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Telcontar

Fight Playback

7 posts in this topic

I'm slowly developing a comprehensive RPG system in my head. The fighting system in said RPG is going to be fairly complicated, with multiple targetable areas, concerns of stance and facing, etc. In other words, even for a well-versed player the possibilties might be enough that they need to take a non-trivial amount of time to choose their next action.

All this complexity is great for someone like me who loves complex games, but it might seriously harsh the buzz of a person who likes more viscerality. Because of the complexity of the fight system the player might need awhile to make each decision, which has the effect of slowing down gameplay (albeit in a way that I and folks like me would still enjoy). I have a number of ideas for how to better appeal to them as well, and one of my favorites - though I'm concerned about its effectiveness - is the Fight Playback.

In every violent encounter, the game will start to record the actions of the various participants (basically saving a small section of the world for as long as the fight goes on). Then at the end the player will be able to rewatch the fight in real-time.

Obviously a lot of the potential of the idea is bound up in the execution - great animation and such - but what do all of you think of the basic premise? For those of you who enjoy quick, action-packed button-mashers, would this system help you to enjoy a much slower playing experience more?
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Could be a good idea, actually. Give a sense of what you did during the battle after it's all over. I would make it optional of course, though.
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Definitely make the replay optional if you do it. If a player is already annoyed at the slow pace, the last thing many of them will want to do is to slow the game down even more by having to watch a re-cap of what they've just done. Given the detail you seem to be going for, it sounds like even the replay might run 30 seconds to a minute or more.

A better idea might be to give the player a change to opt-in to some kind of faster, less detailed battle system that moves at a quicker pace. You might do this by providing an AI or rules-based system to take over the more tedious aspects of the complex battle system, such as stance. Another approach is to treat the interface as the problem (which it probably is) and just make that as quick and painless as possible -- nested menus are clunky, but a directional/button-based system can make move selection almost like pulling special move in a fighting game. Legend of Legia did this.

You didn't specify the style of RPG or battle system though, so this advice might apply differently (a tactics-style RPG might not benefit as much from the directional/button-based move selection, for example).
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[quote name='Ravyne' timestamp='1348584759' post='4983597']
A better idea might be to give the player a change to opt-in to some kind of faster, less detailed battle system that moves at a quicker pace. You might do this by providing an AI or rules-based system to take over the more tedious aspects of the complex battle system, such as stance. Another approach is to treat the interface as the problem (which it probably is) and just make that as quick and painless as possible -- nested menus are clunky, but a directional/button-based system can make move selection almost like pulling special move in a fighting game. Legend of Legia did this.
[/quote]

I remember the more complex Final Fantasy games did something to that effect too. Having complexity is fine, but if you want to increase your demographic to those who aren't into that level of complexity, then that could be a great idea.
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Will the player be informed of the results of his decision before selection (like Vanguard Bandits or Tactics Ogre that would give the hit%, damage dealt, and enemy response before you had to confirm your selection)? If so then I definitely support the Fight Playback option because the micromanagement of the response analysis drags out each decision and interupts the chaotic nature of a battle. Replaying it not only gives you a sense of what you did in its entirety, which you lose during micromanagement, but it could also give you an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your strategies as you watch the results and AI responses to your decisions in a faster paced setting.
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A) It will certainly be optional (or skippable, or whatever ends up working best).
B) Options to speed up fights are planned - in fact customizability has always been a focus of mine.

@ NaturalNines: I do plan to give some sort of percentage or measure of an action's success (though possibly in more general terms than simply X%), and beyond that there will be tactical considerations the player needs to consider beyond the simple percent chance of success or how much damage in might do - attacking a person's heavily armored chest, in order to knock them down, so you can run away or set up another strike or focus on a different enemy or.... etc.

Details of which buttons or pressed or how the menus might be presented are too early to know at this point. While the system will be complex, I understand the necessity of making it as easy to control as possible. Right now I'm thinking radial menus or some other option-and-information rich system.
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[quote name='Telcontar' timestamp='1348613594' post='4983788']
I do plan to give some sort of percentage or measure of an action's success (though possibly in more general terms than simply X%), and beyond that there will be tactical considerations the player needs to consider beyond the simple percent chance of success or how much damage in might do - attacking a person's heavily armored chest, in order to knock them down, so you can run away or set up another strike or focus on a different enemy or.... etc.
[/quote]
Then to answer your original question the basic premise is a good one. I'm not sure how many "quick, action packed button mashers" you'll be able to attract with the idea since its only post-battle eye candy, which has no effect on the speed or entertainment level of your battle system. More of a bonus feature for fans of strategy or turn-based RPGs than a lure for fast-paced gamers.
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This could be very good, if well done. Consider in the recent Sherlock Holmes films, the way he plans out each fight in his mind ahead of time, which is displayed in slow-motion, and then the fight plays over again for real this time, at normal speed. I could see that translating well to a certain class of game.
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