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Sometimes to open a mind, you gotta crack a skull first.

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Combat Design Tips PART 1

2016-08-02 19:14:00 by Tyler

Conflict is the single most dynamic aspect in human life. My upcoming game revolves around conflict between multiple characters at any given time. Different enemies and heroes have varying behaviors and functions that create for interesting encounters that require players to react in different ways.

A game NEEDS to create new ways to interact with it. If player attention isn't kept, you've failed as a designer.

In my older post I talked about how to make combat look more interesting, but in this post we'll explore different types of mechanics to keep combat fresh and fun.


Standard Mechanics - Melee and Ranged

This is the most basic role of any unit in the game. Enemies and players alike, at the base level, perform their combat roles either at a distance or up close an personal. Units have varying attack speeds that determine how frequently they wait (play their idle animations) until they attack again.


Obvious standard damage units: melee or ranged

Evasion Mechanics - Bombers, Void Zones, etc.

Evasion enemies attack very differently than time based Standard enemies. Evasion enemies throw bombs, create acid pools, radiate lightning, etc. that deal massive damage - unless the player evades them. While the evasion enemies are powerful, their attacks are slow. Evasion enemies require players to react and move their units out of harms way if they are to survive. 

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Bombs and Acid Zones cause massive damage - be sure to evade them!

Support - Healers, Summoners

Support enemies, like the Necromancer, Troll Shaman and various others are capable of healing enemy units. These guys need taken out fast or else the will heal their allies faster than you can damage them. Some enemies, like Necromancer and many bosses, are capable of summoning allies to the battlefield. A single add may at first seem underwhelming, but if left unchecked, these summoned monsters can swarm and kill players quickly.


Necromancer summoning one more enemy to deal with


Control - Spider Web, Ice, Turn to Stone

Control enemies are enemies that are capable of pacifying another unit for a period of time. Spiders can ensnare players in webs, Beholders can turn players to stone temporarily and the Yeti can freeze players in a block of ice. These enemies should be dealt with quickly too - having a DPS unit stunned isn't a big deal, but if your healer becomes incapacitated, it can be the difference between life and death for the rest of your team.


Spider webs Priestess, rendering her unable to heal.

In the next post, I'll talk more about how the bosses fight mechanics work and explain hero mechanics following that. Here's a little preview of a boss encounter


Bosses are a hybrid of all the above mechanics, but most have even more unique abilities.

If you want to learn more about the mechanics my upcoming game Sentry Knight Tactics has, look for my post next week. Or if you're impatient and want free knowledge faster, you should look at my twitter.

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Total Medals Earned: 510 (From 184 different games.)

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