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Pete Michaud

Combat System Advice

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I'm designing a combat system for a side scroller, and I'm a little stuck on two aspects. I have an explanation of the system that I can't paste here because there are a couple tables, but here's a link: http://kotiro.petermichaud.com/gameplay/abilities/ The summary is that there are Fire (Offense) and Water (Defense) abilities, which can be modified by three different attributes: Momentum, Size, and Absorption. For Example, Fire + Momentum = Fire Dart -- you can see all the combinations in the tables in the link above. Here are the problems: 1) Because the abilities are set up like Paper-Rock-Scissors, it's important that the player have the ability to fire 3 different abilities at once, which isn't too bad, but I'm a little stuck on the best way to set up the abilities. Combining the attributes takes some thought, so it's not like a FPS in which I can just press 5 for the Rocket Launcher. I guess mechanically, the answer is that I have to make the player use a menu to combine the attributes sort of like FF Materia, or Diablo Gems... but my question is, what do you think is a sensible metaphor for fire and water? I originally thought it would be amulets that you can attach figurines to, but if I have 3 active abilities, and they are all fire based, then it doesn't make much sense for there to be only one amulet for fire. I don't know, what would you as a player think makes sense? 2) As I said, the system is like Paper-Rock-Scissors: Momentum beats Size, Size beats Absorption, Absorption beats Momentum. It gets complicated though, because the attributes can be combined. I decided after some research that 2 combined attributes should draw with the third, beat the weaker one of the combination, and be weak against the stronger one: Momentum+Size: Momentum beats Size, so momentum is the stronger one. M+S draws with A. beats S, and loses against M. That system makes logical sense in every case, except 2: Fire+M+A is supposed to be strong against M and draw against S, but that doesn't make sense -- a big, slow enemy would die horribly from a homing fire dart coming from some other part of the screen, and a fast enemies wouldn't be particularly vulnerable. Also, Water+S+A is supposed to be weak against S and strong against A. But that's a life drain ability that works in a radius around the player, and a big enemy couldn't easily escape it, whereas an absorptive one would be practically immune (because they would absorb the life drain damage). So, I could solve the problem by swapping the rules in just these two cases, but then I have a situation where a fairly simple rule can be used by the player ALL the time... except two arbitrary exceptions. Do you think that's acceptable? If not, can you think of a better way?

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I'd interpret Fire Momentum + Absorb as a forward fast moving shield rather than a homing missile. Sort of an arc shield that expands in front of you. If Momentum is a dart and Absorb a fire shield, I'd expect the combination of both to be a moving shield. It would hit Momentum enemies easily, be negated by absorb enemies and I guess Size enemies have too much hp for it to be efficient, so it's neutral.

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Quote:
Original post by Pete Michaud
That system makes logical sense in every case, except 2:

Fire+M+A is supposed to be strong against M and draw against S, but that doesn't make sense -- a big, slow enemy would die horribly from a homing fire dart coming from some other part of the screen, and a fast enemies wouldn't be particularly vulnerable.

Also, Water+S+A is supposed to be weak against S and strong against A. But that's a life drain ability that works in a radius around the player, and a big enemy couldn't easily escape it, whereas an absorptive one would be practically immune (because they would absorb the life drain damage).



For the first case, you might reason that a homing weapon is ideal for more mobile targets, and that a large enemy would suffer less from the impact as the missile is small relative to its own size. You don't need homing weapons for slow enemies as you have more time to aim and a more powerful, heavy missile would be better suited

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