Game Mechanics How to get compelling, turn based mechanics?

Just a note: some of the image links are broken as of the writing of this post, and I'm finding it extremely hard to understand a few of the concepts behind some of your designs with only text descriptions. I think a lot of the problems you're running in to are a result of trying to mix complex RPG mechanics with the action-based mechanics of simpler RPGs. An entirely turn-based RPG can have extremely compelling gameplay (see: Persona 5), and an RPG with action-based attack mechanics can be boring or even irritating (see: YIIK: A Postmodern RPG).

A.
Three rows is definitely enough. This is actually how a lot of RPGs handle rows and attack ranges. You can assign a number to each row and make calculating weapon attack ranges significantly easier. A range of 1 would mean close combat only, a range of 2 would include extended reach weapons such as spears and polearms, and weapons with anything more would likely consist mostly of missile weapons like bows and guns.

B.
I don't really like this one. If you're going with a boardgame/tabletop RPG aesthetic, the excessive simplification of movement and combat works against that.

I'm not going to comment in-depth on C. or D. at the moment, since images are broken. I'll just say that RNG is not a bad word. It doesn't need to be avoided as long as the player has the ability to mitigate it.
 

Zizka

Member
First of all, thank you for taking some of your time for commenting. It's weird about the links being broken as they are showing up on the computers I've tried.

I want to have a single protagonist for my game as opposed to a party of characters. I think it would be boring to stick to the basic rpg commands for this reason.

I think the designer of Undertale was smart in approaching battle with interactive elements for that reason:


The window in the middle is a good example of something which is simple but can be cranked to something much harder.

This is what I'm striving for. Not the same thing of course but something similarly basically simple which can become more complex.

Instead of drowning you guys with text here's a simple explanation of something I've mentioned in the original post, I'll try to keep it short:


a. The arrow moves from left to right.
b. The player decides when to stop the arrow by pressing a key.
c. Each colored section have a different result in battle. Green could mean a regular hit, red a miss, yellow a critical hit, and purple a critical fumble for example.
d. The arrow speed depends on the discrepancy between the speed of the player and the enemy. If the player is faster, the arrow moves slower. If the enemy is faster, the arrow moves faster. This makes is easier to hit an enemy if the player has better agility but harder to hit an enemy which is more nimble.

This is very basic. The problem right now is that there would be no defensive system. I want accurate player input to award better defense (or dodge!) and same thing for attacking.

What do you think?
_____________________

The resident evil nes remake also has an interesting mechanic.
 
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Llama_Code

Member
Images are broken for me as well ATM so it's hard to see what is going on, maybe they are cached on your end?

Interactive battle can be fun or annoying, its all in how you approach it. I am actually a fan of how Yokai Watch handles it. If you get overly complex they can become a chore and not so fun, but the right mix can be engaging and fun. Most turn based battle systems rely on some level of RNG, it just needs to be fair and obvious. Squares ATB system is a good early example of this, different characters recharge at different rates that can be affected by buffs and ailments, so while it's still turned based is keeps the action going.

It gets harder when are looking at a single protagonist vs a party, your right a basic RPG battle would be boring, your example if the second post I like.

What if you also had an arrow at the bottom that could be used for defense? Something like matching them up would be a dodge, close together would increase the chance of decreasing the damage of the enemy attack? You could also base the bottom arrow speed on speed discrepancy. For example if the enemy is fast the bottom arrow should move faster. It would add some challenge if the arrows move independently at different speeds to both try and match them AND hit the space you want.

You could also have buffs and ailments that grow or shrink specific sections to make them easier/harder to hit, or use character traits. For example if the enemy has a shield and armor make the hit and critical hit spaces smaller. If the enemy is just in a loin cloth make the critical hit area larger.
 

Zizka

Member
Thank you for your time and your reply.
I've re-uploaded to imgur:


Regarding the ATB, I feel like the interaction is still too minimal for what I'm aiming for. I'd like player skillful input to be rewarded. Something like Paper Mario comes to mind:


It gets harder when are looking at a single protagonist vs a party
I think it's probably why Intelligent Systems went for something interactive in the first place.

