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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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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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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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whoa, way more responses than expected, first off, I'm not sure if many of you understood how the health system works.

you recover health after each enemy dies, not the entire group, because the health regenerates fully once this enemy is dead it makes the player feel empowered again, I'm trying to design it in a way that the player feels immense, exhilerated by being on the brink of death, then awesome again after killing an enemy.

It almost works like the regen system found in FPS's but instead of hiding behind a rock you're encouraged to finish the kill.

This is designed to create this real sense that the player needs to kill with speed, the combo system I've designed emphasises this (although I won't go into it).

the way enemies are positioned can be varied, could be a large group of enemies, all the same, or a large enemy that must be taken out in a specific way (like slicing the legs of a "walker" tank before shooting its exposed drivers seat) surrounded by small cannon fodder to act as health packs.
The difference types of enemy (like some challenging grenadier types surrounded but very weak enemies) means that the player will still need to use strategy to determine which enemies to kill when to get the best results.

obviously difficulty would be awkward to balance (as it is in any game) but I'm aiming more for the medium-hard end of the spectrum seeing as the project features a basic upgrade system. It'll be challenging and exhilerating but achievable, if you're really stuck you can do some mild grinding (although that will only be if you're really quite poor at the game).

someone mentioned the health system having a slight problem when it comes to environmental damage. I gave it some thought and congratulations! you've helped create a new enemy for the project!
The basic idea is that at the end of a platforming section with environmental hazards there will be a bug type enemy that deals no damage but killing it restores health in the same way a normal enemy would. These bug like creatures can cling to walls, floors and roofs so the player may need to hunt them down when needed.
This enemy basically will act as a health pack at the en of these sections.

as for whether health should be purchasable of found in the environment (be it by placement by me or by an enemy dropping it) this will slow down the pace of the combat. The combat is supposed to be ridiculously fast you see, I want the player to be focusing on stringing kills together as fast as possible (a feature that the health system should emphasise). This is partly because I want the player to feel exhilerated and partly because of the movement system (being a kin to tony hawks pro skater). The player is expected to focus on doing tricks off of ramps, planning the best way to take out their foes, and execute their plans very fast. I don't want to overload what needs to be done all at one by adding health pack collection to that list. :)

Thanks alot guys, super thanks if you actually read all of that, you get +5000xp and you obtain the sword of epic.

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Simply put, health isn't guaranteed to go down. The current reward system is only geared towards awful players, meaning the game will be incredibly easy for a lot of people.

I think you should go with the old-school style of health, like Zelda's hearts or Ghouls and Ghosts with Arthur's breaking armour.

Instead of health, offer a power meter. Where when you fight it diminishes and when you kill or combo, it goes up.
Power changes the severity of the attacks you can do, so you will still be able to attack with none, but at a very limited level.
You can then offer pick-up health that drops from enemies or hidden around the area.

It encourages people to learn attacks, to invest in combat and doesn't reward people for sucking.

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Original post by Pencil Case
Simply put, health isn't guaranteed to go down. The current reward system is only geared towards awful players, meaning the game will be incredibly easy for a lot of people.

I think you should go with the old-school style of health, like Zelda's hearts or Ghouls and Ghosts with Arthur's breaking armour.

Instead of health, offer a power meter. Where when you fight it diminishes and when you kill or combo, it goes up.
Power changes the severity of the attacks you can do, so you will still be able to attack with none, but at a very limited level.
You can then offer pick-up health that drops from enemies or hidden around the area.

It encourages people to learn attacks, to invest in combat and doesn't reward people for sucking.


on the contrary the health system is designed to reward more skilled players.

the health bar is located on the bottom of the screen, an enemy shoots you, health bar goes down, simple stuff. Kill this enemy and your health is fully back, this means that to ensure your survival you will need to execute kills as fast as possible. You can purchase upgrades for your health meter if it is desired to make if a bit longer, this is merely to ensure that gamers who do find the game a bit to hard have somewhere to turn to when they're stuck on a particular boss battle or whatever to reduce mental fatigue.

the reason my health system is designed in the way it is, where health instantly comes back after an enemy is executed is because it gives this burst of exhileration each time an enemy is taken down. This way it will keep the players focus, something especially important seeing as I'm designing around the 3DS, a handheld, meaning that keeping the players attention is key.

one final thing to point out is that I'm not trying to be all like "SHUT UP MY HEALTH SYSTEM WORKZ K?!!?!". This is really helpful and I completely appreciate the suggestions.

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It's not a burst of exhiliration to give a player God mode without cheats.

Why do you think so many pro FPS players have an issue with regenerating health?

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Original post by Pencil Case
It's not a burst of exhiliration to give a player God mode without cheats.

