A Combat System (please critique!)

S001GMU at nova.wright.edu S001GMU at nova.wright.edu
Fri Apr 18 10:13:58 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

I have also spent some time thinking about how to get away from a typical
diku combat system...  (on this list, suprise suprise, eh?)

I toyed with the idea of scripting combat but decided it got too complicated
too quickly for the average user.  Instead of fully scripting out all of your
actions for a combat I prefer a somewhat more loosely defined system.
My cohorts and I came up with the following, fairly simple system
(please comment!!  we're still working on it and would like as much input
as possible):

the basic premise behind the system is as follows:

-Combat should be a quick and bloody afair, with the possibility of the most
 experienced, combat hardened vetren getting killed by some young,
 *INCREDIBLY* lucky punk who just picked up a sword and sed "hey.. neet".
 (granted, it's NOT likely, but possible).

-Each character will have some skill that is used with the weapon they
 are using.  We will probably go with some sort of skill web to default to 
 other skills if the character doesn't have a skill for the exact weapon 
 they are using.

-Each character will have a certain, overall combat proficiency.  The longer
 you've been fighting, the more you pick up on how things work.

-Each character has only so much attention to divide among all the things 
 going on in combat.

now, to represent this we chose the following system:

The overall combat proficiency determines how effectively you can split
your attention among differnt tasks.  The more proficeint you are, the more 
you can watch in a combat situation.  Anybody can try any number of things
in combat, but if they've never done it before, they are less likely to
succeed, which is reflected by adjusting the skill they are using.

For instance, the lucky punk fighting the vetran above might have a pidly 5
in the sword he just picked up (say the range is 0-100, to be arbitrary).  
He also has 5's in a dodging, parrying, defensive shield use, and offensive 
shield use.  A total of 5 combat skills.  Unfortunately he is so totaly 
inexperienced in combat that his overall proficeincy is rated at 0 (on a
scale of say.. 0-20).  Now, the newby may decide to divide his attention 5
ways and try to hit with his sword and his shield, as well as dodge the 
vetran's attacks, and if that fails, parry them and if that fails block 
them with his shield.  This would be collosally stupid because he is 
so inexperienced in combat that his effective skills in all those areas becomes
so low it is no longer usefull (say 0).  Now, if he had been intelligent
and tried to just use his sword for offense and his shield for defense, he might
stand a chance of lasting a little longer.  Not much longer, but you never 
know.  He might get lucky.

Combat is not divided into 'rounds', but rather is dealt with as a series of
actions.  Certain actions take longer than others.  Combat would be 
initiated by one person jumping another, which would trigger the defender's
defenses (which might include a nasty riposte).  Once no more offensive
actions occure, everyone is effectively no longer in combat and anything they
type won't be overriding their combat actions.  It will be possible to specify
that you wish your character to take no actions when attacked (not necessarily
a good idea, but why should a character be forced into a fight?  :), or
they might specify 50% dodge and 50% run away.

One neet thing that I'd like to implement is that 'sense of danger' and
an automated tensing of muscles.. something like:

>enter cave

<cave description/graphical image or whatever>

You don't like the feel of this room... switching to a more defensive mode.
[ie: shift to higher precentages in the characters primary defensive skills]

or :

> enter palace of pleasure

<descriptions of various and sundry pleasureable things>

You feel very comfortable and relaxed in this room.
[defenses lower... ]

Of course the player can always reset the %'s the way they were before.

There will be, of course, mechanisms to change how you divide your attention
while fighting, and you can TRY to do other things while fighting, but
any action you type in will take precedence over your next combat action, so
that could get you killed quickly! (it's a bad idea to stoop down and tie your
shoe in the middle of a fight... tends to get you thumped on quite quickly)

As for the speed of the combat, I personnaly like the speed of low-level diku 
combat... tho it may be a bit fast.  High level diku combat, with multiple 
participants is just a ridiculous amount of spam and to be avoided at all 
costs.. ;)

The system is still in its infancy, but I think it will work out well...
one major problem is how to determine what is offensive and what isn't, but
some of the posts over the past few days have given me some thoughts in
that area.  :)


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