Innovative Combat Design

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Zizka

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So I wanted to create a battle system which revolved around learning how to type (not unlike 'Typing of the Dead'). Unfortunately, doing so would involve too much programming which makes it out of the question. Ideas can only take you so far if you don't have programming knowledge (or very little of it).

There's no way I would fall back to the default battle system that's been around since 1986 since Final Fantasy (and its various iterations). To me, it's something stale and ultimately meaningless. In my opinion, a battle system is a good half of a good rpg along with a polished narrative. So that's out of the question.

I therefore need to design something which is original and hold back as much as possible on scripting as that's the ultimate limitation when you think of it.

Have you designed combat in a way which is original (as much as something can be original)? Something that strays away from Dragon Quest of classical Final Fantasy. If so, please do tell about it, I'd be very interested.
 

NinjaKittyProductions

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One of my first projects had a solo hero. Since I am a D&D and Pathfinder nut, I designed my combat system around die rolls. Each fight was scripted (common events that is) with numerous pages and checks. However, to keep things simple, the character never fought more than one enemy at a time.

There are so many things you can do with variable and common events that while it might not look pretty (the setup that is), they can be fully functional and work wonders.

What kind of system are you looking for then since you do not want to go the whole turn based combat? There are a couple of ARPG scripts out there, tactical turn based, and if I remember correctly there are even a few rhythm based combat systems floating around.
 

Zizka

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What kind of system are you looking for then since you do not want to go the whole turn based combat? There are a couple of ARPG scripts out there, tactical turn based, and if I remember correctly there are even a few rhythm based combat systems floating around.
I'm not really looking for something in particular. I'm exploring ideas which will hopefully mean I can end up with something which interests me while being easily doable with programming. Ideas vs pragmatism, dream vs reality. I'm interested to know how other people end up being creative in dealing with encounters.

Dice rolls is something I'm considering at the moment. The following are mockups:



I like the miniature aesthetic. I'd like to have enemies move around on a grid (turn-based) but my concern would be that this wouldn't fly as a script request.

I'd like to use D6 as the core mechanic:




I'd like to give to stick to a D6, it could be done if I stick to simple rules.

The grid movement probably makes it impossible however due to programming. It would involve a lot of work for the A.I.

Also the issue would be to make exploration phases interesting so I might have to drop this idea as well.

As you can see, I get easily carried away and end up with ideas which don't end up feasible by a programmer.
 

NinjaKittyProductions

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So to some degree a tactical turn based. Your team goes, makes their moves, performs their actions and then the enemy goes?
If so, @Embxii is working on an amazing plugin for tactical rpgs. It can be found here:
https://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?threads/tactics-system-0-6.97023/

It already comes with lots of features and they are still adding more.
As for using d6 dice for rolls and the what not, a lot of that can be done in the damage formula. You could even have skills run a common event that rolls a d6 and stores it in a variable that you can then use for other skills. I have seen it on here ( cannot remember where sorry) where someone had a d6 rolling system that would show the dice actually rolling on the screen.
 

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@Zizka 'Game Mechanics Design' is for looking at aspects of game play at a more conceptual level. "How do I...?" (implementation) questions belong in the Support forum for the engine you are using.

That means that this discussion must be general, not tied to a specific game, therefore you cannot restrict it only to what you want. That gives you 3 options. Let it be general in which case this thread can stay here; be about only your game, so I would move it to Games Ideas and Prototypes; or - if you want to know how to implement a particular idea - move it to Plugin Requests. Please post and say which you want.
 

Zizka

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@Kes:
At this point in time, I feel like moving the thread is premature. The purpose of the thread being to discuss what other people put in place regarding their battle systems. If the thread were to be moved, we'd miss out on any further development (or at the very least I would).

@NinjaKittyProductions
Great message. It might be what I am looking for. I'd need to determine how to use the dice in my actual mechanic.

If you feel like sharing, let me know how you introduced it in yours.
 

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@Zizka That's fine, but it must stay a general discussion, you can't keep bringing it back to your game and your particular requirements. Therefore if @NinjaKittyProductions does want to share that mechanic at the level of actual implementation then it will have to be by pm. If, on the other hand, they were to share the design considerations which led them to their current state of game play, then it could be here. If someone else gives a response which is not relevant tp your needs, or maybe clashes with what you have in mind, that's fine, just ignore it. It might be perfect for someone else.
 

