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Norman Barrows

witcher 3 combat

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i was recently looking at the witcher series as a replacement for skyrim for when i need a D&D fix.

 

but i discovered its 3rd person only.

 

not only that, many of the comments said it would be unplayable in first person due to the combat system.  also that its combat was superior to skyrim.

 

the gist was that in skyrim you can just bash away and hope you have more hit points - which is true if the difficulty is so low you have no need to dodge or block.

 

in the past i've also heard that elder scrolls combat is lacking compared to other titles.  but not having the time to play every game, i'm not sure what folks are talking about. not that i think elder scrolls combat is all that or anything. just curious as to what the differences are.

 

i'd like to make the combat in Caveman as good a possible, so examples of games with superior combat would be a great help. but even more importantly, not just the name of the game , but specifically what is superior and why, as i don't have the time or money to try them all for myself.

Edited by Norman Barrows

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The Witcher 3 would work in first-person. It would just make you motion-sick; combat is full of side-stepping and dive rolls. There's only one first-person game I have played that has the same amount of dodging: Lichdom: Battlemage. That game makes me motion sick extremely quickly, probably due to the crazy ways the camera moves during fast-paced combat.

Skyrim can be played both first person and third-person. In first-person you miss a lot of the cool-looking attack animations that your character is doing. Melee is kind of dull - you have one block move and two attack moves. Attack responsiveness is terrible (cooldown, no good feel of flow or chaining attacks). Enemies can block you in absurd circumstances which feels terrible (same problem in Fallout 4 - people can block a chainsaw with their bare arms).

I think the only games that I'd say have good combat systems are fighting games like the Soul Calibur series. Everything else is kind of "meh" after a while. I like Skyrim and Witcher for the exploration aspect much more than the combat.

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Lugaru/Overgrowth and Dragons dogma are probably the best for open world combat imo.

 

My issue with Skyrim's combat is that if anyone in the battle is melee, they just try to stick on the enemies and bash them to death, which isn't at fun as it sounds.

 

There's some great skyrim mods that improve it though, specifically mods that allow things like shield bashing/kicks to knock people back. This means the initial contact (along with choosing whether to block/power attack/spam attack) is repeated several times, instead of just running up to an enemy and spamming left click.

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>> combat is full of side-stepping and dive rolls

 

hmm... already have both of those in caveman.

 

>> That game makes me motion sick extremely quickly, probably due to the crazy ways the camera moves during fast-paced combat.

 

so its crazy camera moves that are the issue.

 

>> In first-person you miss a lot of the cool-looking attack animations that your character is doing.

 

if i want to watch combat, i go see a movie. if i want to experience combat, i play a game.

 

i also hate the way it does a slo-mo when you're trying to turn towards the next target. but slo-mo on near miss miracle bow shots from hell are pretty cool.

 

>>  Attack responsiveness is terrible (cooldown, no good feel of flow or chaining attacks). 

 

definitely unresponsive.  not sure why.  recently i've taken to playing with SGTM at values above 1.0. SGTM is set global time multiplier. it appears to be a const multiplier applied to ET in a F-Y-timestep algo. basically its accelerated time. it how they do the slo-mos. but it can also do fast-mos.  great for walking out of the dungeon when you're over encumbered.  it also shows where havok objects are not at full rest. set it to about 3 and watch books fly around like the room was possessed. 

for a fun action arcade experience, play in 3rd person view with the camera zoomed all the way out and SGTM set to 2. the game runs at double speed and combat becomes more like a diablo click fest.

 

i've found that with high enough difficulty levels, you do get a sort of flow, but its rather slow paced like a waltz. the moves are still limited, attack, power attack, block, and dodge, with followup on staggered opponent as the only sort of chain attack. of course at that point you're at like 2 htk difficulty though. IE if they land two good blows on you, you're dead. so while its slow, it can still be intense - two strikes and you're out makes for a bit of a challenge.

 

by comparison, caveman is insanely frantic, despite the fact that all attacks take 1/3 second to occur, and 2/3 seconds for follow through.

 

>> Enemies can block you in absurd circumstances which feels terrible (same problem in Fallout 4 - people can block a chainsaw with their bare arms).

 

well, it is bethesda after all - gotta expect a few arbitrary unrealistic design choices.

