StrawberryFlower

The Talking Fruit
Veteran
Joined
Nov 23, 2012
Messages
1,782
Reaction score
580
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
How would you make a single-character battle (turned-based) fun or engaging? I could only think of two ideas: skills as commands (like Pokemon) or timed attacks.

Are there any games out there with a single-character battle system that you enjoy? What kind of ideas do you have?
 

OnslaughtSupply

Ssshhh...
Veteran
Joined
May 14, 2017
Messages
731
Reaction score
766
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Personally in a single actor combat system I think it needs to be fast paced and that one character needs to be flexible with a rather broad skill set.
 

Frogboy

I'm not weak to fire
Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Messages
1,834
Reaction score
2,343
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMZ
I think it could be interesting if it were more tactical. Maybe you don't just attack. Maybe you have to decide where to attack (high, low, mid) or something like that. Perhaps you need to set a specific defensive stance or posture to counteract the enemy's attacks. Basically, you want to have the same level of crunch that four characters give you but roll it into one character so that it's equally engaging.
 

Vincent Chu

Writer and translator
Veteran
Joined
Sep 26, 2017
Messages
178
Reaction score
548
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Reminds me of beat-em-ups like Street Fighter, Tekken and FF Dissidia.
There's also the rock, papers, scissors duel system in Suikoden.
 

Titanhex

Do-It-All
Veteran
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
577
Reaction score
221
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
Rock Paper Scissors also exists in the "Plunge" system of the RM2K3 Misao Award winner, "The Way" by Crestfallen Studios but a bit more indepth than simple RPS.

You also have variance such as 2 Party Systems like Paper Mario.

I think if the player can use positioning or the environment to their advantage that can be fun. I have an old DBS for RMVX-Ace that uses a Tactical fighting game approach to single avatar combat.
I modeled it off of an old RMXP Game, of which I've forgotten the name. :(
Link can be provided on request.

If you were to use row formations it's totally possible to make it so your front row can have party members placed there to act as "barriers" and have the party members just be rocks or shields or terrain features.

You can also make it so damage isn't done numerically, but by body-part. As a character's body parts get damaged, their skills get sealed, they suffer debuffs, etc. Then, you would need to replace them as the game progresses. So your avatar would essentially act as their "manager."

Single character battlers could potentially work if the battlers are expendable.

You also have games like "Undertale" which has a single character party system but borrows from other combat systems to do single target combat.
How you represent that combat is up to you, and what works for your game.
 

Wavelength

MSD Strong
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
6,113
Reaction score
5,810
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
You're putting yourself behind the 8-ball a bit by designing a single-character turn-based combat system because the synergies and roles that exist in party-based combat are a large part of what make it interesting.

Generally, when I see single-character turn-based combat done well, it comes from a really diverse set of enemies/troops, who all require different kinds of tactics to defeat, and a similarly diverse set of skills or actions for the player to choose from to defeat them. It also helps when the player is given a lot of different options about how to build their character, but this is more of a "nice to have" whereas diverse enemies are a "must have".
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
307
Reaction score
365
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I am trying to make a single party game myself and its not easy.

I only have a demo available currently but In the full game I know I need to work on speeding encounters up and making them less frequent. Its a really difficult balance to maintain.
 
Last edited:

Kes

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Aug 3, 2012
Messages
22,511
Reaction score
11,995
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
@VisitorsFromDreams
'Games Mechanics Design' is not the place to be advertising your game. Your post does not need a link to your demo for you to make your point that single character battles are not easy. Please edit it out.
Thanks.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
307
Reaction score
365
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@VisitorsFromDreams
'Games Mechanics Design' is not the place to be advertising your game. Your post does not need a link to your demo for you to make your point that single character battles are not easy. Please edit it out.
Thanks.

Didnt really see it as advertising so much as a relevant example to generate discussion but thats okay, it has been removed. I am now aware of this for the future.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kes

cddeat03

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
Messages
46
Reaction score
38
First Language
English
You could try something where different actions apply different states to the enemy. For example, have a water spell that doesn't do much damage but applies a "wet" state and on the next turn use a lightning spell that does extra damage because of that state... Or something like that which makes sure that every player action counts for something. I think a single actor game is a great way to try and come up with creative soulutions to problems even multi-actor battle systems have to face.
 

Internetomancer

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
57
Reaction score
27
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
Try out Slay the Spire on Steam. It's extremely addictive card game that follows 1-character combat.
Key is random card draws (so some skills are not available each turn).
And the fact that you know what your opponent is planning.

Strategy-wise though, it's all about timing, buffing, debuffing, setting up combos, etc. Just like any RPG.
 

AmazingKazuki

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 21, 2015
Messages
109
Reaction score
41
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
You could have a rock-paper-scissor type battle, you could have those timed attacks or certain button sequence. There are quite a few ways to do it, but it falls onto what game you're making. If you're making a straight RPG with what might have been normal battles, certain button sequences would have to be explained. Maybe it is as simple as do this and get this combo, or a possibility to follow up attacks.
 

