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Combat systems.. why?

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Combat systems.. why?

Postby Po. Prune » Sat May 07, 2016 5:15 pm

Please don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with trying to implement a combat system into a game, but I'm just curious as to why many of our newcomers are so dead set on having a combat system?
I think 3 - 4 of the newly registered have asked question about regarding combat systems.
I'm just afraid that they will be disappointed when it turns out that V.5 isn't exactly a RP game creator... or is it?

Another question. Does a combat system belong in a text adventure? What's your take on this?
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Re: Combat systems.. why?

Postby Jjbee62 » Sat May 07, 2016 6:44 pm

I suppose it depends on your perspective and your subject matter. Quite a bit of fantasy fiction, especially what was written before the PC became a household item, is clearly influenced by RPG's. Some, you can almost hear the clicking of the dice.

Combat is just another puzzle to be solved, or avoided. If you take the broad view, any confrontation with another character is a form of combat. Do you question them or compliment them? Will intimidation work, or should you try flattery? Maybe a bribe? What is the response to each action? Is it fixed? Is it random? Or is it dependent on other factors? The answers all depend upon how realistic you want to make the encounter and how much work you want to put into it. The same is true for a combat system. Do you just stick with "kill <badguy> with <weapon>", which always work if you have and use the correct weapon? Or do you go for full limb-based, armor and skill adjusted, enemy reaction considered combat?

I haven't tried to work out any type of combat system, but I'm sure it's possible. By mixing in some events, you could probably come up with something quite complex. But, I suspect that's a level of programming that most don't want to tackle.

My complaint isn't necessarily with combat systems in IF, but with the mindset that seems to dominate those who want a combat system: Kill everything. Every encounter is combat, which usually means constantly repeating the same command. There's no real challenge, just move, kill, search, heal, repeat. No story to tell, nothing but killing and collecting treasure.
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Re: Combat systems.. why?

Postby ElliotM » Sat May 07, 2016 6:48 pm

I pulled together a few articles/links on this. A lot of this comes down to personal taste and the depth of the implementation.

Emily Short wrote:Combat? I stick with my contention that I haven’t seen that done really well yet in IF, despite the randomized fights that sometimes occur in assorted games. Maybe someone will accomplish that, though: I know some people are working on it.
https://emshort.wordpress.com/2008/03/0 ... e-fiction/

David Whyld wrote:Off hand, the only game I can remember playing in recent years that had a combat system and was any good is "Treasures of a Slaver's Kingdom" - highly recommended if you want to see one of the few examples of a combat system used well in a game.
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=8179

Kerkerkruip is the only memorable example I thought of that had a combat system, but ToaSK seemed decently coded as well.
RogueBasin wrote:Kerkerkruip is a short-form roguelike in the interactive fiction medium, featuring meaningful tactical and strategic depth, innovative game play, zero grinding, and a sword & sorcery setting that does not rehash tired clichés. You take on the role of an adventurer in a randomly generated dungeon, whose only hope of escape is to destroy the mighty wizard Malygris. The game has been designed to offer a diverse array of meaningful tactical and strategical options, and combines the thrill of random combat with the skill of complex puzzle solving.
http://www.roguebasin.com/index.php?title=Kerkerkruip

I think the key is discovering how to make it as interesting as other puzzles without being repetitious or tedious - a hard balance to maintain when you only have words to work with. I liked Dave Morris's thoughts on this, so I recommend checking out his article. I'll quote one bit from it though:
Dave Morris at the Fabled Lands Blog wrote:How do we play to the strengths of the medium? One way is to reason that, reading a gamebook being a cerebral sort of activity, maybe the fights can have a more cunning rule mechanic.
http://fabledlands.blogspot.com/2013/04 ... mness.html

Adrift version 4 had a built-in combat system, which was removed in the upgrade to version 5, and I agree with Campbell's assessment:
Campbell wrote:That's because the battle system in v4 was rubbish. v5 has the flexibility to create a much better system. It just needs the imagination.
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Re: Combat systems.. why?