 

>> I think the only games that I'd say have good combat systems are fighting games like the Soul Calibur series

 

could you be more specific? what about soul calibur is superior?

Edited by Norman Barrows

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>> if anyone in the battle is melee, they just try to stick on the enemies and bash them to death, which isn't at fun as it sounds.

 

you mean if you the player are a melee character? or do you mean the AI used by NPC melee characters?

 

what you describe is typical for a melee player character playing at too low a difficulty setting. no need to block, dodge, maneuver for shot, take cover, time your attacks, chose regular vs power attack, use choke points to reduce the numbers you face at once or prevent being outflanked, etc. just keep swinging and hope you have more hit points and health potions than they do.

all those things i described (block, dodge, etc) are required at high enough difficulty levels.

 

and every death becomes and analysis: "ok, i died that time because i missed on my first power attack." or "they got behind me" or "gotta kill the fire mage first".

 

one thing i've noticed is that if you make regular game play sufficiently difficult, bosses become impossible at the same diff level. so if you play a single diff level, you breeze thru the level and get a challenge from the boss, or get a challenge from the level and cant take on the boss at all.

 

>> Lugaru/Overgrowth and Dragons dogma are probably the best for open world combat imo.

 

why?  details please.  

Edited by Norman Barrows

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I like fun and challenging skill-based melee/medieval combat more than the average guy, and I'm always happy to discuss these topics so here I go.

 

Norman Barrows, on 03 May 2016 - 1:25 PM, said:Norman Barrows, on 03 May 2016 - 1:25 PM, said:Norman Barrows, on 03 May 2016 - 1:25 PM, said:

so does more combat moves = better combat in most peoples minds? IE like mortal combat with lots of attack and defense moves?

not necessarily, but in most cases of games I can think about, yes.

in a lot of the mainstream combat-heavy games, having more attack and defense moves usually means gimmicks that serve no other purpose than adding visual flair in an effort to make the combat feel less repetitive. most of the times it's done in a very unrealistic and cheesy way that IRL would most likely just get you killed (like every other spin attack out there)

also in most games, those additional attack moves are achieved by the player by just smashing the same attack button again, which only creates a huge discrepancy between the character's skill and the player's skill. also means it's very un-creative for the player (as opposed to, say, combining different action buttons like jump+attack, dodge+attack, etc, to produce those additional attacks)

 

 

I think the important question is, do you want to rely on player skill or not?

both with and without relying on player skill can be valid methods that result on fun gameplay (I'm personally just very biased towards the player skill approach)

 

some mentions of games that try to do combat with some depth:

- Mount & Blade: (1st and 3rd person, mostly played in 3rd person) offers freedom to choose 4 mouse-directional attacks and relies heavily on timing and action-reaction. it can be a bit twitchy at times (esp. in MP)

- Chivalry: (1st and 3rd person, mostly played in 1st person, 3rd person disabled server-side in a lot of servers) comes with 3 directional attacks + 3 variations (mapped to 3 mouse buttons), relies heavily on timing and action-reaction but also on aiming, positioning can play a big rold, and it's slightly slower and slightly more strategic than Mount & Blade

 

some other games that I didn't play for long, mostly because the combat didn't 'click' for me

- War of the Roses: (3rd person) similar style to Mount & Blade or Chivalry, but to me felt too slow and had some mechanics that I found boring (coupe de grace / reviving)

- Batman Arkham Asylum and anything after that: (topdown / 3rd perso) its combat system is praised but for me it felt too easy and "guided" (unlike the others, it's a topdown/3rdPerson and enemies show an indicator when they are about to attack you)

 

 

additionally I can recommend my own game! (which I offered you Norman, to try 2 years ago, but you didnt reply -_- )

for Elium: Prison Escape I have 4 mouse-directional attacks like Mount & Blade but I have a wider array of moves (offhand attacks, push, weapon hit, etc). relies heavily on timing and action-reaction but also aiming and positioning, stamina plays a big role which leads to a lot of attack interchanges (as opposed to attack spamming)

Edited by Chosker

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>> War of the Roses: (3rd person) similar style to Mount & Blade or Chivalry, but to me felt too slow and had some mechanics that I found boring (coupe de grace / reviving)

 

sounds like the really screwed that one up. delivering the Coupe-de-gras should be the ultimate kill move. but then again, it is a mercy kill - somewhat different from a dual wielding decapitation move (for example).

