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JRPG with multiple health bars

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by oTaijjo, Nov 29, 2019.

  1. oTaijjo


    Nov 3, 2019

    I'm currently doing what's not recommended: I'm making a JRPG style game with huge worldbuilding, quests and all the good stuff. My battle system is round based, and in it's core similar to the classic Final Fantasy games (1-10). In games like that, if somebody gets damaged, numbers pop up, usually white ones for damage, green ones for healing.
    My battles feature not one but 2 stats, that could be considered health. Characters are unable to continue fighting, if one of them decreases to 0. They're called Vitality, physical health, and Sanity, mental health.

    I'm searching for a visual language, that makes the following clear when a number pops up:
    - The number represents physical damage, i.e. Vitality decreases
    - The number represents physical healing, i.e. Vitality increases
    - The number represents mental damage, i.e. Sanity decreases
    - The number represents mental healing, i.e. Sanity increases

    Do you have any ideas or is the whole idea stupid, anyway?
  2. JoeStrout


    Jan 14, 2011
    I don't think it's stupid. If psionic/mental attacks are an important part of your world, then the separate stats make sense.

    But I wouldn't lose a lot of sleep over this visual issue. Just pick different colors and fonts (fonts mainly to aid the color-blind). If white/green is physical damage/healing, then make yellow/blue (in a different font) be mental damage/healing.
  3. Not_Sure


    Dec 13, 2011
    Impose the numbers on a splash.

    Blood for health damage.
    Green sparkles for health heal.
    Purple clouds for mental damage.
    A Pilar of light for mental heal.

    Or something like that.

    And give your players a pose for each.

    Head thrown back for damaged health.
    Flexing with fist at their hip for healed health.
    Head thrown forward grasping it in their hands for mental damage.
    Folded hands and closed eyes for mental heal.

    If it's a jrpg really lean into the overly dramatic.
    JoeStrout likes this.
  4. Socrates


    Mar 29, 2011
    I agree that some special effects can make a difference, but I'd avoid blood. This can cut some young from being allowed to play the game, and some regions (such as China) don't allow blood splashes.

    I think @JoeStrout 's idea of two pairs of colors, with a different font for health vs. sanity is a good idea. It will help players quickly differentiate visually. You may also want to use a different side of the model for each damage, such as health damage shows on the left side of the head, sanity on the right side. Again, makes it quickly visually different.
  5. oTaijjo


    Nov 3, 2019
    Those are very nice ideas! Thank you all!
  6. Joe-Censored


    Mar 26, 2013
    You could have Vitality on the top left, and Sanity on the top right. Blue is used when a stat increases, red if decreases. Some text or visual effect floats up on the left towards the top of the screen when it affects Vitality, on the right if it affects Sanity. This would have the added advantage of being understandable even to people with common forms of color blindness.

    You could instead use some visual effect which denotes Vitality, and an entirely different effect which is for Sanity, and again just use blue and red for up or down.
  7. Serinx


    Mar 31, 2014
    This is an interesting idea because it's sort of handled by a lot of RPG games but in a different way.

    They don't have 2 health bars, they have 1 health bar that acts as the character's ability to stay in the fight.
    They have different types of attacks, and different resistances which drain this 1 central health bar. You can always kill an enemy using any type of attack, but some are more effective than others. E.g. if a character has high physical defense but low willpower, a psychic attack will deal more damage.

    In your case, with 2 health bars, you can always just target their weakest health bar. So even if a character has 5 million Vitality, if they only have 10 Sanity, you'll be able to take them out with your level 1 "Insult Mom" ability.

    I'm not sure how I feel about the above scenario, it would encourage players to have perfectly balanced Vitality/Sanity to prevent being killed easily one way or the other.

    Also, it adds complexity if you do decide to incorporate different types of attacks and resistances.
    • physical attacks deal 100% damage to vitality and 0 damage to sanity
    • psychic attacks deal 100% damage to sanity and 0 to vitality
    • fire attacks deal 90% damage to vitality and 10% to sanity?? unless you have fire resistance which reduces those percentages
    It would almost be a question of "Why do I have a Sanity health bar but no "Burnedness" health bar? What about an "Electrocution" health bar?

    Of course, all this depends on what else you're planning to add to this system, but it's definitely worth thinking about these things now to avoid confusing the player.