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TheBuzzSaw

using one meter for both health and special abilities

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TheBuzzSaw    143
In most RPGs, you have two distinct meters in combat: "health" and "mana" (each given some dictionary variation depending on the game). The idea is that you burn up mana to use special abilities and reduce the enemy health as fast as possible. I am attempting a different approach. I am setting mana aside for another aspect of the game (more magic-focused). Instead, I would like to use health as the source for physical special attacks. The idea here is that you have to use abilities more wisely. Rather than just burn your mana pool until it is empty, you have to carefully select what would be wise to use at that moment in combat. I would offset this dynamic by making health regenerate at a decent rate (it would not be very fun coming away from a fight with less health even though you took no damage). I am toying with certain interesting dynamics with this system. For instance, two warriors are fighting. One takes a defensive stance as the other burns all his health attempting crazy specials, and then the defender strikes a few finishing blows because he know the other guy wasted all his energy on specials that did very little damage. There would be a lot more risk/reward assessment instead of (as I said before) just milking mana for all it's worth and then resorting to basic attacks. Thoughts on this? Ways to make it better? Ways to balance it and make it fun?

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andur    781
Betrayal at Krondor did this with its magic, you would expend your health to cast spells, and the power of your spells depended on how much of your health you put into them. It didn't have any regeneration during combat either.

I thought it worked fairly well. It does mean that if you get damaged, then that starts limiting your options fast (not necessarily a bad thing, means you need to keep your caster protected).

Any sort of healing ability becomes effectively free (well if it takes more health than it restores to you its useless).

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Esys    156
I think a "constitution" meter would be more appropriate; taking damage and using special attacks would burn the meter. As the meter got lower, an opposing player has a better chance of striking a critical or non-blockable attack. This would reflect a player becoming tired or exhausted in combat by using attacks.

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_Unicron_    438
Quote:
Original post by TheBuzzSaw
I would offset this dynamic by making health regenerate at a decent rate (it would not be very fun coming away from a fight with less health even though you took no damage).


One very small modification might be to keep a track of how health was lost (through damage or spellcasting) and only regenerate the portion that was lost from spell casting. Damage would have to be healed by potions/medkits etc. or physical damage restore more slowly. This could be represented on the healthbar with use of transparency for the 'fast recoverable' health.

I've had a few beers, I hope that makes some sort of sense!

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TyrianFin    122
Maybe vitality meter with negative and positive sides?

|----- -1 ----- 0 ----- +1 -----|

On positive side player is alive and can use normal magic and physical stats.
On negative side player is dead and can use undead magic and etheral stats.
Near zero or at zero player stops existing and can`t continue.

Trick is to go over zero barrier with speed.
And if you wish you might reverse vitality
regeneration direction, player leeks all times
vitality and it tryes to go to zero and player
must take actions witch move vitality away from zero.

/Tyrian

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TheBuzzSaw    143
Quote:
Original post by andur
Any sort of healing ability becomes effectively free (well if it takes more health than it restores to you its useless).


Under this system, I would likely do away with any kind of healing abilities. If anything, certain types of gear would accelerate the regeneration process, but I would try to shy away from the idea that I can just back off, turbo-boost my health, and dive back in. I should have to run/stall long enough for regeneration to kick in (or retreat altogether).

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pothb    102
I recommend Health done by Special attacks usage be replenishable.

Example would be --

================================ health bars
============-------------------- health bar with replenishable
=======---------- health bar damaged with replnishable

have all attacks that damage replenishables do double damage and normal damage for blocked attacks (or some sort of multiple). With this, you can expend all your damage and not be completely at the mercy of the other player. With good dodging, you are able to come back and still be a potential threat instead of just being scared out of your life for your rashness.

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Bladerz666    100
could actually work pretty well with regenerating health (offering icentive to level up for faster regen speeds) it would take some balancing and certain players may dislike having to give up thier "save best special for when thier about to die" tactics in place of a new one.

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slack    184
Quote:
Original post by TheBuzzSaw
Quote:
Original post by andur
Any sort of healing ability becomes effectively free (well if it takes more health than it restores to you its useless).


Under this system, I would likely do away with any kind of healing abilities. If anything, certain types of gear would accelerate the regeneration process, but I would try to shy away from the idea that I can just back off, turbo-boost my health, and dive back in. I should have to run/stall long enough for regeneration to kick in (or retreat altogether).


Cutting healing could allow you to focus on more interesting aspects of the gameplay, such as creative ways of dealing damage or preempting attacks with appropriate defenses. I've been working on a game that uses a single health/mana bar and came to the same conclusion about healing.

Another example of this mechanic is SubSpace. It's generally an action game and much of the skill relies on subtle maneuvering and timing/accuracy of attacks.

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pothb    102
Quote:
Original post by pothb


================================ health bars
============-------------------- health bar with replenishable
=======---------- health bar damaged with replnishable


damn... it looks different when posting, those are all supposed to be as long as each other, with th last line having white space.. >.>

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TheBuzzSaw    143
This is all excellent feedback. Thank you!

I sort of like the idea of having special abilities act as a sub-meter inside the overall health meter. Weakening a foe eliminates options as his special meter becomes too small.

On the other hand, I am also giving thought to the idea that maybe players can always cast any ability safely. The idea here is that using a special ability can never kill the player; it would only put his health down to 1 HP. In this situation, the player's options effectively stay open as he can still cast anything; he simply nullifies his regeneration by constantly pushing it back down to 1 HP. This puts him in serious danger; if the enemy gets off even the weakest attack, the fight is over!