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On a more standard RPG combat design, one idea I have come up with is that when the player uses an elemental spell, they take on the traits of the element of said spell in question via a state, giving them various elemental strengths and weaknesses corresponding to said element. The goal of this is to force the player to put more thought into which skills the player uses on an enemy than simply whaling on the enemy with a spell they are weak against, because by using said spell, they are opening themselves up to new vulnerabilities. Depending on the game you desire to make this can apply to both the player's characters and enemies (though if a target already has elemental strengths/weaknesses to exploit that you wish to stack, you will likely want Yanfly's element core.)
 
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Harosata

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For my current project, the battle system is built from the Default with scripts to change the targeting system; using Jojo as an example, the skills are divided into Stand, Hamon and Skills. Stand skills can only affect Stands and Hamon can only affect Vampires (Skills can affect all types of enemies but don't deal much damage), so using an AoE Hamon skill will only damage Vampires.

However, Hybrid enemies (aka a Vampire with a Stand) can be targeted by both Hamon and Stands. In addition, Stand Skills will decrease their MP instead of their HP (if MP is gone, it deals HP damage instead), which can affect how the enemy acts.

---

Aside from skills, the other concept of the battle system is something like a Pickpocket battle. Only one type of enemy can be "swiped", with EXP and Gold added when escaping based on how much HP they have left. To counter this, the other type of enemy (that you can't gain EXP from damaging) will join in the battle based on how much HP the swiped enemies have remaining.

===

Another concept I fiddled with is "Positional". This mainly uses a Free Formation (Himeworks?) script that allows you to place your party in empty spaces, plus faces/battlers to clarify the positions of your actors. At a basic level, battle groups are based on index numbers, so enemy skills can be designed to launch small explosions or random attacks that can hit a person or nothing.

On the next level, actors already have 4 spaces by default, but enemies have a screen_x they are assigned to during troop initiation. For example, a fixed turret that only shoots straight down might have a screen_x of 20, placing it in front of the left-most player that has a range of 0-120, and thus only attack that space regardless of the position of the player. Granted, someone already designed area-targeting, but one has a general idea how they made that.
 

TheoAllen

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I use a heavily modified "Free Turn Battle" or "Instant Turn Battle". It is STILL turn-based with the feel of classical RPG. But the twist is that the moment you pick an action, it immediately executed. Allowing you to control which one you want to move first. Buff, debuff, then attack. Unlike many turn system which relies on agility and any other turn order (ATB/CTB/OTB/you name it). The only "downside" is that the system does not have agility stat so it can not represent agile character very well.

And from my personal experience, it's the easiest combat system to develop and to balance. It has less RNG factor and required less attention while still making it challenging.

Another innovation I tried to come up is a two-rows battle system. You have two rows consisting of 2 actors each row with the following rules:
  • Front row is where the attacker and the back row is the supporter.
  • The actor is free to switch places as long as they haven't yet take action.
  • Front row is able to do a normal attack and they're the main damage dealer.
  • Back row can not do a normal attack, but they will have support skill to support the party.
  • Every actor will have a different skill set when changing place back and forth.
  • The front row will have more aggro (i.e, has a chance to get attacked more often) while in the back row, they will get attacked less, has defense bonus (in case of AoE attack), and passive regeneration.
  • Edit: If the front actor is knocked out or stunned, it will automatically switch place. So you will always have two attackers.
 
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JosephSeraph

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To be honest, originality for the sake of originality is moot, and the classical Dragon Quest system (because there's no such thing as a "classical final fantasy" system) is such a staple for a reason.
So, it really depends on what you want to achieve. Why do you want to be "original" ? What sort of experience are you trying to deliver? What is the rest of your game about? (Or is there a game yet?)

If you just want to create something new and unique, I recommend playing around with oddball mechanics, something OUT of RPGs altogether, and see how you can marry (or not at all) that into an RPG context.

Some examples (none of them are mine) that interest me and could interest you:

- Undertale is a big, obvious one. I have a hard time calling it an RPG, gameplay-wise, but it is a very unique recontextualization of scroller shooters and other (mini?)games. The thing to note here is that Toby Fox took his main gameplay mechanic from another genre and made something entirely fresh with it.

