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Ideas for next-gen games

In this blog, I'm trying to give some of my ideas to make the next generation of games innovating and fun.

Author: Drolletje

A system to replace hit points

Posted by Drolletje Friday November 2 2007 at 5:43AM
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Hit points (health) are used in nearly every game to date. RPG's, FPS, RTS, in all of them you have a certain amount of hit points and when you run out, you die. Their history goes back all the way to the invention of dungeons & dragons, as a system to prevent players to be one-shotted by an unlucky dice roll. Now I was wondering, why are we still using a system that was invented for a turn-based tabletop game in our modern, next-gen online computer games? Why does hit points remain that popular? Doesn't there exist no better, more realistic and more fun system?

So I was thinking and I thought of another system, I'm not sure whether it was never used before, but I think it could be very fun when implemented right and it could actually offer a more natural feel of the game. The basic idea is simple: whenever you enter combat with an enemy, there is a bar with a marker on it. At the beginning, the marker is in the middle of the bar. When you make a move against your opponent, the marker will move in his direction, representing that you have gained an advantage over him. An advantage could be anything like an opening in his defences, a move he didn't expect to a succesful hit on some body part. Most of these advantages are temporary, so you'll have to make use of them fast before they disappear. The ultimate goal is to push the marker all the way to the other side, allowing you to disarm your opponent (or silence him, if he's some kind of magic-user). Important to this system is that dodging and blocking attacks is active, since it directly helps in winning the fight.

Accompagning this system, there could be three main combat stats: focus, concentration and energy.
Focus is the defensive stat, representing your character's ability to anticipate and dodge or block incoming attacks. However, every time you do get hit, your focus stat is lowered temporary. This to prevent battles to be never-ending.
Concentration is the most offensive stat, higher concentration will allow you to attack faster.
Energy is also an offensive stat, but in a different way. Higher energy will allow you to use more powerful attacks. Your energy goes down a little every time you use an ability.
Of course, there should be a lot of attacks that can increase or decrease these stats to make a rich and varied gameplay.

I hope a similar system will be used sometime in a game because I think it will offer very intense and long battles, especially in an evenly matched fight. So, let me know what you think about my ideas, and what kind of combat system you'd like in a game.

LostMK writes:

Sounds ok... but I am sure it has been used before...

Fri Nov 02 2007 6:17AM Report
thedrakon writes:

It's a good idea, but it's still HP ... no matter what, we are kind of curse about it.  Why I say it's hp, it's only a ratio of the HP put in a bar.  Think about it, you got and advantage (got healed). I know, it's doesn't look similar at one point.  But it is, you need to lower someone down by doing some action, like hp is making it to 0 to win the fight.  The only way to get free of it would be to take it off and have instant kill, or maybe a penalty systeme like white wolf used in the RPG. Everyone got the same HP .. if you want to talk like it.  But we could make it different for each body part, and each body part hit (and depend on dmg) give you malus to some point (like been hardly hit on a leg without loose it will make you have the same effect as snare).

An hit on the head will most likely kill you.. And on the chest, without armor .. it can make you bleed(partially making you slower or kill you if you move, or have any side effect. Depending on the hit you got and the weapon use.  But playing like this would be really hard. That's stil why HP exist.

Your system remind me of Pirates of Sid meyers. That's a good system for one on one .. but .. might be hard for an mmorpg or any multiplayer combat.  It would become something like moral in most war game

 

Fri Nov 02 2007 6:20AM Report
badgerbadger writes:

Hi; D

1st :Hit points goes all the way back to pre-chainmail; when the Hero figure was given the ability to take 4 hits - before variant damage for weapons it was just; did you get a DECISIVE hit or not. He could take 4.  This was explained by the time of AD&D as actually avoiding the damage...

 Traveller was an old game that did wounds as coming directly off of your ability scores - impairment; so that in effect Con was the ability to ignore some impairment since you could lose those points too; IIRC.

 The system you are speaking of reminds me of Pirates of The Buring Sea -where the idea is to wear down the opponents Guard/Defense - i believe they call it balance fairly enough- you should check out their videos on this site and see if that appeals to you?

  Finally; there were various combat PnP games where hit effect was determined entirely by hit quality and location...

Fri Nov 02 2007 7:35AM Report
Failed writes:

As was stated before, nomatter how you turn the points/advantages you're still speaking of a number which goes up or down.

Personally I'd like to see a system that would work a bit more like reality, you score a really good hit and the fight can be over right away.. I think it gets so old to be a level N whatever with really good weapons and skills and you still have to whack the opponent dozens of times before he/she/it drops

In Rolemaster, a tabletop RPG, there was first a system of points and secondarily, on really good hits (critical success)  you got  critical damage done to the opponent. Critical damage had classes A through F, an A class crit was mostly just annoyance ( there was maybe 20 different, determined by another die-roll ) while F was deadly almost all of the time.

