Synchronous Battle System Ace!

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Kyutaru

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I've been splitting my off time between my D&D project and some browser RPGs.  The kind that beg you to open your wallet and give them all your money.  But I did come across an idea that I thought could be implemented into VX Ace rather easily.  It's a different style of RPG combat, more of a hands-off strategist approach.

The core idea is that you cannot control the battle once it starts.

Wait, what?  In an RPG?  How's that work?  What strategy is there to a game that plays itself?  Glad you asked...

The player is given control over a number of determining tactical factors.  The party composition, the equipment you wear, the abilities you prepare, perhaps even the sequence of initiative or position on a team.  The player also has control over strategic factors such as where the party heads, what battles they fight, what challenges they tackle, how they interact with the world, and the standard shop/NPC/quest affairs.  But upon entering battle, the party executes their actions in turn with the enemy, the player watching to see the outcome of the struggle.  Failure is almost inevitable as enemies begin to employ more and more dangerous tools, requiring a reshuffle of the party order, composition, gear, or skill selection to proceed.

Essentially the mechanics of the game are based around the idea that you must plan your battle ahead of time, factoring in how much dps, healing, defense, control, buffs, or elements you will require to successfully clear the encounter.  Should you fail, the challenge is figuring out what element of your strategy needs to be reworked.  You cannot simply spam Attack - Heal - Attack - Heal like in standard RPGs and come out victorious.  Perhaps the enemy deals massive damage to your back row healers at the start of the battle.  Shifting your layout to protect them becomes a priority.  Or perhaps the enemy lowers your tank's hitpoints to 1, followed by a cleanup attack shortly after.  In that scenario, you must ensure your healer acts after the boss's first attack to ensure the tank survives.

I see it as organizing a raid in typical MMORPGs.  Each battle with a raid boss lasts three to five minutes and the challenge isn't hitting the buttons in the correct order midcombat, but planning in advance what roles you'll need and how they will interact with each other.  Defeating the Demon Lord may require including a Priest to bless your party against his shadow attacks or perhaps you go with the Demon-slaying Warrior strategy, using the rest of the party to buff him and keep him alive.  Maybe even you go with the Stun strategy, attempting to minimize the damage dealt by skipping a few of the demon lord's turns.

The possibilities are quite extensive.  I can assign the Rogue in my party to stun enemies if they use an ability.  Perhaps I switch the Wizard from nuking to counterspell mode.  Maybe the Warrior tanks in one fight and uses his two-hander in others.

Does such a system sound intriguing?  Would you fancy a go at a game where decisions are not made from moment to moment with hours of planning time in between the turns, nor requiring the ATB menu reflexes of an adolescent youth?  Are you prepared to challenge a game where even if your characters are the Lords of Time and Space, you may still fail a battle because you made a planning error that resulted in your white mage dying too soon?

Concerning saves, dungeons, and reattempts, I would make them more lenient and easier to transition through to account for the lack of precognition.  Though I can also see implementing an Inspection command that lets you know the composition you're about to go up against.
 

Uzuki

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The core idea is that you cannot control the battle once it starts.
You mean FFXIII? HA! Nailed it.

Putting my biased hatred aside, it sounds like a interest idea, although I if you continue down this path I would advise you make the battles short. Otherwise the idea that the player isn't playing will sink in and the thrill of preparation will wear off. If you ever get it off into the testing faze, I'll be glad to test it.
 

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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I think I saw one battle system script out there that does this... and I do find it a bit interesting, but make sure to have a lot of options available for tactical selection.


adding to what Uzuki said, if the battles are going to be long, then adding an option to change tactics mid-battle is a must...


:)


PS: though if I have to choose between a controlled system vs an un-controlled one, I would still choose the controlled one unless controls are hard (like Armored Core: Extreme Battle)
 
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amerk

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But upon entering battle, the party executes their actions in turn with the enemy, the player watching to see the outcome of the struggle.  Failure is almost inevitable as enemies begin to employ more and more dangerous tools, requiring a reshuffle of the party order, composition, gear, or skill selection to proceed.
I can't speak for others, but this would definitely turn me off. While I enjoy watching Longplays of existing games, I still have the ability to fast forward through mundane battle segments. Watching is not the same as playing, and I would not want to have to sit still through a battle to see if I will succeed or not. Add to that the lengthy boss fights...

Basically, if I'm not in control of playing it, I want some means to speed through it. Otherwise, I'd be better off spending my time watching a movie, reading a book, or playing a game where I'm given control to actually play the game.
 

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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Possibly give the player to choose whether to control the party or not (like maybe using an options menu)
 

kerbonklin

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I would highly suggest giving the player both the option to choose to automate the fight (and maybe a fast-skip button), or play it out themselves with full control. You can give the player the ability to set Strategy options for the actors if going for automated. (to make sure the actor does specific set actions like heal/buff instead of attacking)

This kind of thing has been done very well in other games, like Age of Wonders 3 (a hex-based strategy game) There are also many browser-type strategy games that do this too.
 
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Kaelan

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The original SNES Ogre Battle worked like that. You could set tactics and maybe use a tarot card (a consumable spell, basically), but other than that, the fight just ran on auto-pilot till you won or lost. Can't say I'm much of a fan, though. A lot of people don't like FF12 for exactly that reason, even though you do actually have full control over how automated it is or isn't. Making it actually completely automated is probably not a good idea.
 

aozgolo

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I was actually thinking Ogre Battle as well!

I think a system kind of like Final Fantasy XII's gambit system would work (I even considered this myself) where you can basically program the automated AI for each person (or job class if you have those) and let it play out, however unlike FFXII you won't have the manual option, which means you may want to make more robust Gambit options beyond a single situational reaction, making it turn based simplifies this a lot.
 
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What if you were to implement this in phases? Like, say you start a boss fight, you've got your strategy planned, so on so forth. But what if when the boss got to low enough health, the boss would change its strategy. Then the player would be given an opportunity to change their own formation/strategy/equipment in response.

That way, the player still has some control over the battles, but it keeps the core battle style.
 

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[necro]Dragonsmith9206[/necro]

The last post was well over 3 years ago. The chances of the OP still wanting suggestions are vanishingly small.
 
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