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Author Topic: PROPOSAL: Combat System  (Read 12842 times)
zenbitz
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« on: May 08, 2009, 02:39:07 AM »

At long last... sorry, I have been really busy with life this month.

http://wiki.parpg.net/Proposals:Combat_System

Please critique; obviously many details need to be filled in.  In particular the possible actions need to be reviewed and cleaned up.  The next obvious step is to work on the skill system so that we can figure out definitive procedures and modifiers for combat task resolution.
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maximinus
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2009, 03:19:51 AM »

From the wiki:

Quote
If you reserve at the end of the turn, can you move to the top of the list for next turn? Is there any advantage to this?

Must say I *don't* like this: either your are faster than somebody else or you aren't.

Other than that I like the overall flavour of these rules. I have to say that I would critique them a bit more when they start to be implemented, because the deveil is obviously in the details. But looks like good work to me  Smiley
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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2009, 03:11:47 PM »

I'll give it a read at Monday and try to provide some useful feedback. In general I'm with maximinus: it's hard to comment on certain aspects before actually testing their ingame implementation. I think things will be a lot clearer and better feedback will emerge once we can actually test how all these aspects work out ingame.
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2009, 07:33:38 PM »

Some random comments:


* 1 turn = 1 second.
I expect that will need to depend on the type of "turn sequencing" we use.

*"Phased (constant)  10 Phases, count down, 1 action (may be compound) per char per turn."
I don't understand how this works.

* "Plotted Actions (Real-time auto pause?)"
I suspect FIFE isn't designed to do this. (confirmation, FIFE guys?)  Animation and action resolution would need to be (IMHO) a significantly higher level of complexity.

* "Acceleration and Deceleration"
These rules sound rather cumbersome for turn-based combat that's not supposed to take hours.

* Melee Combat flowchart and weapon ranges looks good.

* Engaged Status
This topic (which overlaps what a lot of other games call "zone of control", is IMHO a very critical part the ruleset.  I think the section is too vague now for detailed comment.  But as i understand what this means, it doesn't make sense that a person can be engaged with more than one other person.
* * "Single spaces moves and rotations in place are allowed."
I would suggest rather that a character can't move out of melee weapon range of the enemy he is engaged with without attempting to "disengage".
* * Generally i think it is important to have rules that make ganging up on a melee opponent

* random though: suppose a axeman manages to run up to a rifleman and attempts to engage him.  As i understand it, the rifleman gets to fire first (at a penalty unless he had reserved a shot).  Again suppose the axeman is lucky and is unscathed.  Does the rifleman now get to use his rifle as a melee weapon, (if not a great one?  What if he has a bayonet?

* Grappling
I'd like to have it, but i agree it's probably more trouble than it is worth, though from my perspective the graphics "cost" is the obvious issue.

* Several "Status Effects" "distracted", "Stunned" etc. are mentioned.  It would be good to get a list of these with definitions.   I hope we can avoid the pitfall of too many nearly synonymous "effects" that i've seen in some rulesets.
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Gaspard
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2009, 07:51:44 PM »

* Grappling
I'd like to have it, but i agree it's probably more trouble than it is worth, though from my perspective the graphics "cost" is the obvious issue.

* Several "Status Effects" "distracted", "Stunned" etc. are mentioned.  It would be good to get a list of these with definitions.   I hope we can avoid the pitfall of too many nearly synonymous "effects" that i've seen in some rulesets.

what would be the effect of being Grappled in-game ? If it is comparable to being "dazed" or "stunned" or "distracted" then in all of those cases (being (successfully) grappled included) one graphic (animation or still) could be used. To go either for realism (which is indeed 'costly' in terms of graphics) or something more simplistic (a stupid example - stars circling the critter's head until it overcomes whatever is forcing an effect from the aforementioned list)
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2009, 10:02:39 PM »

"Grappling" is basically "wrestling".  If two people are "grappling" they are physically holding on to each other somehow or other while fighting.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2009, 12:48:42 AM »

From the wiki:

Quote
If you reserve at the end of the turn, can you move to the top of the list for next turn? Is there any advantage to this?

