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S-Dawg

Combat Systems - Which one?

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Hey guys I'm in the process of creating my own RPG (I know right, who isn't?) and am now stuck on the battle mechanic. As far as I can see, I have 3 options - Turn based: Similar to Pokemon - Real time: Similar to Zelda/Ultima Online. Never played these, but from what I've gleaned (from gameplay vids), this is how they work. - Instanced Real time: Sort of like Grandia (I think?) Which one, in your experience is the most enjoyable to play and the most engaging in terms of not getting bored after the 3rd battle? EDIT: Sorry for triple posting this thread, was having a bit of an issue. [Edited by - S-Dawg on June 10, 2009 11:46:37 AM]

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It depends on what you are after really. Both are enjoyable, maybe evenly, but its the audience that counts. Turn based fights are strategic and tactical if done well. You have time to think about what to do each turn and how best to optimize your strategy to ensure survival and eventually butt kicking awesomeness.

Real time of course is a bit of the opposite. You have little time to think about strategies while fighting and so you are either going to be well prepared and have done your thinking before hand, or you are going to fight by reflex and instinct. If you do real time you should have in mind which you want to encourage because the way your mechanics work will influence it. (I'm not sure what 'instanced' real time is and how it differs)

Some examples:

Turnbased fights should give the player many options each turn, and those options should lead to large differences in the state of the fight before the fight is likely to end. In other words, the player needs options and those options need to have an impact. This makes the player stop and think about which option to take. Considering you are pausing the game to give the player his turn, giving him a reason to want it paused (to think about his move) would be best.

Realtime fights should that are about preparation should have choices too, but they should be rigged such that they are made before the fight starts and the player has to last the fight, or even many, with that choice made. Things like memorizing spells, keeping a diverse but limited in number set of potions on hand, and having different abilities with long cool downs are all ways to encourage preparation and prepared strategies.

Realtime fights that are about reflex and instinct provide little to no way of preparing for the fight. They work on pumping the player's adrenaline and being exciting. I don't really know how to make a good system like that so I can't tell you how either, but suffice it to say, if you get it right, its addictive, and if you get it wrong, its boring. I do know that systems for this need to be kept pretty simple so the player can do what he intends and quickly. Cumbersome systems bog down the play's decision making and button pressing.

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Actually RPGs also have at least two other options for combat styles: turn-based tactical, occurring on a chessboard-like map, and realtime beat-em-up, occurring on a 2D battle stage.

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Thanks for the reply!

By the way, what I mean by instanced real time: its like when you enter an encounter with a monster but instead of being turn based you can run around and attack the monster independent of turns.

Building on what you were just saying, I have found that turn based battles are annoying while grinding XP (Pokemon, levelling a pokemon) but really fun and strategic when having boss battles.

So why not make a game which has a turn based system for important fights and all the other fights can be realtime?

If you were to play a game like this, would this annoy you or do you think its spreading the game too thin?

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Quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
Actually RPGs also have at least two other options for combat styles: turn-based tactical, occurring on a chessboard-like map, and realtime beat-em-up, occurring on a 2D battle stage.


Yeah I know I left out the tactical turn based (d'oh)

I think what you say about realtime beat-em-up is what i meant by instanced realtime.

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I looked at Grandia and Grandia II, neither seemed to have a truly realtime combat system, they seemed to use timer bars. I was talking about kicking-punching-jumping combat like in Golden Axe, the 2D Mortal Kombats, or even a platformer RPG like MapleStory. Or there's realtime overhead combat that takes place in the main game rather than being instanced, like the Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Secret of Mana. Heck you could even use FPS combat in an RPG.

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Quote:
Original post by S-Dawg
Thanks for the reply!

By the way, what I mean by instanced real time: its like when you enter an encounter with a monster but instead of being turn based you can run around and attack the monster independent of turns.

Building on what you were just saying, I have found that turn based battles are annoying while grinding XP (Pokemon, levelling a pokemon) but really fun and strategic when having boss battles.

So why not make a game which has a turn based system for important fights and all the other fights can be realtime?

If you were to play a game like this, would this annoy you or do you think its spreading the game too thin?


If you aren't learning the nuances of the turn based system in regular combat, how are you going to know how to use it in a boss fight? But, I don't think it's an inherently bad idea. You could think of the action/grinding type of combat as a minigame and the turn based as the real combat. It is nice to play an RPG that isn't 90% doing the same kind of combat over and over. But I think the reason RPGs usually have a single, turn-based combat system is that it takes the least time and skill to program. Making two systems doubles the work, and realtime systems are more complex to program than turnbased.

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"If you aren't learning the nuances of the turn based system in regular combat, how are you going to know how to use it in a boss fight?"

Oh yeah! Lol, didn't think of that at all.

I agree that turn based systems do appear to be easier to code than real time. I'll have to think long and hard of a way to make the grind fights less time consuming (and boring) and the boss fights (important fights) more interesting.

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Why make your XP based on each individual combat?
Why not make it based your "Sessions" of play?

System tallies up what you did at the end of your play.
This is like level games that tally up how well you played the level after finishing the level, as opposed to tallying up everything on-the-fly.

In regards to mob-hunting...do you really need it?
Mob hunting is no different than if I plopped you into a room of balloons and said that each balloon is worth a dollar.

You have no interest in picking up balloons because it's not exciting, but you'll do it because of the money.

Just because you make a reward doesn't mean it's possibly the best idea for the activity to exist.

I would suggest figuring out what your players are for your game, and then flip it around so that your game provides the opportunities for players to be those facets that you need them to be for the system and reward them on those activities.
I doubt that if you do this, that you will end up saying that your system needs mob hunters.

If you just can't let go of mob-hunting, I would place it's point earnings at a penny per balloon picked up and place the activities that matter to your system at a higher earning like 2 dollars, and quests at whatever you want respectively to the difficulty of the quest.

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Star Ocean II had an option to do turn based/realtime as well as the 'Tales of' series on one side it you chose your actions when ever a timer runs out on the other you do your actions but they get weaker the quicker that you do them

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