What if you also had an arrow at the bottom that could be used for defense? Something like matching them up would be a dodge, close together would increase the chance of decreasing the damage of the enemy attack? You could also base the bottom arrow speed on speed discrepancy. For example if the enemy is fast the bottom arrow should move faster. It would add some challenge if the arrows move independently at different speeds to both try and match them AND hit the space you want.
I like the idea of having more than one arrow but I don't know how it would be implemented since it's essentially turn-based. Unless you mean that the player has two interactions: one on attack and one on defense, when it's the opponent's turn? If that's the case however, wouldn't one of the two arrows end up superfluous? Unless I misunderstood what you meant.

You could also have buffs and ailments that grow or shrink specific sections to make them easier/harder to hit, or use character traits. For example if the enemy has a shield and armor make the hit and critical hit spaces smaller. If the enemy is just in a loin cloth make the critical hit area larger.
I'd like to find ways to influence the state of the "hit bar" yes. For instance I was thinking of things like what you've mentioned here, like having certain enemies have areas where they'll counter attack if you interact there.

This is very mockupish but should give an idea:


Health in the counter (where it says 05). The knife/arrow symbol to determine where you interact. The color code on the right to tell you what happens if you pick a color or another.

The skull bar under the enemy is an ATB. It fills up and the enemy attacks when it is full. The idea is for the player not to take too long to interact with the color bar because meanwhile the enemy ATB is filling up.

The lungs meter is a stamina meter which fills up over time. Every action requires stamina. I thought of this to prevent players to just spam attacks. Think of it as an ATB meter which fills up but which can be partially be depleted as opposed to having to wait to be full before doing a single action.

I was thinking that defense would also take stamina which means the player would need to time his attacks carefully to make sure he would still have some remaining stamina to dodge or block an incoming attack when it finally comes.
 
I want to have a single protagonist for my game as opposed to a party of characters. I think it would be boring to stick to the basic rpg commands for this reason.
If this is the case, I would recommend trying to stay away from straight RPG mechanics and move gameplay more towards action. Single-character-party turn-based combat is extremely difficult to make entertaining for the length of time an RPG lasts. A game with a single controllable character is only as good as its core mechanics. Games with one PC and more standard battle systems like Deep Dungeon and Dragon Quest 1 work so well precisely because they distilled the genre into its most basic form. Undertale replaces RPG mechanics with bullet hell dodging. Paper Mario (OK, you have a partner. Technically 1.5 playable characters) and its action commands work because they're different for nearly every single action. Action RPGs live and die based on how good moving around and attacking feels. If your primary method of interacting with the combat system is through a single meter, it will likely become boring very fast.
 

Zizka

Member
I agree with your take on single/1.5 RPG combat mechanics and I'd really like to pull something off like Undertale or Paper Mario did. Actually, I like Undertale's battle concept, not the actual bullet hell mechanic which is not a genre I'm fond of. I'd like something highly interactive like Undertale but with something which I find more interesting than bullet hell.

I need a simple framwork which can then become more and more complex as the game progresses. This is the challenge of it all. This is why I suggested the color bar in the first place. I need a mechanic which is easy to understand at first for the player and then I can gradully add more and more elements to the simple foundations to make it more advanced.

I want a 1st person viewpoint for battle, so I don't think anything Paper Mario-related would be appropriate. Besides, I would need a lot of abilities and a lot of coding to introduce each new ability if I were to try to emulate Paper Mario. This in itself woudl be a chore. I also never really like the actual actions you could do in Paper Mario, I mean they were ok but some of them were too basic.
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
I'd like something highly interactive like Undertale but with something which I find more interesting than bullet hell.
Other: Her Loving Embrace uses platforming hack-n-slash for both basic attacks and dodging, and other styles of minigames for special attacks. It could be worth looking into for inspiration.

