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Battle System Details

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Hello hellO I''ve been sitting here pondering battle system designs for RGP and have now a few questions. I''ve searched through these forums under the searc "Battle Systems" and found an immense amount of info. Regretably, most of the info is do you prefer FF7 ro Chrono Cross. Or I hate hack and slash MMORPGS I propose a turn based MMORPG. Post quickly followed by "So you hate hack and slash MMORPGs so you''re gonna create one that is turne based?" Anyway, whether or not you like FF7 or Hack and Slash RPG is irrelevant. I''m looking for details on actual battle systems. Idealy, my characters have quite a few statistics. Namely, the standards strength, dexterity, agility, wisdom, intelegence, charisma, you get the idea. I''m having trouble figuring out (or deciding) what stats apply to what. Kinda thinking along these lines. Dexterity of attacker is compared to agility of defender and with a little randomness depending on other things determines whether or not the attacker scores a hit. Now determining damage is the hard part. Characters have strength, and weapons with damage amounts, and possibly are using new found techniques which deal better damage. Defenders have basically an armor class which is affected by defense techniques, armor and possibly agility/dexterity. I like massive damage games. I like knowing at the beginning my character could only do 2 points of damage to a fireant if the fireant was laying on it''s belly unconscious in a pool of Ortho then finding much later that the character is now able to fell mighty dragon ants with 65000 hitpoints with a single slash and still have enough evergy to pick up his girlfriend for a quik run to Micky-Ds. you get the point. So, how do I go about startign to balance a system like this. obviously I need some basis rules then on implementation if I decide that this character is too hard or too easy then I can adjust it''s stats. Would like a single system for PCs and NPC. A level 4 orc-ant with 5 strength and a 2 damage clod of dirt should be capable of the same damage as my level 4 myrmidon with a 2 damage shoestring. I love Everquest but I hate the idea that after like level 20 all monsters that con even to me are usually able to whoop my chanters pansy hide across Norrath. Eveness is the key. To make it challenging, simply have NPCs request that you kill the level 60 dragon before level 30 in order to get the best prize or something like that. Don''t you hate it when nekked ghosts drop the best sword in a game. Or those massivly armored guards that you kill result in at best a wooden shield? If the NPC is wearing it, the NPC should DROP it. Anyway. Any good ideas on how the actual number systems work? I''ve perused books lie the AD&D guides, Vampire the Masquerade, Call of Cthulu etc. They have really good battle systems I think. Some better than others. But obviously I can''t use these systems without liscensing, begging, selling soul, etc. Ii''m looking to have one on my own (with a little guidance of course). It all boils down to numbers. With the right luck my weak character can take down the biggest foe, though not at all likely and besides, he can''t cast a spell powerful enough to light a match, much less vanquish that wall of ice blocking entrance to the cave of the ice-ants. Balancing is easy, you just paly it and see once it''s running. The fundamentals are the tough part. Thoughts? Ideas? What makes you gag about todays game? I''ve probably already read plenty answers on the gag question though. How do games like FF calculate how much damage is done. With Everquest my damage I do takes into account my strength (I hope), my weapons strength. The opponents, AC etc. But, do they use basic functions that say "Well player A has 5 str, 5 dmg weapon so 10 possiblt damage points he can do. Player B has 3 agility, and 4 AC so his armor absorbe 7 damage per thwack. Meaning player A scores 3 damage to player B (or a random variation of this. Have to keep in mind, how good is a character with thay type of sword, what technique he used, how fast the opponent it, how armored the opponent. Anyway, I''m getting redundant. Thanks, Webby Defeatist Attitude: It simply cannot be done. Realist Attitude: It can be done just not today. These are the two realms of programming.

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Instead of using agility to lessen the damage received, I think it would be more realistic to first roll to see if the attacker hits:

if 1d100 < (attackers weapon ability) - (defenders dexterity) then HIT

then if the player is hit you can roll to see how much damage is made.

damage = (attackers strength) + (attackers weapon) - (defenders armour class)

That way clunk Plate Armour can drastically pump up you armour class (reducing/negating the damage when hit) but reduces your dexterity (gives a slightly higher chance of actually being hit).




