren''t many meaningless combat sequences. If they had to write a new name and blurb for every opponant and still include as many battles as your average final fantasy... well.

Violence isn''t always meaningful, even in real life. However, I do agree, we shouldn''t squander it on something as ridiculous as "Random" combat. Think, when in all your life have you ever foought something "randomly"?

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Yes, I agree that every combat situation doesn''t have to be this epic struggle or have some symbolism or anything that intense, but something more than endless repetitive actions would be nice.

I think Wav is on to something in the thread about alternatives to fighting though. Giving players many options (fighting perhaps being only one) is the best answer. The reason why Thief had more depth than the typical FPS was because there were many ways of handling situations. Even within using stealth there was many interesting decisions to make along the way.

http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

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Oh, yeah. I''m still waiting for a "Political" interface. Not that politics would have much to do with it, but a system in which you would do better by making better conversational choices. We COULD do this now, but I think it would greatly benefit from a more sophisticated interface (speech recognition anyone?)

15 years, perhaps. 5 if we''re lucky.

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Do you really think so, LF? I always consider conversation to be the hopeless pain in our asses as developers until AI can do some serious understanding of language.

That's what is interesting about you, LF. You are constantly talking about things that are contrary to what is already being done, but you are also quite optomistic. Interesting combination



http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on January 10, 2001 5:36:11 PM

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What about doing something like the olde Sierra adventure games, but in full 3D with voice recognition instead of typing in commands. You would still have to say simple stuff like "look at table", "take key", etc. But at least you wouldn''t have to type. Personally, I never had a problem with typing, but I noticed a trend when all those adventure game companies started making mouse-only interfaces (around 1992 or so). I suppose I can see why many people object to typing. I wonder if they would accept the same adventure games with voice support and modern graphics technology... I might do something like that. We''ll see.

What do you guys think?

------------------------
CRAZY_DUSIK* pCrazyDuSiK;
pCrazyDuSiK->EatMicroshaft(MS_MUNCH_BILL_GATES | MS_CHEW_BILL_GATES);

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i wonder, what would be a good substitute for random battles? i feel ur pain, i hate having to walk around all day just 2 get 2 the next level. but it seems to be the easiest solution. what if, as mentioned before, there were options opposed to fighting? maybe negotiation of some sort? but with this i think u would have 2 get rid of the random generation. the battles are tedious, but they might become more so if u had 2 choose to fight or talk, just more steps to resolve the action. maybe limiting battles and making them personal or meaningful as nazrix said, but this sets a limit on the amount of battles because they are all important. maybe there should be a gym where the PC''s could work out? i don''t know, what do u think?

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quote:
Original post by Landfish

Violence isn''t always meaningful, even in real life. However, I do agree, we shouldn''t squander it on something as ridiculous as "Random" combat. Think, when in all your life have you ever foought something "randomly"?


When did you ever live in a medieval time period filled with magic? Or when did you last run around the world map?

My only problem with "random" encounters is that you can''t see monsters on the world map. As you walk around, you notice things.. bird, etc. Well.. i''d like a world map which showed things of interest if i walked upon them. Regardless of if i was at that point in the storyline of the game or not. What if i happened across the ruins of some ancient place? The story might tell you it''s there in the 4th chapter or whatever.. but if you find it early, what then?
But no, that never happens. And neither does showing enemies on the map. The best game which did it was FF9. You could SEE the random monsters in the "dungeons".. and there were no random fights in the world map. Admittedly, most of the monsters ran faster than you could, so you usually HAD to do battle still.. but not always.
As for Shenmue.. one of, if not the, most boring games i''ve ever played in my life. Pong is more exciting.

The real question in development is the fact that how many ways will you allow to accomplish a goal? I''ve been playing project IGI lately, good game, and you can choose to be stealthy, or outright obtrusive. The game tends to cater towards stealth, but if you''re a good shot, you can accomplish things much faster by blasting. I personally love the way the game plays like this. If you don''t own it, go buy it.. one of the best strategy games on the market by far.
But, as Nazrix said.. you can develop a game around a principle with death at it''s core. Sometimes that''s not so bad.. see carmageddon. Great stress relief.

J

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quote:
Original post by Dynamite
i hate having to walk around all day just 2 get 2 the next level. but it seems to be the easiest solution.



Well, first of all if you want to get rid of meaningless fighting, you don''t make character growth depend upon killing to gain levels. You can use skills that increase with use or even something else that hasn''t been tried before.

