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4 Arch types

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Hello there, I'm creating a game and have decided to limit the types of class the player can choose, these are going to be pre-defined so you can't change the weapons or armour or anything but simply choose from four options. This is a fantasy game with the following features - melee weapon, ranged weapon, shield (both physical and magic), jump, crouch, sprint, traps, water (knee height), Lava (knee height), and it is a typical death match sort of scenario. I wondered if anybody could help with balancing the four units, I know it will take some play testing to get it right but a quick draft can't hurt. Here are my arch types. Knight The knight is a giant humanoid wrapped in metal, with a giant sword and big shield. Pro's - Has shield - Does a lot of damage - Has a lot of armour Con's - Can't sprint - Can't jump high - reduced running speed - Can't go in lava Crossbow A lightly armoured figure with a cross bow. Pro's - Agile - jumps high - Can lay trap Con's - low armour - no shield - Can't go in lava Mage A robed figure with a magic hands. Pro's - Has shield (magic) - Does a lot of damage Con's - low armour - Can't jump high - reduced running speed - Can't go in lava Demon A red beast with long claws and an agile figure, shoulder and breast armour. Pro's - can go in lava - Does a lot of damage - increased running speed - increased jumping Con's - Can't go in water - low armour - no shield That is all I could come up with, these are my four unit types and I was wondering how to better balance them so choosing a character just wouldn't be based on the look. Cheers.

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I'm imagining a Castle Crashers/Golden Axe type game... Am I right in thinking this kind of gameplay?

Otherwise, you haven't given much detail on how the characters will actually be controlled. 2D/3D? 3rd person? Mashing buttons or actually aiming sword blows?

Anyway... on to your question.

PLAYTEST! Something like this is best balanced through extensive playtesting with friends (and strangers if possible).

It seems like each player offers a certain tradeoff between:

* Speed
* Damage
* Armour
* Agility (jumping)
* Special abilities (shield, walk on lava etc.)

I would start off with a fixed number of "points", distributed differently (i.e. start with identical characters and take off 20% speed and agility, adding 20% damage and armour for the knight). From here you can iteratively refine.

On first glance, it looks like your mage is underpowered! (Unless the spells really kick ass and deal some serious damage)

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As you and a previous poster have said, play testing is the key to balance. However, I have had a quick glance at your types, and it seems map design will be important for your balance. If there is no real reason to go to high ground or points to capture, why would you need to be able to go fast. It isn't enough to just have a high bit in your map only reachable by Crossbow guys, there has to be a reason to go there, ditto with lava.

Also, I don't really see what the gameplay difference between the knight and the mage. Perhaps condense them or change them. Eg, maybe have the mage undefended but can do ranged damage, the knight heavily defended by can only do melee damage.

Have a look at Team Fortress 2 for an example of a game which balances different classes very well. Having said that, a lot of the balance comes from team play (death match normally implies free-for-all, is this a correct assumption?)

Overall, Crossbow looks weak on the basis that you will need hefty advantages for speed and agility. If it just increases the time it takes to die, then it doesn't help. It needs an aggressive advantage, like can get to turret positions, or can deal critical damage from behind or something.

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Is this Real-Time or Turn-Time?

The Mage could be a unit to which allows him to go into any terrain type, so long as he keeps up the appropriate spell. If so, you could then also include some sort of Energy / Stamina / or Mana attribute as another one of your game features. And while he is maintaining an environment spell, his attack or attacks spells could be weaker or limited in the amount he can cast due to the mana he is already spending into the environment spell.

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A lot of what can be done to balance this depends on the specifics of your combat system. For example: How does the shield work? Does it reduce the damage done, does it reduce the chance of being hit, is it directional, doe is block attacks completely form a certain direct, etc? And that is just for the Shield!

What a lot of people do is start off with the objects they would like to see in the game and then come up with a purpose for them, and then try to balance them.

This is the hard way of doing things.

The first thing you need to do is state what you are going to ahve the players do in the game.

By the sounds of what you have written (and correct me if I am wrong), is that his is a FPS type game (or at least where a player only controls a single character and is trying to kill other characters).

So, from this we can state that what players are going to be doing is killing other characters.

Next, you want variety in the way they kill other characters, so we need "classes" where each has different advantages and disadvantages in how they kill things and where they go. But, if we want to avoid a Dominant Strategy problem we need to ensure that for every action that one type of character can do, all the other characters have a way of countering that.

Countering of course does not mean that the counter beats the other, just that it stops them from being beaten.

For example: If an action allows a character to prevent all damage from a particular direction, then even if you have a character in a place that is hard to reach with another type of character, then this ability can prevent them form being killed by that character, however, it does not directly allow that character to kill the countered character.

Lets look at weapons:
To create some variety, we will have some of the classes be able to use ranged attack, and other can not. ranged attacks can be through Bows/Crossbows or Spells. The flip side to ranged weapons is Melee.

However, a fast ranged class can just skirmish against a slower melee class and win all the time. This would create a dominant strategy problem and this is what we are trying to avoid. This means that the fastest class in the game can not be one that specialises in range. But a fast melee class needs to ahve a counter as well.

So lets start with a basic SPR system

Fast -> Range -> Tough -> Fast

This way we can be certain that we have a system that is balanced.

But if we just have this specific to the classes, then if I chose Fast and you chose Tough, then you would have the dominant strategy.

So what we need to is to make these abilities of classes, or give the classes a way to stop the other class being dominant (at least for a short time).