Another off-the-wall idea: during battle, the player is in a mech (or just gets out a lot of weapons and technical equipment out) and you control all of them in first person as in Nauticrawl.
upload_2019-11-30_15-9-10.png
The further you progress through the game, the more gadgets you unlock, so you gradually get this UX nightmare with more and more things to keep track of to fight optimally. Some resources would be shared (like your HP and MP) and consumed by basically every action, some gadgets would have their own resources (different guns using different ammo types), and you basically need to prioritize between all the different things you can do to fight at an optimal level. Save up stamina for dodging or use it for melee attacks? Reload your auto-fire machine gun or manually prepare a mortar volley? Type in incantations in your magic terminal window to program a spell? You'll need to deal with all of those systems at once!
 

Zizka

Member
Thank you for sharing your ideas. I looked up Other. Looks like a fun game but the mechanics aren't exactly what I'm looking for. While it's original to have the player switch to 2D to handle the fights, it's not something I personally enjoy myself.

As for the rest, I need to be careful not too cram too many things. I've given up on older projects before because I was too ambitious so having someone code-in a lot of systems makes me a bit wary.

Another mechanic I've thought about are cards with each card having a certain stamina cost to execute. I figure I could assimilate both offence and defense that way. For instance, there could be a card which allows the player to dodge the next attack.

I've made cards before for a different game:

In the upper right, the stamina cost. In the top half, a picture representing the action. Under that, in the little square, a description of what happens.

It's similar to magic a bit:


...or hearthstone for that matter:


I think that's a good comprise between NRG and strategy. The reason why I'm hesitating is because the game itself has nothing to do with cards. I mean, it's a not a game about collecting cards or something like that. The cards would only show up as the combat system, it would have nothing with the game narrative itself.

For some reason a disconnect between the narrative and the actual cards would feel wrong.

I really like dice as well, which is why I was thinking of implementing some in the first place. My issue with that is NRG. Maybe there could be a resource where the player can re-roll unwanted results? I like dice because it has a nice tabletop feel to it.

How could I start with a simple dice mechanic and keep it compelling? I was thinking of image-sided dice instead of numerical values. Kind of something like this:


Again, however, the game isn't a board game as I feel like there's once again a disconnect if I take dice.
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
I think that's a good comprise between NRG and strategy. The reason why I'm hesitating is because the game itself has nothing to do with cards. I mean, it's a not a game about collecting cards or something like that. The cards would only show up as the combat system, it would have nothing with the game narrative itself.
You could have pages of a book instead (perhaps one that can rewrite reality itself), and since the book has its own will it will rearrange its pages randomly each time you open it, so you can't decide WHICH pages to read, other than the random ones available to you. Functionally the same as randomly drawn cards, but could fit into basically any story. (And since the book is alive, it could be a support character that offers flavor text, random amusing banter when there's nothing happening story-wise, and tutorials when new game mechanics are introduced)
 

Zizka

Member
Ok but how would you apply this in a battle for example? Just so I'm sure I understand what you're saying.;)
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
Ok but how would you apply this in a battle for example? Just so I'm sure I understand what you're saying.;)
It's functionally exactly the same as playing cards, they're just presented as pages of a book visually. (Flipping through pages instead of shuffling a deck, looking like pieces of parchment instead of trading cards, having a lot more text on them...)
 
I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with using cards. Even if the cards have nothing to do with the narrative, as long as the art style looks like it fits into the game world. Look at how they used tarot cards for character selection in Dragon Age: Inquisition. But if you don't want to use cards, you could try thought bubbles. When the player's turn comes up, thought bubbles could appear above their character's head, as though the character is deciding which ability/attack to use.
 

Zizka

Member
I like the idea of thought bubbles, it would make more sense and would end up more coherent.

I've thought of something else though which I think it pretty good:
Remember when I talked about the colored meter? Well, it'd be extension of this.



a) Picture the meter above with an arrow going back and forth from side to side.
b) The player needs to press a single key to stop the arrow where he wants it to land.
c) Each colored section have a different effect: red: failure green: success blue: critical success
BUT
d) (and this is where I have extended things from my previous design) another meter is also active at the same time, the enemy meter.

e) In other words:
i. The player has a meter.
ii. The enemy has a meter.
iii. When the player presses the interaction key, it stops *both* arrows on both meters.

f) This means that the player needs to time correctly not only to stop on the right result for him but also stop the arrow for the enemy player where it would be disadvantaged.

g) There's a time limit to make a selection to prevent the player to wait too long and just pick the best outcome every time.

