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Hand to Hand Combat

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Alatar    303
Hi everyone, I'm considering adding some close range/hand to hand combat to my FPS game. This would be sort of similar to Call of Duty Modern Warfare when the dogs attack you, or in World at War when the Japanese soldiers take you to the ground and you have to defend yourself. The basic idea is that enemy soldiers can choose to attack you with knives and fists, or try to hit you with their gun instead of shooting you (maybe they are out of ammo, or you are too close or something). You would then have to push the button that appears on the screen to counter the attack (like COD). So now that you have a basic idea, I have some ideas I would like some feedback on. Camera Type Should the camera stay as first person, or should it switch to 3rd person? Pros (for the switch): * The switch would give the player a better view of what was going on. * The defense would look better (think of the difference between the COD defenses and the Assassin's Creed counter attacks. Assassin's Creed looks cooler, in my opinion). Cons: * The switch might disorient and confuse the player, and cause them to react too slowly and potentially die because of it. * The animations would have to be better * 1st person would make it seem more realistic Speed Should the game stay at normal speed or should it slow down? The higher the difficulty, the less the game would slow. There could also be an option to enable or disable slow motion during hand to hand attacks. Pros (of slowing down): * The player would have more time to react to the attack Cons: * It might make it too easy, especially on lower difficulty settings Multiple Moves Should the player be able to do multiple attacks by pushing different buttons at certain times (sort of like Star Wars: Force Unleashed boss fights, where the button appears on the screen and you push that button which advances the fight) or should it be a one button defense (similar to COD, where one button kills the attacker)? Each stage of the fight could have several different attacks. For example, if the enemy tried to hit the player with their gun, the player could grab the gun and would then have the option to disarm opponent, kick opponent, or throw opponent to the ground. This would be accomplished by pushing different keys. Pros (of multiple attacks): * The player would have more options at each stage of the fight Cons: * More animations would be needed So, as gamers, what do you think about the above ideas? For each, which would you prefer to see in a game with hand to hand combat? Do you have any suggestions? Thanks

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JasRonq    156
I really dislike the current trend of lazy controls where one button does everything. For one thing, it necessitates the game showing a mapping on the screen, as in, it shows the X button with what its current action is. This is immersion breaking for me. secondly, the one button thing lowers the amount of interaction I have with the game and the amount of though I put into things, again reducing immersion. This is exemplified by cut scenes having button presses that allow you to continue, which if you miss, the scene ends in your death. It then becomes a task of memorizing a button press sequence just so you can watch a cut scene. Not fun.

SO, have an attack button, have a defend button, allow timing to play a roll without stamping the button label on the screen to tell the player, and in short, respect the gamers intelligence and ability.

As for camera angle, if you are in over the shoulder 3rd person and switch to iso 3rd person, that's clean and good, 1st to 3rd though is harder to not be jarring. so if you want iso 3rd for the hand to hand, then go with over the shoulder the rest for the rest of the time.

About speed, i think you have a few options, You could have stim packs that might make your actions speed up while slowing down everything else. That way it is always the players choice and spices things up with another item to manage. You could also make it part of difficulty setting but if you do that, make it something that you can turn on or off. In that respect though I have always been in favor of difficulty being more complexly managed with multiple aspects, not jsut a simple slider.

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A lot of people are down on quicktime events lately, including reviewers, including Yahtzee, for whom I have considerable respect, but I like 'em, and I fondly remember the big rock in Resident Evil 4 when I and a friend were working through it, and how awesome the Krauser fight was in that game.

However, I despised the hand-to-hand sequences in the latest Turok game, which is the closest thing I can think of to what you're describing here. They were repetitive and shattered immersion each and every time. The Watchmen beat-em-up game on Xbox Live Arcade has a "finishing move" feature that resembles this, and the moves are pretty sweet the first eight or so times, and then they're a snooze forever, offering little more than a chance to stretch and think about doing something else.

If you're going to do it, go the extra mile and integrate it into combat completely, at least making a basic minigame out of the struggle. In a fast-paced twitch game, more than half a second of "spectating" destroys the connection between the player and their avatar. Falling down and waiting for your guy to get up, automated ladder cutscenes, quick-time events that "reward" you with a three-second neck-snapping animation and any other little nugget of non-gameplay is like throwing cold water on me in an FPS. I want to be on the edge of my seat the whole time, then lean back and take my hands off the controls at the end of a level, not be stuck in limbo somewhere between, with nothing to do and no time to open another beer.

So, yes, more moves is better. Thinking about it, the way I'd like to see melee handled in a shooter would be quick, important and isolated. The way I see it playing out is like this: You're running down the trench, you turn a corner and are caught in the jaw by a startled enemy soldier. You lose a few HP, the screen flashes with light and takes on a red fringe, and the camera zeroes in on the assailant. The player plays a minigame lasting not more than two seconds, using the same buttons he'd use to shoot and run, and if he wins he vanquishes his foe and gets back into action with no fanfare.

Keep it first-person, don't show off for the player. Just like we get tired of NPCs shouting, "Let's go, boys, these sons of bitches won't know what hit 'em!" every eight seconds in a battle, constant interruptions of the "main event" gameplay will wear us down. It's a garnish.

