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Editorial The Battle That Rages for Centuries – Or Feels Like It

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by VentilatorOfDoom, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    <p>Jay "Rampant Coyote" Barnson hates Wizardry 8. Or, to be more precise, he hates fighting wesps in Trynton alongside a few Trynnie patrols because these stupid encounters can steal hours of your life while being absolutely lame. To be even more precise, I hate that, he didn't even mention it. But it was the first thing that came to my mind after reading his piece on the topic of <a href="http://rampantgames.com/blog/?p=1704" target="_blank">needlessly drawn-out combat encounters</a>.</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p>I&rsquo;m a fan of turn-based combat in RPGs. Not to the exclusion of real-time combat, but I love the little tactical mini-game of turn-based combat. I&rsquo;m one of those people for whom the original <strong>X-Com</strong> might as well have been brought down from Mount Olympus itself by Promethius (in the hand that wasn&rsquo;t holding a torch).</p>
    <p>But even I have my limits. My number one complaint about <strong>Wizardry 8</strong> &ndash; which was otherwise a stellar RPG that seemed written specifically for me &ndash; was the length of its combat.&nbsp; The seemingly interminable final battle in <strong>Persona 3</strong> almost (but not quite) spoiled the game for me, especially as I failed so close to victory the first time and had to replay the whole thing &ndash; which took me well into the wee hours of the morning. Stupid save-points. And my love of the classic &ldquo;Gold Box&rdquo; games &ndash; and their signature tactical combat in the style of miniatures-based 1st edition Dungeons &amp; Dragons games &ndash; is tempered somewhat by the memory of some really long, drawn-out fights against random encounters. Particularly in the first game, <strong>Pool of Radiance</strong>.</p>
    </blockquote>
    <p>Spotted at: <a href="http://www.rpgwatch.com/#16254">RPGWatch</a></p>
     
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  2. made Arcane

    made
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    Ain't that the guy who wrote that long ass rant about how one battle with a Rapax patrol took him several hours?
     
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  3. Flatlander Liturgist

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    When most people think about turn-based combat they think of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPEo22inbK4
     
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  4. Xor Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Wizardry 8 did feel pretty grindy. I lost count of the number of times I ran into a random group of enemies while wandering around towns looking for shit to do.
     
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  5. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    The main problem with TB is that the turns grow longer with increasing number of combatants.

    The lesser problem is time structure artefacts that influence tactics and require workarounds.
     
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  6. Flatlander Liturgist

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    That would depend on the representation. If the game insist on showing every enemies every action as an animation it's of course going to be slow.
     
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  7. Ogg Prophet Patron

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    So, what do you propose? The player still needs to know what's going on. And a combat log is not fun to look at either when its two pages long.
     
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  8. Shannow Waster of Time

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    Generally options to speed up animation and/or show all enemy movements at the same time. That + a log where you can look up stuff if you missed something. Or a log where you can specify what information you want shown (eg, every hit and every save or only if you were damaged, suffered a status-effect, etc.)

    I blame devs not devoloping/evolving TB combat and instead dumbing down RT for stupid whiners "TB is so slow, my ADD cannot keep up".
     
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  9. commie The Last Marxist Patron

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    Obviously never played Gold Box games against 50-60 Kobolds, without an area effect spell and having to chase the one survivor all over the map...now THAT was a fucking rageworthy experience!
     
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  10. Flatlander Liturgist

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    First, obviously cut down superfluous animations and don't bother showing actions of hidden enemies. Then sort the units according to their actions relevance to the player (has the player already attacked them, do they move closer to PCs, cast powerful offensive spells etc.), if there is a bunch kobolds just dancing around behind more important monsters skip completely showing their animations. Maybe show 'footprints' so the player can see if, and from where, they have moved.

    BTW, are there any RPGs with good tactical phased WeGo systems? Only ones that comes to my mind are Mars Saga and some JRPG I once saw on PSX.
     
