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Arthuros

An action/Adventure system (Trying innovation - Feedback Appreciated)

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Arthuros    130
First of all, im new here, so, yeah "HI". Now, im not a true game developer in anyway... i never had a chance to actually dig in into game making, programming and the such... not that i dont liek it or cant do, i just never took the first steps into this rather long road that ends on gamming quality, bliss, and cake... What i have are ideas. Concepts. I love games, i love tecnology, i love gamming and i love concepts, ideas... i study what we have on games, what we have of too much and too little... and i try to come up with ideas that basicly says "I would play that" and then i try to take that to a level were i can say "and here are a bunch of people who would play that..." Ofcourse, i personaly cant accomplish said tasks, but that dosent mean other people cant... So, what i have to offer are ideas and concepts that other people may use freely (i dont mind, if you make good games with it). Lately what i have in mind mostly is this "crazy" concept for a action/adventure game... im talking basicly on System Engine here... somethign new... that hooks the player in, and its challeging... From Metal Gear Solid, to Resident Evil, to Gears of war, To Tomb Raider and all in between, they have hundreds of "Button gadgets" that basicly says "press something on the right place and stuff will happen"... and i feel that this is getting a little old... So i thought about a challeging fight engine for a action game that iwant to layout here, and if you guys can, critics and feedback will be much appreciated... Now, i'll explain this engine using the layout of the Playstation controler, for the simple reason of logics... i belive you can map all this actions into a keyboard without loosing feeling to the game... but i want to star simple... Now, what i talking about here is a action/adventure game... the basic "Sci-fi + Magic + Cyberpunk" feeling... i dont want to focus much on details of this idea expect for its core, that is the Game Engine itself... so on with it! Take a character from a 3rd person view. Now, you control this guy in a open ended scenario... lets make it a abandoned futuirstic city. One that woudl be a scenario from a Futuristic Civil War. So, your bascily controle this guy around with the D-Pad, and you have your basic fuctions... a Punch Button (Square), a Kick Button (X), jump (Circle) and Dash/Roll (Triangle - You dash when moving, and roll when Stoped. on the direction where you're pressing the Dpad when pressing Triangle) Then, you have the 4 Special buttons, L1 R1 L2 R2 L1 is the "Combo" button (more on that later), R1 is First Person View (or FPS when using a firearm) L2 is to change Weapons and R2 its to change the Combo Pallete (more on that later) This Guy Has 4 Main Status (a little RPG function here): Power / Speed / Endurance / Focus and this is what they do: Power: Damage of Physical Attacks, also Range of Throws Speed: Makes Jump and Dash Higher/longer and Faster, also increses Combo Duration (see it below) Endurance: Raises your HP Bar and How much Weigth you can carry (Extra Ammo, Itens, weapons, all have Weight) Focus: Your Basic "Mp" Meter, and also, raises the power of Your Skills (more on that below) Now, as you can see, nothign special so far... its a decent setup for a Action game With RPG elements... very basic... So whats different? The way combat is handle! the combo feature and the special power. Lets see that now. The Combo feature is where this game gets different. Remember the combo button and the combo Pallete? Here is where they come in. Imagine that this guy is running on the streets of this city... he finds a Enemy Soldier ahead, so we Dash Towards him (Imagine DBZ Dash here or Soukaigi Dash if you're Vintage Sqauresoft fan) and Attack with a simple Punch. The Enemy goes back a little for a second or 2, but now what? You press L1, and the Screen goes into a quick "motion blur" and everything goes into slowmotion for 2 or 3 seconds. You're in combo mode now. While the L1 is pressed, on screen you see your basic buttons (Square, X, Triangle and Circle) but with their names chaged, thats you combo Pallete. Let me give you a example of what those buttons say now: Triangle - Switch Square - Heavy Kick X - Jump Circle - Aerial So you press Circle, X and Square quickly on those 3 seconds, and what happens on screen? Your guy Gives a uppercut to the enemy, sending him into the the Air, Follows him with a jump, and Gives him a Powerfull kick that sends him flying with ragdoll physics into a Pile of Tires on the ground. You Linked a Combo! And what would happened if tou pressed Triangle, X and Circle? Your character would grab his enemy and pushed him to force him to change sides with you (Switch), then would jump and kick the enemy on the head, Sending him flying straight up only to crash down to earth. Another combo! Are getting the idea so far? Now, most enemies would Die with one well done combo (not all attacks may link) But here is the cool thing... some enemies (harder, rarer ones) can apply combos too! And they can Block, counter, and