 

 

>>  (which I offered you Norman, to try 2 years ago, but you didnt reply  -_- )

 

i was still bandwidth challenged at the time. the DL was a whole month's bandwidth for me. i did want to participate, but was unable to. i should have PM'd you to let you know what was up - sorry about that.

 

>> in a lot of the mainstream combat-heavy games, having more attack and defense moves usually means gimmicks that serve no other purpose than adding visual flair in an effort to make the combat feel less repetitive. most of the times it's done in a very unrealistic and cheesy way that IRL would most likely just get you killed (like every other spin attack out there)

also in most games, those additional attack moves are achieved by the player by just smashing the same attack button again, which only creates a huge discrepancy between the character's skill and the player's skill. also means it's very un-creative for the player (as opposed to, say, combining different action buttons like jump+attack, dodge+attack, etc, to produce those additional attacks)

 

yes, that's the general impression i get from those types of games.  i definitely want to avoid that.

 

from thinking about it a bit, it would seem that you want to have moves that take time, and therefore give the opponent a small window to start a counter move. but for real time combat, you should be able to start any move at any time.  and if you start a move while still doing another move, the result is sort of a combo of the two. so if you start an overhand slash, and you opponent then starts a gut thrust attack, you can then counter with something like a parry low move. but since you were on an overhand slash, a parry low won't be very effective. you have to move the sword from over your head to deflect a weapon that's coming at your gut. so the parry effectiveness or chance might be reduced 50%.  i think something like this would probably lead to the most varied and realistic melee combat possible.  OTOH, if you think about it, many medieval melees on foot with armor are simply slug fests, with the lucky blow or loss of stamina determining the victor. so maybe we're trying to make combat something it simply isn't.

 

>> I think the important question is, do you want to rely on player skill or not?

 

button mashing skills ? no.  that should have nothing to do with RPGs.  this isn't Galaga.

 

hit location, and the ability to make counter moves? yes. these are the things that make up real melee combat. one might even say they are the prime things in melee.  do you go for shield or visor when tilting? (hit location). and we all know that the veteran hero knight can parry or block any weapon wielded by a mere human lesser than he or she is. the same way the Shao-lin master can fend off the attacks of all lesser opponents effortlessly (with a willow stick no less) , while remaining as placid and calm as the Buddha himself.

 

 

such a system would combine a bit of both.  reflexes so you can counter-move in time, and target specific parts of the body.   knowledge of moves and how they combine (or don't very well) - IE player knowledge of the combat system.  then also RPG stats and dice rolls for attack resolution once its been determined that a hit has occurred (IE character experience / skill / level).

 

this is the approach i'm taking in Caveman 3.0, but block and dodge are the only "counter moves" so far, and they are not yet modified based on what attack you were doing when you started them. 

Edited by Norman Barrows

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well my game was less than 200mb back then. if that's a full month of bandwidth's worth then I feel for you :D

 

 

 

you're introducing a concept that goes very opposite into mine (as well as the games I mentioned)...

 

Norman Barrows, on 24 May 2016 - 11:14 AM, said:

 

from thinking about it a bit, it would seem that you want to have moves that take time, and therefore give the opponent a small window to start a counter move. but for real time combat, you should be able to start any move at any time.  and if you start a move while still doing another move, the result is sort of a combo of the two. so if you start an overhand slash, and you opponent then starts a gut thrust attack, you can then counter with something like a parry low move. but since you were on an overhand slash, a parry low won't be very effective. you have to move the sword from over your head to deflect a weapon that's coming at your gut. so the parry effectiveness or chance might be reduced 50%.  i think something like this would probably lead to the most varied and realistic melee combat possible.  OTOH, if you think about it, many medieval melees on foot with armor are simply slug fests, with the lucky blow or loss of stamina determining the victor. so maybe we're trying to make combat something it simply isn't.

for me if you start a move while still doing another move, it should either ignore it or try to queue it, but [unless it's a move-cancelling move] should not disrupt the current move.

this can sound a little punishing, but what effectively produces is that the player needs to mind more their actions instead of being careless.

