• Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  

Console-style RPG battle system help

This topic is 4337 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

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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 ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roguelike

ascii dungeon crawlers, generally turn-based, random, with permanent death.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thats whats I call "rigid turn-based" - essentially, both sides start a turn at time t=0, the fastest characters act first but everyone gets an action every turn. This is what Dragon Quest VIII does. I don't like it, it feels more unrealistic and simplistic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As far as slow tactics games go, Disgaea allowed you to execute actions whenever you liked. So for example, if an enemy was blocking a corridor, you could order two of your characters to attack it, then execute all stored orders to have the attacks actually go through. Assuming you killed the enemy, you could then send more characters into the corridor it was blocking before. Your turn only ended when you chose "end turn".

If you additionally had all actions resolve simultaneously for a given "execute" order, then you could speed things up markedly. Especially if you included moving characters around in the execution. Much of the time spent in tactical RPGs, I find, is watching your characters slowly walk into position and then watching them slowly perform an attack animation. So parallelize it. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Derakon
Much of the time spent in tactical RPGs, I find, is watching your characters slowly walk into position and then watching them slowly perform an attack animation. So parallelize it. :)

iv found this to, all the trpgs iv played could go about 3 times faster if the animations wernt so painfully slow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Have you ever tried Future Tactics? It was a lesser known game in the genre, but it tried some neat things with the battle system.

You might want to have a look at a review.
http://www.dignews.com/review.php?story_id=4794

It had a more interactive way of attacking. The method used could probably be compared in some aspects to golf games, with a bit of a timing aspect for the actual attack. The traditional turn based gameplay was still there, but the skill based component added quite a bit of fun and interaction.

I think a play through this game might give you some interesting new ideas for your battle system, because there were multiple weapons which (if I remember correctly) had different ways to pull off attacks. This made mastering certain characters a very fun experience as you tried to learn their tactical aspects, but also master the execution of their attack.

With this sort of system, you can keep your rpg character advancement in, but still leave a little to skill and chance to keep things fresh.

If you're still thinking of going with a realtime tactical system, you may consider trying a game called Myth, which took the RTS idea but boiled it down to combat. No base building or resource management. It's a good game because there is still a very suitable challenge in the management of your units, and since you don't get any more through the course of a battle, managing them carefully is very important.

edit:took out url tags

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Derakon
As far as slow tactics games go, Disgaea allowed you to execute actions whenever you liked. So for example, if an enemy was blocking a corridor, you could order two of your characters to attack it, then execute all stored orders to have the attacks actually go through. Assuming you killed the enemy, you could then send more characters into the corridor it was blocking before. Your turn only ended when you chose "end turn".

If you additionally had all actions resolve simultaneously for a given "execute" order, then you could speed things up markedly. Especially if you included moving characters around in the execution. Much of the time spent in tactical RPGs, I find, is watching your characters slowly walk into position and then watching them slowly perform an attack animation. So parallelize it. :)


I just took a look at disgaea. I don't think the game itself holds a lot of appeal for me, but I might play it just to get a sense of the elements to see if I can learn anything from it.

As far as the animation goes, it's not so much about "Why is this taking so long? All I want to do is attack! MOVE YOU SLOW BASTARD!!!" but more the lack of immediacy involved in the game. Tactical games feel like you're playing a very rich and involved game of chess sometimes, and while I like chess (I even have a rank) I don't want my game to feel like that.

Quote:
Have you ever tried Future Tactics? It was a lesser known game in the genre, but it tried some neat things with the battle system.

You might want to have a look at a review.
http://www.dignews.com/review.php?story_id=4794

It had a more interactive way of attacking. The method used could probably be compared in some aspects to golf games, with a bit of a timing aspect for the actual attack. The traditional turn based gameplay was still there, but the skill based component added quite a bit of fun and interaction.

I think a play through this game might give you some interesting new ideas for your battle system, because there were multiple weapons which (if I remember correctly) had different ways to pull off attacks. This made mastering certain characters a very fun experience as you tried to learn their tactical aspects, but also master the execution of their attack.

With this sort of system, you can keep your rpg character advancement in, but still leave a little to skill and chance to keep things fresh.

If you're still thinking of going with a realtime tactical system, you may consider trying a game called Myth, which took the RTS idea but boiled it down to combat. No base building or resource management. It's a good game because there is still a very suitable challenge in the management of your units, and since you don't get any more through the course of a battle, managing them carefully is very important.