Postby David Whyld » Sat May 07, 2016 9:42 pm

I think a lot of people like the idea of combat systems in text adventures without really thinking them through. Screen after screen of

YOU HIT THE GOBLIN!
YOU CAUSE 4 DAMAGE TO THE GOBLIN!
THE GOBLIN HITS YOU!
THE GOBLIN CAUSES 3 DAMAGE TO YOU!
YOU HIT THE GOBLIN!

isn't very interesting no matter how you pep it up. In a game with graphics, combat systems work well, but when it's purely text it's whole other matter.

I'm not saying it's impossible to write a great combat system for a text adventure, but so far I haven't seen one. ToASK was a brilliant game and the combat system was fine, but honestly it would have been just as good without the combat system.
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Re: Combat systems.. why?

Postby Lumin » Sat May 07, 2016 11:17 pm

Combat is a big part of MUDs, but notably they don't have you typing >kill goblin over and over again. Just once to initiate, and then attacks are rapidly traded until one of you flees or dies. They mix the text up for more interesting descriptions of attacks based on damage dealt or weapon type, but you were usually too busy trying to get a special move in or use an ability or item while the fight was going on to read them.
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Re: Combat systems.. why?

Postby ParadoxGames » Sat May 07, 2016 11:33 pm

There's combat in the Zork games and other,s but they're usually not very interesting. A system may make combat with all sorts of creatures consistent.
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Re: Combat systems.. why?

Postby Lazzah » Sun May 08, 2016 5:24 am

One reason they are using ADRIFT to create an RPG is that it is free. RPG Maker costs $70 to buy - enough said? :whistle:
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Re: Combat systems.. why?

Postby Lumin » Sun May 08, 2016 7:20 pm

I figure the appeal is similar to roguelikes. No expectations of graphics, so you can put in all sorts of depth and details.

Theoretically you could make a really involved, interesting combat system for an IF game, it's just so rare that anyone even attempts it.
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Re: Combat systems.. why?

Postby R2T1 » Mon May 09, 2016 1:20 am

Po. Prune wrote:Please don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with trying to implement a combat system into a game, but I'm just curious as to why many of our newcomers are so dead set on having a combat system?
I think 3 - 4 of the newly registered have asked question about regarding combat systems.
I'm just afraid that they will be disappointed when it turns out that V.5 isn't exactly a RP game creator... or is it?


It's not just Adrift that has people asking about combat systems. Similar questions are being asked in the forums for Quest and Inform too. So I guess it is some sort of universal virus going around. :haha:

My own take on it all is that there is such a proliferation of graphical games available for phones/tables and even in the Win store for PCs that people are trying to copy their favourites but if all they can work with is text, then that is where they start. No doubt some will achieve greatness in the future but for now we see these "games" being produced without much skill as the desire to "do something" outweighs the desire to learn the chosen medium thoroughly. I see many questions being asked and advice of sorts given but few actual playable games produced. :(
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Re: Combat systems.. why?

Postby Kennedy » Mon May 09, 2016 6:47 am

One Adrift game that had combat was Shadowpeak. It was a decent game in my mind though I can't name any others with combat. And as a player of MUDs I also would like to see a combat system implemented even if it is just a copy of the one used by version 4.
Last edited by Kennedy on Tue May 10, 2016 1:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Combat systems.. why?

Postby Lazzah » Mon May 09, 2016 9:46 am

R2T1 wrote:
Po. Prune wrote:Please don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with trying to implement a combat system into a game, but I'm just curious as to why many of our newcomers are so dead set on having a combat system?
I think 3 - 4 of the newly registered have asked question about regarding combat systems.
I'm just afraid that they will be disappointed when it turns out that V.5 isn't exactly a RP game creator... or is it?


It's not just Adrift that has people asking about combat systems. Similar questions are being asked in the forums for Quest and Inform too. So I guess it is some sort of universal virus going around. :haha:

The people asking the questions are probably the same ones who are asking on the ADRIFT forum. They got no luck there so they've moved on to bother us. :)
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Re: Combat systems.. why?

Postby David Whyld » Tue May 10, 2016 2:37 pm

There's obviously a demand for a decent combat system in text adventures - hence all the questions about them over the years - so it's kind of surprising that no one has ever actually gone ahead and designed a decent one.