- Legend of Legaia is a semi-obscure, well beloved PS1 title that, while much more traditionally RPG-like in its mechanics, takes its main gimmick straight out of fighters; that being that you input button combos that become special abilities. (The main cast is composed of martial artists, as well.) It's quite unique and refreshing, and another example of a mechanic taken from out of the genre, and having the whole game be built around it. That being said, as "unique" as it is, it is STILL Dragon Quest With A Gimmick. Like a lot of what you'll come up with. And that's fine.

-Resident Evil Gaiden is kind of the opposite, in that it is not (marketed as) an RPG, but it gets surprisingly close. Also, from these three, it is the farthrest from Dragon Quest, merely from the fact that it's one of the very rare examples in which turns do not exist! At all! Well, on the player's side anyway, the enemies still have turns that command what they'll do; if they'll move forwards, attack you etc.
One thing I personally want to do with REG is to bring it a little closer to RPGs and add some more depth to it by making its main mechanic (timed attacks versus enemies) be a way to not only damage them but especially gather resources to unleash abilities. That'd be pretty unique, imo -- engaging, fun, different. Of course, it depends on execution.

-Parasite Eve is quite a unique mix of turn based RPG and action RPG. The main structure of, say, Final Fantasy 7 is there: You wait for the ATB to fill, which prompts you to attack, use an item or one of your several spells. However, you play as a single character -- in between every turn, you must dodge enemy projectiles and keep the right distance from them. Your spells and attacks have a range in which they're the most effective at, so in essence it's a turn based RPG with dodge and positioning mechanics -- then of course there's the added layer of weapon and armor customization.

-Valkyrie Profile takes the base of a Dragon Quest, except even simpler -- by getting rid of the Agility stat affecting turns -- then it starts to build crazy stuff on top of it. Like a Dragon Quest, each character is allowed one action per turn. Spells and Items work in the standard DQ way, except there are cooldowns which lock you out of accessing that for a while, but the main mechanic is that each character must assign a string of up to three attacks to their button -- so, you can time your attacks however you wish, instead of that being dependant on agility. And depending on how you time your attacks, you can swing enemies up in the air, knock them down on the floor and etc, which is used to build up resources -- EXP crystals, treasure chests, orbs to alleviate ability cooldowns and, especially, they fill up your gauge so you can use the character's "special abilities" (which have cooldowns themselves, shared with the spell cooldowns)

It makes for a fun, refreshing and sturdy system, built on a very simple base.

And then again there's...

-Final Fantasy IV's the series debut of the iconic ATB system. It was invented as Hiroyuki Ito was thinking about how to make the next installment more dynamic -- he was watching a maraton on TV, and noticed how different people had different speeds and stamina, and thus he set that as the base of the filling (invisible) bars of FFIV which decides when the turns will show up.


So yeah, hopefully this helps
 
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Zizka

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I didn't get a notification so I missed all the replies unfortunately. I managed to find the replies by sheer luck. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

I use a heavily modified "Free Turn Battle" or "Instant Turn Battle". It is STILL turn-based with the feel of classical RPG. But the twist is that the moment you pick an action, it immediately executed. Allowing you to control which one you want to move first. Buff, debuff, then attack. Unlike many turn system which relies on agility and any other turn order (ATB/CTB/OTB/you name it). The only "downside" is that the system does not have agility stat so it can not represent agile character very well.
I like this design idea, it's simple but I find it clever and appealing.

To be honest, originality for the sake of originality is moot, and the classical Dragon Quest system (because there's no such thing as a "classical final fantasy" system) is such a staple for a reason.
I wholeheartedly disagree but I respect your opinion. I wouldn't touch with a ten-fool pole a system which is as traditional as DQ now because it's doesn't explore new mechanics. This being said, I understand that it appeals to a lot of people.

So, it really depends on what you want to achieve. Why do you want to be "original" ? What sort of experience are you trying to deliver? What is the rest of your game about? (Or is there a game yet?)
Not sure, deja vu fatigue maybe? I find that successful video game designers are innovators in some ways, at least as far as indies go (Hotline Miami, Undertale). I tire of subsequent Lord of the Rings clones out there and I crave for something new and original.

