Let's talk about escaping from battle

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by TheoAllen, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. Kupotepo

    Kupotepo Fantasy realist Veteran

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    @Wavelength, how about the escape artist class? How could they escape?
    Sorry @TheoAllen off topic

    On serious note, thank you @Wavelength came up with how implement the bribe when it cames to calculation. I think it is a great ideas.
     
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  2. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    Very artistically!! :kaojoy:
    Honestly, I wouldn't ever dream of creating an "escape artist" class, except perhaps in an action game or similar. I don't think that running away from combat should be a big part of anyone's kit, and when I do include it in my games, I aim to make it a general and very minor mechanic.

    My pleasure! And thanks for the kind words.
     
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  3. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    That's a lot like how FF6 did it, and I always thought that game's escape mechanics were pretty close to perfect. For those unfamiliar with it, FF6 had ATB combat, and escaping took X amount of ticks before it worked. During that time, enemies could take shots at you so it wasn't a free pass.
     
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  4. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I know I wasn't asked... But, I wanted to add a little bit. I'd probably do it via increased evasion, decreased target rate, magic reflection... Anything you could think of to "not take damage" without outright raising Defense. Maybe even a 100% TP full gauge that allows for a 100% escape (except against bosses).

    But, I wouldn't really revolve the character around running from combat. At least, not without a mechanic that rewards you something for escapes, to encourage usage of the character.
     
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  5. Kupotepo

    Kupotepo Fantasy realist Veteran

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    @Tai_MT, I am just making a joke.:kaoblush: However, I think a mechanic of a diplomat which converts enemies into friends which is an indirect way of escaping problems and battles. I think it sounds fun, but implementation can be hard because battles are part of RPG.
     
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  6. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    @Kupotepo It's probably not as hard of a mechanic to implement as you'd think. Pokémon does that. Though, the Pokémon you capture literally become your party... it's shown that if there's enough incentive to do something other than defeat every opponent, players will engage in behavior that isn't "murder everything".

    It's just matter of framing it properly and providing a good enough incentive to do that with a Diplomat character.
     
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  7. Harosata

    Harosata Dramatic Lightning's BFF Veteran

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    I modified a few things in relation to Escaping:
    -If an actor has a certain state to make them trapped, you won't be able to run regardless of your success.
    -If a variable is active, escaping would trigger a switch/trap and even negate future escapes. (may switch variable to enemy tags)

    With those two things in mind, I suppose a 100% Escape Rate is fair.

    Edit:
    -Some enemies can Gaze, a tag that prevents escape. Destroying them or making them blind would allow you to escape.
    -Before, said variable was to determine how the battle plays out. Instead, the escape variable would be like a "state", and whenever it's active, the switch would turn on. Think of this like a spider webbing a whole cave, cutting off escape routes. Because of this, some skills should add or reduce the variable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
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  8. M.I.A.

    M.I.A. Goofball Extraordinaire Veteran

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    I do a "points" based Escape system for the default escape. Each character class is assigned "Escape Points". They are a silent stat in game that calculates a percentile base Escape success rate. For example: Knight has 25 Pts, Cleric has 10 Pts, Monk has 30 Pts, and Wizard has 15 Pts.. which gives a Successful Escape Percentage of 80% likely to succeed. These stats, although silent, can be increased or decreased with certain States applied or Equipment.

    And because I use on-map encounters, When a battle is escaped from, they Map Enemy will pause for a moment (length depends on the enemy), they will be semi-transparent and Pass-able, and then the pause period ends, and the enemy movement resumes as normal. However, if you get caught by the enemy again, the escape option is blacked out. Escape is still possible through certain skills though.

    I hope this helps! :)
    -MIA
     
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  9. mauvebutterfly

    mauvebutterfly Veteran Veteran

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    My project is a dungeon crawler (keep the first few projects simple, right?) and I've been thinking about how to do encounters and escapes. I'm using a system where there are a fixed number of encounters per room, but they are triggered via random encounter.

    Escape has a 100% success rate, but the consequence is that once you've escaped from an encounter you can never encounter it again. It essentially defeats the encounter without awarding experience, gold, or items. Do this too frequently and you might find yourself underpowered in later levels of the dungeon.

    Boss encounters will be fixed rather than random, and escape will just exit the fight. You can try again if you want later, but will need to defeat the boss encounter to get to whatever it is guarding.

    I'm also considering a smoke bomb item that would "escape" the encounter while still giving you the treasure, but not giving you the experience. Except maybe for thief characters, who will get experience for ending encounters this way. Maybe. It's a work in progress, and I need to see if that will actually be fun at all once I have enough game to actually test these things.
     
