What features you want to have in an ATB system?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by DoubleX, Sep 5, 2014.

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  1. BoluBolu

    BoluBolu Veteran Veteran

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    Sadly that Yami's script need Yanfly Ace Battle Engine, and my battle engine is not compatible with it :p . I thought(sorry to overthink) you made this post because you want to create a simple atb gauge that is standalone(compatible with default battle engine) and need an advice for that add-on features, if you do, that's great =)
    but if not, dont' worry that's not a problem , thank you for taking your time in linked those script for helping me, that was very kind of you =).
     
     
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  2. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I tend to like ATB systems like the mid-generation Final Fantasies where the battle doesn't "stop" for you to select actions - enemies will keep on attacking you and even your party's ATB gauges will fill up, as you navigate menus making a decision for what move a character should make.  This kind of system really brings purpose to the ATB, over a simple "have the gauge fill up" system like RPG Maker 3's poorly-done, so-called ATB.  This probably works best as an option for the developer, though, if you're creating an ATB script.

    One other feature I think would be great is the ability to affect actors' ATB levels directly with a very simple script call (so the game creator could, for example, have a skill that knocks the target's ATB gauge down based on the amount of damage you do, or use an item that immediately fills an ally's ATB gauge).

    There are lots of cool features that could be implemented into such a system to take advantage of its uniqueness.  Depending on how specific you're willing to guess when you create the engine, you could end up having a status effect like "Mana Block" that causes an extra X-second delay when a user tries to cast a spell, or "Confusion" which scrambles letters in skill/item names on the menu.  In a normal battle system these would merely be annoyances that serve no purpose in the gameplay, but in an ATB it would very much be a strategic element that could be played around in different ways, and would really help make different enemies and different battles feel unique.
     
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  3. DoubleX

    DoubleX Just a nameless weakling Veteran

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    I'd even allow players to set the atb wait modes, like full wait, wait unless there's no input at all, wait only while executing actions, or just no wait at all, in the menu and even during battles(like what the ATB Pause feature does).

    It seems to me that "knocks the target's ATB gauge down based on the amount of damage you do" would add something new to the Clear ATB feature. I'll think if I'd actually implement your ideas.

    The Action Points feature does the "use an item that immediately fills an ally's ATB gauge" though.

    It seems to me that "Mana Block" would add something new to the Skill Charge and Cooldown feature. I'll think if I'll actually implement your ideas.

    For "Confusion" though, players may end up memorizing the positions of the skills/items in the skill/item menu if just the letters of their names are scrambled, and I think it'd only distract players from the main battle focuses.

    If the positions of the skills/items in the skill/item menu are also scrambled, it'd probably end up making disastrous chaos.

    For the developers, characters having more skills will be much harder to use, thus increasing the difficulty for them to balance battles and characters. Now they've to consider the impact of this feature to various battles and their players' ability to deal with skills/items with scrambled positions in skill/item menu with various size.

    For the players, they'd have to deal with a possibly significant impact of uncontrollable randomness induced by this feature, especially if the game has lots of items and/or at least some characters have lots of skills. If the RNG causes the players to have to frequently scroll down to the bottom to use suitable skills/items, the randomness will just punish them severely(or just send them straight to game over) for things completely beyond their control.

    It seems to me that implementing this feature into an ATB system is probably just a suicidal design decision, unless the entire focus of the entire battle system is just to deal with the completely uncontrollable randomness induced by this feature.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2014
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  4. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    That sounds great!

    Yeah, sounds good.  I think if you include a script call that a game creator can use to directly change an actor's ATB, that would be great and would allow the game creator to do stuff like this using "Script..." event commands or the Formula box.

    Glad you like the Mana Block idea, and sorry you don't like the Confusion one.  But mostly I'm just "spitballing" here and trying to inspire some cool ideas for features that really take advantage of the unique aspects of an ATB.  I think once you think in terms of "how could I let players affect that temporal element of battle", you come up with some very nifty stuff.  That's what really gives it purpose over a turn-based system.

