BlobboTheClown

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1st, I want to start by saying this isn't limited to sci-fi/modern settings. What I mean by an "overheating" mechanic is when you use an ability/weapon continuously or repetitively, causing a meter to build up faster than it can naturally go back down. So while I do want to make a sci-fi game featuring modern/futuristic projectile weaponry, the overheating mechanic can also apply to other genres as well. IIRC, that game Healer's Quest featured such a mechanic on the protag's wand for healing. Anyway, my question is: What kind of battle system is best suited for such a mechanic? I feel like the classic turn-based system may not be the best choice... A real-time battle system seems to be a better fit. But I really like turn-based RPGs in general, so I was wondering how an overheating mechanic could be integrated for turn-based combat. Or if not, what battle system do you guys think works better?
 

TheoAllen

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What I mean by an "overheating" mechanic is when you use an ability/weapon continuously or repetitively, causing a meter to build up faster than it can naturally go back down.
I would like to add a little more to this because this is just like a reverse MP mechanic with MP regen. And that could be simply achieved by displaying MP in reverse, code-wise (displaying 0 when your HP is at full).

- Overheat mechanic is when the meter builds up till it is full, the skill/action goes on cooldown until the meter goes back to 0.

Anyway, my question is: What kind of battle system is best suited for such a mechanic? I feel like the classic turn-based system may not be the best choice... A real-time battle system seems to be a better fit.
Overheat mechanic is better suited for real-time battle due to its mechanic. Because it promotes skillful play. You can't just spam your attack and hopes it hits the target. You're managing your overheat bar. And make sure you hit them before it goes overheat. Mind the timing.

But I really like turn-based RPGs in general, so I was wondering how an overheating mechanic could be integrated for turn-based combat.
Before implementing this in turn-based combat, what are you going to achieve by having this mechanic in turn-based combat? If you're adding it because you just want an overheat mechanic, then, in my opinion, a simple cooldown is alright. Or maybe a limited skill usage. For example, you have 3 times to use a skill, and it recovers 1 more usage per 3-4 turns or something.
 

BlobboTheClown

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- Overheat mechanic is when the meter builds up till it is full, the skill/action goes on cooldown until the meter goes back to 0.
Yes, I forgot to mention that part. That was what I meant. Sorry for the confusion.

Before implementing this in turn-based combat, what are you going to achieve by having this mechanic in turn-based combat?
It is mostly for "immersion". As in, that's how you typically expect firearms to behave. But also to promote alternating between different weapons/skills.
 

MerlinCross

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I tinkered with the idea of Overheat in MV a bit. Not sure how I would rig it up again in MZ.

At the time, it was standard turn base but in my case the idea was that enemies could cause you to gain more heat as well as your own attacks. Overheat put you into a danger state, but could unlock more damage/skills as your machine's engine went into overdrive.

When it wore off, you'd get a debuff/get stunned, and if you somehow overheated again during the first overheat..., well I think I'd make you just explode.

So the idea was to carefully figure out what move rotation to do, and give guard something to actually do, while playing around the heat generation the enemy could output. Or go full ham on a possible Overheat build/support and kill the other guy first before you eat the negatives, as heat reset after battle. You don't explode if the other guy dies first.
 

Milennin

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I could easily see it work in turn-based. You can have skill that has great power for its MP cost, but has decreased output with each consecutive use, and then takes turns to go back to full power when it's not used. Maybe even have the overheat carry between battles, so it can't just be spammed at the start of each new encounter.
 

CraneSoft

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For an (realistic) overheat mechanic to be relevant (and making sense), said weapon/skill in question must be something that are spammed frequently enough for it to matter : a rare occurrence in turn-based RPGs since normal encounters normally don't last long enough for the overheat to kick in (and no, carrying over overheat in another battle is anything but realistic), and spamming the same skill repeatedly in a boss battle just feels as dull as mashing the attack command. For that reason, it IS a mechanic made for fast-paced action games, in particularly shooters.