Thanks, I'll definitely take a look at those games too. I'm not trying to break a lot of new ground, just create something fun that brings a bit of flair and twist to the traditional RPG, and I thought borrowing elements of tactical games might be novel, so looking at tactical games that have borrowed elements from other genres is interesting too. It's the circle of life folks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Any potential ideas for creating a hybrid tactical RPG - menu-driven RPG tile hybrid?


Absolutely. Ive had 2 ideas that are floating around in my head that I want to try to implement in the near future.

First would be a menu-driven battle, just like FF, but instead of the usual Attack/Magic/Item/Run, Attack would be broken down into different moves. You start out with the basic Pierce/Slash/Chop, but each can level up RPG-style. There would be a skill tree for each one. The more experience in each move, the attacks you can learn to combo into one. Say in one branch down the skill tree, Pierce Level 2 would be a Parry, then Pierce. Pierce Level 3 would be a Parry, Pierce, then a Spinning Slash. Of course Spinning Slash is a Slash Level 4 move so that has to be built up as well, etc.

Second would be what Im working on right now which is a bastardized X-Com tactical system mixed in with real-time action. Each combat action you can perform takes a certain amount of time units (which change based on skill level). Say you start fighting a goblin. It takes the goblin 4 time units to stab with its dagger and it does. You pick 'dodge' which takes only 2 time units and successfully dodge, but you have 2 left over time units to add on to another attack. Your short sword takes 5 time units for attack, so combined with the 2 left over from your defense, it only takes 3 time units to connect with your short sword. The goblin attacks again with his dagger for 4 time units, but your short sword hits first (since it was quicker) essentially nulling the goblins attack. The only pause in the battle is when you need to decide your next combat action, so its like a slowed down real time. Still need to work out the kinks in that one, but Im getting there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The first step I'm going to take is going to involve de-emphasis in character movement and position. It can still be a factor, but I'd like to keep movement limited to just a couple tiles or so per turn, if that. None of this "lets leap 8 tiles away to the enemy" junk. Unless they're a dragoon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Second would be what Im working on right now which is a bastardized X-Com tactical system mixed in with real-time action.

I would have a little variability in the actual numbers, otherwise people will learn a set pattern that does the best damage. If you have a little variability in this then other moves become more viable.

Also your two proposed systems are not incompatable and could work well together. You might use normal attacks in the semi realtime mode to build a combo. Once the combo is made you have a temporary (ie next move) to perform a special move. The special moves available would depend on your skill levels in that particular styles and also on the sequance on attacks your character has already done (also if you have multiple characters you might give some multi character combos that work the same way).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by wildhalcyon
The first step I'm going to take is going to involve de-emphasis in character movement and position. It can still be a factor, but I'd like to keep movement limited to just a couple tiles or so per turn, if that. None of this "lets leap 8 tiles away to the enemy" junk. Unless they're a dragoon.


I agree completely. Allowing the players or the enemy too much movement just makes the battle a mess and doesnt allow for efficient movement strategy, which I feel is essential in completing the battle-like feel. Nor does it allow for much evolution of speed. If they start out being able to cover a large region, then theres no reason to develop a speed skill, making your characters less diverse.

Quote:
Original post by Edtharan
I would have a little variability in the actual numbers, otherwise people will learn a set pattern that does the best damage. If you have a little variability in this then other moves become more viable.

Also your two proposed systems are not incompatable and could work well together. You might use normal attacks in the semi realtime mode to build a combo. Once the combo is made you have a temporary (ie next move) to perform a special move. The special moves available would depend on your skill levels in that particular styles and also on the sequance on attacks your character has already done (also if you have multiple characters you might give some multi character combos that work the same way).


Actually, Im trying to steer away from the variables in attacks. I have always been bothered by that in the past. If you swing your sword and it hits, it should do more than 1 or 2 damage. Maybe a long time ago, this was acceptable, since the variables could account for different areas of the body hit or damage not absorbed by armor, but Im giving players total control over battles. If your sword hits, its going to do the same amount of damage each time, unless the monster defends (block, parry, dodge) or the sword hits armor (lowering armor HP). Once the 'called shot' and 'anatomy' skills are obtained, the player can do considerably more damage by stiking a sensitive spot.

