[MUD-Dev] Combat Was Re: Leaving characters in play

Orion Henry orionZ at ix.netcom.com
Mon May 18 09:17:01 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

At 06:03 PM 5/15/98 -0700, JC wrote:
>I don't have a good design.  The best I can think of so far is:

	Ooooo... combat systems. :)

>  -- No first blows are fatal.  
>  -- First blows may be nearly fatal.
>  -- Second blows can be fatal, but its very very unlikely, especially
>if the first blow was nearly fatal.
>  -- Arrange these probabilities appropriately to force most combats
>to the 15 - 20 seconds point.
>  -- The game dynamically defines a "combat state" which is hidden
>from the player and is used only for event process control.
>  -- Combat state is initiated upon a definitely combat-oriented
>command from any party (kill, fight, hit, damaging spell, etc).
>  -- Combat state is declared for both target and source.
>  -- Combat state's only effect is to enforce timings of actions.  It
>takes XXX time to swing a sword, YYY time to cast a spell etc.
>  -- Combat state is torn down when one part dies or leaves the
>immediate vicinity.  (ie combat state does not apply to long distance
>battles, only proximate)
>I don't like it.  I really don't like it.  But its the best I've got
>right now.

	Hrmmm.... I have been off the list for a whole so I am not too sure which
subjects have been beaten into the ground recently, but I'll drop a combat
system that Adam Wiggins and I were working on a few years back and I
recall being bounced around on this list.  It has changed a bit since last
you saw it, Adam, but here it is...

-- There is no official combat state per-se

-- All actions take time and a queued up as you enter them.  Most are short
enough to be executed almost immidatly and only really becomes obvious in
time critical situations like combat or when doing large numbers of things.

-- Actions that can take more than one step will reinsert themselves into
the queue after each step.

so far what we have would look like this...

> eat apple
You take a bite of your apple.
> pick lock
You insert you picks into the lock.
You take a bite of your apple.
Hrmm... This could be a difficult lock, its a needlepoint.
You take a bite of your apple.
With a twist of your pick the tumblers fall into place and the lock yields
to your skill.

-- Actions all have a priority that the queue is sorted by.  The priority
levels we had decided on were (from lowest to highest) menial, information
gathing, life-or-death, reactionary, and involentary.

So if get and open were menial and look was information then the following
two situations would happen.

> get the sword, helmet, the sheets of paper, and the rubber ducky.
You pick of the sword.
You pick up the helmet.
> look around
You are alone in a store room.  There is some movement outside.
You get the sheets of paper.
You get the rubber ducky.


> get the sword, helmet, the sheets of paper, and the rubber ducky.
You pick of the sword.
You pick up the helmet.
> open the chest
You get the sheets of paper.
You get the rubber ducky.
You open a chest.

-- All Combat related actions are of priority life-and-death

> get the sword, helmet, the sheets of paper, and the rubber ducky.
You pick of the sword.
You pick up the helmet.
A guard bursts in and shouts,"THIEF!"
> kill guard
You sink your knife into the guards face and he shuts up.
You get the sheets of paper.
You get the rubber ducky.

-- Many combat actions will be reactionary.  If someone tries to stick a
knife in your face you will most likely try and get out of the way with out
have to be told to.  Most of combat will be made of counteractions (
fients, riposts, counter attacks, ect... ).

-- It would be totally possible to get somone on the deffensive with a
flurry of fast attacks such that they spend all their time parrying and
ducking and never get a chance to swing back.  Each parry reaction would be
sorted infront of the other life-or-death commands as it is reactionary.

-- One can force any action to be life-or-death by adding an excaimation
point to the end of the command.

Thus you could do...

Boffo swings at your head and you duck out of the way.
> lunge
You lunge at him but he sends your sword flying out of your hand.
> get sword!
You dive for your sword and scoop it up and you roll to your feet.

Otherwise "get sword" ( just like "eat riceball" ) would have to wait for
after the life-or-death stuff ends.

-- Involentarry actions have the highest priority.  This is everything from
closing your eyes when you sneeze to saying "Ooowowwoowoowowwww!"  If you
are a big wusy when you get hurt.  Thus if you stop on someones foot and
make then howl in pain, they wont be able to parry the following thump on
the head as the action will get burried under the pain action.

-- One's action/reaction relations are highly customisable.  A knight with
armor and a 7 foot sword wouldn't want to waste his time parrying with such
a thing.  He would just have to pray that his armor does its job and keep

-- Action times varry and are reasonable to the weight of the weapon vs.
the strength and speed of the attacker... thus an oger with a tree will
execute his swings less frequently than an elf with a rapier.

-- All blows land unless something is done about it (duck, parry).  Most
blows that land will be fatal or near fatal unless they landed on, say,
your helmet instead of your head.

-- Most fights will last 15 - 20 seconds like this with the exception of
the rare meeting of the two masters who could make a display of flashing
blades and whitty one liners until one or the other drops from exhaustion.

-- ( It was joked about that if one was good enough he or she could execute
combat actions at priority menial, so one could chomp on an apple and read
a book while parrying the thrusts and swings of one's adversary ;-) 

-- Skill helps you win.  Luck keeps you alive.

-- If the situation arieses where a player is not skilled enough to stop a
blow from landing and (possibly) killing him and the player has some luck
to spend, the game fudges a die roll, the attack is blocked or ducked or
something.  It will be painfully obvious to all partys when a player is
surviving on luck alone.  Rather than skillfully ducking under blows and
parrying swings, the victim will be yelping, and falling over himself,
looking terrified and obviously outclassed.  The victim can only keep this
up till his or her luck runs out ( 2 or 3 blows perhaps? ) in wich time it
is most advisable to them to run like hell or surender.  Thus a first blow
will only kill if the person has miserable luck.  Once a player starts to
lose luck in a fight, the adrenaline starts pumping and the panic instint
sets in.  Winning a fight after this comes to pass would be very very hard
to do.

-- Luck will rebuild itself with rest, warm food, spicy mead, and some
music down at the pub to soothe ones rattled bones.

-- Pushing ones luck too far might damage it for good. "I shall not come
with you Frodo, I am old and I feel my luck is running out..." -B. Baggins

Anyhow I wanted to suggest b/c it offers some solutions to the problems
presented: when to slow people down with turn based combat or not...  If
you were to drop your sword in a fight and someone not involved in the
combat tries to pick it up who gets to it first?  Well in this case, if you
had a (!) after the get order, it would be an even race between the two of
you, unless a sword thrust interupted you and made you duck while the other
person grabs your sword. 

Anyhow, this is only the tip of the iceberg of our combat system, but I
dont want to bore you all with the nitty gritty.

Comments and suggestions are welcome as always...


MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

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