Like TheoAllen said, the cooldown mechanic is the go-to option if you need such a mechanic, as it is, for all intents and purposes, the turn-based equivalent of overheating mechanic - you basically overheat your weapon instantly (such as emptying a 100-round minigun), while waiting several turns for it to cooldown before you can use it again.
 

theartofme

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To give an existing turn-based example, the Battletech board game has a heat system!
It applies to all actions your battlemech can do - moving, firing weapons, etc. It's conceptually similar to reverse, regenerating MP as described above, although it also adds negative effects if your heat climbs too high (and some weapons, like the flamer, are designed to overheat enemies rather than damage them directly, so this is an alternative way of winning a fight), so tactical use of your heat is important. It's common for heavily-armed mechs to have too much weaponry to sanely use all at once, so you pick and choose based on how hot you already are and which weapon is best in the current situation. Weapons that don't generate much heat usually have limited ammo instead.

Because it doesn't apply to each weapon individually it makes the mechanic both fit in the theme and give you tactical considerations even when a combat might be over in a few turns.
 

Wavelength

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Having an overheat mechanic for "immersion" or "realism" is putting the cart before the horse - it will just highlight how unrealistic some of your other mechanics are (like hit points, and the fact that something can participate in combat fully at 3/100 HP), and may detract from immersion rather than add to it because the player will never be able to achieve flow when completely restricted from using a tool they want to use (imagine playing paintball or laser tag where you only get three shots before you have to return to home base - are you going to be able to achieve an immersive flow?).

Having an overheat mechanic to encourage players to change up their tactics every few turns, on the other hand, is a very worthy reason to add it - just make sure that this benefit is worth the potential frustration.

You are correct that real-time seems like the best fit for overheat systems, since players' minds can naturally think of things in "seconds" of real-time more easily than they think in "turns", and the heat can build up more naturally. However, there's no reason you couldn't do it in a turn-based system - simply have the heat build up each time the weapon/skill is used, and reduce it by a little each turn (locking it out for a while if it ever reaches 100%).

One key to a successful Overheat mechanic is that if one of your tools (weapon, skill, whatever) overheats, in almost all cases there should be multiple alternative (and at least somewhat satisfying) options to turn to. You don't want Overheat removing the interesting choices from gameplay; you simply want it to force the player into making other interesting decisions.
 

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Awesome ideas guys, thx! And yea, I basically want to make a Mech RPG, but mechs around the size of those in the Heavy Gears franchise (really old games). So they'd be roughly twice the height of a Human. I'm not really a fan of Godzilla/Gundam sized mechs. Now, as far as hitting 100% Overheat goes... would you guys say it's better to lockout just that skill/weapon that caused the Overheating, or lockout multiple things. Or in other words, is it better to have separate heat meters representing each weapon, or a single heat meter representing the entire mech? I think rapid-fire weapons like Miniguns would build up heat pretty quickly. But then again, a slow firing weapon like an Electromagnetic Railgun would build up heat even more so, like maybe 2 or 3 shots before hitting Overheat.

Edit: @Wavelength I just saw your post, so I guess you're leaning towards multiple heat meters?

Size comparison:
1611098047240.png
 
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Wavelength

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Edit: @Wavelength I just saw your post, so I guess you're leaning towards multiple heat meters?
Yes, I would lean toward a separate heat meter for either every single tool for each user, or at least for every class of tools (e.g. all miniguns for the same user share a single heat meter, all railguns for the same user share a single heat meter, etc.). That way, while you're building up the heat on one tool, the others are cooling down.

There is an argument to be made for having a single overall heat meter for each character, in order to introduce strongly-defined windows of power and weakness for characters - but I feel that "single overall meter" works better for a secondary resource of some sort rather than for Overheat, because Overheat is built around locking out options and there's not much gameplay when almost all of your options are taken away at the same time.
 

theartofme

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If you go with a single heat meter, instead of locking out skills/attacks you can add debuffs or other negative states, or even take damage. For some fights it might be worth having one of your characters use a high-tier attack twice in a row, overheat, and take a debuff, but you still have others in the party to pick up the slack - and overheated character is not out, they just have to use weaker actions while they cool down - or double down and keep piling debuffs on themselves.
 