One thought I had was having your character get better in certain parts of the story. Although, someone said this had already been done in Planescape Torment. I haven''t played that one yet though.


http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

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quote:
Original post by Niphty
The real question in development is the fact that how many ways will you allow to accomplish a goal?



Yes, I think so too. Repetition of anything can get old especially if it is something that many games use such as combat.

quote:

But, as Nazrix said.. you can develop a game around a principle with death at it''s core. Sometimes that''s not so bad.. see carmageddon. Great stress relief.



Yeah, I was just thinking last night that a good meaninglessly violent game is not a bad thing if that''s is the intentions of the developers and carmageddon was the first game to come to mind. It''s just plain fun



http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

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quote:
Original post by Nazrix

[quote]Original post by Dynamite
i hate having to walk around all day just 2 get 2 the next level. but it seems to be the easiest solution.



Well, first of all if you want to get rid of meaningless fighting, you don''t make character growth depend upon killing to gain levels. You can use skills that increase with use or even something else that hasn''t been tried before.


that''s what i was saying about the gym, if u wanted 2 get stronger, go work out. if u wanna sharpen ur aim, go to a shooting range. but would this drag out the game? would u be willing to do this? or am i thinking too specific. maybe u r simply meaning an alternative in conjunction w/ fighting. would this work? i wanted 2 make an rpg and i ran into this dilema too.
what do u think and would this appeal 2 u?

quote:

One thought I had was having your character get better in certain parts of the story. Although, someone said this had already been done in Planescape Torment. I haven''t played that one yet though.[/]



i haven''t played it either. do u mean predefined progression (i think Silver is like that) or can u still go up however u want, just only in certain points or times?

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quote:
Original post by Dynamite
that's what i was saying about the gym, if u wanted 2 get stronger, go work out. if u wanna sharpen ur aim, go to a shooting range. but would this drag out the game? would u be willing to do this? or am i thinking too specific. maybe u r simply meaning an alternative in conjunction w/ fighting. would this work? i wanted 2 make an rpg and i ran into this dilema too.
what do u think and would this appeal 2 u?



Well, to me repeating a skill mindlessly over & over while training would be just as, if not more, boring and meaningless as combat. Ideally, training could just be a means of getting the player used to the controls of the game. It is a serious problem. If you want the player's character to get better over time, but you don't want them to repeat meaningless actions, how do you do it?

quote:

i haven't played it either. do u mean predefined progression (i think Silver is like that) or can u still go up however u want, just only in certain points or times?



My thought on it was that assuming the game has "quests" or something like that then at the end of the quests then your character would get better at things...maybe someone in the quests would teach the character something or something like that.



http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on January 11, 2001 10:34:34 AM

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quote:
Original post by Niphty
The best game which did it was FF9. You could SEE the random monsters in the "dungeons".. and there were no random fights in the world map. Admittedly, most of the monsters ran faster than you could, so you usually HAD to do battle still.. but not always.



FF9 == Final Fantasy 9?

Final Fantasy 9 was completely random, both in dungeons and on the world map. It was the worst part about the game, fighting every 10 seconds.

Maybe you meant Chrono Cross. What you describe sounds like that. (I haven''t played it yet, but watching a friend play, Grandia 2 looks that way as well.)

Jesse Chounard
jesse@k-isilabs.com

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I think there is a very important constant theme here. Too much of a repeditive aspect in a game (and many other things in life) can be a bad thing. This goes for combat and other aspects too.

For instance, numerous random encounters can get old fast...not just because of the combat either. Also, the numerous "monsters" that are all basically the same with very little difference can get old. Now imagine if there is one monster that is written about and rumored about in the game world. Then when the player decides to go after the monster, it really has much more meaning because it''s rare and unusual.

Rarity can bring about more meaning IMO.

http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

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Dynamite, your training idea has already been used. Try playing Quest for Glory 3 or Quest for Glory 4. They both had a training system. I remember myself having fun and not getting bored of training. Maybe that''s because you could only do an excercize once or twice a day before you got tired (just like in real life). Another way to make training less irritating would be to make it a mini game that requires skill. Not just clicking on weights and getting stronger.

Personally, I like FF style random battles, but if you''re going for realism, the whole training thing is nice.

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quote:
Original post by Forcas

Dynamite, your training idea has already been used. Try playing Quest for Glory 3 or Quest for Glory 4. They both had a training system. I remember myself having fun and not getting bored of training. Maybe that''s because you could only do an excercize once or twice a day before you got tired (just like in real life). Another way to make training less irritating would be to make it a mini game that requires skill. Not just clicking on weights and getting stronger.

