Author Topic: Positional Combat System  (Read 11049 times)

alshfo

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Positional Combat System
« on: August 24, 2014, 09:09:35 PM »
Hi, this is my first post here.

I am making a roguelike (more of a tech demo that a full-featured game) based on a positional combat system that I will explain below. I am worried that combat in the game will, simply put, be unfun, so I'd like to ask for feedback from those who have more experiece than I do playing roguelikes.

Combat in my game is all melee and all mundane (no magic). I am planning to have a few weapons (sword, spear, axe, flail, halbred, shield) and no armor or any other combat-related items. You attack by moving in four directions (no diagonal movement), and the attack you execute is determined by your previous move as well as your current one. The game also tracks which direction you are facing.

For example, if you move north once, you lunge. If you move west, you sidestep. If you move west again, you turn west and slash with your sword.

Different weapons would have different moves with different attack patterns (25 basic ones per weapon). At the start of the game, only a few move patterns would provide any extra effect other than providing descriptions of your attacks. A forwards lunge would attack the space in front of you. Changing directions then moving backwards would let you spin, damaging all enemies around you. This will hopefully encourage players to fight in the open instead of bashing trolls in a corridor to avoid getting surrounded.

Character progression would come from empowering one's moves instead of gaining experience per kill. At certain points, either between levels, at altars, or after killing special monsters, etc, the player would be offered a choice of three moves to upgrade, and they would choose one. The three upgrades offered would be based on the frequency of moves since the last upgrade, but grinding would not get you better upgrades, it would simply give you a random upgrade for a certain type of move.

Upgrades would empower moves. For example, you may be given the opportunity to upgrade your sidestep so that you get a free move every time you sidestep, although that may be a bit too OP.

The upgrades would be themed based on schools. The school of suchandsuch might favor long, sweeping motions and dramatic sweeps an spins while another may prefer short stabs and jabs that are hard to defend against. Upgrades from the same school will chain well with each other, enabling you to use multiple upgraded moves as a part of a powerful combo.

On the other hand, you might choose to only select the powerful moves from each school, which generally do not share the same movement pattern. Then you would not benefit from combos, but you would have more powerful moves on average.

Overall, the combat system is designed to hopefully promote a more varied style of fighting, moving around and through groups of enemies either in a carefully choreographed dance or in an unplanned rush and watching as your flail smashes everything around you.

Finally, I was thinking of adding a system to penalize repeated behavior, such as lunging at all enemies and never taking damage. Monsters will eventually learn to negate and counter your common moves. As you fight, there may be a monster lurking in the shadows, analyzing your fighting style, and as you turn to engage it in battle, it turns tail and flees down the stairs to train and destroy you if you use the same tactics again.

None of this has actually been implemented yet, by the way. I have an @ walking around a generated level facing in different directions, and one dumb enemy. So feel free to steal this idea and implement it better than me.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2014, 02:16:49 PM by alshfo »

jlund3

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Re: Positional Combat System
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2014, 02:53:36 AM »
Most roguelikes I've played have a simple bump to attack melee mechanic - frankly it is pretty boring so I tend towards mage-like characters in general simply because the gameplay is more interesting and tactical. The system you described on the other hand sounds pretty interesting. I imagine it will be somewhat tricky to balance, and it will the design will certainly be iterated upon as you play test, but I think the end result could be very fun. If you are interested in this system, I would say you should start coding, with the goal of getting something others can playtest out early. Then you can iterate your design based on user feedback and (finally) show the world a roguelike with interesting melee combat.

Kevin Granade

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Re: Positional Combat System
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2014, 04:22:41 AM »
Interesting, do you have a list of the different attack types?  I'm having a little trouble imagining what the move combinations are based on, if I understand correctly, previous move, current move, and facing.  Especially since I assume the directions are relative rather than absolute, in other words it's important that you're advancing toward a monster, not that you're specifically moving north.

Are any of the attacks en passant? as in, you attack in a direction other than the direction you are moving?

A scenario I could imagine, tell me if this is something like what you're talking about (monster doesn't move for simplicity)
Monster three squares to your north.
Move north twice, since the second move brings you adjacent, you lunge and hit the monster.
Move west anticipating a counterattack, you sidestep, possibly gaining a bonus to dodging, or a speed bonus.
Move north again, since it's a move adjacent to an enemy after a sidestep, you slash in passing, possibly with a speed or dodge bonus.
Moving north in the same direction as the slash gives a significant speed bonus with which you disengage with the monster.

With luck you hit the monster twice without being hit yourself, and you can now set up another pass.

reaver

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Re: Positional Combat System
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2014, 06:46:17 AM »
Your mechanics sound like a perfect scenario to test at a 7DRL-scoped game, as it's quite self contained.
The mechanics sound interesting as you'd need to plan ahead your moves AND anticipate the movement of the enemies, so some varied AI could make things quite challenging.
I probably wouldn't play the game though, as for me a major factor for playing such games to begin with is exploration and variety of what you can do and handle situation -- if you want to make this succeed as an one-trick-pony, it would need to be super balanced and interesting.

alshfo

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Re: Positional Combat System
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2014, 02:37:03 PM »
jlund3 - Thanks for the feedback! I definately will have to playtest this a lot.

Kevin Grande - A more intuitive way to think about it is that moves are based on the last two moves only. So a step forward and a step right would be a move, a step backward and a step forward would be a move, a step to the right and a full stop would be a move, etc. I have a few move lists but they don't really make sense right now.