Must say I *don't* like this: either your are faster than somebody else or you aren't.

The tricky part is just to handle edge effects - in this case the turn "flip over" being the literal edge representing continous time.

The above has to be put into context:
We have a fast char and a slow char.

We want to prevent the fast guy from losing his "speed" advantage because he has to move first.  For example, let's say that they are both hiding behind a bush, and someone needs to pop out so the other guy can shoot him.  If the fast guy goes first, the the SLOW guy always has the drop on him, so the first guy must have the option of 'reserving' his action.   Otherwise, if the fast guy "passes" the slow guy can freely act! 

Thinking about it like this - the rulelet listed above makes zero sense....  and is in fact, contrary to the principle I wrote above.  So I guess drop it!

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zenbitz
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2009, 12:50:18 AM »

* Grappling
I'd like to have it, but i agree it's probably more trouble than it is worth, though from my perspective the graphics "cost" is the obvious issue.

* Several "Status Effects" "distracted", "Stunned" etc. are mentioned.  It would be good to get a list of these with definitions.   I hope we can avoid the pitfall of too many nearly synonymous "effects" that i've seen in some rulesets.

what would be the effect of being Grappled in-game ? If it is comparable to being "dazed" or "stunned" or "distracted" then in all of those cases (being (successfully) grappled included) one graphic (animation or still) could be used. To go either for realism (which is indeed 'costly' in terms of graphics) or something more simplistic (a stupid example - stars circling the critter's head until it overcomes whatever is forcing an effect from the aforementioned list)

What eleazzar says is correct, Grappled as I am using it is a subtype of "engaged".  I think the "dazed" version would be equivalent to "Entangled" in english... I guess if we want nets and tridents we could add this pretty easily.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2009, 01:48:56 AM »

Quote

*"Phased (constant)  10 Phases, count down, 1 action (may be compound) per char per turn."
I don't understand how this works.

* "Plotted Actions (Real-time auto pause?)"
I suspect FIFE isn't designed to do this. (confirmation, FIFE guys?)  Animation and action resolution would need to be (IMHO) a significantly higher level of complexity.

Ooops.  Those are just placeholders.   If you were in my head you'd know what I was talking about!  The "RTP" version is just there for completeness; I don't see why FIFE can't handle it... isn't there an RTS game for it in development?

Quote
* "Acceleration and Deceleration"
These rules sound rather cumbersome for turn-based combat that's not supposed to take hours.

It is a little over the top.  I guess I got there starting by considering how fast someone could run... then realizing that they couldn't really go from a standstill to a full sprint to a fullstop, etc.   "Velocity" is also a useful concept for things like penalties to hit with missile weapons and charging/knockdown attacks.   Another thing I was trying to do was distinguish between "walking" , "running", "dodge-running", and "sprinting" somehow...  The typical fallout "pick a destination square" and go I think misses some subtlety that is tactically interesting.

I'd like to develop it further before we just punt on it.

Quote
* Engaged Status
This topic (which overlaps what a lot of other games call "zone of control", is IMHO a very critical part the ruleset.  I think the section is too vague now for detailed comment.  But as i understand what this means, it doesn't make sense that a person can be engaged with more than one other person.
* * "Single spaces moves and rotations in place are allowed."
I would suggest rather that a character can't move out of melee weapon range of the enemy he is engaged with without attempting to "disengage".
* * Generally i think it is important to have rules that make ganging up on a melee opponent

Well, the N on 1 case is pretty simple.  Let's say A vs X, Y, and Z.   I suppose you could designate the "first engager" (X) as engaged with A, and let Y and Z remain "unengaged" and get free swings... but I don't think much is lost in considering Y and Z engaged as well (although it's all the worse for A), they should not be able to ignore A if they are in weapons range (unless maybe X grapples A...)

I am not following your point on "moves that remain in range" but are more than 1 square... I don't think that characters should be allowed to run "around" someone staying in range...  Can you give me an example?

In anycase, I will re-read what I wrote and try to be explain in more detail. 