-I'd agree about Underdale but I'm not sure how I could expand on the concept, what do you think?
-I didn't much like Legend of Legaia, I thought the concept was sound but poorly implemented which in the end didn't really differ from the "attack-attack-attack" formula.
-So what are you doing with Resident Evil Gaiden then?
-Anything Parasite Eve related would be too intensive script wise to make it remotely possible I think.
-Valkyrie Profile was ok, it didn't really strike me much.
-FF IV is still very traditional to me. I'd like to sway from that formula a bit.


Although the combat system for Lisa is very traditional the artstyle is unique and I like that it uses 2D. It was clever of the creator as it reduces drastically the amount of animations requires (as you can flip assets as opposed to create four directions). The background is also very samey and yet it doesn't really bother. I guess what I'm trying to say is that he worked within the limitations he had in a very clever and creative way. It also explores sensitive themes such as abuse and suicide which I found interesting and refreshing.
 

Milennin

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I use a heavily modified "Free Turn Battle" or "Instant Turn Battle". It is STILL turn-based with the feel of classical RPG. But the twist is that the moment you pick an action, it immediately executed. Allowing you to control which one you want to move first. Buff, debuff, then attack. Unlike many turn system which relies on agility and any other turn order (ATB/CTB/OTB/you name it). The only "downside" is that the system does not have agility stat so it can not represent agile character very well.
This is exactly how my modified RPG Maker 2003 project worked as well. It's what turn-based combat looks like at peak performance, whether you like it or not. Dropping the Agility stat (which can be used for other things) is a minor 'sacrifice' to make for what is essentially the most superior turn-based combat system that exists.
 

Basileus

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I wholeheartedly disagree but I respect your opinion. I wouldn't touch with a ten-fool pole a system which is as traditional as DQ now because it's doesn't explore new mechanics. This being said, I understand that it appeals to a lot of people.
This is a bit of a misrepresentation of the Dragon Quest series. DQ is traditional and keeps a lot of the same base mechanics, but it does innovate with each title by introducing new mechanics. It doesn't change as radically as Final Fantasy but it actually does a lot of things FF never did and some things that I've rarely seen in other RPGs.
  • Dragon Quest breaks up enemies into groups. Enemies of the same type are in groups together so different spells/abilities target either a single enemy, a single group of enemies, or the entire field.
  • Whips and Boomerangs were added as weapons types that changed the character's basic attack to target a group (whips) or all enemies on the field (boomerangs) instead of the usual single target attack.
  • Monsters are tameable in some games so you can recruit monsters after defeating them and use them in battle, including giving them equipment and learning new spells on level up.
  • Later games added a Tension meter where characters could store energy for a turn to unleashed a stronger attack later, with Tension stacking a few times. The power was also stronger that just attacking twice so it doesn't feel like a wasted turn. Enemies can also do this too so it acts like a telegraphed big hit to make the player play to the situation.
  • Abilities were added which function differently from spells and are unaffected by effects that block spellcasting. Many of these are very low MP cost or even free, so it's especially good for giving non-magic classes some more things to do in battle and different low-cost attack options so they don't need to spam their basic attack command.
  • Later games also changed the way Wands/Staves work to provide MP on-hit so that magic-based classes can recover MP in long fights and make their basic attacks meaningful against common enemies or when the player wants to save their spells.
  • The latest game also added a new special state that buffs to character and enables them to use Limit Break type special moves. There are also combination attacks between every party member if they are all in that state. Using the specials ends the buff though, so the player needs to weigh how much they want to get use out of the buff vs how much they want to use the special attacks. And enemies can use it too of course.
  • The latest game also changed how turns work and now each actor's turn is taken instantly as it comes up instead of selecting all actions at the start of the "round" (like the CTB system in FFX).
That's by no means everything but it's some of the big improvements that I can think of off the top of my head. The DQ combat system is "traditional" in that it keeps the same core elements and builds on top of them instead of completely throwing out the previous system for a new one. But it's absolutely wrong to say that DQ doesn't innovate or try new mechanics. Be sure to check out what the features of a combat system are before - just because something looks the same on the surface doesn't mean nothing's changed.
 