''Your theory of a donut shaped universe is intriguing Homer'' - Stephen Hawking

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Thanks SailorStick:

I kind of figured that much. Are things really that simple in the games we play? For instance, playing Everquest I notice that my characters agility directly affects his armor class, ie, every agility point adds a percentage to my agility. Dexterity does not however add to this. Apparently dexterity is being used on the attackers side to see if he scores a hit because agility is certainly the defensive end. There is definitely some other bias in this however, mostly class based. For instance, I have a level 40 high elf enchanter who can do about 5-10 damage when he hits. My piercing weapon skill is maxed out for my level. I have xxx say 500 hitpoints and xxx say 400 AC and 100 strength using a 10/24 weapon 10dmg 24delay. Along comes dwarf warrior level 20 (half my level) pretty much the same number of hit points and way more AC. I asked him to do a test with me. He agreed. He stripped off armor until he had about the same AC as me (within 5 points). At his level he has a few more strength than I, which he removes with his armor as well. Now, we have a level 40 chanter and a level 20 warrior with nearly identical stats (even agility and dexterity). I go out and kill an easy creature. Takes me a while with my 5 -10 damage per hit, missing often taking a beating due to being a caster with low AC.
Warriors turn. He take my weapon and attacks the same type of creature I did. Thwack, a few 15-20 point hits later the creature was dead and there we both are wondering why the hell we bother finding better gear since apparently it don''t mean to much anyway. Two people with the same stats, me with a better ability with my weapon due to being twice his level, and he outdamaging me like a madman and taking much less damage to boot.

That''s what I want to avoid. Idealy, stats will mean everything. Stat raising gear will be kinda rare, but when you do increase your strength you WILL see the difference. I like the FFX method where you see exactly how much your character improves based on percentage and what you choose (just don''t like that big grid hehe). I don''t want any background bias which will leave player boggling about why stats don''t seem to matter much. Also I''d like every stat to actually have an effect on the character. Higher dexterity of a fighter will mean trainers will be more likely to teach better attacks. Higher agility means trainers will be more likely to teach defensive moves, or something like that. Higher charisma means the farmer will be more likely to leave you alone wit his daughter (ummm, I see a quest starting here ) You get the point. It''s gotta seem like all the hours people spend raising these stats is worth doing. As opposed to other games where you start out hitting for 2 damage and end up hitting for 150-200 damage. I want a larger range so that people will see that a strength plus one item will mean going from doing 15-20 damage to doing 20-25 damage. By end game players are hitting in their thousands.

I know some people go Ugh to the 10000000 hitpoint battles. Some people go "COOOOOOOOOL" I''m one of the many people out there who think it''s cool. Who like 20 minute battles with dragons. And every good programmer says, if you gonna work on a game, work on one you''re interested in. I hate sports, I love RPGs and adventures. Like shoot''ems. RPG/Adventure seems the way to go. Besides I''m just piddling around with some time over the summer before next classes go. So I''m spending the time learning DX and other tools and trying to get a god basis on RPG programming and design theory.


Thanks much.

Webby

Defeatist Attitude: It simply cannot be done.
Realist Attitude: It can be done just not today.

These are the two realms of programming.

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I think this is a very interesting subject which hasn''t been touched often enough. A battle system makes or breaks a rpg. Arcanum had a good one, BG (and II) ofcourse has, but Morrowind''s sucks real bad and couldn''t fascinate me at all. So I''ll use the first two games to point out pros and cons, etc.

I kinda agree with the fact that when you raise stats, you should see the effect in some way. On the other hand, you can be strong like an ogre, but if you don''t know how to handle that sword, you may easily hack off your own leg. So I''m thinking it should be a combination of stats and skills. That''s what I like about BG, the proficiency system, and what I hate about Arcanum, either melee or ranged (or firearms). A halberd handles totally different to a dagger obviously.

I don''t like the notion of critical hits. I don''t like the luck and associated randomness thing at all in combat. I don''t think you accidentally hit someone on the head and do more damage. If you''re good at the weapon you''re fighting with, you aim for the head, and when that person doesn''t avoid or dodge that blow, you hit him on the head. Ofcourse a helmet does wonders, but it''ll still hurt. Maybe the randomness or range of damage dealt becomes less when you improve in skill.

As for defense, I don''t see the need for having both dex and agi. If you''re fast, you''re fast at avoiding blows as well as swinging them. However, str should play an important role here. I think some weapons should require high str to swing efficiently, and some should require high dex. Example would be a sledgehammer of some kind vs a dagger. That way you''ll force dexterious characters into using light and fast weapons. They could use heavy weapons, but their lower str would give them a penalty to the speed bonus they gain from their dex.

Well that''s some random food for thought. Let''s hope more people join this discussion.

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Hiyas,

just wanted to comment on one part of the post that stood out to me, about NPC''s dropping what they are wearing. I do think this is the way RPG''s should be, ever since the time in EQ that my 59 ranger was participating in a raid on the plane of fear and won a roll on some ranger only ''thorny vine'' boots that dropped from a tentacled tormentor. (Well actually there have been many other times previously but this really took the biscuit!!) Hehe dont get me wrong I''m glad to have got the item, but it left me thinking... something is very odd here, surely strange tentacled beasts don''t make a habbit of carrying around a pair of ranger only boots... they dont even have feet for crissakes!! I think it would be much more fun if I got ranger only boots as a quest set by a ranger, or as the result of killing an evil ranger type enemy.