Why do you think so many pro FPS players have an issue with regenerating health?


I still don't understand the draw of a non regen health system, I feel the regen system requires skill to use while reducing mental fatigue by stopping people from getting stuck in a rut. By all means it works for a number of games but I wouldn't call it a god mode as it still requires skill to survive. Get too sloppy and you WILL die.

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It doesn't take more skill to regenerate your health than it does to never lose it at all.

It just rewards all the wrong types of play.

More skilled players definitely take heavy advantage of it, being able to stay away from hotspots and get into hiding place nobody will find you in until you're good to go.

Guaranteeing players full health after killing a monster will just mean that a more skilled player will take out monsters in order of how much damage they do, making the rest of the battle easy mode.
Health low? Kill something easy between attacks.

It won't take MORE skill, it will take less. A lot less than Devil May Cry or God Of War or Tomb Raider. Or any of the many other similar games out there.

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I would be really leery of making bad players grind (?) and buy stuff and then make things easier for them. I find it undermines the integrity of the design for everyone. If you must, make an easy mode and allow players to explicitly, immediately and permanently drop down to that mode if they need to. It has been done in tons of games and it works.

I have played something called Self Destruct that may share some genes with your proposed system. It's an excellent indie shoot'em up where you don't really collect power-ups to grow more powerful, but to stay powerful, preferably maxed. Your power in SD is constantly diminishing (going to zero in a couple of seconds' time), and to survive, you have to surf on the crest of power-ups in order to stay strong enough to collect more power-ups. If you allow yourself to fall to lowest power, you are in trouble as you will have a hard time killing enough or surviving to up your power again. This seems more or less analogous to a hard fight in your game where the player is semi-guaranteed to sustain damage, and must kill to restore his health at tight intervals. In SD you sometimes want to wait for a fraction of a second before grabbing a power-up so it takes a fraction of a second longer before you need another. In your game, there's obviously motivation to occasionally keep some enemies alive - once you have an enemy one bullet away from death, why kill it, as long as you are in good health yourself and there are other enemies left?

So you are actually wrong about your system leading to players wanting to kill everything ASAP. To the contrary, your system rewards tactically keeping some enemies alive. Which I think can be very cool. If you want to encourage chain-killing the enemies, then you can give lots of (exponentially increasing?) points for chained kills. Good scorers will not kill the enemies, but damage the strong ones 'enough' to finally kill everything in a massive chain combo, while weaker players will kill individual enemies for health refills and just survive. Obviously you can, and should, make it ridiculously hard to score perfectly - that is, to allow all enemies to live until it's time to chain them.

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Original post by Pencil Case
Guaranteeing players full health after killing a monster will just mean that a more skilled player will take out monsters in order of how much damage they do, making the rest of the battle easy mode.
False. You are ignoring all the possible features the monsters may have. Just for instance, what if the monster doing the most damage also takes a ton of damage to kill and the rest (which also have respectable firepower) are fragile? What if their attacks are not simple hitscans and projectiles with different damage values? What if the player can stun or otherwise alter the status of some monsters, or the monsters have interactions like shielding or healing another?
Quote:
Health low? Kill something easy between attacks.
Another assumption - namely, that the player can kill anything instantly in the middle of fighting another monster without planning ahead.
Quote:
It won't take MORE skill, it will take less. A lot less than Devil May Cry or God Of War or Tomb Raider. Or any of the many other similar games out there.
Actually, God of War is really quite simple. A game with this "death = full health" mechanic could easily be made deeper and more demanding.

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I don't see what you're getting at.

All you're saying is what if monsters had certain features that made them more threatening in a group?

Nothing would change, priority goes up with it.

If it's a game where there's an objective to kill something, keeping monsters alive goes against the nature of the objective. It's not an initial feature, it's hapless abuse of another.
I like the idea of a guy being a vampire for enemy souls, but there are better ways to do it than this.

Larger monsters could absorb the health from a dead monster instead of giving it to the player.
Forcing you to confront them one-on-one with just your skills.

There could be stipulations involved in choosing to absorb the life, like karma or demonic energy, etc.

The point is, based on the information we were given, all we can do is assume. At the moment, it's just a health system for killing monsters.
It rewards the player regardless of enemy difficulty, or player skill, with full health.

Removing the point of having a health system almost entirely, since any good player will be able to kill a monster after their first encounter without much trouble, regardless of their function.

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The idea seems to work OK in Borderlands' Mad Moxxi arena (Vampire mode), but there it's implemented as a randomly occurring temporary modifier that isn't used during normal gameplay.

The key difference in their implementation is that they ALSO have a regenerating shield on top of a standard health bar. Typically when something has eaten through your shields, your health bar goes down REALLY quickly. Vampire mode only affects the health bar and not shields, but you will 'die' when your health hits zero.

