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A game of survival, trade and exploration in the universe of Fallen London

Combat revisiting Messages in this topic - RSS

Tim Taylor
Tim Taylor
Posts: 9

2/22/2015
For the DLC or even later on. Would it be worth revisiting the combat mechanics more? From what I've read, it was added rather late into the games dev cycle as card battles were not doing it for people. And currently, its just circling the AI or being way over equipped against cheese like nomad range attacks.
Splitting combat between layers. Air, zee/ground, underzee. Everything needing proper ammo like torpedoes. Cannons for sea and ground. Flensing weapons for air baddies. torpedoes just for sea... Secrets guided soulpedoes. Depthcharges for submerging enemies. Ground enemies on shore. Like cannon emplacements. or giant frogs shooting their tongues at you. Guinea catapults if you stole the eye.
Enemy effects beyond stuns so its not always a ram and spin. Like Lifebergs just have a freezing aura bringing you to a crawl. No need to charge, just damage on contact and they give you a grinding hug.
Flares against animals confusing them like a decoy with diminishing returns so you cant just keep doing that to the same OP critter while others could be immune. Or some only effected by foxfire. Smoke pipe belch attachment to disorient pursuing boat enemies or propeller-tangling ropes.
Boarding action storylets if enemy ships are rammed below 10% health.
Flying enemies like swarms of bats don't really damage you, but they can knock out your lights for periods of time, and can see you in the dark... because "bats".
I'm not seeing the bizarre life of fallen London being fully incorporated into the overworld combating the madness at zee. Ratapult cannon balls. Hull damage over time. Skyglass Flensing rounds. Infernal figurehead, fire attacks when ramming etc etc.
With greater threats in effects and management required. Should make being a beast hunter more profitable in individual cases instead of just finding a nitch creature and farming it over and over. Death to beasts shouldn't always just be death. Like a chance to escape similar to running out of fuel. Yet you now have the Ahab goal against a super beast version of what took everything away from you.
edited by Tim Taylor on 2/22/2015
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Mica
Mica
Posts: 30

2/22/2015
What about tentacles grabbing the ship where crew numbers will help? Cause seriously, we really need a reason for having a high number of crewmen. Haha. But these things like incorporating more of the lore into weapon types seems to be better left for when modding becomes available, if ever.

IMO, what's important with the combat right now is how easy it is to win without getting damaged just by hugging butts, even when the player is underarmed. There should be some kind of consequence for collision or give zee beasts a method to damage the player in close contact, which gives combat more risks rather than just "something extra" on the way of grinding ports.

The Blue Prophets are awesome, BTW. They're so unpredictable that hugging can miss and they can get hits. They don't hit lightly either.
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MisterGone
MisterGone
Posts: 139

2/23/2015
Combat needs a total overhaul in my opinion. OK, not total, I like the real-time aspect and manual maneuvering, but what I'm talking about is an overhaul in the way things function on a number of levels.

#1 Range and Target Acquisition rates.

There really need to be, essentially three range sections when the player (and enemies) acquire targets for their main guns. A short range section in a small circle around your ship (or the enemy ship), a medium range circle, and a long range circle. When at long range, acquiring targets should be much slower, at medium it should go at the normal rate, and when up close it should be much faster. This would make position between ships MUCH more important than it currently is.

On top of that, this could lead to some new potential items and functions of current ones. For example, Flares might now increase each range diameter by 10%. Or there could be a spotter's nest Auxillary item that increases all range values by 15% and so on. The point is, Range needs to be taken into account as well as firing arc if there's to be any real strategy to combat. This would especially affect zee monsters as it would mean once they get in close, they're going to be attacking at increased rates across the board, which would mean player's would have to try to maneuver more to keep fighting from an optimal distance.

#2 Breaking target line of sight needs to diminish acquisition over time.

Since the whole reason you're waiting for the bars to fill is related to targeting acquisition, if a target breaks line of sight, this needs to degrade the acquisition gained. While this would have some effect on naval combat maneuvering between ships, this is primarily for zee-monsters who have the diving ability, which currently does almost nothing for the monster. All it does is drag a fight out longer than it needs to, and the limited movement monsters usually make while underwater gives them no advantage. On top of this, the player's acquisition rate holds at whatever percentage it was at as long as the monster is still within their battle circle, so this makes diving especially useless. If target Acquisition degraded when they dove, even if they were still in the player's battle arc, then they would get an advantage for diving.

#3 Monsters that dive should move a lot more when underwater, and have Emergence attacks.

Monsters should use their time underwater to either move away to a better position outside of the player's range if they have long range attacks, or to get a lot closer to the player so they can emerge and start wailing away. Some should have emergence attacks where if they emerge directly under the player's ship, it's a special attack the does a LOT of extra damage (at least double, if not triple, their normal amount) and knocks the player's ship back in a wave.

#4 Stagger Amount should affect player when firing, relative to total ship weight.