resist to your attacks (mostly bosses) Now, are you Stucked with this 4 Options During the game? No! You have the Combo Pallete!! With a simple press of the R2 button, during ANY momment, you can swap you Combo Options with other (up to 4 i would say)... as your Skills raise in the game (Power, Speed, Endurance and Focus), and you advance, you gain new skills that you can link together for combos, customizable combos! So, you may have a Pallete with "Jump, Aerial, Heavy Kick and Switch" to face those Soldiers, but you can swap on the Fly for another one with "Jump, Double Kick, Tossing and Piledriver(!)" to take on those flying enemies too. And then, you have your powers, that also can be upgraded with levels... Noticed that you control your character with the D-Pad and not with the Analog? Here is why... Both Analog Sticks are used for your powers. I only have 4 so far: Bounce: While jumping against any Surface, press jump again together with the D-pad to Bounce of the wall on a second jump in the direction of your liking (you can still attack and trigger combos here, even in mid-air) Blast: Makes your attacks more powerfull, and can send enemies flying away. Hold Wall: A power-shield. its like Half of a bubble around you. And you can use it to restrain Gunfire. BUT here is the fun part. This shield costs more to Keep active, because any gunfire shot at you will be held by the Shield, and the you can release it, sending back those bullets at your enemies on a "shotgun spray". This shield can also Hold Greanades (but not their explosions), but not energy-based or other explosive weapons or meele Deflect Wall: Another powershield, but this one is cheaper to use. Because it will only deflect gunfire (and energy weapons) away from you. onto the ground, wall or cieling. it works just like the Hold Wall. So, why you need the analog here? Simple. With a press of the R3 and L3 (the Analog Triggers) you can activate your powers stored in there (in this case, Hold Wall and Deflect Wall) -but- using the Analog sticks (both) you direct your character arms and the direction to where he is using His Shields Freely! So, how it all summs up in game play? Here it is: Your character is in a alley. he Goes otu and now you have 10 soldiers aroudn you, 5 on one side, and 5 on the opposite side. All with SMG! What to do? They all start firing at you, you press L3 and R3 and pushes the analog stick, one in the direction of each group and their gunfire. One group is shooting at your Hold Wall, the other into your Deflect Wall. after a few seconds, you release your Hold Wall and all your shots are sent back in a spray that takes the enemy out. any survivors have Rolled away into cover (A.I.) Now you have only your deflect wall up, so you can run while using it to take cover yourself! But as you run, One of the Remainig guys from the first group that were shoting at your Hold Wall goes after you! Now What? You release all the buttons and hit him with a kick, presses L1 and then quickly presses Circle, X, Triangle, Square in combo mode (3 seconds after pressing L1). Your character sends the enemy onto the air, jumps with him, Switch sides in mid-air, and gives him a heavy kick, that sends him packing down, Auto-aimed, againts the other group of foes that were shoting at you. He hits his target like a Bowling ball on a strike. Thanks to Realistic Physics and Ragdoll, the enemies are taken out for just enough time for you to rund away or take cover. Now, thats what i see on a fast paced action game. You can also take the Weapons from your foes and go into FPS mode with R1, where you simply go into a First Person Mode with a Aim on screen that you control with your Analog Stick, and Shoots with X, reloads with Square, Zoom in with circle and Out with Triangle. You can also fire your guns on 3rd person mode, it simply will substitute the Punch Button (but you can still kick, and on combos, you put your gun away automatcliy, even though you may even have combo skills that uses guns) and will autoaim on the nearest foe, Swithicng to another one with you pressing the Analog to one side or the other, Cycling around your targets. The Kick button is automaticly changed to a "Use/open" Button for Doors, Switches and such on certain places too. There are another few features into gameplay here like: Enemies -DO- run out of bullets and have to reload their guns (but have a limited amout of clips on them) so if you take them out quick you can pick up more ammo from then, and if you take too long they may flank or surround you, or just run out of bullets, leaving then vulnerable for your "Meele focused" character Weapons have skills... the more enemies you kill with a Weapon, more Xp that weapons gets, and if you get enoug you will gain a Combo Skill to use with that weapon Thats a Draft concept that i have for a Action game Engine, toss in some puzzles, some creative desing scenarios, some HUGE enemies and a few bosses that can do almost anything that you can (But by then you have Skills like Counter, Dodge, Block, and such)... I really think all this functions can be added to a Mouse + keyboard concept, just not sure how... Well... basicly this is it! Sorry for the long post! Any feedback will be appreciated!

