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Update #8

Kieran on Combat

21 comments
1 like

Kieran made a post on our forums in response to some questions on combat. He did an excellent job of explaining the subtleties of the combat and our forum members insisted that we post it on our Kickstarter page, so here it is:


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Hey guys, thanks for the positive feedback and support! That's almost starting to sound cheesy but I really do mean it.



As the combat is at the moment, we only have swinging weapons. Every attack is chosen out of a set at random, and while each have their perks, it's up to you to react and adjust your aim, or even cancel it (by simply letting go of the mouse button) in favour of parrying. It makes for very skilful gameplay whilst being hugely dynamic and simple to operate. Parrying is automatic, but you're at the mercy of physics, and learning to rotate your character so your parrying arm is better placed to deflect the incoming blow is key.

I spent a long time playing Mount and Blade, and not to blow my own trumpet but it was one of the games I was very good at, and I'm obviously talking about PvP against some very good players. While it is seriously fun, combat is not very dynamic and it's not hugely fun to watch unless you can appreciate the skill involved in what's going on. It is purely mechanical and looks kind of silly. With only 4 directions of parrying, all of which you can attempt every single attack (if you're quick enough), it is entirely possible to, say, make a macro that cycles parrying every direction, rendering the entire system exploitable. This is not a criticism, I love the game, it's just the nature of a mechanical system.

This is very, very early combat you're looking at here. Think typical isometric game, where all you can do is left-click. If you were watching someone play the third installment of a game who's name I shall not mention, and all the person was doing was left-click attacking, I think it would be far less enticing. We are going to have special strikes you can incorporate into your build and even stabbing weapons as either an alternate attack, or more specialised weapons like spears. These will be pin-point accurate, based on our epic collisions and bring in a whole new play-style to the early gameplay you're seeing in our videos. We would also like to include double-tap behaviours for dodging and a wide variety of close-quarters utility thaumaturgic powers.

Shields will play an important role in defensive melee combat, and instead of providing a static defensive bonus, when you aren't attacking you will adopt a sort of bracing stance. It will be up to you to angle the shield into blows, and allow you to perform bashes and other offensive maneouvres. Skill points are very limited, and choosing to incorporate a shield into your build will be a significant build choice, rather than just a damage/defence tradeoff.   
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Comments

    1. 2011-12-20%2023-24-15.744_yay.small

      Creator Joshua Peachy on November 27, 2012

      Will where, and what you are attacking eventually change how you attack? I noticed a lot of swinging, but no thrusting, and I see the statement that where the sword lands is random. With the sword going exactly where the pointing is, it could make it possible to lop a hand off, and end a battle that way, or a head, or throat. Then you could have a hard mode, where if you are naked, and get contacted by a weapon, depending on the location you either die instantly, or go into shock, or gradually lose strength. If you were to add changes based on enemy type, and armor type, etc, then when facing the ogre, which has the flail, then you would perform thrusts to get between armor plates, except where a swing would make sense, such as an unarmored wrist, or neck. This would add a tremendous amount of visual variety, as well as changes in player tactics.

      For instance, some thrusts can have a lot of commitment, meaning poor ability to recover and enter into another attack, where as a swing can lead into another swing, or lunge, very naturally. It would also be neat to see fencing style lunges which cover a lot of ground, as well as faints. Since swings can be interrupted by releasing the mouse button, that would be a perfect way to include faints.

    2. Missing_small

      Creator Jonathan St-Yves on November 23, 2012

      Leonidas brings a very interesting point with fighting stances. Weapons like swords can be used in quite a variety of ways. One or two handed, in a pro-stabbing/slashing way, defensive or offensive. This is not true for any weapon so it wouldn't be too long to implement since many weapons only work in 1 way.
      The devs looks like they want character progression to be about more combat options instead of stat pumping and since you usually need to train to be proficient in a stance this would fit perfectly.

    3. Bmelogo.small

      Creator Bare Mettle Entertainment on November 20, 2012

      Don't worry we don't plan on making another game where Kieran can always easily beat us all. His twitch gaming skills shall no longer reign supreme.

      Seriously though, it takes a little getting used to at first because it's kind of unconventional but it really is very simple. You learn to "feel" it, you don't need any special skills.

    4. Missing_small

      Creator andrew maitlen on November 20, 2012

      so your combat system sounds really cool so far. You mentioned mount and blade. I believe they are also the ones that came out with war of the roses, a medieval pvp game that i absolutely drooled over until it came out. However, it did not do quite as well as it could have because the combat was overly complex and did not play very well. I just wanted to make sure someone on the team was aware of that observation and could maybe play the game to get a feel of it for themselves. Keep rocking it and if for some reason you don’t make the goal this time(which I’m sure you will) have another go at it, don’t give up!

    5. Electro1.small

      Creator Stormblood on November 19, 2012

      Are there any plans for permanent/long term damage? ie, broken bones or severed limbs.

