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f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  The Gaming Graveyard  |  Game Design/Development  |  Topic: time-limited turn-based combat in browser games 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
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Author Topic: time-limited turn-based combat in browser games  (Read 887 times)
Terracotta Army
Posts: 40

on: October 26, 2010, 04:56:48 AM

Ok, let's say you plan a little action RPG that should be browser based and include pvp as a basic feature.

PVP brings new factors into consideration that don't necessarily come to mind in a single player pve rpg. If two players compete and one has connection problems, it will hamper his "fun" as he feels handicapped. Making the game turn based will leads to new design challenges like people not finishing their turns fast enough and slowing down the game speed for others as well as putting both fast and slow players at the same level and taking away the skill bonus from players with more experience or faster reactions.

I can think of two possible solutions for this turn based approach.
1) apply a bonus to people who finish their turn faster
2) make the turns short and auto expire

The first way will reward faster players but the game will still feel jerky. The second solution (if implemented well and with the game mechanics designed around this fact) should remove smaller lag problems (while larger connection problems will still remain) and should still allow players to play in a fluent way.

The following are some game mechanics I would imagine to be used in such a game:

Movement has to be managed in a different way as it is capped as "you can only move n*x meter per turn". Running would increase the distance and apply a penalty to actions performed while running and prevent some actions completely. Moving as far as you can every turn should look like one motion and not a couple off turns worth running with a little pause at the end of each turn.

Actions and durations have to be managed turn-based as well, limiting the fine tuning of durations and actions.
Fast actions would occur in the turn they are activated and actions with a preparation (harder attacks or spells with cast time) would start x turns before the effect kicks in. This would make it possible to base the gameplay around actively blocking and canceling attacks in a strategic way. Using short turns, it would still require some skill to cancel an attack/spell with a short preparation time and longer preparation time skills/attacks/spells have to be timed better (after a short duration stun, knock over or something like that) to make them land successfully.

Chained Actions would allow people to plan ahead for one or two turns or actions, making it easier to cope with connection issues or slower reactions while limiting the possibilities to react to changes in the battle. For example a player could chain two attacks so that after the first attack is performed, his avatar will follow up with the next attack as soon as possible. If he sees his opponent raise his club for a powerful blow, he can cancel the chained attack and perform a block/dodge. If he doesn't react in time, he will attack as planned and receive the blow.
Combining this with actions that require a condition (like a successful block/parry action in the last turn) you could for example chain "parry"  "riposte" "regular strike".
In the first turn, the avatar will try to parry the incoming blow. If successful, the second turn/action will be a riposte. If the parry action wasn't a success (failed to parry or no incoming attack that could have been parried), the regular strike will be performed.

In combat / Out of combat - I don't think there has to be a difference in handling events in and out of combat. Implemented well, the "in combat" time shouldn't feel to jerky, so why make a difference at all. It would only result in people feeling like in some kind of Final Fantasy'ish random encounter when they realize that there is a gap. You could as well implement a loading screen and some crazy animation of glass shattering or whatever...

What do you think about designing a game around those game mechanics?
Do you know good "turn based" rpgs that don't feel like chess and work similar to what I described?
« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 04:58:42 AM by element_of_void »

I don't want to reinvent the wheel,
I'm just curious why the square one didn't work out in the long run.
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