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Would you try a mud with this system?
I might try a mud with this system
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Not something I am interested in
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paan



Joined: 20 Nov 2007
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:39 am    Post subject: Need feedback on design Reply with quote

Hi all,

I am in the design process of a mud. I want to create a combat system that is a bit different, so I want to see if you guys think that this might be something that might consider playing at all or not.

I'll post the design at the end of this post. But first let me clarify a few things.

The following text is pulled directly from my in progress design document/notebook. It thought process might be a bit scatter. Some wording might not be as clear as it should yet, but I think the general idea is very clear in my mind. So if there is something that is not clear or you think is confusing please ask and I will be happy to answer you.

Some of the parts of this is not very fleshed out yet, but I want to get a general idea if this is something that anyone would want to play. While ideas about details of the system is appreciated, if you dont have anything to add it would be enough if you just chime in and say whether or not this is something you would consider playing.

Thank in advance


Quote:

Combat consist of 2 parts, the pre fight setting up of the actions and actionsets and the fight itself

The pre fight setup consists of setting up actions into actionssets. the in fight actions are selecting an active actionset that will be the "active" actionset.


Actions are the attacks/skills that your character can perform. For example, a normal attack is an action. A skill, for example, “power attack” that will cause more damage at the expense of chance to hit is also an action.
What the player will do is select an action and specify the probability of that attack happening in a particular actionset. So, for example, an actionset would be “80% Normal attack 20% power attack”. Player create these actionsets, and depending on the result of their attack, they change the actionset that is being used mid battle to use the best attack against a particular enemy.

A real action would look more like “left side swing with feint”, “center trust with power”, “right up swing looking for weakness”. Each action will have 3 basic component,
1. a base attack type, e.g “side swing” “trust” and “up swing”,
2. a location, e.g “left”, “center” , “right”. (been thinking of changing it to targeting instead, so it is left arm, torso, right arm, leg etc instead. But for now just assume its left right center for simplicity)
3. a modifier, e.g feinting, more power, looking for weakness. Modifiers have values assigned to them, so a feint could be a half hearted feint, looking to fool a beginner combatant, or it could be a “real” feint requiring a lot of concentration to pull off but the attack would be harder to see through. Attacks could have multiple modifiers assigned to them. And all modifiers cost concentration

Concentration is mentioned above, and the basic premise is that fights require concentration. Real fights don’t have 2 combatants hitting each other and slashing each other until one is finally “injured enough” and die. But instead the combatants dodge and parry until one of them finally loose concentration and is hit by the opponent. Its hard to score a hit but 1 or 2 hit is enough to kill. So a powerful skill requires a lot of concentration to pull off, and might leave the character with not enough concentration to defend himself properly, which could be fatal, on the other hand if the skill hit then it could mean victory for the character. So that’s the tradeoff.

When combat starts the player character will randomly execute the action based on the probability that is defined in the actionset. So, against a hard to hit kobold, the player would need to specify an actionset that have more probability of a high accuracy attacks while against a easy to hit giant with a lot of hit point it would better to have actions with high damage.

On the defense side, the user would be able to define the defensive stance to take. This could be something like “The stone” which increase blocking damage, but lowers agility and dodge values. Or ‘Butterfly’s dance’ that increases agility and parry.

So in a PvP setting, the player would prepare beforehand a few actionsets with different kind of stance in mind. He’d keep an actionset for a fast opponent and also an actionset in case the opponent switches stance and turtle up. Switching stance and actionsets would have some sort of cost associated with it. So it rewards a well planned out actionset.

Another aspect of defense is the defense bias, this is to represent how a combatant’s defense can be bypassed by exploiting predictability in his moves when parrying, defending etc. The implementation is very similar to the Age of Conan shield system, but instead on the player shifting the defense bias, each hit on the character has a chance to shift the bias further towards the particular area. The chance of success is based on the characters attribute. << needs fleshing out - might toss for something simpler>>

A battle would be something like this,
Battle is initiated, with the default actionsets triggered.
Battle runs for a few rounds, in this time the player can see how effective his attacks and defence are. He can change his actionset to get better result or he can wait and see. In the same time the opponent is doing the same thing.
This is done until the battle is completed.

The battle is then becomes a game where the player is trying to guess the opponent’s move. And at the same time the opponent is doing the same. You could for example use attacks that hardly ever hit the opponent, which lure the opponent in to a less effective defensive stance to shift concentration on attack. And then you could switch actionset to a set that exploit that stance for victory. So what I hope is that this becomes a battle of guessing and second guessing the opponent.
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ide



Joined: 21 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So if I read you right, this is like a custom-defined stance system; where normally, a stance is defined by the programmer and modifies attack and defense based on conditions, here the player creates their own stance in a mix-and-match kind of system. Like custom spells or similar.

