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DarkZoulz

auto vs turn-based combat

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Hi all, I'm working on a web-based RPGish game where you (like so many other games) fight monsters. I'm currently contemplating if the combat should be auto-generated or if it should be turn-based. One would think that the turn-based approach would be most fun for the player. He/she can sit down and really plan what to do next in the battle. But, as it's a webgame I want it be VERY casual. Players should be able to login, play a bit and then just leave. The game is mainly about advancing your characters and trading with other players. What do you think?

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Who decided that turn base have to be complicated? It shouldn't be that hard to design a simple turn based system - tough it would probably be hard to make it fun.


Also, sometimes automatic battle systems allows the player to interfere a little. To make him more involved. Check out Yggdra Union for the GBA to see what I'm talking about.

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With auto-generated I mean that the entire combat is calculated and a log of what happened is presented to the player. The player has no control over what his character does during the fight. I've seen this approach in many web-based games, but have always thought that it's pretty bad. I'd rather be in control over my own characters. This is how Warriors 2 work, for instance. The fighting has to be fast too. Someone logging in during a 15-min coffee break should be able to play a few rounds. Although auto-generated combat is faster, I can also see the downside of presenting a lot of text to the player. They won't read it and will mostly be interested in if they won or not.

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Original post by someboddy
Who decided that turn base have to be complicated?

I did, as a player. Well, if I can substitute "complicated" with "intense depth". My attention's tolerance refuses to play games with a turn based battle menu that has [Attack] [Defend] [Run]. To be completely honest, it's worse than that. I need some room for serious strategy investment to get into turn based combat. X-Com or Fallout 1 or 2 style combat is the only thing that comes to mind as enjoyable.

I think one big dividing factor of boring turn based combat and fun turn based combat is player-controlled unit movement. That introduces environmental objects for cover/stealth, terrain advantages, attack range limits, unit formations, and all sorts of other increased depth.

For the record, I'm not saying real-time combat has any advantages, but it's usually easier to tolerate when it lacks depth.

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Original post by DarkZoulz
Although auto-generated combat is faster, I can also see the downside of presenting a lot of text to the player. They won't read it and will mostly be interested in if they won or not.


You can always make a simple flash animation for that...

Anyways, I fail to see the problem here. After all, you want to allow shot playing sessions, and if I log in for 5 minutes, it doesn't make any sense that I spend 3 of them on a battle when your game's focus is on other things.

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Quote:
Original post by DarkZoulz
Although auto-generated combat is faster, I can also see the downside of presenting a lot of text to the player. They won't read it and will mostly be interested in if they won or not.


You can always make a simple flash animation for that...

Anyways, I fail to see the problem here. After all, you want to allow shot playing sessions, and if I log in for 5 minutes, it doesn't make any sense that I spend 3 of them on a battle when your game's focus is on other things.


So you suggest auto-generated combat then? Yes, i'm leaning towards that direction. Maybe add some feature that lets you take an "stance" of sorts before a fight. Like defensive/aggressive stances.

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I'm coding a mud-like web thingie. I'm thinking about using a stance system and a one-hit-per-second combat style. Most combats would last about ten or twenty hits. The player would watch the combat unfold but could still make decisions : switch from bow to sword once the monster is at reach, try to flee, use a healing spell, unbuff the monster, etc... In fact, each one-second turn, the player can make one action but it automatically falls back to his stance if no other instruction is given.

The first version will have only simple stances but I plan on having an optional complex stance system in the second version, that would allow things like "attack with a pierce weapon if attacked by an armored enemy" or "use a potion if under 5 HP" that would allow a player to quick-script ally NPCs

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Original post by Yvanhoe
I'm coding a mud-like web thingie. I'm thinking about using a stance system and a one-hit-per-second combat style. Most combats would last about ten or twenty hits. The player would watch the combat unfold but could still make decisions : switch from bow to sword once the monster is at reach, try to flee, use a healing spell, unbuff the monster, etc... In fact, each one-second turn, the player can make one action but it automatically falls back to his stance if no other instruction is given.

The first version will have only simple stances but I plan on having an optional complex stance system in the second version, that would allow things like "attack with a pierce weapon if attacked by an armored enemy" or "use a potion if under 5 HP" that would allow a player to quick-script ally NPCs


Sounds sweet. I used to work on a windows-based MUD codebase written in VB6 a loooong time ago. It was really fun. MUDs have the advantage of using a persistent connection while the web is very static in that sense. Although you can spice it up with other techniques such as AJAX and Flash, it will never beat a true sockets-based application in interactivity and user response.

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Original post by DarkZoulzAlthough you can spice it up with other techniques such as AJAX and Flash, it will never beat a true sockets-based application in interactivity and user response.

It may be a bit off-topic but this project was actually an excuse to learn about all this AJAX thing. In AJAX, it is actually possible to leave a request object open to wait for events. You then have to configure your server to not timeout with such requests and leave it open as long as no new events happened.

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Just allow players to automate the thing so it gets less boring.
Instead of clicking "attack" every turn, allow the player to code "always attack unless x happens, and if that happens, do that instead".
Of course, the player should be able to manually interrupt the process to change the strategy.

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