So attack and defense are effectively taking place at the same time.

It's pretty clear in my head but let me know if it's not, I'll use illustrations to better explain my idea.
 
I actually really like that idea. You could make it where the arrow on the enemy meter moves faster for stronger enemies so its more difficult to stop it in the "best" spot. Different status effects could also speed up/slow down the arrows or change the lengths of each colored section.
 

Zizka

Member


Alright! So I just did a second "real" pass at visually conceptualizing the idea.

The UI is all over the place now but what do you guys think? Should I use different colors for the enemy bar?

I feel like I'm getting closer to something tangible but it still feels off.

Also, with such a system, I'm wondering how I would end up using stamina management...
 

Zizka

Member
If there are a lot of turn based battles, sometimes you don't need each and every battle to be compelling, just quick. Bosses can be compelling.
I want every battle to be some sort of set piece. Battles should happen fairly rarely but should a challenging affair. No flash mobs.
 

Zizka

Member
So I've been thinking and here are some more ideas about the system, more specifically, about how stats will influence gameplay.


Strength:
influences how much damage is dealt when hit connect. I'm thinking of Strength being used as a core base which is then modified by a weapon factor. For example, 10 base strength *2 (for baseball bat), *3 (for knife) etc... Could also determine the HP of the player.

Speed:
determines the speed movement of the arrow icons (both player and monster). I'd use a difference between the speed stat of both hero and player which would then have a certain consequence.

If the player has higher speed, the arrows move slower, allowing the player to make good selections for both player and monster.

Stamina:
Determines total hit points in combination with strength.

Stamina is the stat which I'm having the hardest time incorporating at the moment.

I'm thinking that actions require a certain amount of stamina which refills over time. Every time the arrow comes from one end to the other, some stamina is restored.

More effective actions would have higher stamina requirement meaning the player has to wait for Stamina to fill up before picking a certain action on the bar. Picking an action with no stamina could mean a less effective action.

I'm not sure though. It might make things too complicated in the long run.

Intelligence:
The strength equivalent for non-attack skills. I'm thinking it would influence the effectiveness of psionic attacks for example and resisting mental attacks.

______________________________________________________________________________________

So this is a first draft. I'd make my own icons of course (I already have some of them).

I'm really going out on a limb on this one as it's very useful to get other people's opinion as they might spot something I've missed since I'm so close to the design elements.

I'd want to make sure to keep the amount of stats low, no more than 4.
 

Zizka

Member
(part 2, I was limited to 10 pictures per post):


______________________________________________________________________________________
More questions about concepts:
-What should determine the width of each bar color? Should every monster have its own set or should each segment be randomly generated based on some stats?

-I was thinking of having the bar a total of 100 pixel wide representing 100%. This would allow easier distribution of each segment.

-Some ideas of status effects:

Cold:
Makes every action require more stamina than usual.

Blind:
Colors of the segments are hidden, meaning the player doesn't know what he/she is selecting.

Drunk:
There's a delay between the player triggering an action and the icon actually stopping on the bar.

Concussion:
Green bars (success segment) are narrowed and red bars become wider.

Poison:
The player takes a set % damage every time an action is taken.

Fear:
The arrow icon moves at constantly changing speed.

Depression:
The effectiveness of all actions is reduced.

Hunger:
The player cannot recover stamina to its fullest.

Tired:
The player does less physical damage from regular attacks.

Virus:
A combination of: tired, hunger, poison and cold.
______________________________________________________________________________________

So what do you guys think? I'm mostly brainstorming here. It's important I get everything down right before getting into coding.
 
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Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
I'm pretty sure anyone suffering from cancer, or anyone that has lost a loved one to it, would be... pretty discontent with your oversimplification. You probably should change the name of the disease to something less sensitive, like "plague".
 