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  11. Flatlander Liturgist

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    As much as I loved PoR I have to admit that
    is a huge flaw in its design.

    If a game has involved tactical combat like Gold Boxes it shouldn't have that kind of encounters in the first place, at least M&M was ahead of times in that you could slaughter 255 orcs in few second by just holding down the A button.
     
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  12. Sceptic Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    If you grinded your way to level 100, sure. If you're at level 5, this is... not recommended.
    Also, M&M1 had no encounter against 255 of anything :love:
     
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  13. Flatlander Liturgist

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    I think M&M II had 255 encounters, with a few lava grenades a fairly noob party could annihilate such an orc mob.
     
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  14. SCO Arcane In My Safe Space

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    The concept of a battle that rages for centuries is quite interesting.

    You could potentially make a game of a large scale battle, without a pc hero or operator of the battle, just the player being put on a lot of tactical decisions, some of them that would be hopeless, ie: designed with the expectation of the player losing, something that i've almost never seen on a rpg.
     
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  15. Ogg Prophet Patron

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    There are good ideas here, but in video games design like in anything else, it's all about execution, not just concepts.
    But what seems like pointless informations during one fight might be essential in another. For instance, you suggest that damage on NPC could be hidden. That could be useful when the fight is just a large crowd fight between nameless soldiers or peons. But what about a combat that involves a character that you want to protect. Then you have to show his being attacked, status change and all.

    Not showing animations for enemies you can't see is definitely a must. I still painfully remember the big fight in Adytum and the feeling that the game was playing itself. I promised myself to never again join with the Blades.
    But I also remember that during some fights in JA2, my computer had some hiccups while processing my enemies turn, even when those same enemies were invisible to my characters. Something to do with calculating whether or not I could see them maybe.

    Also, I like your idea of footprints.
    We all agree on that.
     
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  16. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    That's actually a very sound idea for alleviating (but not removing!) the problem.

    The only way to actually remove the problem, other than going RT, would be going simultaneous phase based. If it isn't simultaneous, it's sequential. If it's sequential, the sequence grows longer the more entities have to make their moves.

    By separating decision making and actions, phase based systems also remove *some* nasty TB artifacts.

    Notice that this implies Wizardry style FPP. Some are bound to become very butthurt shortly.
    :smug:
     
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  17. GarfunkeL Racism Expert

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    Combine X-Com, JA2 and ToEE TB-features and you have it. Player-defined animations speeds, multiple interrupts, variable turn-order, customizable log, fog of war and limited LOS, ability to switch to RT if no enemies are visible or no player units are visible to the enemy.

    It's not rocket surgery, FFS, it's been done already - now just get it all in one package and GO!

    As to people suffering on GoldBox, I have only one aswer: "quick". You can turn it off at the end of the battle too so it won't haunt you in the beginning of the next battle. Actually two, turn the animation/text speeds way up as well.
     
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  18. Ogg Prophet Patron

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    On these tracks, I like shihonage's design document for Shelter in which he calls his combat system PwRT, Pause with Real Time. I find it unambiguously brilliant.
     
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  19. Flatlander Liturgist

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    It doesn't necessarily imply blob combat. Gold Box is a good bad example of a game where lot of the time in bigger battles is wasted because of the kobold dancing. Although to be fair I don't remember turn based combat ever being quite that bad on later (non Gold Box) games. Having faster computers also helps, in the C64 days AI calculations actually took some time.
     
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  20. Cenobyte Prophet

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    That would be great for a tactical game. But I don't really need all this in an RPG, personally.
    For me the Wizardry 8 system was always very satisfying. I never had a feeling of boredom or tediousness. As far as additions and improvements are concerned, I'd say an "auto"-button would sometimes come in handy, especially for more uninteresting encounters. Arguably, the real-time modus in Wiz 8 was already something like this, at least I've used it as such ;)
     
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