      I think it would be a greatly rewarding experience to keep on playing the game with one arm if you would happen to lose your other one at some point in the game and survive the ordeal.

    6. Bmelogo.small

      Creator Bare Mettle Entertainment on November 18, 2012

      @Xriah
      While I understand your concern - and to be honest when we started designing the system it was a concern for me too - the randomness of strikes is not as big an issue as it may first appear. The apex of each strike is exactly where the cursor is when you start a strike, you will never miss a stationary opponent if you simply hover the cursor over them and hold left mouse button.

      The random factor is the arc of an attack and the location your blow will land. To give you an example, one of the strikes is more of a downward blow, and the peak of the strike hits around the head/neck. With locational damage this could be a particularly lethal attack, but we've found that it is already possible (if you're fairly close, and quick) to step into the blow and have it pass a few centimetres over your head while you land one of your own. A horizontal slash on the other hand, would've been impossible to dodge (perhaps until we have more advanced dodging), and you would have had to parry instead.

      In short, we don't really want people spamming "head chop, head chop", or any move that happens to be the most practical for a given situation, and we strongly feel the random nature of our combat system is a strong component of what makes it so dynamic and therefore fun.

      @Dantronix
      You ask a very good question. The short answer is yes. We would like a character's skill with a given weapon to affect the look and feel of how they fight, which naturally determines their effectiveness (thanks to physics).

      One of the many things that makes the animation system Madoc designed so awesome, is that we can have global animation sets for each weapon style, and let the physics adjust the animations based on a character's physique, as well as potentially other factors such as the effects of certain thaumaturgy (both positive and negative), a grievous wound, or actual drunkeness. These are all things we would very much like to include.

      @Banhai
      As it is at the moment, damage is somewhat superficial and not very close to our final design. While combat might become become generally more lethal, we do want to keep this game fun, and dying to the first hit of any of an ogre's blows probably wouldn't be!

    7. Missing_small

      Creator Leonidas on November 18, 2012

      follow up thought..
      again, not necessary, as the game play lloks amazing already, but if there's spare time, a consideration.
      I'd also like to see what others think..
      regarding 'random' attacks.
      fighting postures? offensive, balanced, defensive (ability to change quickly between them)
      where more power attacks are used in 1 mode (2 handed swings) or quicker less damaging attacks are used, but defense is better.
      this may be getting too much into the weeds, or maybe not.
      when I sword fight (I really do!) I'm usually in one mode or another, depending on my opponents, but I can switch to another mode quickly. ie. I can be fighting defensively where it's harder to land strong blows but easy to defend, but I can switch to powerful attacks easily, but I can't pull out of power attacks to block. to ut it in game terms. :-)
      damn, it's going to be a long year and a half. :-P

    8. Missing_small

      Creator Leonidas on November 18, 2012

      @ Banhai: some of my favorite games were "if they stick you more than twice, you're dead", and some of my favorite books have that as an aspect when humans deal with dragons and such.
      BUT... in the games, it was always human on human fights, and usually either 1 on 1 or if there were others, you had a lead in time to prep and try to take them at a distance.
      I would like it as an option, maybe a difficulty level selection..
      but in reality, 1 well trained sword fighter against 2 or 3 isn't going to win. even if he flawlessly defeats the first, is a little tired for the second, manages to kill him but gets injured, and by the third guy he's tired, bleeding, slow, slipper grip, etc. which means in a 'realistic' game, the solution is to find a way not to fight. or to fight with even odds. so, I'd love to try it this way, but I'd also like to be able to play without having to be super careful about getting a little injured.
      taking a whack from a troll chain.. if you're wearing plate armor, It seems (a guess) that it might be survivable, as the armor takes the punishment and you mostly fall down.
      but if you're unarmored, not so much.
      interesting questions regarding stabbing (and spears).
      depending on the sword, a stab can transfer a lot more energy (say, into plate armor) than a swing.
      unarmored people get holes one way and a lopped off limb the other way.
      but, it's amazing what a little armor (tough leather) can do for deflecting sword blows.
      and skeletons are obviously magical, so it's what ever magic is holding them together that speaks to toughness.
      even in alpha this game looks amazing.
      as a "vote" semi realistic would be nice, (if possible) - ie. some hit points, and increased damage to head or unarmored parts, etc. (thief backstabbing?)
      tweak the algorithm via game difficulty settings, for those that like the '1 hit 1 grave' gameplay. ;-)

      is there 'friendly fire' if a companion net to you 'randomly' swings a chain at an opponent?

    9. Leon%20chia.small

      Creator Leon Chia on November 18, 2012

      Totally agree on the dodge thing - as I was watching the character fight the big troll/ogre, the one thing that kept going through my head was - why isn't he ducking/dodging the flail? I hope dodging/ducking will be implemented.