The health drain is slow enough that normally it won't kill you - enemies shooting you will kill you 100x faster than the constant health drain does. The only real thing it does is forces you to actively hunt enemies instead of sit back and wait, for example if you have a sniper character. You're still forced to take cover periodically to avoid getting shot from everywhere at once.

Choices the player has to make:
- Do I hide in cover to let my shield regen, sacrificing a bit of health to the constant drain?
or
- Do I shoot at some enemies to try to get some health back, sacrificing shields when they inevitably hit me?



Also, in the standard game without Vampire mode, some characters have abilities that can force the shield to regenerate for a few seconds after killing each enemy with no other downsides. Normally shields stop regenerating for 5-10 seconds after getting hit. Characters with these kinds of skills can typically stay in combat indefinitely and are nearly impossible to kill.

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It seems like the comments people are making here are really just pointing to the fact that it all boils down to design. Any system, badly implemented, will suck. A mediocre system, well implemented, will be fine, though perhaps not great.

Bladerz666, your idea is conceptually fine, as I'm sure you already know. But the implementation will be really difficult to balance. If the only way to regenerate health is to kill monsters, then your game will walk a fine line between way too easy and way too hard. It can still work, but you're going to have to playtest it a lot, and with a lot of people, to ensure that people won't be put off by getting blown away for lack of monster-killing skill right away, or bored by killing everything in a de facto god mode. Different difficulty modes can help with, but are not a panacea for, this issue.

No one can critique leech too heavily because we can't see its implementation; therefore, the risks and potential flaws of the system loom larger in peoples' minds than the perfectly balanced best implementation. We don't know how many monsters will be fighting the player at once, how much damage they can do, how hard they are to kill, how many skills/abilities/attacks the player will have, etc. But if you're willing to invest your time and attention in the playtesting phase, I don't see any reason that your game won't come out great.

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I like health orbs when you kill an enemy in heavy action games. I thought DMC did this(?), and I know it works well for Marvel Ultimate ALliance games.

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firstly! first post! I personally do not have any real life experience in game design, but i have tons of experience playing games, and have created many of my own games on paper. They include MMO's, Card games, Board games, IPOD Apps etc.

Anyway, I have read a lot of ideas in this thread for a way to make the health system work, and while some of them are creative and well thought out, they don't address the correct problem.

You need to specifically ask yourself what you want the challenge to be in this game, and your health recovery system should stem from that answer.

For instance, if you decide that the game will be an endurance run...from point A to Point B, you would be better off using straight up health pack(or checkpoint system). This would allow you to decide for yourself how far the player should be able to get without needing a health boost. You could add a small amount of HP per enemy killed, but this should be taken into account when you are picking where the checkpoint will go.

For example A->B early tutorial level. You determine that the player will need 500 units of health to make it past this checkpoint. So, you give the player 350 units of health base, and have the enemies drop 150units throughout the gauntlet.

I would suggest this only if you have predetermined monsters for each section of the game. If they are randomly spawned, or if they respawn, you would probably have to think of a different way to do it.

If you decide to do it this way, there would be plenty of different ways you can go about it..Give the player a Cure spell and mana. This would allow the player to choose when they should HEAL, and add the extra challenge of being required to do it DURING battle. Or of course, you could use HP potions. This again limits the amount of times he can heal, but gives the player the choice to decide when to do it. "Should i try and kill that last guy and save some potions?! or do I not take the risk and just use it now!"

If, however, you decide that each checkpoint will take place after EACH enemy destroyed, then you can give full HP back. However, do this only if each fight with an enemy is extremely challenging. It seems to me that this would require the AI to be extremely smart. Not just to make it challenging, but to make it fun as well.

Again. Its based solely on how you want the player to proceed through your game, and without you telling us what you want, its fairly impossible for us to tell you what to do.

Perhaps more information on

1) How strong each set of enemies is
2) How far you want the player to go in each endurance run
2a) if you even want an endurance run
3) how many obstacles will be in the platforming sections
4) Do you want the player to have potions or a means of healing himself?
5) etc.

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I think "Batman: Arkham Asylum" can be a good reference - the player gets healed after he passed a section (by beating or going around a group of enemies). If he failed to pass the section, the game restarts from the beginning of the section.
Easy to progress, no calculation is needed.

Regenerative Health: what I hate in CoD are endless enemies + endless restoration until you pass the section, which make a section can take forever to beat or fail.

For Health Pack: if they're well placed, the effect is the same as what I suggested; if they're not, bah...

For Leech: it's really hard to control the difficulty and easy to exploit - I'll pummel every enemy to near death, then kill them when I need to be healed.

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