CraneSoft

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I'm not really a fan of Godzilla/Gundam sized mechs. Now, as far as hitting 100% Overheat goes... Now, as far as hitting 100% Overheat goes... would you guys say it's better to lockout just that skill/weapon that caused the Overheating, or lockout multiple things.

You may want to check out the Baldr series (in particularly Baldr Sky) games when it comes to a human-sized mecha-centered combat utilizing overheat. Granted, it is not a turn-based RPG - but it's entire combat system is centered around chaining combos while managing a single, universal overheat meter and taking advantage of it, it should give you some ideas of how to implement them right. Tales of Destiny Remake also used a similar system where it is basically overheat in all but name.

One thing to note though - is that managing overheat is a delicate system (read: difficult to balance) that is often not as simple as "sharing heat meter" or "how much lockout they should do", not only the answers differ entirely based on how combat works, it is also a system that's actually hard for a player to manage even if it's only for one character - so I would not recommend it for a battle system where you need to manually control 2 or more (imagine trying to keep track of 3 tools each across 4 people ).
 
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15098D

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If it were me I'd create a variable that applies a certain state when it gets too high, the state being one that seals the skill you want to "overheat"
 

duty

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Lots of good comments here already.

I'm not advocating for absolute realism in your game, but want to open you to the possibility that an overheat could be something that's linked to durability, has consequences beyond a single encounter, and could be remedied with the use of a single item (replacing the barrel).

If your goal is to promote immersion and encourage the player to get the most utility out of all their choices, and not just a single reliable option, I would recommend a focus on ammunition or replaceable components.

Probably the most common weapon currently deployed with a heating problem is the M2A1. The modern designs can be fired until the barrel is trashed and a new barrel can be mounted in a matter of seconds. I've heard soldiers complain they spent more time trying to find where they dropped their asbestos gloves than pulling the barrel off and putting a new one in.

They never actually waiting for the gun to "cool down". If the weapon overheats, they just swap the barrel and keep firing.
 

kairi_key

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I think another fun thing with Overheat and turn-based is the idea of a build-in heat-reducing capacity. What I meant is that, it might be possible for Heat meter to go down naturally before it can Overheat at the end of each turn in a "regen phase" (you know, those phase where states/buffs turn got decreased and regeneration go out, or phase where most auto-activated passive took effect).

Like, the Heat meter will naturally go down in X rate at the end of each turn. The fun will be in juggling between waiting the Heat meter to go down further before unleashing the nuke skill, or just risk it Overheat instead. It can open the possibility up for further mechanic such as using some skills might increase the Heat-reduction rate, while others may decrease it, or some skill might not involve heat at all.

Some actor might benefit from not Overheating at all as in their Overheat state might punish them severely, while others may benefit more from keeping their weapon in an Overheat state as long as possible, struggling against their own Heat-reduction rate.

Or maybe.... there might be skills that is usable only in a certain percentage of heat. For example, you need to have more than 30% heat to give yourself a state A that further unlock usage of skill Nuke A.

I don't know. When you describe Overheat as how weapon causing a meter to build up faster than it can naturally go back down, it suddenly give me new perspective in dealing with such idea. Instead of waiting for Overheat to end, it could be a two-way struggle between building up Heat vs. naturally losing such heat.
 

ATT_Turan

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As already pointed out, the original overheat mechanic comes from a turn-based game, so there's no reason you can't use it perfectly well in that situation :smile:

Another possible penalty, rather than locking down a character so they can't do anything, is make overheating cause an instant effect, after which their heat resets.

So perhaps you use a skill that causes your heat gauge to max out - after performing it, you suffer an explosion, damaging you and releasing all the heat. This can make it a more interesting penalty/reward choice than being disabled for some number of rounds, which is generally not fun.

I would strongly recommend implementing a visual indicator of heat, rather than just numbers. Take a look at some gameplay videos of the newest Battletech video game. There's a gauge that shows what your heat will be at the end of your turn from your built-in cooling, and as you select actions and toggle weapons on and off, it has a translucent overlay to show you what the difference in end heat will be (including going into the overheat zone).
 

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