So, one of the things about 1890s Naval Combat pre-Dreadnought (which is a real thing) is that the ships were basically platforms for HUGE cannons where the platform was often barely containing the immensity of the cannon. The game gets this right with its deck guns. What it gets wrong is the importance of the deck gun (versus the forward guns, which the game favors a lot more) and essentially, the massive recoil firing these things did on vessels that fire them. There needs to be a stat (Recoil, or Displacement), where after firing a gun, the gun has to take a bit before it can be fired again due to the recoil on the ship, or the ship is actually shifted a bit in the opposite direction from. This would be relative to the damage it does in some way (since in general, bigger guns = bigger damage = bigger recoil). This recoil effect can be lessened with larger ships, as the mass of the ship affects how much recoil can be absorbed without affecting their target acquisition. This, in effect, would make heavier ships more battle capable, as they would have less recoil on the same cannons. This would further make the Dreadnought a more important and versatile combat platform than the Frigate, which should have some issues firing the larger guns.

I'd also suggest making the deck guns the focus of combat and deal higher damage in general than a lot of the forward guns, which should be more supplementary. Also, that the Momento Mori be a deck gun with insane recoil.

Also related to weight is enemy stagger on attacks. The heavier the ship, the more stagger it should absorb when recieving attacks. Oh, and give the larger monsters stagger on their melee attacks. Getting rammed by a 50 foot giant fish should knock my guys around a lot more.

#5 All AI need to have a retreat, kiting, and escape protocols. They also need boosts if ships.

Right now all AI in the game just try to either A) if a monster, close with the player and charge attack/dive occasionally/commit a special attack if they have it, or B) if a ship, try to position themselves to make their best attacks, which can be exploited by getting right in their tailpipes and circling until they die.

The AI all need to have some escape protocols that recognize they're in a really bad position, and they should prioritize getting out of the player's firing arcs more than any other action. This should also be relative to their health, so that certain enemies try to GTFO when they're closer to death than others (while others will obviously just be berserkers who don't give a flock and keep attacking mercilessly, like Sharks and Behemothstaches). If YOU had to chase enemies sometimes, it would mix up the combat A LOT. Especially if they dragged you into the range of another enemy.

On top of this, with enemy ships, they need to learn the art of backing up while firing at you, the most basic kiting strategy that is too good to use in the game currently, especially when fighting monsters.

And enemy ships need boosts too, though perhaps only one per encounter to keep things from getting insane. Either to try and catch up with a fleeing player, or to flee themselves if their hulls get too low.

#6 Enemies need to be able to fight each other too.

At least Ships versus monsters anyways. You should be able to lead or chase some enemies to each other, and they should be able to aggro each other depending on type. It would create far more interesting emergent battle situations in this case.

#7 Firing solutions need to be visually represented on screen through the arc itself, not the bar at the bottom of the screen.

By a narrowing of the player's firing arc until it becomes, essentially, a line. This would make the whole of how these combat functions work a LOT clearer to the player visually. It would also let the player focus more on maneuver relative to other combatants rather than checking to see if their "cooldown" is refreshed.

#8 Flying enemies need some unique abilities and conditions.

Flying enemies are either bats or birds and the fact that they do lots of hull damage is ludicrous, even as a swarm. They should do far less hull damage to the player. Instead, they should have a lower threshold they need to reach to do crew damage (like at 60% for the normal bats, 70% for the Miliner Bats, and 80% for those awful birds), as they pick at your crewmen on the deck. Still, this should be a special type of attack with a different visual look to it so the player can tell it's going on - a sort of "surround your ship on all sides" kind of look. This attack should have a large cooldown relative to their hull pecks, which should come at a really fast rate.

Flying enemies also need a version of "diving" where they disperse from a swarm for a bit and become to spread out to properly target, to be used as a way to dodge attacks. If you fire at them when they're in this mode, you'll miss, though unlike diving you can still acquire a firing solution, albeit at a slower rate.

#9 There need to be mines. For both player and some enemies.

Seriously. Mines existed in the period, and they were a major part of naval combat. They're more of a defensive weapon obviously, and the player should be able to drop them as they go, and lead enemies into them if they're stupid zee beasts, or put them in the way of enemy ships, who should be smart enough to know to at least TRY to avoid them.

Mines should also be an auxilliary item (a mine deployment kit, like the Pneumatic ratsender) that use up an expendable resource item.

Mines will be game changing.

Also, Torpedo nets should be similar. You should have to actively deploy them and they should slow your ship down by one engine power when deployed, limiting your speed. This would make them far more interesting to use, and prevent them from simply being the "remove torpedoes from the game" option they currently are.

#10 Close combat boarding needs to be introduced for piracy purposes

There are a million ways to do this, but it needs to show up in some form. It should be the preferred method of combat for all pirate type enemies, and Unfinished Pirates should be especially deadly since they're clay men, while Rat pirates should be particularly weak to it.

