[MUD-Dev] Modelling combat

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Wed Jul 19 14:34:21 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

On Wed, 19 Jul 2000, Travis Casey wrote:
> Wednesday, July 19, 2000, 1:14:51 PM, J C Lawrence <claw at kanga.nu> wrote:
> > How do you script a fight where all sides, including the losers,
> > appear heroic?  
> Here's a few ideas... you could have messages which don't just tell
> what happens to you, but also what *would* have happened if it
> weren't for your skill.  For example:
>   Bubba swings at you.  You dodge to the side, and the blow opens a
>   gash on your left arm instead of splitting your skull.
> or
>   Bubba swings his war axe with bone-breaking force, but you
>   skillfully intercept it with your shield.

Yeah, that's the trick I use.  It's also good because it lets you know
*why* you're losing: if you keep just barely failing to parry, then you can
assume that it's because your opponent is slightly faster and/or more skilled
than you.  If you parry just fine and they smash through your defense (or
even snap your blade), then you can assume that it's not your parry skill
which is keeping you from winning the fight.

If you don't want to bother logging on to check it out, there's a very
brief summary with a short combat example taken from the actual game
located here:


> Another possibility is to focus on the character's ability to do
> things that "lesser mortals" can't.  For example:
>   Bubba's axe smashes your side, and you feel ribs break, but
>   you merely grit your teeth against the pain and fight on.


My system as it currently stands inflicts a "pain" penalty upon those
taking damage, but doesn't print a message about it, which I consider
a rather serious omission.  I was going to get by with tacking on an extra
line saying stuff like "You grunt in pain" or "The blow knocks the wind
out of you" or "You scream in pain", but the integrated method is much nicer.

> Remember "taking it" is also considered a heroic trait in our culture.
> "Big boys don't cry" and all that.

Yes, I've suggested taking this to an extreme in the past:

> With the second method, you may want to play up the blood, guts, and
> gore some, to make it seem that these characters are taking massive
> damage and still going on.  However, you don't want *realistic* blood,
> guts, and gore, because tripping over your own entrails or dying from
> blood loss generally aren't considered heroic.

Egad.  I've found myself trying to scale down the messages more and more
as time goes on.  Perhaps I'm just getting squemish in my old age, but
the over-the-top "You rip out your opponents entrails and use them to
choke him to death"-type combat messages just start to wear on me after
a while.  My top-level messages spend more time indicating the skill and
power of the blow than describing terrible things happening to your foe.

Plus, it's just silly, as you say.  In a godwars-type scenario (demons vs.
angels), or Highlander, or some other setting where characters can
take mass quantities of damage and still be standing (or alive at all)
it might be more reasonable.


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