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Rather than going full original (read: probably confusing and possibly obnoxious) I like to take mechanics I've enjoyed from past games and mix them together as well as try my luck at improving up on them in subtle ways. What I have so far is a combat system like this:
  • ATB, but ticks happen quickly and the timer stops when a player's turn comes up. I've always liked ATB-style systems because they make speed (and time) feel meaningful beyond a certain soft cap (higher than the enemy so you can strike first). I also like the fact that you can have some skills happen instantly and others with varying cast times.
  • Limit breaks, just because it feels really good to unleash a super-powered attack at just the right time, or use an extremely powerful recovery skill when all hope seems lost
  • Everyone's "MP" is a different type of resource that recovers/grows/etc in different ways. Think energy, rage, mana, runic power, and beyond from WoW.
  • Mix of skills (unique to each character) and spells. Spells are both known innately by some characters and also, some are equippable by anyone.
  • Certain gear (mostly shields, but some armors and accessories) adds extra positive status effects to the user or their entire party when using defend.
  • Able to switch members mid-battle, because feeling like you entered a boss fight with the "wrong" party members is no fun. The hardest fights will actually expect you to swap often, too!
  • Eventually, I want to allow for equip-changing mid battle too, for the same reason. Well maybe weapon/shield only. Not sure yet.
  • Equipped weapons affect what basic "Attack" will be. Stab, Slash, etc, with certain special weapons changing it into even more exotic things. The Dragoon Spear change it into Jump, for example.
So yeah, not overly original, but if I find it enjoyable to test, I must be on the right track.
 

Zizka

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Yes, I was succinct in my reply but I am aware of those innovations. I could've worded my sentence better but since it's not really the purpose of the thread I just left it at that.

Despite it's improvements and changes, I (me personally as an opinion) still consider DQ has a conservative combat system which I'm not interested into replicating for my own game. It doesn't mean that I think it's a bad system, it's just something I'm not interested into.

Rather than going full original (read: probably confusing and possibly obnoxious)
Why would going full original be something that ends up being confusing and possibly obnoxious? Systems which have been around for ages and relentlessly reproduced since then were original at some point. If there's never anything new, how would you discover a new ATB system or anything like that? I don't understand why it'd be obnoxious or confusing to explore and innovate in battle systems.

I'm actively looking forward to breaking the mold which is why I'd like to read how other people have attempted to innovate in their own ways.
 

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-I'd agree about Underdale but I'm not sure how I could expand on the concept, what do you think?
I'm not talking about doing what Undertale did, I'm talking about doing what Toby Fox did (and bringing something from outside the genre into the RPG mold). that doesn't have to be scroller shooters.

-I didn't much like Legend of Legaia, I thought the concept was sound but poorly implemented which in the end didn't really differ from the "attack-attack-attack" formula.
I didn't particularily like it either, although finding new skills from testing out combinations was fun (and similar to fighting games, at least fighting games with no skill lists.) But, once again, it's more about citing examples of games that tried new things (atop the "dragon quest formula")

-So what are you doing with Resident Evil Gaiden then?
I am considering using the shooting gauge mechanic as a means to generate resources for the player to unleash skills. So you have an ATB gauge that slowly fills, and the shooting gauge that's constantly moving -- land your shots well and your gauge fills up with each shot allowing you to unleash skills much faster. You can stock up to 5 ATB segments, with skills using varying ammounts. Holding down halves damage but prevents the ATB gauge from filling. It's an idea though, I may play around with it, but I may not.

-Anything Parasite Eve related would be too intensive script wise to make it remotely possible I think.
Anything can be done with events, and if you're trying to "be original" and "nothing remotely like dragon quest" then you'll have to go that route; 99% of plug-ins you can install will build upon the engine's own "dragon quest base", and the other 1% that entirely replaces it with something else... won't be something original, will it? After all you're installing something someone else designed.
Eventing complex systems can be surprisingly simple with RM2k3 + Maniacs Patch (a legal patch) nowadays. But if you're well versed with code, it's also straightforward to do yourself with script calls.

I had achieved something similar to Parasite Eve entirely with events through a single week on RMVX Ace, but was limited by my own lack of Ruby knowledge (to allow myself to generate damage numbers, amongst other issues). If I knew better, it'd be running buttery smooth now.