Quote
* random though: suppose a axeman manages to run up to a rifleman and attempts to engage him.  As i understand it, the rifleman gets to fire first (at a penalty unless he had reserved a shot).  Again suppose the axeman is lucky and is unscathed.  Does the rifleman now get to use his rifle as a melee weapon, (if not a great one?  What if he has a bayonet?

Yes, but he has already used his action, so cannot attack until next turn.  I think we have to be a little careful to make sure people can't cheeze out a free attack; I am sure what I have specfied is not (yet) bulletproof in this regard.

Quote
* Grappling
I'd like to have it, but i agree it's probably more trouble than it is worth, though from my perspective the graphics "cost" is the obvious issue.

Yeah, I don't think there is any penalty to considering the Mechanics rules for it at this point, but it's surely a "post demo" add on.

Quote
* Several "Status Effects" "distracted", "Stunned" etc. are mentioned.  It would be good to get a list of these with definitions.   I hope we can avoid the pitfall of too many nearly synonymous "effects" that i've seen in some rulesets.

Good point - it needs an iteration to be consistent with the "Health and Damage" rules section as well as the "Skill" section.  I think in at least one (mental) iteration, I was considering all negative health effects as "Distractions" in their effect on combat (and non-combat) skills... although "stunned" pretty much sounds like "No action possible".
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2009, 03:38:30 AM »

Quote from: eleazzaar
* Engaged Status
This topic (which overlaps what a lot of other games call "zone of control", is IMHO a very critical part the ruleset.  I think the section is too vague now for detailed comment.  But as i understand what this means, it doesn't make sense that a person can be engaged with more than one other person.

Well, the N on 1 case is pretty simple.  Let's say A vs X, Y, and Z.   I suppose you could designate the "first engager" (X) as engaged with A, and let Y and Z remain "unengaged" and get free swings... but I don't think much is lost in considering Y and Z engaged as well (although it's all the worse for A), they should not be able to ignore A if they are in weapons range (unless maybe X grapples A...)

To clarify, this is what i'm thinking of when two melee combatants are "engaged":

They are both within or right on the edge of each other's strike zone, watching each other with intense attention for a hint of what the next move will be.  Both engaged combatants are at a disadvantage do anything other than fight the engaged opponent, because that opponent is intently watching for an opening to strike.

In other words being "engaged" is an equal limitation on both parties.

In a 1 vs 3 situation, it doesn't seem reasonable (unless possibly the one has a much higher skill level) that the solo fighter should be able to restrict the actions of all 3 of his enemies, especially if some of them are to the side or back.  The concept of "engaged status" gets fuzzy and vague if it is stretched to include both the outnumbered combatant and all of his numerous opponents.



Quote from: eleazzaar
* * "Single spaces moves and rotations in place are allowed."
I would suggest rather that a character can't move out of melee weapon range of the enemy he is engaged with without attempting to "disengage".

I am not following your point on "moves that remain in range" but are more than 1 square... I don't think that characters should be allowed to run "around" someone staying in range...  Can you give me an example?

As you word it two combatants can remain "engaged", while moving out of weapons range of each other (i.e. one space away backwards).  That should IMHO require a successful "disengage" attempt.

In short what i was trying to say is that two engaged combatants (assuming we have the concept of a disengage attempt) shouldn't be able to move out of striking range of each other.  I'm not making a comment about how far they should be able to move, i.e. i'm not saying they can move anywhere within striking range.


Quote from: eleazzaar
* * Generally i think it is important to have rules that make ganging up on a melee opponent
Opps, looks like i didn't finnish that sentence.  Meant to say:
Generally i think it is important to have rules that make ganging up on a melee opponent... a very good strategy.  You loose a lot of possible tactics (and believability) if a combatant can let himself be surrounded, and defend himself from multiple melee opponents at once just as well as he can one at a time.



Quote from: eleazzaar
* Several "Status Effects" "distracted", "Stunned" etc. are mentioned.  It would be good to get a list of these with definitions.   I hope we can avoid the pitfall of too many nearly synonymous "effects" that i've seen in some rulesets.

