Over the next few weeks I’m going to be posting summaries and explanations of the different systems in No Room For Heroes. As I mentioned in the previous post, there are a lot of ways we are working to optimize RPG systems for the user. One of the mentioned pain points in RPGs is the over-encumbering screen noise. Many RPGs will display each of the following pieces of information for the player to view at all times during battle:
- Each individual character’s Health and or Magic (or whatever system they use)
- Each individual enemy’s health (and sometimes other info)
- Levels of players and monsters
- The menu system that allows the player to select moves (which usually has multiple parts)
- A description bar
- Turn order for the battle (or a live timer system if used)
- Some sort of arbitrary meter the battle system uses to attempt and add depth to combat (usually unsuccessfully)
As you get, there is a lot on the screen. Now realistically the player is only using one or maybe two of these at a time, but the game makes them all available in case the player needs it. We believe our player is smarter than that. We firmly believe that you are capable of remembering (roughly) how much HP and Stamina your characters have between turns and can imply based on a character’s average speed, and from previous battle experience, who will likely be attacking next. The level of a monster is usually arbitrary considering the game naturally pairs you with monsters in your level range and if you are outside of the range you will likely realize it when you aren’t pacing in battle. We believe you are able to recognize after the first few battles what each menu/system/whatever is or does. We believe the player is not in their first battle in their first RPG ever. A lot of RPGs treat combat like the player is experiencing a constant state of amnesia, forgetting how to perform a basic attack or what a fireball is. So, with that in mind, let me walk you through what combat looks like in No Room For Heroes.
To start, we have our enemies and players divided across the screen in a \ V / formation to create some depth and separate their animations a bit. It is important to us that the player gets to appreciate animations and the environment without it being blocked. You can tell what character’s turn it is based on the small, subtle, and transparent menu located next to him. Only the player who’s turn it is has visible HP and Stamina. If you know character one had 90/100 HP on your last turn and you see him take two hits for 15 dmg each, we trust that you can assume (without having to even do the specific math) that character one is still above 50% of his HP and is most likely safe and not in need of a heal from character two. You do need to be constantly reminded of this. Additionally, your player will have an idle animation indicating when he is under critical health.
In this screen time in battle is not moving. You have a second to breath, think, strategize and prepare for your turn. While time is frozen you can select the enemy you are planning on attacking on your next turn without having to feel rushed. Whenever you are ready to take your turn, press A and battle time resumes.
Now that you have initiated your turn, the player will move forward to the enemy he selected and your stamina will start depleting each second. The player needs to enter the button presses for the attacks that he wishes to use. Note that their is no menu system telling the player what is available. In No Room For Heroes you must get to know your characters and classes and know what moves they have available. While you can always select random combinations, it will always be best to strategize what moves you use. So, how does a player select a move? We have four buttons available as well as four directions for the player to utilize.
- X = Basic Attacks
- Y = Special Moves
- B = Equipped Items
- A = Class Actions
Each of these has four directional combinations creating a total of 16 different actions a character can take. Each of these moves has a pre-set amount of stamina that they eat upon use (the player will be aware of this when they equip moves to the character) and when the player runs out of stamina (or doesn’t have enough for a move) he will become exhausted and end his turn. Becoming exhausted will mean the player regenerates less stamina between his next turn. There are a two different ways to end a turn before becoming exhausted.
- Using any Special Move
- Pressing R3
When this happens the player will end his turn and his remaining Stamina will carry over to his next turn. Additionally, he won’t be exhausted on his next turn. Here are a few scenarios of how combat might go.
- Character 1 starts out with 120/120 stamina
- Player selected (Left + B) and uses a strength up potion (00 stamina spent)
- Player selected (Right + X) and uses horizontal slash (40 stamina spent)
- Player selected (Left + X) and uses a stab (25 stamina spent)
- Player selected (R3) and ends his character’s turn
- During his turn time burned 15 stamina leaving the player with 40 stamina
Between turns Character 1 regens 50 stamina
- Character 1 starts out with 90/120 stamina
- Player selected (Down + B) and uses a health potion (00 stamina spent)
- Player selected (Up + Y) and uses a special attack (90 stamina spent) and ends his character’s turn
- During his turn time burned 5 stamina leaving the player with 10 stamina
Between turns character 1 regens 50 stamina
- Character 1 starts out with 60 stamina
- Player selected (Up + X) and uses a vertical slice (50 stamina)
- Player selected (Down + X) and attempts a sweep, but lacks the stamina
- Turn ends and Character is exhausted
Between turns character 1 regens 20 stamina
That is our combat system, and that is how we plan on getting away with using only one menu during the entire experience. Yes, it will make the game harder not always being able to see the character’s health. Yes it will make the game harder not always being able to see what moves have what button combination. Yes, it will make the game harder not always knowing when each character’s turn is coming up, but isn’t that something we all want from an RPG, a challenge?
Thank you for your time during this post, feel free to comment and let us know what you think about this system.