Battle Mechanics


#1

In the process of creating my project one thing I intend to place a big emphasis on is the fighting. I want the player to feel enveloped in the story all the while I understand the use of stats and how they are implemented into the story. One thing that has bothered me personally is having to choose the correct skill that aligns with what I have done so far when in a fight or else my attempt usually fails. But that’s normally stemming from the fact that I’ve been in the moment, attacking how my character seems fit at the moment despite having used something else up to the moment. For example, in case I’m making no sense:

While it is normally ‘gaming’ correct that my weapons character has utilized weapons thus far, in a fight with insert generic antagonist name here, I felt the need to give them a kick or a punch, but having barely done so my attack sadly fails due to not having used the unarmed skill until now.

While I understand this and know this is the way things are done, would it be a problem to create a game where every action the player does regardless of stats does something beneficial to the battle? Doing so I feel as if it would completely disregard the stats system, a principal component in these games

Readers, I really need your feedback on this. What would be the best way to go about battles in the stories? What game so far do you think has done the best job in immersive battle? Should I leave things the way they are and continue on this route, or try something new?


#2

I don’t see any sort of problem with this! I say cast aside having a stat for fighting if you do this, and just let people succeed in awesome ways.

I was actually musing over the idea of allowing people to choose to fail in a fight. For that not to end the story, but instead to just take it along a different path.There’s plenty of stories where the protagonist fails in a fight after all, (generally around the middle of the story) only to persevere and then win. But when a story robs you of that choice, railroads you into the failure some people can feel frustrated.

I wondered if allowing people to choose to fail, to mess up some fighting, to choose to lose, would that remove the fear of failure some? Or would it break the immersion of the game, since the protagonist most certainly wouldn’t want to fail.

Aha! I actually mused on the idea of writing a quick story, that had two choices, one to succeed, one to fail, and only failing continued the story onward through a calamity of events, whereas a success lead to a game over.

BUT I probably won’t write that. And I’m getting off topic.

I like the idea of allowing for a character to be competent in their area of expertise. To allow them to be awesome, live through a power fantasy where there’s no risk of failure, no danger of losing, it’s all just in how awesome you win. I love that so much more than just being stuck picking the same choices over and over again, forced to stick with past choices and bound by whatever of my stats is the highest, knowing if I don’t I’m going to fail/lose.

Anyway I say try something new!


#3

Thank you! I was considering each branch to lead to a different outcome depending on how you fought them. What they say and how they fight next depends on how you lead the previous attack. Like with an ability or unarmed. This would be so much easier once I understand how to use the code better.


#4

I would say that it would break Immersion… But obviously I’m just one person amongst hundreds, so do what you think is best.


#5

This is a very big complaint of mine; I really dislike having to choose from (say) four choices, only one of which is correct (based on your stats). Why bother making it a choice then? It’s even worse when you have to increase your stats, but for whatever reason, you increase the wrong one, meaning that none of the choices are correct.

That’s not to say that there can’t be bad choices, merely that the bad choices shouldn’t be outright failures. In my game, sensible choices are usually guaranteed to work (to an extent), while stupid choices generally come with a stat check for success. And even if you fail at several of these stat checks, and end up dead, you can still go back to the beginning of the fight and try again (and there’ll always be a way of getting through every plot-essential fight that is stat-independent). I’m not saying that you have to do it the way I do, just that that’s one way of doing it.

In essence, these games are supposed to be fun, and a stat-quiz isn’t really fun. Your choices should impact the plot, not whether you get to see the plot or not.


#6

I also don’t think its a problem to remove stats from a choice heavy fight. As was said, there are good decisions and bad decisions, and in this case, it becomes less about “I can’t punch this guy because my unarmed stat is garbage” and more “I don’t think the best time to throw a punch is when I’m weapon locked with my opponent”. Mind you, stats can still definitely play their part in this kind of fight. If the character that is being played is exceptionally good at swordplay, for example, they could conceivably end the fight before the option to punch the opponent comes up. This allows for fights to be fair, but also still rewards a player/character who has put the time into building stats. Just my two cents!