For example: Maybe a character can Sprint, but this would leave them open to melee attacks as they are not concentrating on blocking melee attacks. Character could also use a shield (which would completely block all attacks from a certain direction) but they can only move very slowly. But then they might use a crossbow, and this would make them unable to use a melee weapons (and so be vulnerable to melee attacks) and would have to stop to reload (so a variation of sprint/shoot/reload would make them faster than when using the Shield, but someone who sprint/sprint/melee would be able to kill them).

If you then make each class better or worse in each of these aspects to some degree (even though they can all do them), you can get variations in classes and yet still allow all the classes to perform the actions.

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Given that you mention jumping, I presume this is 3D. The one problem I see right now is that, unless your level design is very, very interesting, the advantages of being able to move in a terrain no one else can is very slight. If you try to increase it, however, the crossbowman will start sucking beyond belief, as his main power seems to come from being able to outflank an enemy with traps while dealing range damage, which will be useless if there are no choke points. The demon also needs some form of ranged attack, since an enemy could easily just go into water and bombard him with magic/bolts until he runs or dies.

It might be more interesting to make a high ground / low ground destination, which is to say that the knight has REALLY low move speed while going uphill, but above average movespeed going downhill (mage would be slow), so, particularly against melee classes, you could lure them uphill and then crush them before they reach you. The crossbowman could have a cool trap which spills water downhill, potentially doing massive damage to a demon, but requires that you have filled a bucket with water somewhere before you use it. That kind of thing.

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Sorry for the late reply,

Been doing a lot of thinking lately and I've decided to lay out this simple rule "keep it buildable" so with this in mind I pressed DELETE on most of my design document. I've reduced it to this.

This is what I like to call a First Person Fantasy (FPF) the only way it differs from a First Person Shooter is the fact that swords and claws are more likely to be used.

The game will be 3d and in the first person. The game will be a multiplayer game with players loading the game, selecting a server and then playing a death match style game with four selectable characters. There will be four maps, one themed around each of the characters, but not designed around them.

The player will be able to click the left mouse button for their ATTACK and hold the right mouse button down for their SHEILD. There will be no special effects or environments, the difference will be in the type and strength of attack, the speed and agility of the character and the shield strength and player hit points.

The ATTACK would be divided into two, Melee which is an attack that happens within a close range of attacker and enemy. The other type is Ranged which is an attack that happens over longer ranges then Melee. As their are four characters I wish to divide the two types of ATTACK evenly: the KNIGHT will have a Melee sword, the DEMON will have Melee Claws, the CROSSBOW will have a Ranged crossbow, and the MAGE will have a Ranged fire ball.

The SHIELD will be a form of hit point reduction, the player must aim his view in the direction the attack is coming from then hold down their right mouse button in order to raise their SHIELD and take off a certain number of hit points. The strength of the SHIELD will determine how many hit points are taken off the ATTACK. The characters will have the following: the KNIGHT will have a big tower shield, the DEMON will have a steel small triangle attached to their arm, the CROSSBOW will have a small pin point round wooden shield, and the MAGE will have a spell that creates a big blue shield. Notice how their are two types of shield, pin point ones that require more precise aiming in order to avoid much damage and big shields that don't require much aiming but in a result become heavier. You cannot move whilst your SHIELD is up.

So there we have it.

The KNIGHT with its heavy armour has more hit points but is less agile (jumping and crouching), with its big shield has more defence but is slow, with its heavy sword has more damage to do but slow to be able to attack again (the time it takes to get the sword back, ready to hit again).

The DEMON with its lack of armour has more agility but less hit points, with its small shield has less defence but is quicker, with its slender claws can hit more rapidly but does less damage.

The CROSSBOW with its lack of armour has more agility but less hit points, with its small shield has less defence but is quicker, with its heavy crossbow can do more damage but takes more time to reload.

The MAGE with its lack of armour has more agility but less hit points, with its big shield has more defence but is slower (due to being old if nothing else), with its fire ball can hit rapidly but does less damage.

Now what do you think of that?

I was going to give the KNIGHT a sprint option, just to make things fair and not allow the MAGE to jump. But is this balancing?

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Hm... I presume ranged attack fly straight.. it still seems, unless you have a really weird map, that the warrior will be unable to catch up to the mage or crossbow if they just run away, particularly if the crossbow lays slowing traps. Also, since the demon can't enter water, and has no ranged, why doesn't the crossbow camp there?

You can't move while shield is up? Even the mage? It seems only the warrior shouldn't be able to move... or better yet, allow everyone to move, but block vision, so you may be going in a slightly off direction, and you can't see the enemy well. And slow the player.

Jumping hasn't really been explained, since it depends on the map, but will it actually make a difference? If not, why bother including it.

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Ranged attack is straight yes.

I've decided to take out traps and the whole water/lava situation. Everything you see in my last post is what is going to happen.

The maps, which haven't been explained are going to be a mix of open areas and slender coridors and walk ways due to the fact the game is themed around a dungeon type setting.

Even with the knight having more hitpoints and increased strength do you think it is still the weaker class?

I feel all games should include jumping, with out it, it just doesn't feel like your incomplete control of the characters. I plan to have my maps varried with passage ways and ledges so jumping will come into it a lot.

Do you think I should take away a class? maybe the knight? Do you think I should opt for more fast paced but low damage game play?

I don't know about the shields as I feel that people would just walk around with their shields up, but having shields block view (which was always my plan) could be the balance to being able to walk.


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