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Nytehauq    328
Sounds very interesting. I'd play a bit of Halo if I were you, the concepts you express are good, but using L1 buttons and the like to switch combat states might break away from the seamlessness of combat. Halo relies on comparatively simple combat, but there is only ever one state. Your system would work, but a better system allows players to intuitively utilize all combat abilities without worrying about state-switching (Between normal and "combo" mode, in your case).

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Arthuros    130
Yeah, i was thinking of that, really never played enough halo! =P

Make it all semaless really woudl be better, would make it natural and intuitive... as the quick "slowmotion" and "Blur" that gives you tiem to strign the combo just may break the action pace by itself...

But seeing as i really dont know that much (at all) about coding, i thought that usign triggers (L1) to change states and the animation library on the fly would actually be easier to code than a streamline of seamless customizable actions

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I like the underlying idea here, I think it could allow for complex and interesting combat. But I have some questions:

1) How cinematic are combat sequences? Some games will go into slow motion when a combo has been successfully entered and is being displayed to the players... what you are describing sounds closer to bullet time from Max Payne, where going into combat mode doesn't necessarily imply that you are doing anything special. I think both ways could work well in a game like this, but you mentioned that enemies could do combos as well. Does that mean that they can force slow motion upon the player? That would be sort of annoying.

2) Are enemies targetted when executing combos? Control in a 1v1 fighting game is pretty simple... in most games you are automatically targetted on the enemy. It could be difficult to control a player to do a very precise combo against a group of enemies though. I like how Onimusha handles it, where you just attack relative to your orientation, but it's also possible to target enemies and strafe/attack at them.

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Arthuros    130
Quote:

1) How cinematic are combat sequences? Some games will go into slow motion when a combo has been successfully entered and is being displayed to the players... what you are describing sounds closer to bullet time from Max Payne, where going into combat mode doesn't necessarily imply that you are doing anything special. I think both ways could work well in a game like this, but you mentioned that enemies could do combos as well. Does that mean that they can force slow motion upon the player? That would be sort of annoying.


I belive that what would work at best here is that if enemies were sorted into 3 categories:

1- Common enemies - These enemies are yoru basic grunts. They can do meele or gunfire, normaly act in groups, die easy and dotn do much else.

2- Gargantuan enemies - Small groups (2-3) enemies of huge sizes. Bascily te equivalent of 1 gigantic Common enemy. The fun part here is that it may be vulnerable only in some areas. So, when you're fightin that Tripod Giant Mech, you are going to need to do some Boucing Jumps on the scenario to reach for that pwoer core were this guy takes more damage!

3- Mid-bosses and bosses: Msotly special 1 on 1 fights, with enemies that can use weapons or fight with bare hands. These guys can do combos just like you, they can also break your combos (somehting the other cant do) with combo moves like Dodge, block and roll... but on these fights, what you have is more like of a "Tekken" mode of battle.

The combo itself is perfomed as a quick minigame. You hold L1, time Slows (really like Max Payne) And you do your button sequence. then, game resumes normally WITH that button sequence being made. So, you string the commands, and THEN watch they being executed. Its no fun to have beatifull combos being done onscreen if you have to pay attetion to your controler so you dont miss the timming...

The same thing goes for bosses, they game the same engine, but because when THEY make start a combo (with the slowmotion) its your chance to break it, with defense, block, roll, dodge, counter and such... so its more of a tension giver.

Now, about the cinematics... its pretty much all about camera work... think the special attacks in game like Narutimate for the gamecube but toned down... ro something like Bloodrayne or even God of War...

Quote:
2) Are enemies targetted when executing combos? Control in a 1v1 fighting game is pretty simple... in most games you are automatically targetted on the enemy. It could be difficult to control a player to do a very precise combo against a group of enemies though. I like how Onimusha handles it, where you just attack relative to your orientation, but it's also possible to target enemies and strafe/attack at them.


A combo can only be triggered under a special stance. That is when a opponent is on the "damage recover" animation (after being hit, and withing range for another hit), so when doing a combo, you're auto-locked on the enemy you hitted previously with any attack.

The thing here is that deppeding on your skills there is a "invisible range" cone on you while you're performing these combos (The higher the skill, the wider and longer is the cone). If there is another active enemy within this range, on the end of the combo, the target will be send towards this other target on Auto-aim. If not, he is send directly against the scenario randomly.

The idea behind this are what i call "fighting puzzles". You can only perform combos on one enemy at a time, but with creative use of some of your skills, you can easily cause domino effects on the scenario. Thats necessary for making your survival easier (or even possible) on the game, as it forces the player to think during gameplay about their surroudings, and then, paying attetion to what they are doing so they dont mess up. So it hooks you in into the gameplay anytime.