    Just to defend my idea a bit, though: for something like Confusion, which is an "interface screw", it definitely wouldn't have a place in all games, and even in those games where it would, it's best used for a single boss scenarioas or as a very occasional status effect, not as a core element of the battle system.  I agree that in a lot of games it would be a horrible feature - but in some it might be very cool.  My scripting philosophy is to give the players the tools they need to do stuff - it's their responsibility to use them in a smart way. :)
     
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  5. DoubleX

    DoubleX Just a nameless weakling Veteran

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    I've rethought a bit about my reply after I posted it and I did ignore the status aliment case which is completely my fault lol. I'd still say that making any implementation of Confusion work on any battle of any game is like walking over an invisible thin but long wire above a huge abyss, however. At the very least:

    1. If players experience Confusion for whatever reason, they'll face a completely uncontrollable but significant randomness which can be extremely punishing to them. The only "control" they've is to try their best to avoid having to experience this from the very beginning.

    2. If having to experience Confusion is completely player's fault, Confusion will, in essence, be a device to force them not to do something, unless they really like to deal with uncontrollable but significant randomness. But then there are some other such devices that are much more controllable by at both the developers and players, as their impacts are generally much less random than confusion.

    3. If having to experience Confusion is somehow inevitable in some cases(like a mandatory special battle), those instances will be extremely likely to be a rage quit moment for quite some players(even if clearly told before it comes), especially if they don't like uncontrollable but significant randomness. Even if it's crystal clear for players that uncontrollable but significant randomness is a main feature of the entire game, balancing any uncontrollable but significant randomness is still extremely hard for almost all developers, and when their attempts don't work, the battle will probably be a complete mess.

    4. When players have to face Confusion, they'll have to know at least the minimum, maximum and average amount of time to scroll to suitable skills in order for them to play around the uncontrollable but significant randomness effectively and efficiently. While the minimum is obvious and is almost always constant, maximum and average will be much more complicated to be even approximated as they both depend on the number of skills/items in the skill/item menu, which in turn varies from different characters, different levels from each character and different item management results from each player, and different players' item management styles. Without doing exhaustive playtests with abundant playtesters with various types, it'll be almost impossible for the developers to have any grounded expected approximate maximum and average values, and they need these values to have a reasonable balance for battles and characters with Confusion.

    For the interface screw idea though, I'd prefer something like reversed directional inputs than Confusion, as both developers and players have almost 100% control on the former, while they don't have much control on the latter. It's because:

    1. The output of reversed directional inputs is almost always deterministic(pressing up results in going down, pressing left results in going right, and vice versa), the only "randomness" are severe software or hardware failures.

    2. If the players are skilled enough, they can handle reversed directional inputs so well that it's just like handling normal directional inputs. It means the results of reversed directional inputs are almost always under sufficiently skilled player's complete control.

    3. The only thing developers needs to ensure for reversed directional inputs is that players almost always know if reversed directional inputs takes place on any character at any moment, and it can be done rather easily if developers know how to do it.

    4. If not knowing whether reversed directional inputs takes place is almost always players' fault, then not being able to handle reversed directional inputs well enough is also mainly their fault, because they've almost total control on their skills.

    Maybe I'll end up implementing the above direction screw feature, but I still have to think about the purpose of this whole particular interface screw.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2014
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  6. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    To be honest, I disagree with most of your premeses.

    Most status effects in RPGs either give the player no real way to "play through" them (either cure it or take negative effects, like Poison and Paralysis), or leave it literally up to chance (the normal "Confused" status effect usually has a character randomly attacking friend or foe and the player has no way to control it).  For this reason, I don't think of the interface screw taking control away from the player, but rather giving them control over how well their party handles the negative effects.  It's almost like a minigame in Mario Party - winning minigames isn't the main point (collecting stars around the board is), but your skill at these random little activities gives you control over how many coins you earn each turn, and people like that.