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  10. Doktor_Q

    Doktor_Q I'm not a real doktor, but I am a real Q Veteran

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    @mauvebutterfly I cannot recommend strongly enough that you do not take that approach for your dungeon crawler. This makes escape less than "not useful" and turns it into a potentially file-ruining trap that punishes the player for deciding to see what this option does (at the minimum).

    If you're going to deduct resources, they should be renewable ones. I think it'd work better to remove the "escape" option from the menu, and replace it entirely with smoke bombs- rather than still getting treasures or anything, just have the encounter stay in the list, like you were describing with bosses. You'll have to fight them sometime.
     
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  11. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    @mauvebutterfly I tend to agree with @Doktor_Q on this one. Players who are struggling and find the need to escape could find themselves even further behind (underleveled) with no means to come back, essentially making their game unwinnable (or at least excruciatingly difficult).

    There are certain types of games this mechanic might work OK for, as long as it's explained properly. For example, I wouldn't mind it in a roguelike, a virtual board game (like Culdcept or 100% Orange Juice) that could be played through in a single sitting, something like Slay the Spire, or a grand strategy game (like Civilization or Europa Universalis).

    If you're designing an "adventure"-style dungeon crawler with a narrative that's at least 5 hours long, and you intend for players to eventually beat it, though, you don't want to leave open the possibility of Unwinnable Because Underleveled.

    It's also worth bringing up that while the "fixed, limited encounters in each room" thing can make it easier to balance the game (and also reduces player frustration significantly if the player gets lost in a dungeon), it takes away the option for players to keep fighting against enemies they enjoy (or just grind for a power trip). I know that I for one like going back to areas with monsters that I found "fun" in RPGs, and battling them a bunch for no other reason than pure enjoyment - and if I can't do that, it's always kind of a bummer for me. Just something worth thinking about as you design a fixed, limited number of encounters into your game.
     
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  12. mauvebutterfly

    mauvebutterfly Veteran Veteran

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    Thanks @Doktor_Q and @Wavelength for the advice. My intention was to have a short game that would only take a couple of hours to play through. No plot or character development. Just combat and exploration. I was also thinking roguelike mechanics would work (levels are randomly selected and generated). Replaying the game would give a very different dungeon each time.

    I'm still very early in development though, so I'll consider alternatives to some things and test then to see how they feel. Resource management (and restarting the game when you can't progress any further) was the intended result though, with different difficulties affecting the resource crunch. On the lowest difficulty players should be able to complete the game regardless.

    I guess this is going off-topic though, so I'll just say that my original point was probably bad advice and that people probably shouldn't handle escape the way I said I was going to.
     
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  13. Engr. Adiktuzmiko

    Engr. Adiktuzmiko Chemical Engineer, Game Developer, Using BlinkBoy' Veteran

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    On my current game, I use an on-map encounter so players can choose to fight or not except for miniboss/boss fights (which are made a bit obvious thru some means, like a different sprite or a warning when you try to go to a boss fight map). I also removed escape altogether because I feel like its unneeded (as you have the choice to start a fight or not) and I havent yet had the time to implement it in my custom battle scene..
     
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  14. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    It wasn't a bad thing to discuss it! :) It sounds like it might work OK in your particular game, but just be very clear about it to your player. Something along the lines of party members discussing how we need to be able to take down enemies the first time they encounter them, because if we have to run away, we're going to miss out on taking their supplies and we're going to end up underleveled.
     
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  15. Henryetha

    Henryetha Veteran Veteran

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    On random encounters I usually leave escape as it is.
    On fail it is not exactly a free turn for the enemy, considering, you just increased your success for the next try to escape.
    You can see it like a buff (you could aswell use your turn to cast an AGI buff for example).

    On placed encounters, I mostly disable escape. It would kill the purpose.
     
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  16. gstv87

    gstv87 Veteran Veteran

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    -"Escape" is a skill.
    -only player Clerics and Warlocks can instantly "Escape" out of battle (D&D Dimension Door/Planar Shift equivalent)
    -"Escape" requires a casting time.
    -the rest of the party is bound to the leader's ability to escape, either through "Escape", or through map-specific events.

    for enemies:
    -"Flee" is a skill.
    -the battle system is tactical isometric.
    -all enemies are conditioned to "Flee" when "Afraid"
    -"Afraid" is often acquired due to player action.
    -"Flee" requires the character to be in a specific area of the map.
    -enemy Warlocks also have "Escape" in addition to "Flee" (although "Flee" is not a *skill*, it's a 'reflex' action, conditioned to "Afraid")

    the player can teleport out of a battle, if they need it (with reuse delay, so it's not exploitable), but the enemy must physically run out of the battlefield.
     