I suppose a lot of the problem is that the people asking aren't really familiar with the system they're asking about a combat system in, so they don't know how to do it themselves, and the people who do know also know how much work would be involved so they're reluctant to do it themselves. They also know how combat systems are generally viewed in text adventures and that’s not usually very favourably.

Assuming you went ahead and designed a combat system, how elaborate would it need to be? It is just a case of typing ATTACK GOBLIN WITH SWORD and then having the player and the goblin whack at each until one or both is dead with no further interaction required from the player? Is combat broken into rounds with the player deciding on their "move" at the end of each round? Are spells included? Magic items? Special attacks?

Can the player run away from the combat or surrender?

What if the player is fighting more than one enemy? Is it broken down into a separate attack for each enemy or are their attacks combined?

Do you leave the combat feedback basic (just YOU HIT THE GOBLIN and THE GOBLIN HITS YOU) or do you pep it up to make it more interesting to read (YOU STRIKE VALIANTLY AT THE EVIL GOBLIN, DEALING IT A GLANCING BLOW OF 4 POINTS OF DAMAGE)?

In other words, it’s a lot of work.
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Re: Combat systems.. why?

Postby Pagrin » Tue May 10, 2016 3:11 pm

As it happens I'm looking to add a little combat to the game I'm currently working, which therefore might offer some idea into why people might be asking for one.
Firstly I should explain the point of my game. I'm running a pen and paper RPG with a cyberpunk setting. One of the characters in the game is a hacker. So I am writing adrift games for him to use on his laptop when he is hacking, or researching information.
For the game where he is attempting to hack into a system he has to use software his character has to avoid being detected, while either avoiding or otherwise outsmarting the defense programs and back hackers. This is where the combat comes in naturally.
I need him to have the chance of being hurt (not outright killed) by some of these defenses, and it reporting the damage to him to he can react as needed.
Now I could just simply add text which says "You take "X" damage." But its far more dramatic/interesting for him to have to choose to take a risk, if he knows there is a chance he might get past the defense, or maybe injured, or even trapped in the system while Back Hackers are sending security guard to the location of his body to arrest him.
Because the adrift game will be used by him time and time again, I need it to produce random results to each dangerous encounter.
But basically the adrift game itself is going to be only a part of a much larger game, so the system of damage and the mechanics of the treat need to be in similar terms to the pen and paper elements.

In explanation of the threads question, just because Adrift was built with one idea of gaming in mind, doesn't mean that's how it's being used. It's clearly a very useful tool. But you can use a Hammer to do more than just drive a nail.
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Re: Combat systems.. why?

Postby ElliotM » Tue May 10, 2016 7:37 pm

There are a wide variety of combat systems used in RPGs and game books (dice oriented CYOA), all with different kinds of features and depth, so it is doubtful in my mind that an example combat system would be useful to that many people without modification. Making a good combat system example is non-trivial in my opinion because the amount of knowledge required for a non-programmer to understand it would be fairly steep, and if you already have that knowledge, would you even need an example to make a combat system if you wanted one? For people who want one, I'd say the best approach is to make a prototype, even if it is a fake transcript of an example combat session, and then share it on the forums to gather feedback and ideas.

On the topic of a making a hacking simulator for your RPG player, I think that is a pretty cool use of Adrift. What rules and mechanics does your RPG use for hacking? If you are willing to share a mockup, I'd be interested in collaborating/sharing ideas here on the forum on how to make it work in Adrift.
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Re: Combat systems.. why?

Postby ElliotM » Tue May 10, 2016 10:00 pm

David Whyld wrote:I suppose a lot of the problem is that the people asking aren't really familiar with the system they're asking about a combat system in, so they don't know how to do it themselves, and the people who do know also know how much work would be involved so they're reluctant to do it themselves. They also know how combat systems are generally viewed in text adventures and that’s not usually very favourably.


I think you raised a lot of the main points, David. In my opinion, a good example or demo takes its audience into consideration and demonstrates enough of the core concept such that someone looking at it would be able to understand and modify it for their own needs. However, I think combat is too broad and complicated of a topic for a beginner demo because I think only other system experts would have a chance of understanding how a decent combat system was put together and they wouldn't need a demo because they would already know how to make one.
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