if you're doing a move, you're putting a lot of the weight of your body in order to maximize the impact, committing to a point of no return of sorts (from which you recover when the move is done). if on the other hand you can mix or alter the action in the middle of it, it tells me the character isn't going all the way with it.

from a gameplay perspective, allowing changing actions mid-action can mean that your game could become a twitchy feint click fest (which is how M&B multiplayer felt at times)

or maybe I didn't understand fully what you meant

 

 

---

Norman Barrows, on 24 May 2016 - 11:14 AM, said:

hit location, and the ability to make counter moves? yes. these are the things that make up real melee combat. one might even say they are the prime things in melee.  do you go for shield or visor when tilting? (hit location). and we all know that the veteran hero knight can parry or block any weapon wielded by a mere human lesser than he or she is. the same way the Shao-lin master can fend off the attacks of all lesser opponents effortlessly (with a willow stick no less) , while remaining as placid and calm as the Buddha himself.

in my mind it's not quite the case. the veteran hero or the shaolin master can still fail due to different factors (multi-enemy fights, fatigue, etc). yes they will prevail most times but if it's like Assassin's Creed then it already feels wrong

 

 

---

Norman Barrows, on 24 May 2016 - 11:14 AM, said:

such a system would combine a bit of both.  reflexes so you can counter-move in time, and target specific parts of the body.   knowledge of moves and how they combine (or don't very well) - IE player knowledge of the combat system.  then also RPG stats and dice rolls for attack resolution once its been determined that a hit has occurred (IE character experience / skill / level).

that sounds good. but how do you handle the player input for targetting specific parts of the body?

Edited by Chosker

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>> for me if you start a move while still doing another move, it should either ignore it or try to queue it, but [unless it's a move-cancelling move] should not disrupt the current move.

 

but that's not how it works in real life.

 

in real life, up to certain point in an attack, say half way between attack start and weapon impact, you can "change your mind" and react to what the opponent is doing. your "new move" won't be as effective as if it was your original move, cause you don't have time to fully execute it, just sort of.  you would not have enough time to react twice, but you would be able to react once if done quickly enough. speed or dex checks might come into play here as well. if you tried a second move after the time window had passed, it would be ignored, and you would simply continue the original move.

 

moves should never be queued, only polled at high frequency. queued moves prevent you from changing your mind when you should still be able to. "oh, look, my pea shooter won't go though this guys armor! ok, i'll switch to my bmf gun. oh wait, i clicked fire a bunch of times, and this POS queued them up. now i sit here for a couple seconds watching myself shoot and reload to no effect before i can change weapons. oh  wait, i'm dead! thanks a lot - GD queued input! who the h--l wrote this s--t? oh yeah, bethesda - shoulda known".  i experienced this as recently as last night playing fallout new vegas. that's a definite "bad designer - no twinkie".  i don't think that's the kind of gaming experience anyone wants to deliver to their users. yet companies do it all the time. i guess they just do think about the ramifications of their design choices enough - (or at all?).

 

>> the veteran hero or the shaolin master can still fail due to different factors (multi-enemy fights, fatigue, etc). yes they will prevail most times but if it's like Assassin's Creed then it already feels wrong

 

all i'm saying is more experienced combatants would be better at "counter-moves" or "reaction moves". obviously, you can only dodge so many bullets at once or some finite number of bullets before fatigue overcomes you.

 

the reference to assassin's creed is lost on me. i don't play games that aren't first person view - unrealistic - too arcade-ish - too easy - a crutch for those who can't mentally track a target outside their field of view - and thus would suck at combat in real life. sad but true. not everyone is a natural born fighter pilot.

 

>> that sounds good. but how do you handle the player input for targetting specific parts of the body?

 

right now i use direction of attack (direction vector from target center to attacker center) to determine which "side" is hit (front, back, left, right, top, bottom), and then use a hit location table and die roll to determine the area hit. the next step is to use the impact point of the weapon at the time of attack resolution (time of weapon impact) to determine which area on the appropriate table is hit, instead of using a die roll. if the attack is from the front against a bipedal target, if the impact point is high and center its a head hit, mid and center is body, mid left and right are arms, and low left and right are legs. this way the player could go for head, body, sword arm, etc. odds are i'll be adding this to caveman at some point. along with the "counter move" mechanic.

Edited by Norman Barrows

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