    Now, with an interface screw, in a normal RPG battle system, there's no reason to do it.  All you're doing is forcing the player to sit there and force their way past an obstacle you've put in their way, and no matter how quickly or effectively they do it, it has no effect on the game.  But when the battle is literally happening around you as you try to navigate your way around it, all of a sudden that obstacle becomes a challenge with a clear goal (solve this "riddle" to find the skill or item you need as quickly as possible), and tends to be a recipe for fun when it's done well.  It feels rewarding to use your skill to gain an advantage in a battle.

    In addition, the "randomization" doesn't need to be as extreme as you're envisioning.  In the case of Confusion, scrambling the letters entirely would be too much, and I probably wasn't clear enough when I mentioned the idea.  Maybe swap two letters in each word or replace all the vowels, so "Fireball" becomes "Birefall" or "F-r-b-ll" and let it retain either its normal placement or its normal icon.  Just enough so that most players will need to pause (and perhaps laugh), but hopefully not enough to make anyone rage when it happens occasionally.

    Anyhow, I feel like this tangent on Game Mechanics might be starting to take away focus from your very cool ATB idea, so while I invite you to reply to me once more, I'm not going to defend the idea any further.  I'll just leave it here and if you ever change your mind, it's here for you. :)   And if you don't, that's perfectly fine; hey, it's your system.

    But I was really pleased that you seem keen on looking at ways to really play with the temporal/timing elements in an ATB, which is what make the system a winner, so I feel like bringing up these ideas in the first place, whether or not you agree with specific ones, was productive.  And I LOVE your idea for a reversed controls option that could be added into a specific scenario or status effect, for all the reasons you said.
     
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  7. DoubleX

    DoubleX Just a nameless weakling Veteran

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    For partial letter scrambling... Right now it seems to me that the word choices for skill names become important as well, because if the developers set some rules on letter scrambling(like replacing vowels with underscores, shifting every letter by x, etc), there will be some words that are easier to be recognized than the others under most such rules. I think it's at least considerable, as now players can at least memorize the skill/item positions before battles in the skill/item menu(or just take screenshots to get rid of the entire feature) to gain total control on it. Those not mind dealing with letters scrambling can still play around it with the supposed way, so now both groups can be taken care of.

    And yes, the primary purpose of this topic is to generate ideas that can be implemented as a feature of an atb system, so agreeing or disagreeing ideas isn't the most important thing, but sharing ideas is. However, as long as those agreements or disagreements won't deter people from sharing or generating more ideas, I think such agreements and disagreements are totally fine here. If they can actually help generating ideas, that will be actually constructive to the topic. I figured out a reversed direction input idea just because you mentioned the concept of interface screw here. Without us "debating" about the Confusion idea, I doubt if the interface screw concept would be brought up here so quickly. So such "debate" may be actually helping the topic rather than taking focus away from it :)

    P.S.: (Disclaimer)I don't intend to act like a mod(and I don't think I'm acting like one) and I hope no one think otherwise :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2014
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  8. tiagoms

    tiagoms Veteran Veteran

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    Hello Doublex.

    IF I understand correctly, you are producing an ATB (initially thought it was yami edition of the script).

    If I am correct, there is already date for release of the ATB script?
     
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  9. DoubleX

    DoubleX Just a nameless weakling Veteran

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    At the time of making this topic, I didn't think of making a new ATB, just new addons to Yami's YSA-CATB.

    But now I'm indeed making an extremely massive atb system(90+% finished with 6000+ lines) due to some other reasons, and I might release its testing version at anytime.

    Back to the topic:

    Now I've 1 new idea - Party/Troop ATB Pool

    Instead of each battler having an independent atb bar, all party/troop member shares the same party/troop atb bar.
     