-Valkyrie Profile was ok, it didn't really strike me much.
That's not the point, it still "feels" very different from the norm while being built on a very simple (yet highly interactive) base, making it a good case study.

-FF IV is still very traditional to me. I'd like to sway from that formula a bit.
That is absolutely definitely not the point. The whole point of my citing FFIV is not "hey you should go with ATB", but rather, to highlight how the idea of the active time battle was born, and how you may come across an "original" idea by observing the world around you or other games or movies or etcetera. I would definitely not recommend anyone to try ATB as their selling point of originality (although it's still possible to be "original" with ATB as a base.)

just because something looks the same on the surface doesn't mean nothing's changed.
Very informative reply, as someone not familiar with the series, it was quite insightful.

Why would going full original be something that ends up being confusing and possibly obnoxious?
Because most games that are original end up becoming so with the intention of answering questions other than "how to be original".
The ATB system for example, was an answer to the problem "how to make this battle system more dynamic?" It is original, but its conception had nothing to do with originality as a concept. Oftentimes but not always, when a developer strives to be "original" they're generating problems, rather than solving them, leading to contrived and messy gameplay. That's why I asked you this:

Why do you want to be "original" ? What sort of experience are you trying to deliver? What is the rest of your game about? (Or is there a game yet?)
What is the problem you're trying to solve?

I'm not saying that striving for originality is bad, and I saw some interesting things from your replies, the desire to innovate and bring something new to the table is really cool. But you need to be cautious of it, also.
 

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I fully agree with "being original" means "solving the problem of the existing mechanic". In fact, I personally do this because I was also trying to solve the problem or at least some that I consider it as a problem with the mechanic I've seen (especially in RM games). Not because "I want to be original and innovative". Because when you're trying to solve the problem, you're already innovative.

That said, based on what I wrote in my previous post, here are the thing I'm trying to solve the problem

Problem: I feel like AGI based system is just not intuitive. You need to remember which act first, and not to mention, some skill adds speed so that it always makes a turn first and usually it's hidden. You NEED to remember everything. Not to mention, you probably don't know as well how much is the enemy agility stat so you can't actually plan things ahead. Instead, you just give the command to the actors and pray it works
Solution: Get rid the AGI based system and just use free turn battle.

Problem: I want to see the damage number consistent. Because I want to display it as a damage estimation in the UI. But the defense usually screws the calculation. i.e, if in the UI, the damage estimation is 80 ~ 120, it's going to be 50 because it's reduced by the defense stat.
Solution: I got rid of the defense stat. Instead, if I want to make an enemy harder to kill, bump the HP instead of adding more defense.

Problem: With the absence of defense stat, then I won't have defense down/up buff debuff!
Solution: ... FINE! I added the defense stat as a flat percentage reduction. e.g, the enemy has fixed 20% damage cut, and it's shown in the game UI when you hover the enemy. And you can break the armor so that the armor is going to be 0% when broken and you will see the actual damage number the same as the estimation.

Problem: Aggro/TGR is completely random. Granted, you can add a skill that increases aggro, but I don't want it to be a skill!
Solution: Two rows battle system. The frontline will have more aggro, while the backline has a chance to get attacked lesser.

Problem: Using too much skill depletes MP. And by that, it means the game punishes you for using skills. Why can't I just use the skill at my heart content without worrying if it isn't worth it or wastes the resources?
Solution: I use TP for all of my skills. I completely remove the MP.

Problem: Why do I need a magic attack and physical attack? Likewise, why do I need magic defense and physical defense? If the mage is going to fully use magic, why do they even need physical attack stat? it's confusing! Can I just use a streamlined version so that I just use one attack stat? Besides the element system already solve the problem to differentiate the magical and physical, or any kind of such mechanic
Solution: Well, what am I waiting for? just do it!


Speaking of which, why not try my game?
 
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NinjaKittyProductions

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Problem: Why do I need a magic attack and physical attack? Likewise, why do I need magic defense and physical defense? If the mage is going to fully use magic, why do they even need physical attack stat? it's confusing! Can I just use a streamlined version so that I just use one attack stat? Besides the element system already solve the problem to differentiate the magical and physical, or any kind of such mechanic
Solution: Well, what am I waiting for? just do it!
Speaking of which, why not try my game?
I solved this solution for a game by just using the following stats: Power, Resistance, Agility, and Luck. Power is used for both physical and magical skills and Resistance is used to defend against both.
 

