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Bladerz666

flaws with my health system?

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so I'm designing an action-adventure game in a similar vein to devil may cry if it got sucked through a black hole and was teleported into tony hawks pro skater, creating a beautifully awesome sci-fi adventure game.

Here's the thing though, the current health systems won't work.

You see, the two most common health systems are thus:

regenerative health:
These are EVERYWHERE Halo 3, Call of Duty, you've seen these. My issue with these is that they require the player to stop, sit behind a rock, and wait thorugh 5 seconds of downtime while their health recharges. Now I must state that these health systems do work. They emphasise strategic positioning and cover combat but for a game like mine which relies very heavily of quick movement, it doesn't work so much.

Health packs:
very few games get this right... Last game that springs to mind being left 4 dead (and that was only because of the co-op it emphasised). My issue with this is that it doesn't allow the player any freedom or risk taking because doing so can often lead to a few minutes of the player not confronting enemies, instead searching desperatly for a health pack (I'm looking at you half life 2, still love you though) and this REALLY won't work for my game.

so I have devised a system called...

Leech:
It works like this, enemies hurt you, your health bar goes down, you kill an enemy, your health is instantly refilled to its fullest. This way, players are incouraged to invest themselves in combat to stay alive. Once in a non-combat situation the players health will recharge but the easiest way to leave this combat situation is to eliminate all the enemies on screen. I think it works but here are my questions.

Can you find any serious flaws with this?
Have you seen this sort of thing before? (if so) did it work?
what other health systems would you reccomend.

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I liked the idea until I read 'Once in a non-combat situation the players health will recharge'.

I feel like this is just turning 'hiding behind a rock for 5 seconds' into 'run backwards through 6 rooms for 45 seconds until the combat proximity sensor turns off and hide for five seconds'.

I know its a choice of the player, but the more cowardly side of me would often want to run and hide. I think it would be more fun if you just let the only option be to fight through it, otherwise every time my health is low I have to make the decision 'should I go fight' vs 'should I go cheese the game mechanics'. Just feels kind of lame to be given the option.

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Quote:
Original post by karwosts
I liked the idea until I read 'Once in a non-combat situation the players health will recharge'.

I feel like this is just turning 'hiding behind a rock for 5 seconds' into 'run backwards through 6 rooms for 45 seconds until the combat proximity sensor turns off and hide for five seconds'.

I know its a choice of the player, but the more cowardly side of me would often want to run and hide. I think it would be more fun if you just let the only option be to fight through it, otherwise every time my health is low I have to make the decision 'should I go fight' vs 'should I go cheese the game mechanics'. Just feels kind of lame to be given the option.


hmmm, true, I could make it recharge each time the player moves into a different area. That way it puts them in a position where they can only regain health outside of battle by going back on themselves. It'll need some thinking over for sure but I think I'll find a way, thanks mate.

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I'd say it depends on how difficult it is to kill an enemy, and how easily they can damage the player. If the player's health only decreases by 3/4 in an average battle situation, refilling each time they kill a single monster might be overkill. But if each monster brings the character to within an inch of his/her life, player deaths and frustration will spike.

Have you thought about a Kingdom Hearts kind of system, where some enemies drop health (though not health packs), which can refill the health bar by varying amounts? I don't know how well this fits in with your motif though.

Something that might be cool would be the player gains something from killing monsters, possibly in varying amounts (soul power or something, if you want it to be similar to DMC). At any time, the player can hold down a button which will drain some of the accumulated soul power to restore health. Outside of battle, the soul power can be used to power up abilities or improve weapons or something.

The benefit of this would be that the player can still only regenerate health by killing enemies, but can do so on-the-fly and can determine his or her own amount of risk of dying in battle. The tradeoff is that you need to take some risk in order to become stronger, and skilled play can still allow the player to reap greater benefits than safer, more cautious play.

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I did something similar in an arcade game. The property that I observe to reward the player was the intensity of the player's actions. The more intense the player performs the fight, the earlier the health pack would spawn.

When the health pack spawns, the player still needs to fetch it. The player might get too caught up and miss the health pack. (If the reward is automatic it feels more boring, because you aren't letting the player choose not to get help.)

To measure intensity, I use the duration between progressive actions. The more frequent it is the more points the player gets. To get a lot of points, the player could intentionally refrain from killing and let the enemies spawn for a while and then kill them all at once.

In this system, there is no automatic regeneration. The only way to get a health pack is to get enough points. The only way to get points is to play the game actively (attack the enemy and/or get to the next stage). The goal of this particular game is not to kill the enemies, so even if the player is letting the enemies spawn, the player can still be playing the game actively.

I used intensity instead of quantity because if I use quantity, the player would try to draw out the enemy and fight it one at a time right after it spawns. That makes the gameplay too conservative and boring. I wanted the player to get himself into risky situations by letting the enemies amass.

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Star Wars: Force Unleashed uses the kind of healing system you propose, though its not total restoration, more akin to a health pack.

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You can't have any situation outside of combat that causes damage to you with your proposed system, as you can't heal it up again until you get into a fight. This can easily lead to unwinnable situations if it is ever required that you run through an area with environmental damage or the like (or it'll just instantly heal back up to full depending on your implementation, rendering environmental damage meaningless).

Regenerating health by killing an opponent, has the advantage that at the end of a fight, you know that the player will always have some life and never just a sliver left (this is negated by fully healing the player after combat anyways).

You can do various combinations of the systems. You could auto-regenerate the player partially, and thus reward them for completing a battle without getting hurt, and require health packs to go above 50% (or whatever cut-off).

If you have skateboarding tricks, you could restore the player's health based upon doing fancy moves/tricks, then they'd have to work for it and could encourage doing flashy manuveurs while in combat (and can be done outside of combat).

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Quote:
Original post by Bladerz666
regenerative health:
These are EVERYWHERE Halo 3, Call of Duty, you've seen these. My issue with these is that they require the player to stop, sit behind a rock, and wait thorugh 5 seconds of downtime while their health recharges.

This system encourages the player to take cover, which adds to the game experience to a FPS like game.

Quote:

Leech:
It works like this, enemies hurt you, your health bar goes down, you kill an enemy, your health is instantly refilled to its fullest. This way, players are incouraged to invest themselves in combat to stay alive. Once in a non-combat situation the players health will recharge but the easiest way to leave this combat situation is to eliminate all the enemies on screen. I think it works but here are my questions.

Can you find any serious flaws with this?

If you always restore full health the gameplay would degenerate to a invinsible mode when encountering weak to medium opponents. You would just "run" through enemies without taking care about your health. On the other hand, once you encounter a strong opponent, you don't have any ways to heal during a battle. The only way this could be a interesting gameplay feature would be if you encounter one powerful opponent and some weak opponents (as walking healh pack).

In my opinion the main issue with this approach is, that you take away too many decisions from the player, he can't really decide to take a break (to reg) or to use one of his valuable health pack. You force him to fight, where each fight is just win or loss (like an arena fight).

I would prefer a system in which killed opponents drops a healh pack sometimes which could be used immediately or saved for later.



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Quote:
Original post by Ashaman73
Quote:
Original post by Bladerz666
regenerative health:
These are EVERYWHERE Halo 3, Call of Duty, you've seen these. My issue with these is that they require the player to stop, sit behind a rock, and wait thorugh 5 seconds of downtime while their health recharges.

This system encourages the player to take cover, which adds to the game experience to a FPS like game.

False. Every FPS I have ever played, starting from Wolfenstein 3D, encourages taking cover. Regenerating health encourages the player to grind through keeping breaks between every enemy, which generally makes the game more boring.

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