Thus in my system I think I''d try if possible to keep it so that items you can see a character using are the items dropped, and the items you can''t see that someone is using (perhaps if you had to limit the number of graphics) would at least be logical!! So if you kill that enemy guard, you get his armour and his sword and whatever other items he is carrying. Money as well, I find it hard to believe that a level 50 something humanoid monster character could have gotten as powerful as he is and still only have 6 platinum or so at best. They should have more!

Anyways as for the combat system, I like the ideas forming here, but I think myself I prefer the realism method. I wont go into too much detail cos I don''t want to set the topic off at a tangent but in my own system, I want it so that nothing is ever impossible (nb my system is based in a sci-fi setting). I want it to be possible that a level 1 human character could kill a level 50 combat cyborg (excuse the lame names, havent worked on any monster names for my system yet!!) with one or two extremely lucky shots, but to do so he''d have to pray to God that the cyborgs weapon jammed, and that his personal energy shield flickered and failed at just the right time to allow the luckily aimed headshot. I''d like that kind of a system because I think as a player, I want to boast of the amazingly improbable things I''ve done. The trend will be that 99% of the time the level 50 combat cyborg would smite you in a millisecond, but never 100% of the time! Just thought perhaps you may want to consider something like that, because that kind of system still allows you to do massive damage, but also stops the player worrying that he could never ever take on a creature that is one level higher than himself. eg Battle of Hastings, King Harold taken out by a lucky shot from an unkown archer, anything is possible!! I''m sure in combat prowess King Harold was equivalent to a very high level character, the archer was just lucky.

As for stats affecting damage, I''d go for something like strength being the main factor, coordination influencing the accuracy of the blow and then somehow work the weapons own statistics into the system, each weapon having a base damage amount that is reduced by a percentage (percentage meaning the damage is never reduced to zero or below) dependant upon the type of armour the enemy is wearing, as some armour is better against certain weapon types than others. Agility I believe would give a small percentage chance of a character avoiding a blow altogether, but would be factored out in all ranged combat (how many people do you know who can dodge an arrow or a bullet??)

Anyways as I always inevitably do, I''m rambling on a bit now so I''ll shut up and await the flames

Steve AKA Mephs

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Lots of good info here. Thanks guys

It would be really hard to implement but ho about a system where different parts of a creature would be targetable (chest, head, arms, legs, spleen). Yeah in a RT 3D world these items woudl be hard to target, but that''s the point. You''re more likely to be able to hit a guy in the chest than in the head. Maybe this would be a better way to implement weaknesses (we all have them).

Maybe some creatures have unarmored heads. Maybe some suffer from an Achilles heel effect. The hard part would be all the different animations. Right leg hacked off? Left arm taken out? Would make for great realistic battle, but would be a real PITA to program. Sure would love to see it done though. One of these days!

Again, to use the EQ paradigm. Ant-Spider one has taken 1000 damage to it''s body and it limps off like it''s 3rd left leg is broken? Again hard part is animating. You could just deduct the hitpoints taken from the targeted part of the body and likewise taken from a total hitpoints. In other words, you can''t kill a spider by breaking it''s legs, but you can stop it from running as fast, then you can finish it off at the body or head. Body and head of course woudl hold the most hitpoints for the creature and you can kill a creature solely by attacking body or head, but not solely by attacking extremeties like legs and arms (cept for strange things).

This seems like it would be a real blast to play.

Another questing I neglected to mention.
When games like EQ are running, all computations are done on the server and transmitted back to relevant clients. How many computations you think occurr? Meaning, if you have 6 people in a group fighting, and 15 monsters attacking, each monster and player is conducting it''s owncomputations on whether or not it hits and for how much. The question is, how detailed can a system today get? I know it''s hard to answer and is relative to the PC running the game but it''s something worth thinking over.
sor speed it''s simple (did I attack? Defense minus offense) and then how much damage I did (armor minus damage). There is the answer, but would it be feasable to have checks like
if (leg && warrior && Queen Ant Sword && Double-triple z-strike)
then (damage(random()
elseif (spleen && monk && finger && tigereye && speed > 99999)
then (damage(pseudorand(amount per month))
etc etc

Meanign, for a creature with multiple targetable parts the program will have to check through all states and all weapons and all classes and strength etc to find out if damage is done and how much.

So, how much computation do you think is enough. Is there a point to making it too realistic? Or do you prefer a simple random(amout of damage done + mothers maiden name) and nothing more?


Thanks

Webby

Defeatist Attitude: It simply cannot be done.
Realist Attitude: It can be done just not today.

These are the two realms of programming.

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Theres a couple of documents out on the web somewhere, google can find them fast, by a Ben Siron. These documents outline the mathematics behind a couple of older console RPGs like Final Fantasy and Breath of Fire.