Perhaps these concepts could be combined somehow? Maybe using a special ability while the sub-meter is low results in damage to the overall health (the higher meter).

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demonkoryu    980
Quote:
Original post by pothb
Quote:
Original post by pothb


================================ health bars
============-------------------- health bar with replenishable
=======---------- health bar damaged with replnishable


damn... it looks different when posting, those are all supposed to be as long as each other, with th last line having white space.. >.>


I would say this is a very good option. It's intuitive and yet subtly complex. If you model the health that is lost by magic as mental exhaustion (=mental damage), it's also relatively close to the real world.

On the other hand, a single undifferentiated health bar means losing physical health always, which would IMO add considerably to the atmosphere of a hard/dark fantasy backdrop.

[Edited by - Konfusius on March 21, 2010 7:34:24 PM]

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TheBuzzSaw    143
Well, another reason for having health continually regenerate at a decent pace (faster than Maple Story nonsense) would be to hopefully do away with chugging potions and/or visiting inns all the time (a la FFXIII).

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Quote:
Original post by TheBuzzSaw
I am attempting a different approach. I am setting mana aside for another aspect of the game (more magic-focused). Instead, I would like to use health as the source for physical special attacks. The idea here is that you have to use abilities more wisely. Rather than just burn your mana pool until it is empty, you have to carefully select what would be wise to use at that moment in combat. I would offset this dynamic by making health regenerate at a decent rate (it would not be very fun coming away from a fight with less health even though you took no damage).
There's nothing wrong with coming away from a fight with less health. Regenerating health (inside or outside the fight) is only one way to replenish the player without tedium. It's a fine choice but don't just assume you have to have it.

You'll find the health -> ability mechanic used explicitly in World of Warcraft, especially the Warrior and Warlock classes, and in Starcraft as the marine stimpack. Note that the WoW Warrior more or less cannot replenish their health in solo combat, and this does not stop the combat from being interesting. Various other games contain the mechanic implicitly, e.g. as rocketjumping in many FPSs. I'm personally a big fan of this family of mechanics where you pay for moves in a resource like health that has wider implications than a generic resource like mana, gold or experience which you can largely spend or "min-max" in a vacuum. It's the weakness, not the power, which makes for memorable situations and characters. Fallout perks which marry an upside with a downside are right on, for instance.

Oh yeah, the mechanic is also seen occasionally in fighting games. For instance, Soul Calibur's Yoshimitsu has an array of "kamikaze" moves which deal damage to both himself and (a little more) to the opponent, as well as a teleport that costs health and is therefore only good to avoid an attack that would do more damage (or setting up the opponent for a severe beating).

Come to think of it, gambling games are all about this mechanic. In poker, your money is both your health as well as the weapon you need to carry out even the slightest attack.

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Quote:
Original post by TheBuzzSaw
Would it make more sense to have health regenerate continually or have the regeneration stop during a hit ("stun" basically)?
Yes?

You have outlined barely anything of what you want the fighting to be like, whether it is 1v1, 1vX or XvX, what kind of decisions the player makes and at what tempo, where the challenge lies etc.

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pothb    102
It works either way. Guild wars has life/mana always replenishing. It increases the battle time and allows more techniques to be used to make it more fun. But of course if you do that, I would recommend not giving excessive amounts of life.

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TheBuzzSaw    143
Quote:
Original post by Stroppy Katamari
Yes?

You have outlined barely anything of what you want the fighting to be like, whether it is 1v1, 1vX or XvX, what kind of decisions the player makes and at what tempo, where the challenge lies etc.


I want to build a prototype to demonstrate the flow of numbers. Basically, I want it accommodate all of this situations. Like most RPGs, you might be alone, you might be fighting one enemy, you might be fighting several enemies, etc. etc. I can't design it for one scenario and call it good. :(

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Quote:
Original post by TheBuzzSaw
Quote:
Original post by Stroppy Katamari
Yes?

You have outlined barely anything of what you want the fighting to be like, whether it is 1v1, 1vX or XvX, what kind of decisions the player makes and at what tempo, where the challenge lies etc.


I want to build a prototype to demonstrate the flow of numbers. Basically, I want it accommodate all of this situations. Like most RPGs, you might be alone, you might be fighting one enemy, you might be fighting several enemies, etc. etc. I can't design it for one scenario and call it good. :(
It's XvX, then. 1v1, etc. are just special cases of XvX.

But you didn't answer the rest of my question. What's supposed to be fun about the combat? What is it supposed to feel like? Deep and strategic? Frantic? Gambling (doubling down or bailing out)? Is there a positioning element involved or can every character use their moves freely on anything?

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TheBuzzSaw    143
Quote:
Original post by Stroppy KatamariIt's XvX, then. 1v1, etc. are just special cases of XvX.

But you didn't answer the rest of my question. What's supposed to be fun about the combat? What is it supposed to feel like? Deep and strategic? Frantic? Gambling (doubling down or bailing out)? Is there a positioning element involved or can every character use their moves freely on anything?


I like the momentum of combat in games like Diablo II. I like rudimentary hack 'n' slash. With this health mechanic, I am leaning toward strategy and gambling. The gambles taken will be relevant to the defender's response (rock-paper-scissors), not some dice roll. I can't see positioning playing a relevant role in all of this, but maybe you can elaborate on that.

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