Zizka

Member
Yeah, I guess you're right, I'll change it.

EDIT: I've changed it for virus.
 
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Zizka

Member
Alright so I felt I got carried away with the stats last time, unnecessarily bloating the game system. Time to simplify things. This process of elimination requires me to get rid of anything superfluous.

One thing I need for sure is some sort of numerical health meter. So this one, I'll keep for sure.

I could do without strength. I just need to set a certain amount of possible damage for each weapon in-game.

I've reworked the interface a bit.


* I've made the hourglass to replace the old clock.
* The segment in the action bar would be highlighted to make it easier to spot where the arrow is actually pointing.
* I've dropped the idea of both action bars stopping at the same place. It just wouldn't work in the long run, mostly when it came to time management in battle.
* I'd go with the enemy attacking when the hourglass is empty. The idea would be that the hourglass would empty faster or slower depending on the enemy speed. I'd make the position of the arrow randomize with every action to make sure it doesn't always give out the same result. This in turn would allow the player to determine what kind of action the enemy is going to pull off by keeping an eye on the enemy action bar.
* I've also changed the stamina icon for something which looks better.

So I need the HP stat for sure, there's no avoiding that. I need to find a way where the player can improve and the enemies can vary and become tougher without just boosting the stats of both factions progressively.

I'd like the stamina/energy meter to increase progressively. The player should be able to act as often as he wants as long as there's enough stamina to carry out the action.

So the challenge is streamlining this idea of stamina management.

Any ideas about that could work?
 

Zizka

Member
Since I'm having a hard time getting comments on my ideas and system, I've decided to rethink the whole thing. I've been pondering about this times and times again for the last few weeks. Trying to overcome this creative roadblock.

I've finally found something I'm satisfied with. I'm very involved and obsessed with coming up with something I would like to play.

The bar system was cumbersome. Having one for the player and for the enemy was even more cumbersome. So here's what I came up with:

1. First of all, I've gotten rid of the bars and replaced it... with a circle with various sections. It's much more appealing and easier to understand at a glance.



2. Second of all... BOTH the player and the enemy solve their actions... at the same time! The idea here is to replicate how a fight actually takes place. I like boxing and anyone who's been in a fight now that a fight isn't an exchange of clean hits. It's an exchange of blows. Here's how:

3. The player interacts with the spinning needle. The needle ends up determining the outcome of the turn. I haven't worked out all of the possible outcomes but here's some ideas:

a: critical hit: major damage to enemy, no damage to player (the hero dodges the incoming attack and manages to land a blow on his own. Rare and hard to pull off. A small arc of the circle.

b: critical miss: the opposite. the player misses but gets major damage from the enemy. Small arc as well.

c: scuffle: both parties receive minimal damage. A lot more common.

d: kerfuffle (for lack of a better word!): both player and the enemy miss.

4. Minimal and major damage: this is a set number based on the attack being used. This is still in development. I might add in another level of damage if things get too hectic.

5. Energy: You might wonder what the point of having an option in combat where both parties miss: here's the answer: energy/stamina.

At a glance, the combat might seem overly simplified (it is simple!). The complexity comes from energy and attrition. Getting into many fights erodes the players health and stamina. I didn't want fights in which the player would often end up being unscathed (which very seldom happen in real fights). Getting in fights is a decision the player needs to seriously ponder.

This isn't a game where the player can deal with trash mobs. Fighting means getting hurt and having to use limited resources to recover from both health and energy. I believe this a necessary foundation of a survival horror. Bullets should be scarce and close combat fighting shouldn't be a way to bypass limited ammunition. It should come at a price which needs to be mitigated by the player.

Being out of energy would mean probably even less than minimum damage. This means having the player even more vulnerable to a lasting fight.

6. Setting: I've also gotten rid of screen transition. Fight would therefore take place right on the game's "map".

You've noticed the character design at the beginning of the message. Here's how I picture the thing to take place in-game:



The idea is to figure out where the dial would end up being. I'm thinking on top of the player or basically anywhere where there are no foes or the player. I'm not sure about that yet.