Good point - it needs an iteration to be consistent with the "Health and Damage" rules section as well as the "Skill" section.  I think in at least one (mental) iteration, I was considering all negative health effects as "Distractions" in their effect on combat (and non-combat) skills... although "stunned" pretty much sounds like "No action possible".

Some ideas for status effects, i don't necessarily expect them all to be used.

"Dazed" or "In Shock"
A dazed combatant cannot initiate an action in this state, but can respond (if not very well).  A dazed combatant can attempt any automatic defensive rolls, though at a significant penalty.

"Stunned" or "Unconscious"
A stunned combatant falls to the ground, unaware.
We might want to make a distinction between "Stunned" a status that may last only a few turns, and "Unconscious" which lasts though combat and until the combatant receives medical aid.

"Panicked"
Panicked combatants are unpredictable and uncontrollable.  They may huddle on the ground, or run away.

"Blinded","Deafened"
Caused by proximity to explosions mostly.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2009, 04:21:02 PM »

actually wrote the sections on the different possibilities for timing systems.
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2009, 04:52:35 PM »

actually wrote the sections on the different possibilities for timing systems.

OK, thanks.

Observations:

Phased (variable) sounds more playable than (constant).  I don't have a lot of experience using either system, but it seems that going through 10 turns per round, even when many of them may not have anything happening would be tedious.

It also strikes me that both phased systems would also be tedious with the timing indicated:  0.1 seconds per turn.  If battle happens sometimes on a map big enough for vehicles to go 65 mph, than moving even one pedestrian around, one meter at a time could get old very fast.

The general impression is that this would produce an experience something like mechwarrior (not the video game), i.e. a single engagement between a handful of combatants could easily take a very long time... which would be OK if paRPG was entirely a combat game, but it's not.

IMHO combat should take approximately the same amount of real time that it did in FO.  By making turns so small (especially in the phased version) i think combat would tend to take many times longer than it did in FO.
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Gaspard
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2009, 05:51:49 PM »

IMHO combat should take approximately the same amount of real time that it did in FO.  By making turns so small (especially in the phased version) i think combat would tend to take many times longer than it did in FO.

combat time from the players perspective ("real time") is a very important thing to keep in mind, in my opinion.
it's a tender topic and the choice should be made with real care. I'm not too good with the technical side of planning how to design the sequencing, but I'll illustrate some of the issues that I encountered in FO.

as eleazzaar brought up how it was in FO I'll mention that I found it a real pain in the ass when all the neutral parties started either running away from you or (in case of a bug) joined in the fight against you. When there were a lot of NPCs on a map like New Reno then it was just crazy to fight in a street there.

I remember a case when I was a Made Man of another family and walked past Mordino's place and the bouncers on the door jumped me. I can't remember whether it was a bug or they actually had to start a fight just like that when I'm on the street but not on their territory. Everybody joined the fight one way or another. Anyway - as my last savegame was from a couple of hours before I didn't feel like losing all that play time and had to shoot most of the NPCs on the map off the face of the earth. The only ones who were left in the end were those who had escaped into a corner where they could not see me and therefore not start combat...  Undecided
And that fight was looooong. All these NPCs taking turns to step three grids further away from the PC per turn.......

similarly crazy-boring were fights with swarms of cockroaches, or similarly weak but usually numerous enemies who, each, would get a bite or even two at you per turn. When they're surrounding you then it's not really possible to drop a grenade either and the whole combat is just, again, loooooong and crazy-boring (sneaking past the buggers was impossible because there were so many of them in such tight spaces and running to my goal destination in combat mode did not help either because the time-loss was pretty much the same the same).

such situations should be avoided mostly, imho. designing either critters in such a way that this (last) kind of combat would be minimal if at all or balancing it while designing a map and adding those critters.

if a FO-ish combat turn system is considered then maybe it should also be considered that it should be such in which all the neutral parties would make their moves (running away for example) (to the player's eyes) seemingly simultaneously between turns or in a greatly sped-up manner like how it is solved in the Civilization games: having the rivaling nations act out their moves and tactics in a real time second from the player's perspective

--

About ganging up:

perhaps a way that's similar to how it was done in some DnD games. When a character is engaged with another and there is an enemy character/critter in a grid right behind or adjacent to the one the first character (plainly - in melee range and hostile) is standing in, then he or she suffers a penalty to def% and/or the enemy (or both of the enemies) gets a bonus to damage and/or to_hit% and/or a higher critical chance.