#7

Not sure if this is helpful, but this is the general battle guide I am using in Fallen Hero, my supervillain game, which has just got through a very fight heavy part of the game.

1: Pre-battle.

These are the events prior to the battle. Sometimes the MC’s choices there can lead to them getting advantages/disadvantages as the fight opens. For example, if you are prone to getting distracted by monologuing, it is easier to get the drop on you and get the first strike in.If you proceed carefully, you will have less risk of an ambush, but a greater chance of people catching up and so on.

2:Style.

Now the fight have started. Perhaps there was already a blow struck, perhaps it starts from a blank slate. The first choice I have the MC make here determines the style of the rest of the battle. For example, the MC has a suit which can have a combination of two out of four advantages: Speed/strength/armor/telepathy booster. In addition, special circumstances might come into the fight, for example if you are fighting your nemesis of which you have specific knowledge. I let the MC pick what tactic they use, and this will lead to how I write the flavor text. For example, picking a SpeedFight will lead to a fast and furious battle, while relying on ArmorFight will be a different beast. Depending on your opponent, these might be variously effective. There’s some flavor text going back and forth, maybe some damage taken to either party, and then it’s the next choice.

3: Stats.

Now that I have the flavor of the fight, I pause at a pivotal moment, so the MC can decide on how to proceed.

This all depends on what kind of stats you have, I have no fighting stats, but I do have personality stats.

For example, for telepathy I have 2 stats, one determines your strength, one determines your subtlety. If you choose to try some fiddly manipulations, you’d better have some good subtlety to pull it off. Of course some tactics might be better than others, so depending on the fight it might still be smarter to try with your lower stats just because the threshold for success might be lower.

In a physical fight, I have the cautious/daring stat to determine how big risks you like to take. If you choose a risky maneuver with a good payoff, it will be easier to pull off if you have high daring. Otherwise you might hesitate at a pivotal moment, and fail. Conversely, if you hang back and wait for your opening, having a high daring might screw you over because you simply don’t have the patience to wait for your shot. That being said, sometimes you can reward a MC acting against type, just because doing so might surprise your opponent if they know you well.¨

This is also the stage where you can have the option to use one-shot advantages/items/information which you have gained earlier in the game.

Another thing which can be done here is to try to switch the playing field entirely, running from a fight, going for a telepathic attack in the middle of a physical fight and so on.

4: Results

Now I describe the result of the attack, which will depend on the stats as well. For example, let’s say someone choose a SpeedFight, and then manages to hit with a high daring attack. If they also have high strength, I will describe the result differently than if they had high armor. If this is meant to be a longer fight, I try to describe the result so they will know if their tactic was a good bet or not, or of they want to switch tactics.

5: Repeat as needed

Step 3-4 can be repeated as many times as you want to, depending on how much you write for them, and how you want it to proceed.

6: Denouement

Now the battle have been decided/won/lost and it is time to make it matter. There’s no use having fights if you don’t get to feel the result. Did you win? Give the MC a chance to gloat if they want to, kick someone when they’re down, make sure their opponent is okay or otherwise feel that they really have won. Did things go badly? Then have the denouement be about trying to escape, beg for mercy, have allies come in and help or just accept your fate with grace. This is THE most important part of a fight in my opinion, at least in the bigger ones that truly matters.

My standard fight path:

In general I start with the following structure for a fight:

Pre --> Style --> Stat —> advantage/disadvantage result --> Stat --> Perfect/good/meh/poor final result.

So, if you get an advantage after the first attack you can get a good/poor result. If you get a disadvantage you can get a meh/poor one. And these will flavor how I write the denouement.

This can all be written as complicated as I want them too, I have a lot of minor variables in each step as well, everything from the personality/relationships of the MC to style choices like if they have a cape or not.

In conclusion: My goal for the fight is that the player never should need to look at their stats, they should just play their character from the heart and see where it takes them.