______________________________________________________________________________________

So there you have it. I'm looking for feedback about both the art and the design. Innovative ideas which add to what I've already explained would be awesome.

EDIT:
I think this should give a better idea (although still very much so WIP). The hourglass sets a time limit for the player to make his/her selection in order to prevent pattern abuse.



EDIT 2: What I have in mind (UI included):


Whenever a player is facing an interactive element of the game, the speech bubble pops up:



Another possibility is to conceal menus until they're necessary:



The "general" tab.

This represents the status of the player. I want mental health to be a focus of the game so the mood should always appear. Other ailments would also appear here.

 
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Zizka

Member
Ok so I've completely reworked my combat system and I wanted to share it with you as feedback always help in one way or another:
 

Zizka

Member
Since the book size changed, I had to redesign all of the combat. I've been banging my head on this for weeks now. I'm at my 13th redesign and it still doesn't look right to me.


Too much blank space and the current layout is confusing. I'd like to have all of the information on one page but then I wouldn't know what to put on the other page.
 

Zizka

Member
I know it has been 5 messages when I'm talking to myself but I still want to update this as I need help:



So basically I've scrapped what I had so far and tried something new.

a. On the right, you have the score sheet. The black dice represent the enemy result. The white dice represent the player's result. Whoever gets the highest score wins the round and the opponent loses a heart.

b. I want the result to be displayed on the right side. On the left are the actual rolls.

c. The enemy roll is in the bottom window, the hero window is the top one.

d. The enemy goes first, this tells the player what he needs to be beat in order to win the round.

e. The player gets an initial roll. He can then pick any dice from that result to re-roll at the cost of one energy per dice re-rolled.

The issue I have is that I currently don't like the frames I have, they're too thin. The other issue is that I need some extra space on the left page to have the options ''re-roll'' and ''confirm''.

While I have some extra horizontal space, I don't have any vertical space. So any ideas on how to manage space so that I can make it fit and look good would be appreciated.
 

Lance Klepp

Member
Awesome! This looks interesting. Haven't read through it all though. Just for your last post...

Too many ways to go about the re-roll / confirm options.

Here's a few ideas to help get you thinking of a solution:

1. A false window that appears above the dice after the roll, the pencil moves across to each, selecting individual ones will result in a re-roll, selecting all five will result in a confirm. - this would remove the need to add text. Just a shade of colour.
To keep with the theme, a sort of transparent lilac for re-roll, if all selected, the shade turns to a more transparent violet. - just an idea.

2. After the roll, because the results will tell you on the right side of the page, remove the dice from the window, replace with the text Re-Roll and Confirm, with enough space in-between to accommodate the pencil so the player can select. Just make it look nice a symetrical.

3. Make the devil enemy image flip to under earth it's window so you can add in your re-roll and confirm info in the centre of the page.

Hope this gets those creative ideas flowing. You game looks great!
 
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Zizka

Member
Oh shoot, I was dropping by and just saw your reply. So don't think I'm ignoring your feedback by posting those screenshots. I will try to integrate your ideas in the next version. Also, thank you for your kind words, I appreciate the sentiment.

So I've done two new versions. The first version with a new frame. Also, since the dice results are already shown on the left page, I figured it wouldn't be necessary to put them up again on the right to reduce clutter. So I just put an icon representing what each participants in the fight to establish their current score. Problem is, no choice for the player appears on screen.

Mock_battle_18.png

The other version is just with no frames at all to make things less cluttered. That way I manage to put in the choices of "Confirm" and "Re-Roll". It's still barren but I feel like I'm getting closer to a final result.

Mock_battle_19.png
 
I like the new battle system. A few questions, though:

1) Are you planning on keeping the "special" dice rolls from your earlier posts? I think the chains could be adapted as a special attack used by certain enemies to block the player from rerolling a die at random. Or possibly in certain boss battles, one die could be locked per turn, forcing the player to not only win, but win quickly.

2) Speaking of enemies, are there plans for certain enemies/circumstances to allow enemies to re-roll?