This is one thing that I'm pretty sure is already being worked on though, so I'm optimistic.

#11 More sound effects and visual flourish.

It might seem minor, but it really isn't. I want to hear "Man overboard!" when a crewman dies from a big hit, or "Reloading!" after I fire. "Incoming" when the shells are heading toward us, and a cheer from the crew when the enemy is destroyed.

The drums of the rowing Claymen. The chattering of the rat ships. The demonic hymnal humming of the demons near Mt. Palmerston. All of that. At the very least, the roars and yells and gurgles of dread of the zee beasts.

On top of this, the larger enemies need proper death animations. It's fine if the tiny crabs or Jillyfleurs basically just explode and get deleted out under the explosion effect, but when you look at how the explosion effects work on sharks, Behemothstaches, Jillyfish, and all of the ships in the game past the cutters, you can see that they're just being deleted out and it looks really awkward. Some extra death frames for these guys would make the game look a LOT better.

--
If you'd ever like to enjoy a good round of pugilism or discussing the higher mysteries, Reginald Drownheart may be the dapper gentleman for you!

http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Reginald~Drownheart~
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SouthSea Rutherby
SouthSea Rutherby
Posts: 224

2/23/2015
MisterGone wrote:


It might seem minor, but it really isn't. I want to hear "Man overboard!" when a crewman dies from a big hit, or "Reloading!" after I fire. "Incoming" when the shells are heading toward us, and a cheer from the crew when the enemy is destroyed.


While I typically view visual/aural suggestions as "hit or miss" in terms of implementation, I do admit having calls or even pop-up text reminding me that I'm losing crew is a great idea, given how many times I've left a battle and wondered why my ship is moving at half-speed. The bottom-right text box is often too difficult to scan through without missing more immediate threats like obstacles or incoming attacks/lines of fire. You hit the nail right on the head there.
I'm not sure how I feel about actual voicing, though -- it can be really hard to do, and even harder to do well . I'd rather see pop-up text or flash-text unless the voicing is really immersive, which requires a lot of resources to make sure it's well done.



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    Now the proud captain of Mr. Eaten's Revenge
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    MisterGone
    MisterGone
    Posts: 139

    2/23/2015
    SouthSea Rutherby wrote:
    MisterGone wrote:


    It might seem minor, but it really isn't. I want to hear "Man overboard!" when a crewman dies from a big hit, or "Reloading!" after I fire. "Incoming" when the shells are heading toward us, and a cheer from the crew when the enemy is destroyed.


    While I typically view visual/aural suggestions as "hit or miss" in terms of implementation, I do admit having calls or even pop-up text reminding me that I'm losing crew is a great idea, given how many times I've left a battle and wondered why my ship is moving at half-speed. The bottom-right text box is often too difficult to scan through without missing more immediate threats like obstacles or incoming attacks/lines of fire. You hit the nail right on the head there.
    I'm not sure how I feel about actual voicing, though -- it can be really hard to do, and even harder to do well . I'd rather see pop-up text or flash-text unless the voicing is really immersive, which requires a lot of resources to make sure it's well done.



    The big problem with a text based system with a realtime combat engine is that the text cannot be paid attention to in the midst of battle. Like, at all.

    There's not enough time in the heat of combat and decision making to really look at a scrolling text bar. Moreover, a good combat design would realize this and try as much as possible to give the player a view of the action that need not be interrupted by looking elsewhere. This is the primary reason I also want to see a visual change to how the player sees their firing solution acquired. The more focus you can put on the middle of the game screen, the better. The more you have to glance down to the bottom to look at cooldown buttons and text for information, the worse.

    This is also the primary reason for wanting a little flavor VO here and there. At least for battles. In the middle of combat I may not want to read about the loss of crew or notice immediately the my crew # in the little right hand corner has ticked down once. But I will hear "Man O'erboard!". The information is conveyed and in a way that allowed me to keep my full attention to the most pertinent matter at hand - the battle.

    As for voice acting, I don't think it's either that hard to do (like every other game ever does it, so it can't be) or even that hard to do well, most game voice acting is completely decent to great, gamers are just very caustic and overcritical (look at my screed above for a perfect example). What voice acting really is, is expensive. It costs a lot to hire good people and get good production values and rent studio time and all that jazz.

    If there was a need to keep it all text though for thematic purposes, then fine. What needs to happen is there needs to be a new text delivery system that has the pertinent text pop-up toward the center of the screen, near the boat as in the Launch trailer. The Log is too far away from the game's center frame of action and the text too small and too fast to pay attention to. If the player is going to have to read stuff to get pertinent information, then at least put it into the center of the frame.

    I get that this is FBG's first real effort at combat design, but this kind of framing stuff is fairly elementary.

    --
    If you'd ever like to enjoy a good round of pugilism or discussing the higher mysteries, Reginald Drownheart may be the dapper gentleman for you!

    http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Reginald~Drownheart~
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