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NineYearCycle    1538
When it comes to hand-to-hand I always thought that the game Oni handled it the best out of any game I've seen. Usually hand to hand combat in first or third person games is so sloppy it's comical but in Oni everything, even your approach to the enemies, really mattered and was based on the players input.

The game itself had some flaws which stopped it being a classic but if you get the chance then take a look at it.

Andy

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Nofootbird    171
Here is my design.
First,I will choose to stay at the first person camera for it can reduce the pressure of player to accommodate the sudden change or attack. Plus, once you have build a real world under the first person camera, it's not wise to break the immersion of player by changing the camera.
Second, i prefer to slowing down the pace of that sudden attack and showing players some tips in the screen what buttons to press simultaneously. In other words, you can force players to press a series of buttons at the right time to overcome the emergency. Be aware that the pace and picture at that moment should be a little slower to allow players to react in time. And the trick to add more fun is to randomize the buttons that game requires players to press.
This system above can act as a kind of decoration to the major controls. plus, i think it will not affect the tension you create in the game world and it demand no learning efforts for players.

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JasRonq    156
Quote:
...and showing players some tips in the screen what buttons to press simultaneously. In other words, you can force players to press a series of buttons at the right time to overcome the emergency. Be aware that the pace and picture at that moment should be a little slower to allow players to react in time. And the trick to add more fun is to randomize the buttons that game requires players to press.
...
and it demand(s) no learning efforts for players.


That's basically going against everything I just said in my above post. If i get you right, you are considering turning every melee fight into a mini game of spotting the random button label on the screen and pressing it. There will be no learning curve because the mini-game is unlearnable and therefore every time will be as frustrating as the first... and because it can't be learned and there are no choices involved, the player will feel like a chimp prodded to push the button to further his progress but actually receive no enjoyment because his only choice was to frantically hit the random button, or to die.

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redseadragon    130
Here's my two cents:

I'd keep it in first person for many reasons including immersion, disorientation, cutting the extra time it takes to switch cameras and that it might feel weird to play *almost* all of the game in 1st person.

If you want to have a grappling move that doesn't just feel like you have been knocked to the ground by some invisible force, you could try showing more of the PC's limbs then normal and having the NPC grab onto those limbs. If you have the camera attached to the PC model's head, you might even have a nice bit of "zooming out" when the PC's animation tries to lean back from the attacker (Of course you could still implement that without attaching the camera to the head).

As far as quick time events go, I am not a fan. When it comes to developing complex controls for the hand-to-hand system, I'd look to virtual fighting games like Soul Calibur, not random games of I-Spy button mashing.


Hope that helps!

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Alatar    303
Thanks for the replies.

Ok, so I've decided to stick with the 1st person camera, as switching would cause too many problems.

I had another idea for the control system that I would like a little feedback on.

What if there were different control sets? Maybe one for ranged fighting, and one for close range.

Ranged
This would be the control set for guns, so pretty much your regular FPS controls.

Close Range
This would be for the hand-to-hand combat. There would be a "switch control set" button or something that would, as the name suggests, switch the control set.

Example: The player is in the Ranged control set, when they run out of ammo and an enemy soldier charges into close range. The player pushes the switch button, and is now in the Close Range control set. An example of the control changes is:
Ranged
Mouse 1 = Fire weapon
Mouse 2 = Throw grenade
Mouse 3 = Zoom

after the switch to Close Range:
Mouse 1 = Punch
Mouse 2 = Kick
Mouse 3 = Use weapon to block incoming attack

Obviously I could just let the player have a normal melee button in the ranged set, and I might do that as well, but I also want this hand-to-hand combat to be an important part of the game.

For the blocking an attack, as JasRonq said, the player would have to time their block so that they intercept the attack. There would be no hint on the screen, which would force them to rely on their skill and intelligence.

What do you think of that?

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redseadragon    130
This sounds like it could work well.

Another thing you could do: If an enemy is too close to shoot(for instance, if you have a long barreled gun and he is in grappling range) or if you are out of ammo, have the PC attack them with the butt of the gun. You'd only want to do this if they are aiming at that enemy, of course: otherwise they wouldn't be able to shoot the moment someone came too close!

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Alatar    303
Quote:
If an enemy is too close to shoot(for instance, if you have a long barreled gun and he is in grappling range) or if you are out of ammo, have the PC attack them with the butt of the gun. You'd only want to do this if they are aiming at that enemy, of course: otherwise they wouldn't be able to shoot the moment someone came too close!

I like this idea! Thanks a lot.

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highowl    118
Mirrors Edge had a nice hand-to-hand combat system in my opinion. It was first-person as was the rest of the game and also gave you the opportunity to steal the opponents weapon. Though the game was far from a FPS, I think this system integrated into a FPS would be nice and have the added benefit of increasing immersion rather than diminishing it.

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Good example. Mirror's Edge had the melee system integrated smoothly into the control sequence such that it didn't interfere with the action or flow of the game. Oni was mentioned above, and I think Mirror's Edge had a lot of the same feel that Oni had, and the first-person actually made a lot of the moves easier to pull off.

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