3) Any thoughts on attacks doing more damage depending on the difference between rolls, i.e. a player that rolls a three of a kind takes one damage from an enemy rolling a full house, but takes three damage from an enemy rolling a four of a kind?

4) How about having bonuses (I'm thinking free re-rolls on subsequent turns, health boosts, etc.) attached to certain rolls randomly appear at the start of a round? For example, rolling two pairs would generally be a bad thing, but on this turn it completely restores your health. Symbols for the various bonuses (or penalties, like the chain thing) could appear on the right-hand side of the score sheet.

Overall, this is looking good as usual. I like the effort you're going to to come up with an unconventional battle system.
 

Zizka

Member
First of all, thank you for your comment. The battle system is something I've been struggling with for weeks now. I'm up to my 12th revision so any sort of feedback really does help. So you can go to bed tonight knowing you've done a good deed! I'll try to answer your questions as best I can:

1) Are you planning on keeping the "special" dice rolls from your earlier posts? I think the chains could be adapted as a special attack used by certain enemies to block the player from rerolling a die at random. Or possibly in certain boss battles, one die could be locked per turn, forcing the player to not only win, but win quickly.
I wasn't planning on keeping them but I might. Every time I change something in the game, there are repercussions. Some of them I'm aware of, others, not so much until it hits me in the face. That is to say, with the new system enemies are all the same. There's no difference between a tough enemy and an easy one, which is in itself a new shortcoming with the current system.

I think your suggestion could provide a solution to this new problem. I'd need to expand on more specific ailments but this is a good seed of an idea.

2) Speaking of enemies, are there plans for certain enemies/circumstances to allow enemies to re-roll?
I was thinking about this over breakfast actually. I'm thinking yes. I'm thinking of giving an energy meter to the enemy as well. Stronger enemies having higher energy. The problem is that the enemy goes first, meaning having a meter for the enemy would be hard to implement as I'd need to determine when the A.I. will attempt a re-roll or not. This could play into the enemy difficulty as well.

3) Any thoughts on attacks doing more damage depending on the difference between rolls, i.e. a player that rolls a three of a kind takes one damage from an enemy rolling a full house, but takes three damage from an enemy rolling a four of a kind?
Another coincidence, I was dropping by to talk about this. If you look at the screen below:


You'll notice tiers. Bust is the first tier on the left and 5 of a kind the last tier on the right. I was thinking of dealing bonus damage on the tier difference. In the example in the screen, the enemy has a pair of 2 and the player a 5 high straight. If a same tier victory causes 1 heart damage, a +3 tier victory could mean a 4 heart damage. The issue I can foresee with this is statistical swing meaning a bad roll could be game ending for the player and therefore disheartening which is something I'd want to avoid at all costs.

I was thinking of having weapons determine the maximum damage output as an elegant yet simple way of implementing gear into the game. A knife having a max damage of 2 and a chainsaw of 5 for example.

So this is still not definite and requires more thought.

4) How about having bonuses (I'm thinking free re-rolls on subsequent turns, health boosts, etc.) attached to certain rolls randomly appear at the start of a round? For example, rolling two pairs would generally be a bad thing, but on this turn it completely restores your health. Symbols for the various bonuses (or penalties, like the chain thing) could appear on the right-hand side of the score sheet.
That's a really good idea. I like it! Maybe I could have some randomized result counting as a critical hit. This would force the player to risk more than just beating the enemy score.
 
any sort of feedback really does help. So you can go to bed tonight knowing you've done a good deed!
Think nothing of it. The more feedback I give other people, the more I can fool myself into thinking I know what I'm doing. :cool:


Every time I change something in the game, there are repercussions. Some of them I'm aware of, others, not so much until it hits me in the face.
Definitely know that one. Someone casually goes, "Hey, why don't you do this?" and you either have to spend the next day and a half getting their (admittedly good) idea to work with everything you already have in place or feel guilty for ignoring their (terrible but well meaning) ideas entirely. That being said...