This was a really refreshing way of dealing damage, of course, your character was a lot more fragile too and it was basically random.. every time you got into a fight against something even roughly your level you had a significant chance of simply biting the dust. This encouraged players to seek alternate resolutions to conflicts than just straight brawling, which was cool too.

But if you have a game that's complete hack & slash like 99% of "RPG" games these days are then you end up with the dilemma of HP, that just seems to be it at the moment. Combat is also so fast you wouldn't enjoy reading lengthy descriptions of "good hits" as we did back then..

My ideal damage system these days would be something based on player skill, hit locations and damage types.. pierce an opponents lung and he doesnt fight much longer, smash his kneecap and he wont be attacking you much anymore.. Armor, avoidance, tactics rise to a whole new level with a system like this, any weapon can be deadly if used right.

Fri Nov 02 2007 8:13AM Report
badgerbadger writes:

Failed; i remember Loremaster!

but as i was saying ; not all games DID use points - its pretty much the case for RPG's tho.

 I htought Wizard's crown was the best overall handling of damage in a combat system I had seen - still using math for abstract simplicity - rather than the extreme hit location games - but the life didnt increase insanely; in fcat; at all - your ability to defend yourself was solely what determined your survival. Failed; i htink you might find my first blog interesting as well - ? D commented http://www.mmorpg.com/blogs/badgerbadger/092007/380_Boring-Combat-in-hack-n-slash-games-no-less

Fri Nov 02 2007 8:28AM Report
Drolletje writes:

@thedrakon: sure you can say it's still hp, but it wouldn't feel like you're just hitting your enemy over and over, having no real effect until his green bar's empty. I want combat to be more exciting, you have to anticipate and avoid your opponent's attacks while bringing him out of balance, seeking for an opening in his defences to make that single decisive blow. 'one hit kill' is ok for me, as long as you first have to do something in order to get the possibility to do it, whether it is disarming, overpowering or sneaking in from behind.

@badgerbadger: wow these games are old :-) I imagine you're a true diehard gamer. I've taken a look at PotBS, and I must say I like their combat a lot more than i'd think of a pirate-themed game.

@Failed: Hit locations are I think a good idea that could also work very well together with my system. However I can imagine it would be hard to implement in an MMO, since it is never done before afaik.

Fri Nov 02 2007 10:48AM Report
Deminiz writes:

IF that was to be the system of combat, im thinking it will need a fatigue system.

Fri Nov 02 2007 2:00PM Report
badgerbadger writes:

D; i think this statement  sums it up: sure you can say it's still hp, but it wouldn't feel like you're just hitting your enemy over and over, having no real effect until his green bar's empty

to quote Heerobya:  " All I'm saying is, the current "pull group, shackle X, sheep Y, mezz Z, sap V, all dps on W and all heals on Q" is getting real old. "

 Dem says fatigue; PotBS use balance; etc etc... most games ARE using some numerical basis; but i Don't  htink THAT; so much as the feeling of trading blows until someone runs out of "Hit Points" - is really the issue.

 Your suggestion is one possible way to as you put it; make combat more exciting; and more a sense of trying to get in a blow; rather than everyone being un-araid of sharp pointy objects.

 The difference; and I've said this about magic elsewhere; is a matter of fer ; respect and taking things for granted.

 Make it FEEL like a risk; and its not taken for granted.  Danger; even imagined; equals excitemnent.  Sure there are those few people who ENJOY playing games where they know they aren't in danger..

 BUT WHERES THE ADVENTURE IN THAT?

 

Fri Nov 02 2007 4:19PM Report
Loke666 writes:

Well, its really hard to make a system without hitpoints. You could of course split up the body in various parts and let a penetrating hit make the point useless or less working, for an exampel could a hit in the leg cripple your movement.

In a game like that would of course armour be important and you must be able to aim. Also a fight would be quick and deadly so the question is: Do we really want a more realistic combat system for MMOs?

Maybee but I agree with the OP that all system just rips D&D and that some new thinking would be nice. I just think that the system he suggests is still to close to regular HPs.

Fri Nov 02 2007 9:38PM Report
grimfall writes:

Check out Dragon Realms for a system that makes sense, but doesn't rely on hit points.

In brief, it if your sking gets broken you start bleeding.  If it's a sever enough flow of blood and you have a low enough stanima (a stat) then you bleed to death.  There are also internal injuries which do the same thing, but are harder to heal.

Sat Nov 03 2007 2:36AM Report
Arcilite_I writes:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches aren't the same without the peanut butter. 

Sat Nov 03 2007 2:32PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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