How do I write interesting and fun fight scenes


#1

I’ve hit a roadblock. The game I’m writing has a lot of fight scenes, and I have no idea how to tackle them. Especially since there will be multiple NPCs fighting alongside the MC, all doing their own thing.

Are there any fight scenes written with Choicescript that you found fun to play? If so, would you play them again, given the chance?

I have a lot of questions. Is making it so that only a certain series of actions will result in a successful outcome the way to go? Would that even be fun? Should I give the player the opportunity to control the NPCs and what they’re doing in addition to what the MC is doing, or would that just be too much work for little gain?


#2

Make choices for every type of playstyle.

Leaving fight options for a certain style out might indirectly brand it as “useless”, and will be a real downer for the people who like playing through said style.


#3

Fight scenes are something that I’ve always found really difficult to write, since they’re such a visual thing. The best piece of advice I can give is to do a lot of research on whatever kind of fighting you’re writing about, whether it’s boxing or martial arts or sword fighting. Find out about all the different forms and techniques they use and go into detail describing them.


#4

I like fight scenes where you have quite many options and they all/some have different affects on the continuation. All actions should lead to a successful outcome, but if some lead to more work, like further fight-scenes and perhaps your character gets injured in some way or another.
Depending on what kind of story you’re writing, the MC should be able to control NPC’s but it totally depends on the story (and what kind of personality the person playing trough goes for with the MC)
While in the fight, I would focus on writing what the MC is doing and when they (if they do) get a small break during the fight, like right after they’ve fought down a couple of enemies and they wait for the next wave, they could quickly glance how the others, NPC’s are doing.
Also, I have no clue how to actually write a fight-scene, I’ve had loads of trouble with that as well. If you really want to get into it you should do your research in what type of fighting it is and then maybe watch those kind of action scenes from movies or tv series and really analyze how the two/or more people are moving during the fight. Better yet, try to find a book or something containing fight-scenes and look at how they write it!
I hope that at least some of these things help. Good luck!


#5

Fight scenes are hard. You need to be descriptive enough that the fight is easy to visualise, but not so much that it interrupts the flow of the scene by slowing it down too much. They usually need to tick along pretty fast to work well. Try not to give away what the outcome of a fight or action will be before you get to it.

I disagree that all options should be successful… but I’m not a big fan of insta-deaths except under certain circumstances, so more along the lines of damage to your health, loss of weapons, captured etc. What options you give depends on the type of fight scene, although if you’re using a particular fight style, you need to read up on it to get it right.

I wouldn’t let the player control the NPC’s personally, that kind of takes over the game so you’re pushing pieces around instead of interacting with other characters that have their own mind on how they’re going to act.

I’d try reading through some “non-choice” style fight scenes to see how they work. Once you’ve got an idea of the the flow and language you want to use, it’s comparatively easy to put in a few choices during the fight.


#6

Very important: where the fight takes place. Make the physical setting one of the characters. A fight on a ship deck in a heavy storm; on the top of a cliff; in a slave pit filled with wild animals; in a living room half on fire from an overturned candelabra; in a trench ankle deep with the bodies of your comrades…

Then be sure to use the environment as a critical element in the choices you offer.


#7

Fight scenes come naturally to me and are very fun to write. If anyone would like any help, let me know.


#8

Im my opinion good fight scenes are more about conveying feeling than details. Like that opening fight scene in Gladiator. You don’t actually see a lot of what’s going on but that’s how you’d feel if you were rightin the middle of it. Same goes some of the other Ridley Scott movies (Black Rain, Kingdom of Heaven) - good stuff.


#9

I find fight scenes most fun when you can’t accurately predict the opponent’s counters to your attacks. It can’t be too slow either, and don’t spend too much time writing technical details. You want the player to be as caught up in the moment as their MC. Like another user said above, focus more on the emotions.

I realise these things are easier said than done, but it’s a learning curve. Experiment a little and have fun with it.


#10

It might be worth reminding yourself of the purpose of the fight both as you write it, then when you edit it, so the scene plays an active part in your story:

  • is the fight intended as an exiting counterpoint to a previous slow section of characterisation or world-building? Interspersed with some thought, they can complement each other well and hold the reader’s interest.

  • is the fight life-threatening and thrilling, or is the focus on building a rapport/history between two or more characters?

  • are you showing off the exoticism of the environment, the fighting style, or the crazy weaponry, and are you balancing those descriptikns properly to maintain pace, (as in @Jacic’s post)?

  • is one side more powerful than the other, i.e. Is one character grinding away at the weaker one, creating a feeling of inevitable victory (which you might later subvert)? Or are they equally matched, as you are trying to achieve a sense of knife-edge action?

  • are there special rules? (E.g - Magic can only affect things the protagonist can touch) and when might you choose to flout them? Perhaps you want to to create awe around a hero coming into their extraordinary power, or create a twist in the fight that upends the expected direction of your narrative.

  • finally, (because I’m talking too much!) you may want to consider whether you’re creating hack and slash dungeon fights, or puzzle-pieces of a longer storyline: Not everyone/thing dies in a fight, nor does everyone always go into them behaving like they’re all battles to the death. People can fight with humour, or hatred, or respect, for something they don’t believe in, or for a cause that they’re still growing to understand. If you vary the severity and atmosphere of your fight-scenes, then you can preserve reader attention and save that peak of tragedy or ‘epicness’ for the special fight scene you may have been saving for the end.


#11

i like fighting scenes that is descriptive, because it could be hard to visualize from text. if you found it overwhelming, maybe you could zoom out from mc and describe it broadly like ‘side A is doing x and the other side respond with y’. also weapon description is nice.
if you plan to make death as a possible outcome, maybe put a warning and a save point, so that the player wouldn’t have to replay all the way from the beginning as that could result in frustration.
for npcs, you could give mc the option to choose which position they will be (and it would influence the result of the battle!) like in zombie exodus. or you could make it a relationship check where the npc would only help mc if the relationship is high enough like in mecha ace.
hope this helps!


#12

If you have a hard time with fight scenes the best advise I can give is “Keep it simple.” These are chaotic moments that can go an infinite number of directions so making your choices simpler is invaluable also instead of choosing which punch to throw chunk a fight scene under 2-3 chunks of fun action as opposed to blow by blow choices.

This allows toward motion and less headaches as a writer.


#13

One thing in fightscenes that I enjoyed is when choices are clear on which skill they depend on. This way I know how to play to my character’s strengths. Some WIPs which I think may have good fight scenes (I don’t really remember ^^’) are Children of the Gods (MC runs away most of the time but the fight in Olympus seems fair) and The Gladiator. Suprahumanum if you’re thinking of gunfire and scifi. I think you’ll find material that fits Snoe’s advice of chunks of action instead of blow by blow choices more often than not.

Personally, I’d find controlling NPCs as immersion breaking. Maybe you can interact with other characters when the MC has just fought off an enemy and is looking around the scene, then maybe choose who you want to help (or hinder >:D) or suddenly get dragged into cover by another character so you can sort out a tactic together. Alternatively, having control of the NPCs could make it feel like the fight mini games in visual novels but it would probably make it feel really repetitive if fights happen often in the game.