I've had another thought about your battle system that kind of goes with the random bonus thing. What if you had a number, chosen at random at the start of battle, and if you roll that specific number some set amount of times during the course of the battle, you get some sort of bonus. For example, if you both defeat the enemy and have rolled a two (or five, or whatever was randomly chosen at the start of the fight) ten times during the battle, you get 1.5x experience, or money, or whatever is most applicable to your game. The player could ignore this (or even trigger the bonus without trying), or risk the reroll to get the bonus.
 

Zizka

Member
Again, thank you for your ideas.

Regarding your idea, there is no experience in the game. I would estimate the number of battles to be about a dozen or so at most which is also something I need to keep in mind regarding combat. I think I need to keep combat fairly streamlined because of that. If the game was centred on combat, I would really design something complex but since it’s not, I want to keep it simple.

I thought about the critical hit idea. If the set to be rolled is random, I think the RNG would be too prevalent in battle. I do want player agency to be vital which is why I allow re-roll.

The challenge I have with the current system is to make each encounter unique. I want each battle to have its own twist depending on the enemy. A spider should be able to poison. An underwater battle should limit the re-roll to one die per round. A fight in a hot room should increase the energy cost to re-roll to 2 instead of 1. This would make each battle memorable. I aim for quality over quantity.

I was thinking of getting a five of a kind to be a critical hit, regardless of the opponent roll which would in turn deal a good amount of damage.

Regarding the enemy, my question remains. How can I make a spider less dangerous than a chainsaw wielding maniac? I thought of having the spider use three dice in combat instead of five. I think this would give the yer too much if an advantage though. If the toughest enemy ends up rolling five dice, it would also imply the player is a master fighter which he isn’t. The player is meant to be a regular person with no military training whatsoever.

The only thing I can think of is to limit weaker enemies to less damage to fearsome foes. A spider could cause two hearts of damage at most, regardless of how much of a victory it scored on the round, i.e. If the player goes bust and the spider rolls 5 of a kind, it would still only cause 3 at most.

I could also have stronger enemies cause more damage for every round won but I like the static damage unit. I like that every hit makes you lose one heart, regardless of what hit you. I find that easy to manage although it is technically a limitation. This allows me to keep the health units limited in scope and make every heart really count. It also prevents wild rng swings in battle.

In the fighting fantasy books, which I base this game on, battles were simple. Too simple. Both opponents had a skill. You rolled two dice and added your skill to the roll. Same thing with the opponent. The highest number won the round and the loser lost 2 hp. To me, that made battle too simple and not fun. The simplicity came at the sacrifice of fun.

I want to go one step further than that system... but not two. I constantly need to be wary of overcomplicating things to the point where it becomes unmanageable or bloated. As it stands right now, I think the complexity is just right although on the brink of being too complex. I just want to slightly vary the current formula to have some sort of gradation in the level of threat of the enemies.

To sum up, adding/removing die for the enemy is out of the question, it would make too much of a difference. Dealing more damage is a possibility but one I’d rather avoid.

Ideas, questions, comment?
 

Zizka

Member
So I was told that I should waste less space and therefore have the map area included into the book as opposed to two different area. Since the game is essentially a text adventure I figured the map area was secondary and shouldn't therefore take so much room.

Mock_battle_26.png
The idea is to have the camera centered on the character in the picture frame of the book where the movement takes place.
 
At first glance, I wasn't necessarily a fan of moving the "play area" into the book itself, but if you're essentially doing a text adventure, it could definitely work, almost like a merger of old JRPGs and MacVenture games like Shadowgate. I would maybe draw exteriors for the building though, as the black void outside the rooms takes up a lot of space.

As for your other issue, since your actual enemy count is so low, I would focus more on making each battle unique rather than worrying about a traditional difficulty curve, as you've said. You mentioned having different complications arise depending on the room your in. The chainsaw maniac doesn't necessarily have to be that different from the spider mechanically, but the situation can provide more of these complications, with the "bigger threat" just coming from the context of the encounter. As long as the first few battles are similar enough that the player can grasp the basics quickly, you can add in wrinkles/complications to later battles.
 
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