And combining the systems sounds like a good idea, but I have yet to program just one, so I'll see if I can incorporate both after. Theres a lot of micro-managing in both, and I dont want to overdo it. Thanks though. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Omegavolt
Quote:
Original post by wildhalcyon
The first step I'm going to take is going to involve de-emphasis in character movement and position. It can still be a factor, but I'd like to keep movement limited to just a couple tiles or so per turn, if that. None of this "lets leap 8 tiles away to the enemy" junk. Unless they're a dragoon.


I agree completely. Allowing the players or the enemy too much movement just makes the battle a mess and doesnt allow for efficient movement strategy, which I feel is essential in completing the battle-like feel. Nor does it allow for much evolution of speed. If they start out being able to cover a large region, then theres no reason to develop a speed skill, making your characters less diverse.


That's one of the big reasons. Essentially, it takes away from the battle/action tactics and forces some heavily unrealistic movement tactics. One example is the great indy project GalaxyMage (http://www.galaxymage.org/index.php/Main_Page). I don't want to take away from this game at all - it's got a lot of great points, and I think it will be very fun and exciting when its finished. On the other hand, if you play their demo version, you'll notice that you and the enemy get something like 5 tiles worth of movement every turn - which is roughly the maximum amount of distance that the archers in the game can shoot. Essentially, it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to have characters performing "guard" functions to protect other characters.

Quote:
Quote:
Original post by Edtharan
I would have a little variability in the actual numbers, otherwise people will learn a set pattern that does the best damage. If you have a little variability in this then other moves become more viable.

Also your two proposed systems are not incompatable and could work well together. You might use normal attacks in the semi realtime mode to build a combo. Once the combo is made you have a temporary (ie next move) to perform a special move. The special moves available would depend on your skill levels in that particular styles and also on the sequance on attacks your character has already done (also if you have multiple characters you might give some multi character combos that work the same way).


Actually, Im trying to steer away from the variables in attacks. I have always been bothered by that in the past. If you swing your sword and it hits, it should do more than 1 or 2 damage. Maybe a long time ago, this was acceptable, since the variables could account for different areas of the body hit or damage not absorbed by armor, but Im giving players total control over battles. If your sword hits, its going to do the same amount of damage each time, unless the monster defends (block, parry, dodge) or the sword hits armor (lowering armor HP). Once the 'called shot' and 'anatomy' skills are obtained, the player can do considerably more damage by stiking a sensitive spot.

And combining the systems sounds like a good idea, but I have yet to program just one, so I'll see if I can incorporate both after. Theres a lot of micro-managing in both, and I dont want to overdo it. Thanks though. :D


Im not sure that I totally agree with this. If you think about it, an attack like a sword slash can have a variety of outcomes, which is reflected in a variable damage number. I don't see why this is now considered unacceptable?

Although my game is class and skill based, its really breaking the mold as far as character advancement is concerned. I think a lot of people dislike my ideas about this from a design perspective, but once I've got something to release, and they actually play it, I think they'll find that it might be just as fun and offer different challenges to overcome.

I'm still contemplating the battle system, and I probably will continue the debate in my head all the way up until the time that I actually start developing that portion of the code.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by wildhalcyon
If you think about it, an attack like a sword slash can have a variety of outcomes, which is reflected in a variable damage number.


If you take a look at most battle systems, they list the damage for a typical sword as, for instance, 2-8 damage. It appears that this is a result of how it used to be in the P&P versions where you had to roll 2d4 to get your damage. It just doesnt seem realistic to me.

How can a player hit a monster with a sword, with the hit being unblocked and on unarmored flesh, and only do 2 damage? Thats little more than a scratch. That may work if the monster dodged somewhat, but the dodge just gets rolled into the attack roll and becomes invisible. That may be OK for some games, but I plan on using dodge as a skill and a viable option for avoiding damage and setting up for the next attack. If a sword gets swung and a player receives only 2 damage, then it will be because the player chose to dodge at that moment. It just adds depth to the tactical side of my battle system. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
If you take a look at most battle systems, they list the damage for a typical sword as, for instance, 2-8 damage. It appears that this is a result of how it used to be in the P&P versions where you had to roll 2d4 to get your damage. It just doesnt seem realistic to me.