Basically, what you want to do is figure out how to change a couple of numbers that represent your character in HP damage. Pen and Paper RPGs tend to ignore damage reduction and work entirely on hit/miss ratios. Console RPGs seem to be all about damage reduction. How this turns into an algorythm is entirely on how you want it to work...

Base = Strength + Weapon.BattlePower
Variant = Random( -(Base/16) , Base/16 )
Raw = Base + Variant
Damage = Raw - Target.ArmorPower

Heres just one way to think of it. Final Fantasy Tactics does something similiar, but uses Multiplication, doesn''t have a armorpower, probably doesn''t have a variant either, and has a whole lot of different algorythms based on each weapon type.
Knight''s Swords for instance have a percentage factored in.

Base = PhysicalAttackPower * WeaponPower * Brave / 100



-> Will Bubel
-> Machine wash cold, tumble dry.

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Check out Ancient Domains of Mystery at www.adom.de
It has an excellent combat system (no graphics though
The more you use a weapon the higher skilled you become in that
weapon, you don''t have to wait to ''level up'' to gain the benefits.
Only problem is you can''t see how much damage you have done when you hit someone.
I don''t like the AD&D system too much. If you are wearing 1 tonne armour you should be easier to hit.
Speaking of leveling up, do you think that stat gains should be gradual or do think that seeing your your stats pump right up when you level up is incredibly satisfying?


''Your theory of a donut shaped universe is intriguing Homer'' - Stephen Hawking

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I like them both. To a certain degree of each type. What I''m think o is something along these lines.
Learn a new skill and improve on it gradually over something like a 10 point range. 1 beginner and 10 master of that skill. However you will be unable to learn new skills until you do vertain things, quest related, leveling related, raising a certain stat to a certain point related. Gives more control over a characters growth. If I want to spend my extra earned stat point in strength then I can then learn to use this new class of sword or gain this training from this guy who used to think me a wimp. Or I can spend it in agility and learn this new defensive technique.

Now I have a new technique and I want to practice it. The better I get the more effective I am with it of course. That way you get the big burst of skills when you learn it and you then get little bursts of improvement. Can even require that certain skills be mastered to learn a new skill. For instance, can''t fire off two arrows at the same time if you still can''t hit yonder barn with a single now can you? Can''t dual wield short swords if you''re still carring the woulds from yesterdays trial at the sweeping technique using one sword.

I''m the start-weak-and-grow-into-a-demigod-game loving person. This has been done before in various respects by many games. As computers get better it allows for more computations per attack mode (per frame) and thus allows much more in the way of fantasy and realism. After all, I don''t think it''s the battle computations that lag me on everquest as much as it is all the nice eye candy. So the system is more important to me now. Once I get a system, I can then start to design the models and animations I need for all the things I want in the game as well as whatever other design aspects I want to work on. I have years. I work on different parts every day. so far have a few hundred pages of a design document here on disk, and other stuff. Much is just ideas. Much is stuff that has made it through a thir or fourth cut. If my ideas get done before me, oh well, it just means there is another game out there that fits my type of playing. This will be different. At worst, in a year or so when I graduate college I''ll have a degree in computer science, 2 years experience as office manager for a promotional products firm. Good experience doing artwork for said PP firm. Experience doing a few business related websites and a demo e-conomy done for an ecommerce class using PERL, Oracle, some ASP and a very little C++ and Java scripting. said e-conomy is equipped with complete with credit card, debit card, central banking system, and 25 or so merchants and other services. Got an A for the class so it must have been at worst half decent. To top it all off maybe I''ll have a really nice design document, some models, some animations, some textures, and some code to help me get my foot in the door working on that new awsome MMORPG or FF title that hits the shelves.

That''s the dream anyway. Can''t go wrong. Worst case, I do general programming for some company and make a decent living while I learn programming and work on this game more in my spare time. Either way, I''m happy

Thanks for all the input guys. Keep it coming.

Webby

Defeatist Attitude: It simply cannot be done.
Realist Attitude: It can be done just not today.

These are the two realms of programming.

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I have a system that is sitting in a three-ring binder consisting of around 100 pages detailing everything from player statistics to combat. It was initially written to replace the AD&D ruleset with more accurate combat damage and character representation. It also went through about 3 years of role-playing to get the balance right. It''s very detailed in that you can have blood loss, broken bones, severing of limbs, and other forms of nastiness. My system also makes it so that a 1st level character could (a very, very slim chance) kill a dragon with one shot of a bow or one slice of a sword. I dislike systems that leave the low level character helpless against higher levels.

My only thought is that it may be too detailed for an RPG. I mean, who wants to have a broken leg cause some orc just pounded you a good one with his mace?

This system is obviously much to0 detailed to go into here but if you''re interested, drop me some mail.

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