    #29
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  10. tiagoms

    tiagoms Veteran Veteran

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    A "ATB" for the group? It really is something different. "Remember" the standard battle system, but could be added as an "option".

    I do not remember if it was mentioned in topic (my English is not very good), but the "Victor ATB" has option to "exchange" the hero that will Execultar an action.

    ex-
    1- "Actor 1", "actor 2" and "actor 3" are to "ATB 100%."
    2- "Actor 1" is the first to choose the skill.
    3- When you press "Esc", the target ("player 1") is changed, and is now the "Actor 2".
    4- during the exchange, the "Actor 1," for having failed to implement an action will not lose your ATB.

    * this "system" is standard in "Final Fantasy 7, 8, 9 ..."
    * To "Exit" (escape) the battle, the player must press "1 or 2" buttons ("A" and "S", exemple) and wait for a time. this "time" vary with the enemy (with the possibility of not being possible escape - Bosses)
     
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  11. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    Good to see this resurface!!

    I'll gladly test it out and let you know about any bugs I find, as well as give you some feedback about the interface, if you're looking for someone to do that.
     
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  12. DoubleX

    DoubleX Just a nameless weakling Veteran

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    For the exchange hero thing, I think it's a given to any atb system(although the original YSA-CATB didn't support it very well).

    For the exit battle thing, I'd prefer an escape charging(which can be cancelled) rather than button pressing, although I think they're quite similar functional wise.
     
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  13. tiagoms

    tiagoms Veteran Veteran

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    Personally, I look forward to see your work.
    Given its history in the forum, I believe he will be very good. (and I'll use it)

    :D
     
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  14. tiagoms

    tiagoms Veteran Veteran

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    1- That is independent. That is, that does not depend on any other script (of another scriptwriter: Yanfly, Victor ...), but with possibility of compatibility.
     
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  15. DoubleX

    DoubleX Just a nameless weakling Veteran

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    Implementation wise, it's likely false, as technically speaking, any ATB script having this feature have to use noticeably different algorithms to implement that. Even if the algorithms were almost the same, their details are also probably significantly different, making an implementation of this feature as a standalone addon to many ATB scripts rather difficult. Even if it can be done, it'd be excessively complicated and complex, increasing the maintenance cost and difficulty, especially when severe compatibility issues come into play. So I'd rather prefer this feature to be implemented into every atb system :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2015
    #35
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  16. tiagoms

    tiagoms Veteran Veteran

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    there is already a forecast release?
    it need necessarily some other script?
     
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  17. DoubleX

    DoubleX Just a nameless weakling Veteran

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    It needs Yanfly's Ace Battle Engine :)

    Now I still have to clean up the script implementation documentations, or other scripters reading that script will probably feel like reading alien languages(as I think it already requires advanced scripting proficiency to fully comprehend) :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2015
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  18. RampartCratylus

    RampartCratylus Veteran Veteran

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    I like the concept of perhaps slowing down the ATB generation so that you can perhaps access a 'different menu' or 'more powerful versions of the same attacks'. This is in principle what happened with Bravely Default- only you could spend 'non-atb' turns all at once.

    But getting access to different combat menus in exchange for certain functions is something I like. They did something akin to this in FF9 with Zidane's limit break form- he'd learn all these cool moves. But in an ATB system, it would be fun to experiment to the temporality of the bar itself- perhaps you could do a tiered ATB bar in which you could keep waiting as the bar went up in exchange for those higher powers... 

    You could also set it up so that certain classes have weak low level skills, but very strong higher level ones (Valkyrie in Bravely Default). 

    I dunno, just a method of experimenting.
     
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  19. tiagoms

    tiagoms Veteran Veteran

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    Do you like so much of "Yanfly's Ace Battle Engine"?
    I had problems with it in the past, but I will try to use it again.
     
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  20. DoubleX

    DoubleX Just a nameless weakling Veteran

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    When I can actually release that script, you'll know why :)
     
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