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Turn-based gameplay with reaction-based combat

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by j4ke, Aug 24, 2020.

  1. j4ke

    j4ke

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    Once I posted here about my first-person dungeon crawler roguelike game with pixel-art and random generated 3D mazes. I have made some improvements to the mechanics, but I think it could be even better. Especially with the combat system which is reaction-based in this version.

    Clicking an enemy triggers a quick-time-event in which a timer bar appears above the enemy. The pointer above the bar starts sliding across the bar. During this moment the enemy must be clicked again to perform an attack. Clicking the enemy while the pointer is at the center of the bar (well-timed attack) causes the most damage to the enemy, unless player is low on health. If the pointer slides all the way across the bar, the attack is missed.

    So I have planned that with a well-timed attack player can interrupt enemy's following attack. Either minimizing the damage, stunning or knocking enemy back depending on the strength of the enemy. And also I have planned that this bar is also enemy's health bar collapsing symmetrically to the center. The less health enemy has the more easier is to visualize the center of the bar for well-timed attacks.

    I'm not sure if this kind of system is getting repeating fast or is there a way to make this even more versatile in the long run perhaps?
     
  2. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    It's an interesting system. How do you think it will be received by the type of player who likes turn-based dungeon crawlers?

    On the 'con' side, it's reflex-based, which is the opposite of the rest of the game, which is turn-based and strategic.

    On the 'pro' side, it makes the player pay attention in combat instead of going on auto-pilot (assuming the mechanic doesn't get tedious). And it's simple enough that it's easy for turn-based fans to adjust to. (Compared to, say, a fighting game with lots of different moves and controls.) Maybe different weapons and buffs could adjust the timer bar, adding some of the type of strategy that turn-based dungeon crawler fans are used to.
     
    Joe-Censored and j4ke like this.
  3. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    i like the idea of it. I dont play games like this much because i prefer skill based combat more than a numbers game, so this seems like it sort of bridges that gap. Plus the art style is looking nice in this video.

    I think instead of focusing on varying up the combat for sake of variety would be better to make sure there is strong progression pulls. If the RPG elements are good, reptitive combat shouldnt matter much. Every RPG has repetitive combat. If there is tension at all its because something is on the line - rare loot, risk of losing lots of time investment, risk of losing stats, gear, etc.

    In other words, despite a novel combat mechanic I dont think that is crux of this game, so I'd focus on making sure the crux has the 100 hour pull before designing more than basic combat system
     
    j4ke likes this.
  4. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    This. In fact, every game has repetitive core mechanics, regardless of what they are.

    "Repetitive" isn't a problem. It's just a feeling people point towards when your design has other problems. Something feels "repetitive" when you no longer care about it but have to keep doing it anyway.

    Two things I suggest checking out to analyse.

    First, there's an old party-based RPG called Summoner, I think from the early 2000s. Of specific interest here is that they have a then standard real-time combat system where you give people orders then let them do their thing. However, like you, they added a timing element to it. From memory it's something like if you click on an enemy at the moment your attack connects you do bonus damage. It was a fairly small thing, but it meant that combat wasn't a matter of giving orders and then waiting for results, the player paid attention to every swing along the way.

    Second, the reloading mechanic in Gears of War. Typical cover-based bullet sponge shooter. Press button to reload. You have the option of pressing the button a second time during the reload, with a bonus if timed correctly and a penalty otherwise.
     
  5. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    I always thought that was a brilliant idea in a game that otherwise was really boring to me. It made reloading "more fun" for me because there was a way to "do it better" than normal.
     
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  6. j4ke

    j4ke

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    I think the above-mentioned player type likes having at least some tactical elements in this kind of slow-paced dungeon crawler. I have planned that making well-timed attacks doesn't require superhuman reflexes. I have been planning this system even further so that the reflex-based aspect of the system can be ignored and so the player can make only regular attacks instead. Yes, buffs and debuffs sounds like a good idea.
     
  7. j4ke

    j4ke

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    Yes, there are not much room for variety for the combat for this kind of game which I rather to keep minimalistic. Though combat is a big part of this game. RPG elements are going to be minimalistic as well, but I have planned to get rid off traditional experience point system and having a system something like in Dungeons of Daggorath. Rare loot, losing equipment, stat changes, secrets... all of those fit very well to this game.
     
  8. j4ke

    j4ke

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    Thanks for these analyses. The systems in Summoner and in Gears of War would work very well in my game too. I have planned that if you make three well-timed attacks in row without taking damage, you will get bonuses like an extra turn or something else. And with ill-timed attacks you will have penalties like minimal attack damage.Otherwise you will do just regular attacks. So there will be some tactical elements and some degree of risk vs reward.
     
  9. dannyalgorithmic

    dannyalgorithmic

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    Perhaps center some mechanics around a beat? Yeah, that'd make anyone full-mast.