Zizka

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I'm not talking about doing what Undertale did, I'm talking about doing what Toby Fox did (and bringing something from outside the genre into the RPG mold). that doesn't have to be scroller shooters.
For example?

I didn't particularily like it either, although finding new skills from testing out combinations was fun (and similar to fighting games, at least fighting games with no skill lists.) But, once again, it's more about citing examples of games that tried new things (atop the "dragon quest formula")
A combination formula of chained actions is original, I agree. Not something I'd be interested in using myself but it's a new take on things.

I am considering using the shooting gauge mechanic as a means to generate resources for the player to unleash skills. So you have an ATB gauge that slowly fills, and the shooting gauge that's constantly moving -- land your shots well and your gauge fills up with each shot allowing you to unleash skills much faster. You can stock up to 5 ATB segments, with skills using varying ammounts. Holding down halves damage but prevents the ATB gauge from filling. It's an idea though, I may play around with it, but I may not.
So you're behind Resident Evil Gaiden? That's awesome! I think your battle mechanic is really neat. I tried a variation of yours in my own project but the programmer left with the money without implementing it. But I was inspired by your idea.



This is an example. The yellow spot being the "hit" area while the green is a miss.



I had intended to expand upon your idea with various colors to have different effects: hit, critical hit, miss, critical miss, etc...

My game was also to be a survivor game but I didn't want to associate with Resident Evil:


Anyways, long story short, I really like this idea that you came up with.

I had achieved something similar to Parasite Eve entirely with events through a single week on RMVX Ace, but was limited by my own lack of Ruby knowledge (to allow myself to generate damage numbers, amongst other issues). If I knew better, it'd be running buttery smooth now.
That's awesome, I like it as well. Not something I'd be implement on my own project but I like how it turned out.

The ATB system for example, was an answer to the problem "how to make this battle system more dynamic?" It is original, but its conception had nothing to do with originality as a concept. Oftentimes but not always, when a developer strives to be "original" they're generating problems, rather than solving them, leading to contrived and messy gameplay. That's why I asked you this:
That's an interesting take on things. I think anything new is by definition prone to generating problems as it doesn't have player experience in order to iron out the flaws. But that's beside the point.

What is the problem you're trying to solve?
Well, I've always like different things regardless of the context (books, paintings, movies and even people).

I honestly think you've hit the nail on the head with Resident Evil Gaiden. I think it's nothing short of brilliant. It's simple but captures the urgency and stress of being faced with slowly approaching zombies.

I think Undertale's system is also very smart.

To me, those new concepts like those are appealing although they're risky in the sense that they attempt to do something new.

I hope to read more examples of pristine ideas like those.

Here's another idea I thought about on my way from work:

The player camp and the enemy camp have 5 or 6 sections in total.

(3) (2) (1) (0) (1) (2) (3)
A....B...............C.........D
So the idea is fairly simple. The player's side is blue while the enemy side is red. (0) is close combat while (3) is very far, (2) far and (1) nearby. This goes for both camps.

The idea I had was that players could move from one "position" to another. Being far away is safe from close combat but hitting targets is harder due to the distance. Players can increase the risk of getting closer to (0), the front, but doing so make them more likely to hit (and be hit) in combat.

I like this idea because it's a simple approach to positioning in combat. Distance is expressed in abstract locations and should be fairly manageable.

Other ideas with this system:
- Units cannot reach farther areas unless they are empty of opposition.
- Certain area of effect spells can affect all units in a certain area.
- Certain spells push back foes and friends alike (pushing back dangerous melee units for example).

So you see, there's plenty there. That's definitely something I'd be interested in developing further.


____________
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Shadow heart had something new as well:

You would need to stop the green circle in the yellow areas.

Super Mario RPG also had player input matter when it came to triggering various attacks or defenses, which I personally thought was brilliant as well.


I like the idea of player input but I understand it's not appealing for some people who don't like the action aspect of it.

@TheoAllen: Drop in a quirky system like in Resident Evil Gaiden and I'll test your game right away :p.
 
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