I would find it fun but I think many players who like combat enjoy a more granular system where they are initiating moves blow-by-blow as the battle progresses. I think you should look at the old Duelmasters PBM (now a PBEM game I think). It does a pretty good job of defining pre-fight setups like you're talking about. In general I'm not sure that actionsets should contain very granular actions like 'thrust / slash', but you could define a combination of styles, like 'thrusting / slashing' which would interact with the weapon type, armor type and defensive style (parrying, dodging) of opponent, etcetera.

About concentration, while it may be true that real fights are not like the slugfests in the movies -- there's a reason movie fights aren't two guys warily circling each other and throwing feints. It's just not as exciting as seeing a lot of hits.
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
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Location: Munich

PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've implemented three separate systems in the past that worked in a similar way to what you describe - I'll give a quick rundown of each:
  1. GodWars: I added a system that allowed players to configure their fighting style, replacing their normal attacks with options such as trip, kick, disarm, dirt-kicking, eye-gouging, etc. Very few people ever used it however.

  2. GodWars Deluxe: I added a fully customisable 'super stance' for players who had mastered the basic and advanced fighting stances. This sounded great on paper, but in practice most people ended up choosing the same options, effectively rendering the entire concept of stances meaningless.

  3. Last City: The entire mud was based on the old WoD tabletop RPG system, in which players can choose to split their dice pool for different actions. My implementation allowed players to specify how many dice they wished to use for attack, parry and dodge, with various ways to configure the prioritisation of the dice distribution (as the size of the dice pool could fluctuate due to injury). Players could also use different methods of specifying their attack hand and parry hand, and could exchange their parry for a second attack (or their attack for a second parry). This actually worked pretty well as an approximation of the tabletop rules, but it wasn't particularly exciting, as it didn't lend itself well to changing tactics on the fly (so combat didn't feel very interactive).
In summary I would say that in my experience preconfigurable options can add a tactical element to combat, but on their own don't result in very exciting gameplay (once you've configured everything, fights will feel much like a typical Diku-style combat system).
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paan



Joined: 20 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply. I am looking into the duel2(formerly duel master) system. It feels uncannyly similar to what I have in mind. I will also try out the muds kavir mentioned to see their implementation of the system.

I am also taking into consideration everything both of you mentioned here. I am still not sure of the changes that needs to be done to the design to address these. But I'm going to let it stir for a while, see what I can come up with.
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The three muds I mentioned all closed down a long time ago, I was really just giving a quick rundown of the approaches they used. As I said before, I don't think there's any problem with configurable tactics - I just don't think that such an approach alone would create a particularly exciting combat system.

Actually I just remembered another aspect of the Last City approach that you might find of interest. As I said before, each player had a dice pool, and they could configure their attack conditions - for example they might set it to "fill up my attack pool first, and only launch an attack when I've at got at least 5 dice in that pool" (the dice pool would gradually refill over time). If you wanted to use regular combat moves during that time (such as "kick" or "punch") you could type them as usual, and they'd use however many attack dice you'd managed to accumulate (zero dice resulted in an automatic miss).

In effect the player could actually use it as a sort of manual combat system if they wanted to (by setting their attack dice pool so high that they'd never launch an automatic attack), or they could just sit back and let their preconfigured setup do all the work - or they could do a bit of both. The dice pool approach also meant that if you kept spamming attack commands, you'd launch lots of highly ineffectual attacks.
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shasarak



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I may not be understanding this very well, but it seems like the system is a rather odd hybrid of of being in control and not in control. It might well make sense to have (for example) some kind of user-controlled trade-off between chance to hit and damage, so you can choose whether to go for damage or accuracy. However, if I'm going to have any sort of control over that, I want to just choose exactly what trade-off I wish to make and stick with that. So, if there's an option to go for (say) -2 to hit, +2 damage, I might pick that one.

What you seem to be suggesting is a system where I can make a choice about the trade-off, but there is only a limited chance that the game will actually respect my decision on any given attack! So, 70% of the time it might actually pick the attack which gives -2/+2, and the other 30% of the time it will pick a completely different one all by itself and ignore me.

I don't see the benefit to this. Even if you can tweak the percentage likelihood of any given type of attack happening, why would anyone ever not want it to be 100%?
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MECHFrost



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shasarak wrote:
I don't see the benefit to this. Even if you can tweak the percentage likelihood of any given type of attack happening, why would anyone ever not want it to be 100%?


For the element of surprise.

I think that interesting (virtual) fights are all about reflexes. Arcade games are fun because they are based on reflexes, even if they don't offer many options.

The problem is that reflexes can be scripted.