Personally, I like FF style random battles, but if you''re going for realism, the whole training thing is nice.


wow, i didn''t know that. i think the random battles are necessary because it''s a clear cut way of leveling, but they should be a little more than just battles. i remember playing baldur''s gate and when traveling, sometimes i got ambused by bandits. i didn''t like gettin dumped on by a bunch of arrows, but the fight made sense in that the bandits had a personality in the storyline. so it was random, but it was more or less "real". now FF style battles were ok , but it sucked that i had 2 sit there and take my licks. i like rpg''s, but i like action too. i would like a combo of some sort because FF battle''s were kinda slow paced. i''m going to put up a post about this later 2nite.

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Pardon if this has already been mentioned, but is there a way of distilling what you get from several random encounters into one battle?

I''m thinking Beowulf vs. Grendel, or Gilgamesh and Enkidu, and accounts of how they had these long, drawn out fights. The battles themselves were 1 vs. 1 but very detailed.

One of the things that makes combat so popular (esp. random) is variety of encounters. This battle it''s six trolls. Next it''s four kobolds, but your mage is injured. Then it''s two orc mages, but you have a knight... etc.

This sort of thing could apply to a single battle, but the combat space would have to be very large (I vote as big as the map itself); the actions detailed (knock over a chair, throw sand in the face, jump over a table); and the interface easy to handle.

The last is prolly toughest... (remember Die By The Sword?)

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Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by Jesse Chounard
Maybe you meant Chrono Cross. What you describe sounds like that. (I haven''t played it yet, but watching a friend play, Grandia 2 looks that way as well.)



Sorry, Jesse''s right.. it''s chrono cross and chrono trigger. I was playing these with my girl''s little brother last time we were up that way and couldn''t remember which was which

As for the play in Planescape.. you can up anything. You start out with 9''s in all the D&D character stats, with 20 points to allocate to ANY stat as you so choose. Your character can go all the way up to 25 in stats (although at creation you can only have up to 18 i believe.. i never put any up that high).
Death isn''t so much of a worry in the game, as you start out dead.. well, coming back from death. The character is immortal, and he''s seeking to find his past. The character starts as true neutral alignment, and your choices and actions in the game define the character. As you swing a club around, you gain club profeciency. Through the way you talk, your alignment is determined. Oft you''re presented with MANY choices during conversation (based on your intelligence you get more or less.. one of the few games to take that stat into account in a realistic way). It''s great to play.. and it''s only 15 bucks at babbages now, so go buy a copy Naz.

Back to the topic at hand.. Killing can be a way to gain levels.. for a murderer Anyone ever thought of using the murderer as a class? LOL. Goblin Hat0rz forever!
Seriously though.. if you''re a monk, why should you kill to get exp? Unless you couldn''t avoid it.. killing is that last thing a monk should want, right? So wouldn''t killing merely make you lose your monk class?
I''m personally in favor of a system that the player can pick a class, and then the character''s actions take on properties of that class. For instance.. we''ll use alignment in the D&D system. If i''m lawful good, i would never say "what is there to steal in your house?" However, as a choatic evil, i''ll never (truthfully) say "I''m here to rescue you free of charge!"
I''ve major issues with this in BG and BG2. As a good aligned character, you''d make certain choices in what you say and what you don''t.. and the character wouldn''t say things, regardless of what the player wanted. If you CHOOSE the character to be lawful good, the game shouldn''t allow you to make choices against your alignment at every turn. True.. i believe you should have ONE out of alignment choice to any situation.. but choosing it might have dire results.
Now.. back to applying this to combat If you''re a monk.. why would you even THINK of attacking something defenseless or weaker than you? You might defend yourself for a minute, and hit it a couple times to get the point across.. but not kill unless it was absolutely nessicary. So if you''re going to pick a monk, you should act like one. If the developer doesn''t allow the monk class to randomly attack monsters.. wouldn''t that take care of people abusing the class? And if it was allowed.. having them become un-monks.. hehe. Now, true.. most games handly this badly. You kill something, and someone 500 miles away knows it''s happened, instantly. Kinda stupid.. lol. But as a monk, your chosen god might.. well.. stop favoring you.. assuming you killed someone where no one else could see. This could stop you from gaining levels in your monk class untill you''ve atoned for the sin. But.. that''s actual game design, and no one wants to do that anymore.. cept us, right?

J

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