Yes, what you described is exactly what I am talking about. You explained it better than me.

reaver - I am trying to make a roguelike from the bottom up. So perviously, I made a little demo with recursive shdowcasting, and another with level generation but no @, and now I'm trying to do the basics of the combat system. The system by itself isn't supposed to be super fun, but it hopefully end up as a part of a larger game.

Rickton

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Re: Positional Combat System
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2014, 12:15:30 AM »
It definitely sounds interesting, it'd be hard to tell if it's fun or confusing just by a description alone, but it's something I'd definitely like to see at least a demo of.
If you have iOS or Android device, you could check out Hoplite, it's got similar (though simpler) mechanics. Sidestepping an enemy attacks them, stepping towards them is a lunge.
Creator of the 7DRL Possession: Escape from the Nether Regions
And its sequel, simply titled Possession

quixotic

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Re: Positional Combat System
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2014, 06:34:14 AM »
Heh. I was just talking about positional combat.

There was an old roguelike that let you do positional based moves... E.x.:
.  . |
o@|
.  . |

You could run up the wall and jump behind the ork or somesuch. Can't for the life of me remember the name.

AgingMinotaur

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Re: Positional Combat System
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 11:32:53 PM »
PrincessRL has a take on this. Might be what quixotic is thinking about?

As always,
Minotauros
This matir, as laborintus, Dedalus hous, hath many halkes and hurnes ... wyndynges and wrynkelynges.

chooseusername

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Re: Positional Combat System
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2014, 12:04:36 AM »
Incursion has something like positional combat.  I don't remember how detailed it is, but there's proximity, and there's rushing at someone and so forth.  It's not walldancing or any fruity nonsense like that, but it's something.

Then wasn't there a 7DRL roguelike by Jeff Lait that was composed of stuff like this?

Bear

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Re: Positional Combat System
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2014, 03:13:02 AM »
I've been planning things very like this, as a class ability for fighters. 

Everybody else gets plain and simple bump combat, possibly with better attack speed as they get higher level in some cases, but fighters get all kinds of tactical extras; lunges, ripostes, en passant attacks, freebie attacks on retreating foes, knight's jumps, etc.  New abilities added occasionally as the character levels up, with a brief explanation of the new power in a dialog box or message.

The idea, as I envision it, is to give the fighter character some abilities that are advantageous even if the player doesn't think about them and plays fighters as using 'bump combat', but which will make the fighter significantly more powerful if understood and mastered. If a player is doing 'bump combat' and not thinking about these extra abilities, he'll occasionally notice that a blow he aimed took less time than expected (or none), or that one of the hostiles took a blow and fell down as he stepped into range or stepped past it.  Anyway, here are the ones I'd thought of; but I'm reading this thread for ideas, so... 

The simplest to use and in some ways the most powerful fighter ability is move-and-attack.  That is, if your most recent action was a movement and your current action is attack, or vice versa, your current attack takes only half, or your current movement only two-thirds, the time it otherwise would.  Someone who is just derping along doing bump combat would get an occasional extra-fast action, but someone who is aware of the mechanic and playing it can plan an alternating move-and-attack sequence to maximize its effect when both movement and attack need to be done.

Another ability is rapid attack for a human fighter with blade arms; If facing something that, on average, would die after taking 1/n of the amount of damage you do in an attack (for some n greater than 2) your attack on it takes 2/n time.  Dwarf fighters get the same bonus with hammers, Elf fighters get the same bonus with bows.  This stacks with the move-and-attack speed, so if you're getting half time (double speed) attacks on Goblins, and your last action was movement, you can get a quarter-time attack on a goblin. 

A third ability would be a set-attack; if your last move was 'wait' (which usually takes a quarter-turn) and your current move is 'melee attack' you get a +20% damage bonus.  If your last move was 'wait' and your current move is 'ranged attack' you get +5 aiming bonus.

A fourth would be the knights-jump.  Unlike the others here this would never work to your advantage if you didn't specifically invoke it, but this is essentially a double move and can go past or through an otherwise blocking opponent, which can make a fighter very difficult to corner or contain or keep in the open if he doesn't want to be.  You hit 'j', then the next time you make a movement it's to one of the eight 'knight squares' (rotated 22.5 degrees clockwise from the movement you hit) instead of one of the eight 'immediate squares'. 


Eben

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Re: Positional Combat System
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2014, 08:10:00 AM »
Heh. I was just talking about positional combat.

There was an old roguelike that let you do positional based moves... E.x.:
.  . |
o@|
.  . |

You could run up the wall and jump behind the ork or somesuch. Can't for the life of me remember the name.

DDrogue explored this idea a lot. It's from Flend who also did PrincessRL, so a lot of it transferred. Check them out here:http://flend.net/index.html

CaptainKraft

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Re: Positional Combat System
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2014, 04:02:00 PM »
It looks like I'm not the only one who would really like to see this system in action. I like where your head is at.

Also, go check out Crypt of the NecroDancer and Dungeonmans for other examples of really well-done positional combat.
Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day.
Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

stefoid

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Re: Positional Combat System
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2014, 12:37:54 AM »
Im into this idea too - in fact my own roguelike is entirely based on squad-based tactical combat.

I like to think of it like chess - pieces have certain abilities that tend them towards certain roles, but its the position on the board that says how effective they are - you want bishops where they can see long diagonals.  You want your rooks looking down long ranks or files.  Knights near the center of the board, etc...

My squad-based tactical roguelike for mobiles:
http://www.dungeonbash.com