If there are 2 gigantic mechs coming agaisnt you, you can use a Power kick to knock them back one at a time, or you can bounce of the building on the side of one of them, and with a power kick, send this very enemy against the other one... taking them both down. That makes Ragdoll physics very important for this engine... but it also makes it fresh.

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Captain P    1092
What you just described sounds almost exactly like Oni. From the same guys that brought you Halo. It also reminds me of that Matrix game I played a while ago...

If I were you, I'd pick up a copy of Oni. It's a bit outdated by now, but it's good fun. :)

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Arthuros    130
Quote:
Original post by Captain P
What you just described sounds almost exactly like Oni. From the same guys that brought you Halo. It also reminds me of that Matrix game I played a while ago...

If I were you, I'd pick up a copy of Oni. It's a bit outdated by now, but it's good fun. :)


Wow, yes! i Totally forgoted about that one...
Well.. really... if you think about Oni with a better fighting system working fluently on Open Areas "a la" Gears Of War, you got the idea right

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Captain P    1092
So what makes your idea better?

Of course, our idea's are always better than what's already out there, but the problem is that that's just in theory. Reality is different. Idea's often have to be tweaked, radically changed and sometimes get thrown away in favor of something else during production. Some aren't feasible, some aren't fun, some are too complex, etc.

In other words, saying an idea will be better doesn't mean much. At least that's something I found out after 6+ years of level-design. ;)

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Arthuros    130
There are a few things that make it better, basicly because they havent being tried, or put to good use yet...

First of all, a customizable combo system that allows you to acess several different customized and functional combinations with just 1 button (the combo pallete)... you dotn have a list of possible combos or attacks, you dont have "special graple moves" you make then, on the fly, by streaming actions of yoru choice.

second, different from those fighter games were you have a few attacks but their difference is just visual, or games were you just do prettier versions of the same combos over and over again, this is a engine built around the concept of strategy and cinematic view... so what attacks you use, and the way they look feels different and the results are different...

Thridly, the level design matters! in this engine, you need to implement the scenario around you as part of the gameplay... there is no use to create animations for a game under this engine without having the basic scenarios built... so a strategy that can take out 10 enemies on a Street may not work when figting 5 enemies inside a train for example...

Sure, its damn hard to make somethign that dosent look at least a little like something else that has already being done... hell, on that matter we can compare DOOM 2 with DOOM 3! But what i present here is a "tweaked out" idea of good concepts put to good use... and it can really work very well...

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Captain P    1092
Your palette idea is essentially switching the buttons meanings, which boils down to a system that allows more actions for the same amount of buttons. Well, at the expense of the additional palette activation button. The rest is still a normal combo system: chaining button calls to activate specific movements. Often combo's have a relationship with the buttons used for them, so streamed actions are very similar to combos. Especially since you say not every attack may link, you end up with a more or less strict pre-defined combo system. Don't get me wrong, true streaming actions sounds cool, but I think it's pretty hard to implement well, and it's questionable how much of a difference it will make once the coolness factor wears off.

Using a combo slot system, where you've got some combo's readily available under some button calls, player-defined, would take away much of the skill required to execute a combo. This in turn might lead to a more RPG-like approach, where strategy and basically, math, dominate: it's not the player who trains, but the players character. I don't think that's 'better', it's 'different'. And for players that like combat games, it's probably not an improvement at all.


Your second point is a bold statement: it heavily depends on the execution. Of course this is something many games in the genre strive for, and perhaps you can interpret the lack of diversity as the difficulty of achieving it... besides, can't you choose what attack to use in those other games just as well? I think what you're basically saying here is: my system has much more movement combinations! That may work. On the other hand, it may become too complex, so only the most veteran players can predict what actions you can execute and what blocks can be used. Resulting in a guessing or buttin bashing game rather than a strategic game. Simplicity is a strong thing when used well, and complexity can easily introduce a lot of problems.


And of course level design matters. It's tightly woven together with the game design and a good artist will understand this. This has little to do with idea's though, and far more with execution.


What I mean to say is: you present the goals you're striving for. But the means on how to get there are largely blank as far as I can see. You state your system is cinematic and strategy-oriented, but I believe you overlook various factors.
And of course, there's nothing new under the sun, it's all combining existing stuff. The trick is: turn an idea into something that actually works in reality. Thinking up on combinations is something we all can do - and do. And granted, it can be good fun to do so. :)

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