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Kaident

Combat System?

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I'm working on creating a game right now and don't know what I should do for the combat system. The main aspect I want is to avoid grinding and randomness. I could simply have a turn-based game without levels, but I'm looking for something unique, challenging, and can change to give different enemies different attacks. Simply I want to know of a combat system without grinding and isn't pokemon.

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Turned based without the levels kinda defeats a purpose there... If you want to remove the "grindyness" of it try looking at the formula behind Legend of Zelda, Super Metroid, Castlevania, Halo, etc.

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The best way to do what you're thinking of, in my opinion, would to be have the combat be somewhat puzzle based. Utilize the terrain, and items in your world to make this possible. You could also integrate classes and whatnot.

 

That said, leveling really is the core concept of most RPGs, it really helps the player feel like (s)he is getting stronger in the game.

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You haven't told us how your game looks like and I think it's quite important here. Chess has combat system and Street Fighter has combat system but they are very different.

If your game is "juicy" enough then maybe you don't need combat at all? Or very simplified one that doesn't involve any luck or skill? On the other hand there are a lot of people playing Diablo or similar games for years just because they implemented random grind as very enjoyable and rewarding experience :)

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I am very sorry, I don't how I forgot to say this. I plan for it to be a 2D RPG like Earthbound but with a different combat system. I'm wanting to avoid grinding and randomness like in pokemon. In pokemon the levels take so long to increase just to fight the bosses and there's a random chance to get a critical hit or to dodge.

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"I want to make this game that these other people made except for this part that I want to change, but I want someone else to tell me how it should change."

 

Am I missing something here?

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There are lots of different combat systems out there. Experience playing a variety of different games might give you some ideas but in the end you have to determine what is going to be the best fit for your game. Ask yourself, what is it that you want the player to experience?

A combat system can be anything that you want. Breaking it down to its most basic, you are in effect looking at a mini-game where there is a competition between the player and an opponent (possibly that's you as a puzzle designer), the outcome of which either limits the player in some way if he looses or rewards the player in some way if he continues. It can be as random as the roll of the dice or completely deterministic. There's no reason why you couldn't say that the player will experience 4 opponents between points A and B. If you don't want to do the traditional dice roll mechanic then maybe to pass each opponent maybe the player must solve some puzzle. Or maybe it's completely centered around a player's skills in a more arcade style mode where he has to dodge the enemies and inflict hits as his weapon strikes the enemy. It could also be a thinly veiled key quest where all you need to proceed past your opponent is some item hidden somewhere else.

But if you're truly desperate for ideas, how about a combat sequence resembling something like an old Artillery game or like Worms. I was also quite fond of the battles for control over robots you would do in Paradroid.

 

Oh, it also just occurred to me that maybe you do want to go with something like the basic dice roll mechanic. Like I said, you can plan your game such that you expect the player to have x encounters from point A to B, whether the battles are specifically planned or occur as a result of a "random" frequency that you tweak to come close to that value. To keep things simple, start with looking at finding what you want these values to be without the use of status effects. If you know his hit points and what sort of damage he typically deals and receives per hit, you can determine how many battles the player can theoretically complete before needing to heal. And of course,if that number is less than the number of battles to get to point B then you need to make sure there is an opportunity to heal or the player will likely die at the next battle. Also, if you know the number of battles that will occur from point A to point B then you can also predict (or highly influence) what level or skills the player will have by the time he reaches an area with a stronger enemy. Of course, there will be some variation depending on luck and the player's choices however if you lay out a plan for what the user can do and is expected to do (which is probably wishful thinking) then you can try to provide an experience that will result in minimal grinding.
 

Edited by kseh

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"I want to make this game that these other people made except for this part that I want to change, but I want someone else to tell me how it should change."

 

Am I missing something here?

 

That was also my first reaction...

 

Kaident, before trying to get other peoples opinion, maybe formulate an idea of your own. "Like Earthbound or Pokemon, but less Grindy and Random" is not really an idea of your own.

 

 

Start with the high level concept. Try, at some point to get away from references ("... like Earthbound"), start to explicitly state what that means ("... 2D RPG with vertically scrolling dungeons, no overworld, combat without a seperate combat interface, ..." (I have no idea about Earthbound, so I am improvising here, but you get the idea))...

1. You do no longer expect people to know all the games you refer to. Not everyone has played every game, but ESPECIALLY the input from people not into your genre of choice can be extremly valuable. Because they are for certain not thinking in stereotypes, whereas many genre insiders often are.

2. You are free now to change the formula, without having to list things you want to NOT include. And you are no longer trying to recreate an existing game, you are creating your own genuine vision.

3. It will get your creative juices flowing. If you keep not REALLY working on the concept by just sticking to "...like <insert game name here>" references, you will always think of your references, but not of the game YOU want to build. That is most probably why you cannot think of how to design your battle system.

 

 

Its extremly easy to avoid randomness and grindyness in RPGs. Make it more of an Action Adventure, leave out levelling, stick to fixed damage.

 

There are ramifications though: if you stick to not level the character, players will miss the sense of advancement. You will need to introduce items (new weapons, better armour), or other ways of improving the characters (more hearts like in Zelda), or you will need to improve other parts of the game (maybe the story is so cpative that players don't care their character is not advancing in gameplay terms?) to make up for the missing levelling.

If you leave out all randomness, you will have to really think about your combat system. In an action adventure like Zelda, that is no problem. There is a skill component involved (dodging attacks, choosing the right attack), and fighting is not so important (there are also puzzles, and story). If you stick to a turnbased system, you might need a more tactical approach like in the Disgae games, or Final Fantasy Tactics, where the characters also have to be moved to attack on a tilebased combat area.

