Saturday, July 16, 2011

Critical development

So with some basics placed down for Combat Test and am not quite satisfied. With thinking on this I figure I could chat about design choices in games. Better than a story that may not be quite as entertaining as these rants.

So you always have two choices when you want to add something to a game. You make a new system entirely or you modify a system you already have. This is just my personal opinion but modifying your basic system is more appealing to me. I've run into games where you had to know one too many systems that weren't related to anything else. A common one that's been showing up a while is minigames straight out of the flash that are completely separate from everything else involved in the game but have seemingly become a staple. For the first few times they seem unique and even entreating though it wears thin.

Newer Pen and Paper games have gone the opposite direction, they seemingly rarely go away from their established main mechanic in any situation. The olden days they had tables upon tables for how things worked. It was quite a mess of referencing and hand waving. While I do prefer this sort of approach a bit more variety could be worthwhile. The image at the start of this is quite a few examples of taking a mechanic and changing it slightly without actually changing the final outcome. You roll the die you get a number and you use it. It still does the same effect though it's 'different' for better or worse. In fact there are times where the worse mechanic for the outcome is there to balance out some reward for it succeeding.

With that said I shall dive into what I'm using in Combat Test. You choose an action primary an attack, then go about rolling a pool of dice. From here you distribute these dice to an initiative pool, an action pool, and a defense pool. The action you choose could modify these a bit but for the most part success are counted like this; 1 per dice in the pool then 1 more for each die over or equal to the value being tested (attack value or defense value both defaulted to 7 right now). Performing an attack for instance causes you to test against attack value with the dice you allocated to your action pool earlier, the AI tests defense value with the defense pool it determined, if your attack is higher damage dice are rolled and you go on. The entire idea of the system is that you can't get everything, you want more attack you sacrifice defense and initiative for it. Right now Initiative is kind of pointless though there are some weird things the current system allows for it namely guarding for two turns if you go first on initiative on the first turn then go second on the following, it's somewhere between a glitch and a standard  idea as the guarding status ends when your next action is executed.

The current thought is to add things like feinting or other techniques like stunning possibly while using the current system. Though that seems cheap though not as a cheap as my other idea. An idea taken form Weapon of the Gods was to have something of an "edge" pool. By taking dice out of your pool before assigning it to others you increase edge. Basic thoughts right now is spending that edge to cause the possibility of less successes in the other pool or thoughts on things such as reducing armor if the opponent is using it. Though like magic this seems a cop out.

So a bit of a standstill on this lazy hot day. Though I have managed to fix a few more menu things and take out a bug or two so some progress.


  1. Wow intense! Hit me back,

  2. I don't quite get why some of your ideas are "cop outs". Some of that seems quite normal for combat systems.

  3. @Shaw
    It is quite normal, bu tit just feels like an after thought to me. While resource management in such areas is interesting it seems to always end up just picking the highest damaging ability regardless of the cost. I want a little more thought to it.

  4. Interesting idea, I would love more nuance in gaming systems. Planning for 2 moves out is a crazy but interesting idea.