You could have a base damage and then modify it by how the character dodges. For example if a sword does a base damage of 10 and the dodge roll succeeded then you would reduce the damage (say by half for 5 damage), or even reduce the damage based on the degree of success of the doge roll (so if a doge roll exceeded the target by X amount then you reduce the damge done by X amount - which could lead to a 0 damage dealt). This could also be applied to a failed dodge roll and it increases the amount of damage done.

If you jumped out of the way of a sword strok and only just made it, then you mmight have strained something or in the dive out of the way you might sustain a minor injury. A failed dodge could mean that you steped the wrong way and increased the impact of the weapon, or that you sustained a serious injury in your attempt to get out of the way of the weapon (or you got hit by the weapon but still suffered a strain or other injury in the attempt to get out of the way).

This give a variable damage system with the constant damage value of the weapon (the best of both worlds).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Omegavolt
Quote:
Original post by wildhalcyon
If you think about it, an attack like a sword slash can have a variety of outcomes, which is reflected in a variable damage number.


If you take a look at most battle systems, they list the damage for a typical sword as, for instance, 2-8 damage. It appears that this is a result of how it used to be in the P&P versions where you had to roll 2d4 to get your damage. It just doesnt seem realistic to me.

How can a player hit a monster with a sword, with the hit being unblocked and on unarmored flesh, and only do 2 damage? Thats little more than a scratch. That may work if the monster dodged somewhat, but the dodge just gets rolled into the attack roll and becomes invisible. That may be OK for some games, but I plan on using dodge as a skill and a viable option for avoiding damage and setting up for the next attack. If a sword gets swung and a player receives only 2 damage, then it will be because the player chose to dodge at that moment. It just adds depth to the tactical side of my battle system. :P


Swords sometimes only make light cuts. It happens. I don't see it as a flaw in the system. Dodging as a skill can still be employed, it will just reduce the inherently random damage even more. I'm employing evade as a stat, but that doesn't mean that someone who fails to dodge is always going to get the full brunt of the damage.

I'm definitely moving away from PnP "dice" rolls, which some games do retain as a slightly outdated system. One thing I liked about some of the console RPGs is greater HP and damage ranges - in the hundreds and thousands. Not because bigger numbers are better, but because they allow finer granularity in the damage. If you have 5 max HP, 2 and 3 damage is significantly different. With 50 HP, you get a broader range which might be better represesnted by 16-27. Higher damage ranges aren't popular because they require interesting rolls of dice to get adequate variation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As far as damage goes, you can have it scale based, not only on if you hit, but by how much you hit by. For the sake of simplicity lets say that a certain character has a 50% chance to hit. The possible outcomes of a random number could include...

< 10: Critical Miss, Lose next Turn
> 10 < 40: Miss
>40 < 60: Light Hit (1/2 dmg)
>60 < 90: Hit (Normal Damage)
> 90: Critical Hit (Double Damage)

These would of course scale based on your chance to hit your opponent.

Another system could involve a greater range of damage modifiers. using the same 100 based scale you could use the following style (-10 == missed target by 10: 10 means got 10 more then you needed to hit the target)

-10 == Miss
-7 == Hit (Damage -= 14)
-5 == Hit (Damage -= 10)
-2 == Hit (Damage -= 4)
0 == Hit (Damage)
2 == Hit (Damage += 4)
4 == Hit (Damage += 8)
8 == Hit (Damage += 16)
10 == Hit (Damage += 20)

etc, etc

Then, not only does the quality of weapon effect damage, your skill does as well. You could have low strength but good attack doing decent damage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Edtharan
This give a variable damage system with the constant damage value of the weapon (the best of both worlds).


Thats a good idea! It will provide a means to demonstrate the necessary advancement for the dodge skill as well. Meaning, the better they are at dodge, the less damage they take. Thanks!

Quote:
Original post by wildhalcyon
I'm employing evade as a stat, but that doesn't mean that someone who fails to dodge is always going to get the full brunt of the damage.


Why not? Except for an all-out miss, if a player swings their sword and their target fails to dodge, theyre going to get all the damage the sword is able to dish out. Of course, I could always toss in a Stamina factor or something, but that would require me to add another attribute I havent planned for. Besides, if you factor in the characters skill in swords, the swords sharpness, armor, the targets skill in dodge, and that aforementioned miss, there is still plenty of variability in the works.

Share this post


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

  • Advertisement