Combat Design

Combat design has been very much a moving target, and I've have to combat (excuse the pun) both incorportaing new features, and refactoring existing code. I wish I was a master of architecture and knew all the systems we'd need from the get-go, but I know that's not possible with 1) iterative design and implementation and 2) doing a lot of things I've never done before.

One big thing on my mind lately is if combat should be real-time, active-turn-based, completely turn-based. Originally we were going completely turn-based - I thought turn-based was a good idea to make combat feel really strategic, but when I played the prototype, I don't think it really gave enough of a sense of urgency for the user. That's probably partly due to missing features, but also with the combat I'm trying to create, the user wouldn't necessarily do a lot in a single turn (restricted by power meter). Because of all this, I had to click on the "end turn" button so many times. It felt unncessary and not very exciting.

Just this week I decided to try out a real-time, recharging meter. Every time it filled, it gave the player a couple of power points to use for an action. In addition, enemies would have their meters recharging in the background. The player would never be 100% sure when the enemy would attack next. So as the player scrables to decide what to do next, the enemy will continue attacking. In addition, the strategy is still there - users still have to consider whether they should wait for more points; use up some of their points; or use up a lot their points (different actions use up different amounts of power points). Much more interesting.

Another big thing on my mind is as I start implementing new systems (e.g. Effect System for buffs/debuffs), I wonder 1) How should it work? 2) How should it interact with other systems? 3) Who should be responsible for using it? 4) What, if anything about the system, should be a Monobehavior? To help me in answering some of these questions, I've done some initial research to see how other game developers have implemented it for Unity. It was quite enlightening, and I now have a basis for a proper system.

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