But if this bonus/penalty would escalate with every added enemy surrounding the character then that might make fighting enemies with your party members one-at-a-time easy as pie, but also it would make it a point to not get surrounded by multiple enemies in combat - a tactical challenge in itself (which would be difficult to apply to AI-controlled allies who would be prone to getting ganged-up upon and dying all the time, thus rendering the Hardcore difficulty mode tedious at best(in the case that combat still plays a significant role in the whole game and a fully diplomatic/sneaky solutions to the whole game are marginal)

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zenbitz
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2009, 09:07:09 PM »

Phased (variable) sounds more playable than (constant).  I don't have a lot of experience using either system, but it seems that going through 10 turns per round, even when many of them may not have anything happening would be tedious.

I don't get this critique.  The phases are all internal to the software (both versions).  Every "player" (including NPCs) just waits until their turn, then acts.  The CPU handles all the phases.  Things moving on a phase (without acting, i.e., constant velocity) just move 1 square.


Quote
It also strikes me that both phased systems would also be tedious with the timing indicated:  0.1 seconds per turn.  If battle happens sometimes on a map big enough for vehicles to go 65 mph, than moving even one pedestrian around, one meter at a time could get old very fast.

On velocity, I had a mind to cap vehicles in combat at about 35 mph = 20m/s just to make it somewhat sane.  Pedestrians, if you read the movement rules can walk 3-4 m/s and run twice that.  What the systems says they CANNOT do (in a single turn) is
a) load weapon
b) Run 3 squares
c) Fire weapon, with full aim at a dude
d) Run 3 more squares.

Although you can fire (Hip shoot) while running... you just aren't likely to hit anything.

Quote
The general impression is that this would produce an experience something like mechwarrior (not the video game), i.e. a single engagement between a handful of combatants could easily take a very long time... which would be OK if paRPG was entirely a combat game, but it's not.

IMHO combat should take approximately the same amount of real time that it did in FO.  By making turns so small (especially in the phased version) i think combat would tend to take many times longer than it did in FO.

The time scale has literally no effect on the RT speed of combat resolution.  What takes RT are decisions and actions by players and NPCs.  The total time of a combat is dependent only on the number of player/npc turns it takes to "resolve" (and with 1 shot - 1 "kill" that can be QUITE fast).  I would like the combat to be much FASTER than FO, which I found full of tedium fail while me and a death claw grind down each others hit points (or rather, I grind his down and he tries to critical hit me).
« Last Edit: May 14, 2009, 09:12:09 PM by zenbitz » Logged

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zenbitz
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2009, 09:20:50 PM »

[as eleazzaar brought up how it was in FO I'll mention that I found it a real pain in the ass when all the neutral parties started either running away from you or (in case of a bug) joined in the fight against you. When there were a lot of NPCs on a map like New Reno then it was just crazy to fight in a street there.
(Tedious fallout cases deleted)
I totally agree big FO combats, or combats against "tough" foes (Deathclaws, boss monsters) took forever and sucked.

The simple thing to do is to have "regular" NPCs just flee/hide/surrender and not take any game time from the real fight.  Some long fights are not going to be avoided if player part picks a fight with a large group of bandits or "town guards".  However, deadlyness of gunshots should keep the affairs short...

Quote
perhaps a way that's similar to how it was done in some DnD games. When a character is engaged with another and there is an enemy character/critter in a grid right behind or adjacent to the one the first character (plainly - in melee range and hostile) is standing in, then he or she suffers a penalty to def% and/or the enemy (or both of the enemies) gets a bonus to damage and/or to_hit% and/or a higher critical chance.

That's pretty much in the proposal.  Additional foes engaged with you are additional "distractions" and you suffer penalties to defense (same effect as they having bonuses to attack).  There are also flank and rear attack bonuses (in melee combat).
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