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Author Topic: Fixing Combat Without Hit Points (LONG)  (Read 1479 times)

absynthe7

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Fixing Combat Without Hit Points (LONG)
« on: April 21, 2010, 07:49:01 pm »

I think I've figured out how to fix combat with just a handful of changes. If you feel like reading the entire thing, please let me know what you think. I apologize for the length.

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CUMULATIVE DAMAGE:

Something that is fractured should have an increasing chance of becoming broken instead of fractured on successive fractures. Say, 5% per fracture. Once something is broken, it can no longer be fractured, only further broken (setting this variable to 100%).

With something that is broken, it should have an increasing chance of becoming shattered instead of broken on successive breaks. Say, 5% per break.

Once something is shattered, it is considered for the purposes of combat to be "gone". It will no longer provide protection for organs, if it is a limb it will be completely non-functional, and on enemies where it is the only component of the body part (the skull of a skeleton or the head of a bronze colossus) it will be literally gone, with all that entails. For bones, it can still be healed with traction or a cast.

If a body part is hacked or slashed with an edged weapon, there will be an increasing chance of striking an already open wound, with the chance equal to the initial hit's weapon contact area as a percentage of the body part's surface area. This chance will increase each time the body part is struck by an edged weapon. The wound will be as deep as the weapon's penetration depth. Each time the open wound is struck, the wound will increase in depth by the weapon's penetration area again, while the increasing chance will be reset (to that of a single strike - initial hit's weapon contact area as a percentage of the body part's surface area). When the wound reaches a depth greater than the width of the body part, that body part is "sliced in two!" and completely gone.
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absynthe7

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Re: Fixing Combat Without Hit Points (LONG)
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2010, 07:49:20 pm »

KILLING THE UNKILLABLE:

These two, in combination, should make any creature killable, as a missing head or body is fatal to all enemies. Blobs and Zombies will eventually be hacked in half, while Colossi and Skeletons will eventually have their bodies or heads shattered. If you want to go further, Zombies' brains should be considered vital according to the most common interpretations, meaning that a red or cyan wound to the brain should disable them.

BALANCING WEAPONS:

This leaves piercing and blunt weapons basically without a purpose.

For piercing weapons, this is an easy fix. Currently, a weapon's strength considers the size of the weapon, the density of the material, and the sharpness of its edge. The contact area of a weapon in comparison to its size and weight should also be considered: the lower the contact area in comparison to its size and weight as a ratio, the more power it should have on piercing attacks. This means that piercing weapons should have a much higher chance to puncture armor and bone (and piercing vulnerable organs underneath) than a similarly-sized slashing weapon of the same material. A wooden sword may never pierce an enemies skin, but a sharpened wooden stick (a wooden spear) can do so easily.

Blunt weapons tend to have a much higher contact area. Against "solid" enemies like Bronze Colossi and Skeletons, all attacks should basically be considered blunt - capable of denting, fracturing and breaking, but not able to hack or cut or pierce. Contact area should have a large positive impact on the likelihood of breaking, making blunt weapons ideal for these sorts of enemies (and piercing weapons useless). This may be breaking with physics a bit more than my other suggestions, though.

In short, piercing weapons will be best against humanoid targets, blunt weapons will be best against brittle targets, and slashing weapons will be the most well rounded as well as the best against Blobs.

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I thought these changes should help balance the weapons appropriately while making it possible to kill anything via combat, even though it might take three hundred dwarves to do so. Thanks for taking the time to check this out.
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Warlord255

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Re: Fixing Combat Without Hit Points (LONG)
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2010, 08:10:00 pm »

Combat should not be universally balanced; for example, Trolls should be more difficult to kill than a Mountain Goat. I think your suggestions are coming from the right direction, but the properties of creatures should be taken into account (moreso than the exceptions of Colossi/skeletons/blobs) to make sure that creatures are varied in their difficulty by virtue of properties like size, speed/agility, and attack type.
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absynthe7

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Re: Fixing Combat Without Hit Points (LONG)
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2010, 09:04:05 pm »

Yeah, this should definitely be on top of the current combat system, not instead of it. It looks like size, strength, and toughness considerations are already making a big difference in a lot of the fighting.
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Narmio

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Re: Fixing Combat Without Hit Points (LONG)
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2010, 11:00:56 pm »

Combat should not be universally balanced; for example, Trolls should be more difficult to kill than a Mountain Goat.

Wait, wait, wait.  That's not what balance means in a game context at all.  Balance can be achieved without homogeneity. Weapon balance means that different weapons are best in different situations (and accordingly that no weapon is best in all situations, and that no weapon is best in no situations).  It doesn't mean that all weapons are the same. 