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  17. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

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    There are a lot of variables to juggle with this. I tend to agree with Wavelength that allowing the player to 100% escape battles without any cost or penalty really trivializes encounters and makes me feel like the dungeon isn't exciting. The exception to this would be a game where EACH battle poses a challenge of wiping the player, and it's not the standard attrition of resources that typically defines non-boss jrpg gameplay.

    I like the idea of letting enemies get a free round of actions before escaping. My only problem with this is that it takes away the strategic element of agility or luck parameter - I like the idea that some enemy troops are harder to escape from than others. Giving 1 round of turns and then guaranteed escape puts all of the enemy troops on the same playing field in this regard. But, I can't think of a better solution - oftentimes I think part of game design is making these hard choices, and deciding what's best for your particular game.
     
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  18. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I'd even go further than Jon and say that yes - guaranteed costless escapes in a game where the challenge is supposed to be chronic resource expenditure makes encounters feel trivial and dungeons feel sparse and pointless - but games where the challenge is the acute possibility of dying to any single encounter also are hurt by guaranteed costless escapes. Since such games must be designed with easy (or automatic) resource regeneration outside combat, the free and reliable escape acts as a complete reset button that takes away most of the sense of danger and intensity from what would otherwise be exciting, life-or-death combat. It's not as bad as doing it in a chronic game, but in my opinion it's still bad.

    Similarly, AGI in a completely one-for-one turn-based combat doesn't have a strategic impact on action frequency, either. Using any kind of Time element (whether real time or simulated "in-game" time) fixes both issues - as far as the Escapes, you could do something like Escaping takes 5 seconds (or a variable amount based on your AGI). The higher the enemies' AGI is, the more times they'll be able to whack you in those 5 seconds as you attempt the escape. :)
     
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  19. Diretooth

    Diretooth Lv. 23 Werewolf Veteran

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    For me, it varies depending on the situation. By default, I make major thoroughfares between cites, towns, etc. (explicitly, the roads do not have a random encounter region tag) not have any random encounters, even if I'm using an on-map encounter system. If there is a battle on a road, it's because it's explicitly a battle you need to get through to continue, a beef gate, as it were.
    When it comes to actual combat, I prefer to allow them to escape whenever they want, unless it's a boss. Though, allowing a character to escape an unexpected boss long enough to heal could be something I'd allow, or if the player is expected to acquire a specific item to overcome a specific attack, or encounter said boss elsewhere.
    (Something I would potentially use as an example, even though it's not strictly 'standard' in the way RPG Maker does it, would be the first boss for Dark Souls 1. You could fight the first boss and kill it without escaping, and doing so will net you a useful early-game weapon, however, escaping to get better equipment and having the potential to deal massive damage to the boss in the return to the fight is the suggested path.)
    Ultimately, to me, combat is not the most important part of a game. It exists more as a means to guide the player along a set 'path', but it should also not be used as an explicit way to railroad a character, and escape for the bulk of combat is as much a valid tactic as cleaving your way through enemies. To this end, having a skill with a high, or even 100% chance, to escape is preferable, or a limited supply of 100% chance escape items, such as a smoke bomb, or monster bait.
    As stated before in this thread, having enemies have a condition or chance to escape is also a valid tactic, and if your battle system factors in enemy speed, level, etc. into how escapes work, you can essentially make it so you force enough enemies out of combat to make escape easier.

    As a last note, I would like to say that how the Mother series handles combat is rather nice. Enemies are drawn to you, you can attempt to escape, and the on-field enemy will flash for a bit, stunned, before chasing you. What I particularly liked was how enemy positions can influence how combat starts. If you meet an enemy face-on, neither side has advantage. If an enemy reaches you from behind, they have first strike, and if you manage to get behind them, you have first attack, or you can escape without trouble. And, if your level is high enough, enemies will flat-out run away from you, and you will likely instantly win the battle, along with its spoils, or at least start the battle with the first attack.
    Though not an escape attempt, it does offer an incentive for the player to choose not to use the 100% escape skill provided there is one.
     
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  20. kaukusaki

    kaukusaki Awesome Programmer Extraordinaire Veteran

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    I use escapes with a %chance success rate based on difficulty setting/challenge rating. Depending on how strong/weak characters are. I even put it on enemies too once there is a difference in at least 3 levels. So if you can one shot your weak slimes you can grab stuff otherwise they'll be like nope and roll by you lol.
    I also have a mechanic where if you're at around 25% health in a boss battle you can make your escape. But once you return the boss is 10% stronger. ;) they had time to grind a little too. Lol
     
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