From my experience with graphical games plagued with scripts/bots (namely Conquer Online and Tibia), I can say that it is possible that most players will play fairly if the fight system is actually fun, but some players will always "cheat". Those who "cheat" will be made fun of for their lack of "skills" and players will earn respect for having "skills" (it sounds retarded but it's a true story). I would consider this successful as most players have fun with the designed combat system.

KaVir wrote:
(once you've configured everything, fights will feel much like a typical Diku-style combat system)


The OP offers to change fighting styles mid-combat though, which would be a different situation (or I misunderstand something?)
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shasarak



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MECHFrost wrote:
shasarak wrote:
I don't see the benefit to this. Even if you can tweak the percentage likelihood of any given type of attack happening, why would anyone ever not want it to be 100%?


For the element of surprise.

If a you can change stance whenever you want then the stance changes themselves should provide all of the surprise you need.

Let me make a (not altogether precise) analogy with chess. At a given moment I might have a choice of moving my pawn in a defensive move or moving my knight in an attacking move. As a chess player, I appreciate having the option to choose which to move. But in this system, instead of choosing my move, I have to set up a system of probabilities: so I might choose for there to be a 70% chance of moving the pawn, or a 30% chance of moving the knight, and the game then decides which piece to move on the basis of those probabilities.

You see the problem? If it were me I would always choose a 100% probability of one move, and then review which move I wanted to have at 100% every round. I don't see any advantage to having only a limited probability of the game attempting what you actually want it to attempt - the system just gets in the way of whatever tactic you're trying to employ.

Maybe I'm just not understanding it correctly, I don't know. But it seems to me that if you're going to have stance affecting things like to-hit vs damage trade-off, it should just affect them, not have a limited probability of affecting them. I don't see the need for a second layer of randomness on top of the first one.
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MECHFrost



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shasarak wrote:
You see the problem? If it were me I would always choose a 100% probability of one move, and then review which move I wanted to have at 100% every round. I don't see any advantage to having only a limited probability of the game attempting what you actually want it to attempt - the system just gets in the way of whatever tactic you're trying to employ.

Maybe I'm just not understanding it correctly, I don't know. But it seems to me that if you're going to have stance affecting things like to-hit vs damage trade-off, it should just affect them, not have a limited probability of affecting them. I don't see the need for a second layer of randomness on top of the first one.


I understand your argument now, and I agree.
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paan



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shasarak wrote:
<snip>
I don't see the benefit to this. Even if you can tweak the percentage likelihood of any given type of attack happening, why would anyone ever not want it to be 100%?


The reason is that is tied to the defense bias system. The defence bias system is designed to simulate defender being able to predict the attackers attack and shifting defense to compensate. Repeating the same attack over and over again will cause the defense bias to shift making any attack to that part less effective.

The attacker can choose to use multiple attacks and spread them equally, so that the attacks are less predictable, and therefore doesnt loose any effectiveness from the defender's defense bias. Or he can choose to do a few similar attacks with a high frequency(to shift defence bias to one side), and 1 or 2 attacks on the opposite side with lower probability so that the it when the attack hits it causes more damage from being blindsided.

The defence bias system is something that still needs to be fleshed out. But that is the concept behind it and how it should work and also why I have the actions be probability based.

MECHFrost wrote:

The OP offers to change fighting styles mid-combat though, which would be a different situation (or I misunderstand something?)

Yes, Changing actionset mid battle is also possible. I want changing actionset to be associated with a cost( still trying to figure out what this cost will be ).

Here is an analogy of what actionsets are and what I try to achive with it.
Actionsets are something like a mindset a fighter walks into a fight with.
He can, for example, choose before the fight to try and trip the opponent to gain the upper hand. So he knows that he'll be throwing a few punches to throw the opponent off, then try to trip him. So 'in game' this means that he have an actionset with a lot of trip attack and some other attacks thrown in for good measure.

If it works most of the time he'd keep using this same actionset. The fight maybe a bit different like sometimes, he opens with a punch and sometimes with a kick etc, but he have a general idea of what he want to do in a fight.

If for example, one day he meets another opponent. He starts off as usual, but as the fight went on, he found out that the opponenet is good at avoiding the trip. He then decides to go for the punch in the face. In game term this means that he changed actionset mid battle. Same as before, he still doesnt know exactly what kicks/punches he'll throw exactly but he knows what his general mindset is going into battle.

The kicks and punches are actions, the mindset is actionsets.

I dont want changing actionset to be what the user use to change what attacks are launch, but instead changing actionset is like changing the strategy to a fight. Changing actionsets should happen only a few times per battle. This is to reward well thought out actionsets.


edit:Added explaination about changing actionset mid battle
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