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 Share your thoughts on a combat system for Fallout3 View next topic
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Vault Elite
Vault Elite

Joined: 30 Jul 2004
Posts: 337
Location: Mojave Desert

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 5:56 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The Oblivion Engine for Fallout3 is bound to be highly capable, and the machines that it will run on could be twice as fast as the machine sitting on your desk at this time. This gives the developers a lot of options provided that the graphics guys don’t bogart all the compute cycles.

Although I prefer a game view that is an axonometric projection of the oblique parallel type or isometric (Muhahahah!! I just learned that term) for RPG’s I don’t think that perspective is going to appear in Fallout3. So its more than likely going to be a first person perspective game and that will be a bit of a downer to some. Of course the perspective not withstanding there is the dire possibility that some of us nattering nabobs of negativity are wrong and Fallout3 might just turn out to be a mega blast to play and visually stunning to boot.

Imagine walking up to the yawing pit made by a ten megaton blast and finding a character like that irritating tribal clown Sulik from Fallout 2 scratching around in its bottom. With your trusty scoped bolt action Winchester model 70 tactical rifle you zoom in and pop him in the grape and watch him drop in a shower of blood. You run down the slope through a beautifully rendered scene and loot his vile headless corpse all in the splendor of 3D. (how in the hell did a Jamaican tribal get to northern California anyway? did he have a green card?)

A game that uses a 3D engine has some monster advantages over a game that plays on a tile based world. One big advantage is that it is more flexible and can present the scene from different perspectives or camera angles with the click of a mouse button. With that being the case I would like to see three viewing modes. In Fallout3 that any good engine could provide.

View Mode 1= the traditional 1st person perspective (Morrowind)
View Mode 2= 3rd person perspective (Tomb Raider, Pirates Of The Caribbean) This would seem to be easy
View Mode 3= Wide angle 3rd person where the field of view is doubled or tripled.

OK enough about the perspective.

For the combat system I would like to see two options bound together with one rock hard concept, and that concept is that Character Skill not the players skill at manipulating controls and pulling the trigger is the determining factor in combat resolution. Some people have said that 1st person ‘real time’ combat destroys the whole concept of a skill based system and I am sorry I just don’t get that at all.

Target Designate Mode:

It occurs to me that you could use any stats/skill system to feed the game algorithm a characters 'current' performance data and that sure isn’t anything new or earth shaking. What if the targeting cursor were really a target designation cursor and not something that you had to fine tune the lay of to launch an effective attack. The program is going to check the position of the targeting cursor every cycle anyway and also if the fire/designate button has been pressed. At that point if the characters current performance data has changed have the program refresh the ‘current’ skills/perks/stats values before performing the calculation to determine what the result of the attack is. Is this real time combat? No, but it would be damn near as fast and its complexities would be transparent to the user but again this is nothing new.

Now consider that once a target has been designated the character will stay locked on and continue to engage it until it has been destroyed without further input from the user. That gives the payer time to see to the actions of the rest of the party and designate targets for them or let the default system take over that dictates that the NPC’s in your party fire at the closest most dangerous target in their field of view. That also gives the player time to move his little band of travelers around a bit to get into better firing positions , stim-up, change weapons or loot a corpse. Unlike true real time combat the task of the player is not to aim and fire It is to manage the battle and the stat/skill/perk system is still in place.

It has been said by ‘Flaser’ in his excellent post on another thread that such an automated system won’t work for long range weapons. I disagree, it would just be another opportunity for the stats skill system to influence the outcome. Since there would be a calculation based on the characters ‘current performance data’ and the environmental factors (smoke dust wind rain etc) to determine what perceived threat needs servicing immediately. The system could make a sort of perception roll to determine if the character defaults to the closest threat target or perceives a greater existing threat at a longer range. The outcome of that calculation could even force a weapon change if the current weapon doesn’t have the range to reach the long range target. It just depends on how well the program is coded to simulates real life action.

Even though the default system is a bit automated you the player still have control because nothing in a system like this prevents the player from re-designating his fire at a target and overriding the system. Once the manually designated target has been death with the target acquisition system defaults back to the automated system. The fire of the entire party could also be directed at a particularly nasty critter ….do it all the time in FOT while in CTB mode.

Real Time Mode:

This would be for the folks that like to stay real busy and pit themselves against the computer. Obviously there are some that like taking a more direct roll in the combat so that should be included as well. Of course the characters stats would still be part of the combat resolution function and contribute to the outcome.

Real time mode in first person makes the most sense for melee combat. I would think that an automated system like the one I mentioned would be very difficult to implement for melee. Again stats/skills have to play into this since no matter how good the guy with the keyboard and mouse is that wont change a character the size of Peewee Herman into Conan the Barbarian . Perks like “Bonus Hit Damage� would still have their effect.

In any case my point is that Bethesda is completely capable of coming up with something that scratches most if not all of our collective Fallout itches and producing a game that knocks our socks off. Actually as good as the old Fallout games are concerned I love them, but I really didn’t care for the nearly static turn based combat. That’s why I like Fallout Tactics so much, it is more dynamic when it comes to the combat. too bad interplay didnt have the depth of thought to put the FOT combat system into an RPG.

Now, before someone tells me that I should be playing tactical games and that turn based combat is the real deal all I can say is MF please I love CRPG’s.
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