    10. Missing_small

      Creator Jazzo on November 17, 2012

      @ Barn the Bear - Thats what I assumed, Cant load the site though, not on mozilla, not on chrome

    11. Missing_small

      Creator Tom on November 17, 2012

      Excellent comment, Dantronix. I guess the question, as always, is resource allocation. As per this update, Bare Mettle has already decided to add piercing weapons. To add the type of features you are asking for may or may not be within the scope of what is achievable for a small, independent, developer with a limited time frame for this project.

      I do wonder, though, will there be a simplified combat option for those, like me, who are not especially accomplished at button mashing to avoid undue frustration?

    12. Missing_small

      Creator Xriah on November 17, 2012

      I really concerned about your character's attacks being selected at random. If the attacks are different in any significant way, it sounds like you'd be at the mercy of your own character's random attack selection. I feel that we should be able to dictate our own character's actions, and that the challenge should come from reacting to your opponent, not yourself. After all, we are supposed to be controlling them, right?

    13. Missing_small

      Creator Dantronix on November 17, 2012

      A friend of mine stated that the fighting looks like drunken sword play. Of course he was admitting that it's just a prototype, at this point, and Bare Mettle does intend to hire an animator to correct this. However, while I agree with his "drunken" assessment, I actually look at it as a potential positive to the game.

      In so many games these days, you start out as a character who has probably never swung a sword in his/her life, and yet, they somehow seem to know how to fight as if they were born with the knowledge. The fighting, as it stands, looks very natural for an untrained, regular person, just thrashing about. I think a lot of value could be added by keeping this aspect as part of the character's story.

      I noted that the kickstarter home page states "There are no levels, but there is a more natural progression system based on skills and thaumaturgic powers. There are no classes, but rather countless possible builds with diverse and interesting qualities." I would like to see this fighting style, as shown in these videos, as your characters fighting style when the game first starts. But, as you get new skills you can also develop new fighting "styles" and specific moves. Think, leg sweep or shield bash.

      It could be even better if they created several styles. Maybe some are based on dual wielding, and some based on a weapon/shield combo. Others could be based on different weapon types or acrobatics. I am not suggesting that these should override the comabt dynamic that they are going for but that they should add to the effectiveness of your character within the dynamic. Think about how even just adding speed to the character would improve his odds.

      To summarize, I think the drunken "I haven't learned how to properly fight, yet" look that it currently has could add a huge amount to any story if they kept it in as you start new games. That, combined with better animations for when you actually learn to fight, would add a visiblility to character improving that has never been demonstrated in any game before.

    14. 1345234691998.small

      Creator Barn the Bear on November 17, 2012

      @ Jazzo: You should be able to load the site, regardless of your pledge amount... In fact, regardless if you've pledged at all, you should be able to go onto the site.

    15. Profile_pic.small

      Creator Samuel on November 17, 2012

      I can't wait to try my hand at this fighting system, the idea of making a shield an important part of your build is very interesting! Keep it up.

    16. Missing_small

      Creator Banhai on November 17, 2012

      First of all, this is awesome. Second, In my (ignorant) opinion, I think the combat should be deadlier (judging from the pre-alpha material), one or two blows and you are out (the way you can take easily those brutal hits from the troll's flail is almost comical) . I mean, I love the way you are making encounters with enemies more dangerous and interesting than in any other actual RPG, this is just the logical next step in that direction. Ignore me if you think this is a bad idea, I believe in you, guys, keep the good work.

      P.S Don't forget Newton's third law!

    17. Missing_small

      Creator Skylar on November 17, 2012

      If this game doesn't make it, I will lose all faith in the human race

    18. Missing_small

      Creator Jazzo on November 17, 2012

      So every attack the player does is in a random, arbitrary direction. What if the player was able to control the direction? perhaps like Morrowind, where you can move sideways to do a horizontal slash.
      Or maybe different slash types bound to different keys, and (still) executed with the mouse click, I think it would be awesome if the player had that much control over their attacks and movements

      I may be mistaken, but from the looks of it swords don't imbed into flesh, they just smash like a blunt stick. Are there plans to make blades cut entities, and spears pierce? If I jab someone with a spear I wouldn't expect the collision to make them fly back a few feet, I'd expect them to become an involuntary kebab, and perhaps I'd have to abandon my spear in favor of a weapon that isn't stuck in someone's torso.

      also, anyone know why I can't load the baremettle.com? Is it because I'm not a 20 pound supporter? :\
      that makes me sad

    19. Missing_small

      Creator Ammar on November 17, 2012

      I love this game already

    20. Missing_small

      Creator Enoch on November 17, 2012

      Sounds awesome! Just from looking at the combat videos so far, it looks like this is going to be an absolute joy to control. This system also sounds very fluid and much more natural, can't wait!

    21. Tshirt-m-um-grey-art-280.small

      Creator Joshua on November 17, 2012

      As long as you have the same ridiculous attention to detail in creating the world itself that you can see in Morrowind, for example, This Project will go far, and be absolutly epic.

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