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theodore italik

what constitutes a "combat system" ?

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Hi,

After watching a review earlier today of "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" the game (not the movie!) the reviewer mentioned it has a wonderful combat system.

It's a beat 'em up game so is the combat system the specific animation rendering and collision detection for a beat 'em up?

I don't really understand and would appreciate if someone could explain the term.

Thanks,

Theodore

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yewbie    677
I think the reviewer was probably just using "combat system" to define the way in which the player damages the enemies and vice verse.

I personally would say a combat system is your mechanic used in game to convey damage against something.

That would include your animation, subtracting health, etc.

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Wai    1007

I think a combat system also include the following:

o Requirements of a move (e.g. cooldown, mana, rage, distance, weapon, etc.)
o Timing of a move
o Variations in the targets of attack
o Range of effects of moves (e.g. jump, throw, grab, etc.)
o Conditions and status (e.g. Unconscious, dizzy, frozen, etc.)
...

The list is pretty long. So basically everything in the game that
affects the player's decision during a fight. For example, if you
choose to kick because a kick can reach farther than a punch, the
fact that different attacks have different reach is part of the
combat system.

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Hawkins8    100
Quote:
Original post by theodore italik
Hi,

After watching a review earlier today of "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" the game (not the movie!) the reviewer mentioned it has a wonderful combat system.

It's a beat 'em up game so is the combat system the specific animation rendering and collision detection for a beat 'em up?

I don't really understand and would appreciate if someone could explain the term.

Thanks,

Theodore


A combat system is how a fight should be carried out in game. Whether swords or magic or arrow or guns or nukes should be used and how they cause damage to opponents. Better collision detection means a more realitic fight can be emulated such that the player can make decision on attacking the different body parts of his opponent, say, whether to cut his leg or cut his arm, or hurt his torso, or shoot his head. And a precise collision detection can detect down to body parts such that whether those parts of your opponent is hit can be correctly managed/detected. For example, you try to shoot your opponent's arm, while your opponent is trying to dodge, precise collision detection can simulate whether your arrow hits or the dodge succeeded.

Yet IMO, such a precision down to body parts brings in no more fun at all, it's just some gimmick by software improvement. It may gain some fun in the case of action type games but totally meaningless in RPGs and MMORPGs.

Will you find it fun to see the following messages in the screen?

your right hand is hurt, now you have to use your left hand to fight.
now your right leg is hurt, so your walking speed decreases
now your left hand is 10% disable and you find it difficult to hold your sword

I find those details totally meaningless and adds nothing but boredom to the game.

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kraz007    130
The best example for a combat system is AD&D. Since it's not a game, you are not dazzled by character animations or or spell effects. By definition, the combat system is the set of rules that determine who the winner is in a confrontation with an opposing force.

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JoeCooper    350
Quote:
By definition, the combat system is the set of rules that determine who the winner is in a confrontation with an opposing force.


QFT.

You've surely got the definition of it down, but I would like to add...

Chess is a combat system. There's a set of rules that guide what all the game elements under your control can do, and you can make decisions and control your opponent through deception.

Think about that word decisions.

If you have two choices, A or B, and offer no information at all that would tell the player if A or B is better, and it isn't there for player expression, than giving the player the option is superfluous.

A more literal example... If you have an empty field, and your weapons and gameplay options are limited in such a way that it doesn't matter where you stand, than being able to move around is now superfluous.

Many carefully crafted games like FF7 reflect this; the battle system only lets you choose between two positions for a character (front row or rear) because the rest of the mechanics make any other option pointless.

So the player should be under control of meaningful decisions, where the player can look at the situation and come up with a decision.

Quote:
It's a beat 'em up game so is the combat system the specific animation rendering and collision detection for a beat 'em up?


These games can be deceptively simple.

This game here looks like Wolverine beating people up but is actually a series of carefully crafted puzzles.

In the beginning, Wolverine is dropped between two tanks. He can jump over them or punch through, but he cannot progress until it's established that the player can do at least one of those things.

That game in particular is subtle enough about it that as a kid I didn't catch it at all and thought it was just Wolverine tearin' shit up.

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Combat system - as the term is commonly used, even if most people can't spell out the definition - equals the set of game mechanics which are directly related to combat, and are shared between all playable characters.

"Character dies if their hit points drop to 0" -> part of the combat system
"In between combats you can open chests which restore hit points" -> not part of the combat system

"Street Fighter characters block while being controlled backwards and not in the air" -> part of the combat system
"Blanka can emit lightning by hitting punch buttons fast" -> not part of the combat system

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Orymus    156
I like the following approach:

A combat system is how a user interacts with the game (input) and reacts (emotions) to the elements of violence within the game...

The combat system of a wii port of a next gen console is drastically different even though the mechanics are similar because the input is drastically altered for a controller that uses spacial environment.

Likewise, the addition of blood or recoil to violence (either through knives or shotgun shells) changes the combat system experience in that it generates different emotions. You wouldn't feel the same when tossing carrots at lemurs than when you are piercing aliens with a rocket launcher or automatic shotgun.

so yes, the mechanics do matter (how it works) but the wrapping of it all comes down to input and output(emotions)

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JoeCooper    350
I've always called that the user interface and the facade.

These are also very important, but don't skip on designing the game rules.

But also don't skimp on UI and facade!

UI is important to make your game playable and understandable and eliminate friction between the player and game. A bad UI is like having to play Chess with oven-mits on.

A carefully crafted facade can add a lot of character to your piece.

Farmville is a simple game where you basically estimate when you'll be back at the computer and do some light arithmetic. The facade adds a whole fantasy experience where you pretend you're farming.

Many games such as Farmville also allow for some player self expression, which is especially fun when you're playing with other people. You can even find this in Batman Returns (SNES, 1993), which would be played on a TV set in front of your friends even if it is formally "single player".

Dressing it up with cliche bits like elves and space marines can help make things more intuitive if the player has some relevant preconceived notions about what those things mean; in Civilization, it's an easy guess that the horse unit will be faster.

If you want to be a bit more unconventional with any mechanics, facade or interfaces, just make sure to understand the processes that went into the common conventions and understand what all these elements do and what really makes up a game. A lot of deceptively simple games have something to teach you. Also, practice a lot; make quick prototypes of games and try it with people. I use paper for this - like board games - as well as Java.

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