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"I want to make this game that these other people made except for this part that I want to change, but I want someone else to tell me how it should change."

 

Am I missing something here?

 

That was also my first reaction...

 

Kaident, before trying to get other peoples opinion, maybe formulate an idea of your own. "Like Earthbound or Pokemon, but less Grindy and Random" is not really an idea of your own.

 

 

Start with the high level concept. Try, at some point to get away from references ("... like Earthbound"), start to explicitly state what that means ("... 2D RPG with vertically scrolling dungeons, no overworld, combat without a seperate combat interface, ..." (I have no idea about Earthbound, so I am improvising here, but you get the idea))...

1. You do no longer expect people to know all the games you refer to. Not everyone has played every game, but ESPECIALLY the input from people not into your genre of choice can be extremly valuable. Because they are for certain not thinking in stereotypes, whereas many genre insiders often are.

2. You are free now to change the formula, without having to list things you want to NOT include. And you are no longer trying to recreate an existing game, you are creating your own genuine vision.

3. It will get your creative juices flowing. If you keep not REALLY working on the concept by just sticking to "...like <insert game name here>" references, you will always think of your references, but not of the game YOU want to build. That is most probably why you cannot think of how to design your battle system.

 

 

Its extremly easy to avoid randomness and grindyness in RPGs. Make it more of an Action Adventure, leave out levelling, stick to fixed damage.

 

There are ramifications though: if you stick to not level the character, players will miss the sense of advancement. You will need to introduce items (new weapons, better armour), or other ways of improving the characters (more hearts like in Zelda), or you will need to improve other parts of the game (maybe the story is so cpative that players don't care their character is not advancing in gameplay terms?) to make up for the missing levelling.

If you leave out all randomness, you will have to really think about your combat system. In an action adventure like Zelda, that is no problem. There is a skill component involved (dodging attacks, choosing the right attack), and fighting is not so important (there are also puzzles, and story). If you stick to a turnbased system, you might need a more tactical approach like in the Disgae games, or Final Fantasy Tactics, where the characters also have to be moved to attack on a tilebased combat area.

 

Ok, first of all, I'm not trying to get other people's opinions. Rather, I am trying to get suggestions. An example would be kseh's comment or your comment about fixed damage, thank you for that. I'm trying to find out where to start. I don't have knowledge of every game in existence and I know this goes for everyone else. But there are games that I don't know of (I only recently learned of Earthbound) and other people do. This is why I came here to gamedev.

 

Second, I know saying "Like Earthbound" isn't an original idea. It's not even an idea, it's a description. You don't have to have played Earthbound or Pokemon to know what 2D means, and if you haven't played them, it's not hard to go to youtube and look up game play on the device you are using to read this message. If you haven't seen game play and have no idea what I'm talking about, it's not hard to learn about what I'm talking about through the internet. (In fact I've never played Zelda, but I have seen some game play so I knew what you were talking about when you referenced Zelda) If you don't care to know what I'm talking about, then there's no reason for you to say anything.

 

Third, I only referenced Earthbound when I was talking about the mechanics outside of battle. IN FACT, I had specifically said "I plan for it to be a 2D RPG like Earthbound but with a different combat system." When I talking about pokemon, I only talked about the problem with it's combat system. I was explaining something that I was trying to avoid. None of this had to do with recreating a game, nor does it affect my "creative juices." I'm trying to collect information for to use my "creative juices" on.

 

Fourth, it's ironic that you decided to reference Zelda. But I'll be nice and not care.

 

Fifth, "If you leave out all randomness, you will have to really think about your combat system." THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT. I'm using collected information to REALLY think about the combat system I want to have because I A) don't want to make the same mistakes that other gaming companies or creators have made. B) I want to make mine different from others. It's the ENTIRE point of me being here on gamedev. 

 

Also, don't misinterpret what I say next time.

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I'm working on creating a game right now and don't know what I should do for the combat system. The main aspect I want is to avoid grinding and randomness. I could simply have a turn-based game without levels, but I'm looking for something unique, challenging, and can change to give different enemies different attacks. Simply I want to know of a combat system without grinding and isn't pokemon.

1) make it tactical, as was previously stated. Make movement a part of your turn. Make using items a part of your turn. Use doors and walls to your advantage. True roguelikes (Brogue, Pixel Dungeon) are good examples of this. Make it so that you have to think about how you're going to use your turn. Maybe there's traps that operate on a cycle, like every third turn a fireball spits out of a wall. Also, vary your enemies: have some that can move 2 tiles in a turn, others that can move 4, maybe even add some chess-like mechanics (certain enemies can only move a certain way). Obviously with this suggestion there's a necessity of not pulling the player out of the map to fight, instead having the fights happen on the map.
2) add obstacles. Maybe there's an archer that you simply can't reach, you have to put away your sword and pull out your bow. Maybe you have to break down a barricade while a mage is shooting fireballs at you. Maybe you can add some puzzle or platformer elements to it (like Legend of Zelda or Castlevania).
3) There needs to be a way to upgrade your character. If not levels, at least new weapons and tools, maybe health upgrades that have to be discovered (IE by breaking some specific barrel, swimming in some specific tile of water). Looking at Legend of Zelda might be helpful here.
4) Change up the story. "The Kingdom is in trouble! Only you, some random guy, can save us!" is basically the story of every RPG. Why not make it a sword & sorcery, like a deposed prince trying to reclaim his throne, or the widow(er) of some wrongly executed person seeking vengeance, or maybe just adventurous like you're an explorer shipwrecked on a dangerous island, and must collect resources to build a new ship in order to get home? Just some stories that make for good books/movies, fit with typical RPG worlds, but are much less typical. I mean, since you're trying to be different, might as well be different, right?

Edited by nfries88

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