Creature balance is the same thing - creatures should be better or worse at defending against different kinds of attacks, and all creatures should be an appropriate threat, but creatures should not all be the same.  It would, in fact, not be a balanced game if all creatures were of the same difficulty - an appropriate threat for when you're just striking earth is not an appropriate threat for exploring caverns, to use your goat and troll example. 

If you consider the game as a series of challenges, then a balanced challenge is one in which the difficulty is matched with the reward.  Wolves that harass your starting woodcutter are balanced if they're possible to take down with the woodsman's axe and maybe a few dogs or miners with picks.  A centuries-old forgotten beast that takes offense at your attempts to extract the resources of the deepest, darkest caverns would *not* be balanced if it took the same effort to kill. 

TL;DR:  Game balance is not homogeneity, game balance is Pareto optimality of legitimate* player choices.


* I say legitimate because unlike weapons, not all strategies should be best, or even good, at anything.  Some approaches are just bad!  But there should be no strategy that is best at everything.
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Pilsu

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Re: Fixing Combat Without Hit Points (LONG)
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2010, 06:34:32 am »

I don't much care for zombie brains being vital. It makes zombies fundamentally different from skeletal undead instead of a more obvious transitional stage and feeds further into the stupid idea that a thing that is rotting somehow still needs an organ to exist. An organ that is no longer functional at that.

I don't much care for the assumption that the head is always the weak spot either. It's a god damn tangled mess of reeds in the shape of a man, hacking its head off hardly seems like it'd matter. Only real way to deal with things that make no sense to begin with is to hack them to pieces that can't do anything anymore. If we start having beasts that are unkillable with physics based combat, then we should remove them instead of hamfisting in "balance" that poops on the very concept of the physics based combat.


Would a spear actually pierce plate any better than an axe? Or at all for that matter? If physics are all it takes to make a weapon "useless," then it should be such. I think the issues with the combat system are tied to AI and lack of consideration for things like called shots, seams and reach. No amount of weapon "balancing" will fix a mace goblin prioritizing your toes as targets.

Narmio

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Re: Fixing Combat Without Hit Points (LONG)
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2010, 08:23:00 pm »

Would a spear actually pierce plate any better than an axe? Or at all for that matter? If physics are all it takes to make a weapon "useless," then it should be such.
Well, spears were used rather a lot in the real world, and the real world contains a quite accurate implementation of physics.  So I think we can safely conclude that spears are not useless under a physics-governed system.  The question is in what respect(s) is our physics system insufficiently accurate?

Quote
I think the issues with the combat system are tied to AI and lack of consideration for things like called shots, seams and reach. No amount of weapon "balancing" will fix a mace goblin prioritizing your toes as targets.

Target prioritisation and attempting to hit vital areas/weak spots are very definitely important issues.  Weapon, material and wound balancing are all important as well, though.  Forgive me if I'm wrong, but your post seems to imply that fixing targetting and coverage is all that's needed.
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Mayama

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Re: Fixing Combat Without Hit Points (LONG)
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2010, 09:01:35 pm »

Actually most deadly wounds in reality were from stabs (or generaly from piercing weapons)
cause its very hard to block a fast piercing attack. So it would be awesome to have that
advantage ingame. :)
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G-Flex

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Re: Fixing Combat Without Hit Points (LONG)
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2010, 09:06:05 pm »

Cumulative damage should be more general than breaks/shatters/severs. Things like bruises should also become more severe with successive blows; right now, fistfighting results in hilarious stalemate battles. Not to mention things like internal bleeding.

I know my combat testing thread is sort of huge and unwieldy (much like platinum mauls should be ha ha ha), but I did cover a lot of this stuff in detail.
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Hydra

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Re: Fixing Combat Without Hit Points (LONG)
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2010, 06:20:06 am »

Actually most deadly wounds in reality were from stabs (or generaly from piercing weapons)
cause its very hard to block a fast piercing attack. So it would be awesome to have that
advantage ingame. :)

Deadly wounds in real life come mostly from bleeding. Just because bleeding from stab/slashwounds is more visible than bleeding from blunt force trauma doesn't mean blunt weapons are less lethal. A mace an unprotected stomach is just about as deadly as a sword: you just bleed out internally instead of externally.

I totally agree that the biggest problem now is the AI not fighting 'smart' but randomly hitting stuff. IMHO the 'skill' a dwarf has with a weapon should not govern the damage he does with it (strength / agility would, or atleast for a large part, anyone can figure out that the pointy end of a spear should go into your target) but how succesful he is in striking at weak spots.

The way materials are taking into account is awesome. Unfortunately the AI was overlooked in this development making the dwarves whack away totally at random.
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G-Flex

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Re: Fixing Combat Without Hit Points (LONG)
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2010, 10:23:42 am »

AI is more of a Combat Arc problem, and will definitely see its own fixes, along with improved wrestling.

In the meantime, I wholeheartedly believe that tweaking of the combat/wounds that we do have would solve most of the problems.
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