RespectWomen

Acoustic Child
Veteran
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
57
Reaction score
14
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I would design it so that the player queues commands like the infamous FFXIII series. So it doesnt feel like a silly exchange of blows. I think lightning returns did the solo party really well.
 

Aesica

undefined
Veteran
Joined
May 12, 2018
Messages
1,823
Reaction score
1,729
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Honestly, the only way I can see single-character battles being even remotely interesting is if they're more than just the typical RPG system of "input commands, wait for results." I haven't finished yet, but Undertale (so far) makes single-character battles interesting by adding an action-y element to it (you have to manually avoid the enemy's attacks each round).

With just a standard RPG battle engine, it's just too easy for single-character combat to fall into the trap of

if (player.hp / player.mhp < 0.5) useHealingAbility();
else if (importantDefensiveBuffs.areDown) reapplyImportantDefensiveBuffs();
else tryToKillFoes();
 

Touchfuzzy

Rantagonist
Staff member
Lead Eagle
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
7,750
Reaction score
9,899
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMZ
The main thing is that you need to add complexity.

You need to have the player thinking about as many things with 1 character as they are normally considering with 3 or 4. How you accomplish this? Well, you can take some things that are usually kind of automated by the system and put them in the control of the player. Maybe have some way of affecting initiative each round? Maybe implement a way to build up a critical bar and then use it to do an auto critical rather than having them happening randomly.

Giving the player a lot of interconnected parts where each decision affects something about one of the other decisions is the key I think.

Most things in gaming that make game play interesting are making it hard enough that you can't perform perfectly every time. This is done in many ways, either by having to do them quickly, or implement them using precision controls, like in action systems. But with turn based games it all has to be in the decision making itself. It has to be just complicated enough that you can't pick always tell the perfect answer.
 
Last edited:

lianderson

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Dec 27, 2012
Messages
531
Reaction score
440
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
This idea has been floating around my head for a few years. The whole single player battle system thing. And here's what I would do personally:

1: large number of skills and equipment to choose from early on
2: predictable enemies
3: less enemies per battle
4: carefully designed enemies so they all feel different
5: very slow progression so early game enemies can still be a threat
6: attribute allocation

These are not the correct answers to all single player RPGs or anything. Again, they're just what I would personally do. (with other concepts not mentioned) So don't nit pick them too much.
 

vap0re0n

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
31
Reaction score
26
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
If it's single character battles; variety is pretty much a must for me.
E.g. not being set into a class looking at the exact same skills for 20+ hours.
I feel Pokemon achieves this by allowing you to capture so many different types of Pokemon, and each Pokemon is essentially a different class with different skills, weaknesses/strengths, evolution's, etc.
Weaknesses' and strength's play a big part in Pokemon too, so you always have to keep in mind the enemy as well as your own character in your tactics. You encounter a huge variety of enemies also, which is a big bonus.

I feel having lots of different sprites and nice (but not too long) animations can also help - the first Pokemon had 151 different enemy sprites + the trainers, along with skill animations in battle. It's only grown too; I feel they need to do this because old players will get bored of the same sprites, skills, mechanics etc even if story is totally overhauled/changed.

However, I am not too big a fan of single-character turn-by-turn battles unless it's Pokemon. If I'm controlling a single character battles, action RPG's like The Witcher, Bayonetta, Rune Factory, etc are a bit more fun imo, as I usually feel more engaged with the game play.
 

Vinzentice

Villager
Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2017
Messages
5
Reaction score
5
First Language
Indonesian
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Whenever I think of an engaging single character turn based combat, I look at Neo Scavenger.

Warning: Strong language

The player character only really has one or two attacks. The rest are just movement options or environment based interactions. What makes me like it is the amount of detail being shown to the player. It creates this sort of immersion that puts you in the boots of the playable character. Instead of just showing raw numbers, it describes to you what you did and its effects, as well as the enemy's. Especially because you only play one character, every fight and "turns" makes you feel dread or triumphant because you don't have any party members to back you up. Granted the whole game does have a grim atmosphere, but my point about immersion still stands.
 

Latest Threads

Latest Profile Posts

BCj
Finished another GUI! Turn indicator wasn't made by me.

ff981f8dc50b03cf58038c644334b454.jpg


3cb092fdc00087acfa0a190fd891f0ed.jpg
Added a small refining scene to my game.

It makes sense that you try to focus on the squishy mages at the back of the party first, right? If the mage can out-DPS the enemy DPS before the latter can kill the tank in front, the fight becomes boring.
finally got footage of my main character running around the main hub world. I've fixed a few things tho even since this video unsurprisingly lol.

Forum statistics

Threads
115,233
Messages
1,088,273
Members
149,829
Latest member
TheMonkiShogun
Top