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Gameplay Player damage system dilemma

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Hello everyone,

I'm pretty far off in my game development, but one thing bothers me more and more and i need some opinions.

I am making a 2D sidescrolling roguelike endless shmup and very soon i will have to decide whether i will have a 0-100 health/armor system (100 hp, enemy bullets deal from 1-100 damage) or a "life" system (10 lives, all bullet or enemy contact takes one life and makes you invincible for few seconds).

Health system is quite well implemented in Jets 'n' Guns, though the game is level based and linear, with armor pickups inplemented in levels. Endless games like Steredenn implement life system with replenishment at the end if every level. 

Life system is more "hardcore" oriented and it probably suits the "hardcore" audience more, which is probably the majority of the genre players, but it is severely limiting in terms of design of enemy attacks and bullet sizes. On the other hand, health system seems more approachable, enables much wider variety of enemies and attacks, but i'm afraid it might put off players that passionately like the genre and still not prove appaling enough for other players. Another con would be that it can be harder to balance.

What do you think? I personally lean towards health model, but besides jets 'n' guns which is level based, not endless, i don't know many other good examples.

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For an action game, I think I prefer the second system, or the "Zelda Hearts" system, if I'm interpreting it correctly.  It's easier at a glance to know how much damage I can take, and enemies tend to have to deal more normalized damage as well, since they have to do a whole blip of damage, so it's easier to comprehend, "Will I survive this hit".  You can abstract the 100 hit point system into a health bar (or do the health bar plus text inside/alongside), but it can make it harder to know whether the player can survive a hit or not, especially if modifiers for a roguelike come into play.  (If opponent casts spell, "Add Damage", in the hearts system, that probably means +1 extra damage.  While in the hp system, that could mean + 13 damage.)


EDIT: That said, plenty of action games have HP and health bars, like the Castlevanias and Metroids, so it's not super clear cut and dry.

Edited by ferrous

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Hello and thanks for answer. Thanks you for the insight, yours and opinions of folks at shmups forum made me think a bit wider. I came to conlusion that i should definitely use "one hit - one life" solution on this one for many reasons :)

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