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wildhalcyon

Console-style RPG battle system help

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Im working on a computer RPG right now and I'm having a crisis of faith regarding my battle system. Here's a shot of an example terrain: http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/4172/badtext3km.jpg The terrain in the final version will be more varied - not just horizontal tiles, but more slants, some overhangs and bridges, arches, etc. But I would like to retain the "tiled" atmosphere and movement that characterized the console RPGs during the 8- and 16-bit eras. My inquiry is in regards to the battle system. This is a single player RPG with parties of somewhere between 3-8 characters (most likely hovering around 4), and I'm trying to design between using a traditional console menu-driven random encounter strategy (play any Dragon Quest game or Final Fantasy 1 through 10 games) and a turn-based strategy game (almost any game that has "tactics" in the title). The thing I dislike about the tactical turn-based games is that the battles are INCREDIBLY slow, and keeps the action a little subdued - they're supposed to be strategy games after all. On the other hand, the menu-driven games require almost no strategy and generally become fairly repetative. A potential compromise could be a roguelike game, and I've been looking into that, but I don't know that the roguelike genre is the feel I am going for. Any potential ideas for creating a hybrid tactical RPG - menu-driven RPG tile hybrid?

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Have you looked at Star Wars:Knights of the Old Republic? Not quite the same thing you describe here, but it featured a world where you actually move around while the battles are semi-turnbased. Maybe you're looking for a system kinda like Diablo II, where you move your character, but perhaps you can have short movement turns and then somewhat short "action" turns, so that you are somewhat constently moving on an open, Roguelike environment but you then pause to select actions from your menu? Your tiling could accomodate this - the only thing that worries me is whether or not adding in slanted tiles would disrupt the feel of the 16 bit gameplay you're aiming for.

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Have you played one of the Fallout series of RPGs on the PC? That seemed to me to have a similar style of gameplay to what you are suggesting, and has one of the best battle systems I've seen in a RPG. You could also have a look at some of the tactical war boardgames for some tactical RPG ideas as well.

If the thing you hate about the menu-driven games is just that they require little strategy, you could probably come up with a better menu system that does require a bit more tactical thinking. Fallout for example had targeted shooting for disabling enemies and the use of cover (hiding behind walls so enemies can't easily return fire). The main downside was it was occasionally slow if it was just you versus a couple of dozen enemies (because they all had to make their turn).

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The thing I dislike about the tactical turn-based games is that the battles are INCREDIBLY slow, and keeps the action a little subdued[/Quote]

How about having it turn based like FF Tactics but use the ATB (active time battle) system from other FF games. Every character has an ATB bar that gradually fills up over time before they can perform an action from a menu. You have to act as quick as you can though because while you're sitting in the menu, the AI characters' ATB bars will be filling up!

Also, in Final Fantasy X-2, characters could perform their abilities without having to wait for the other characters to finish performing theirs which was quite nice. They even had a combo system based on this idea.

Or you could just make things faster by not having a 10 second cutscene for each of the spells like all the others do ;)

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Using the ATB, but have it so that certain actions can be performed only when the ATB is at a certain level (not nessesarily full) could make some interesting tactical choices for battles.

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Quote:
Original post by Edtharan
Using the ATB, but have it so that certain actions can be performed only when the ATB is at a certain level (not nessesarily full) could make some interesting tactical choices for battles.


That could certainly be interesting, for spells a variable charge time could effect how much power it puts out, and doing a half-pummel attack would hit half (or fewer) times. It has potential. I'll dwell on it.

EDIT: So I've been thinking about it. I think a real-time tactics game could be pretty fun. The battle speed would have to be a little slower than normal just to account for the fact that it does require more thought. I wouldn't get rid of random encounters, but instead they could take place on the map. This sort of combines roguelike features with the console/tactical encounter style.

[Edited by - wildhalcyon on March 30, 2006 7:19:10 PM]

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Quote:
Original post by Nytehauq
Have you looked at Star Wars:Knights of the Old Republic? Not quite the same thing you describe here, but it featured a world where you actually move around while the battles are semi-turnbased. Maybe you're looking for a system kinda like Diablo II, where you move your character, but perhaps you can have short movement turns and then somewhat short "action" turns, so that you are somewhat constently moving on an open, Roguelike environment but you then pause to select actions from your menu? Your tiling could accomodate this - the only thing that worries me is whether or not adding in slanted tiles would disrupt the feel of the 16 bit gameplay you're aiming for.


I don't really see slanted tiles ruining the 16-bit qualities. The style Im looking for is sort of a combination of Final Fantasy Tactics and legos. Im planning on billboarding 2D sprites for characters and enemies - mainly because I have no experience in 3D animation. I think this style would be easiest for someone inexperienced in 3D design.

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How about the player chooses the actions for all his characters, and than all the characters on the screen move at the same time? That will give the player the time to plan a strategy, and make the battles fast.

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