Author Topic: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.  (Read 3125 times)

Offline Professor Paul1290

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"Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« on: April 17, 2012, 03:28:48 PM »
I wanted to separate this discussion from the other thread because I find it rather interesting.

Blocks are not terribly interesting to me, to be honest.  That makes it far too easy for skilled players to just avoid way too much damage.  Now, granted, you can already do that by dodging.  But the entire point of some of the varied terrain layouts is to make it so that sometimes your ability to dodge is compromised by tight spaces.  Block couldn't be effectively diminished in that fashion, and so that leads to less tactics.

Both blocks and combos tend to trend toward fighting games, and I'll warn you that's a genre I don't like or particularly understand.

Just from reading through the other thread, here's how I understand it so far (correct me if I missed anything):
-Some players don't like getting stuck in tight quarters where dodging to avoid damage is not possible.
-Some players want some other way to avoid damage besides dodging that adds some extra tactical element to the combat.
-Some players want some other way to avoid damage that isn't tied to or needs to have several different types for different elements.
-"Blocking" has problems because it may be abused to the point where dodging is no longer required, and dodging is an important part of the combat.

It seems to me that some players want a way out of situations where they simply cannot dodge and may take a lot of damage because of it. Currently there are shields, but some people don't like the fact that they take mana and have different variations for different elements. At the same time it shouldn't replace dodging as the primary way to avoid damage, because tight spaces in the game are supposed to make dodging more difficult and having a straight up "block" might undermine that.

Obviously anything that might come out of this would probably have to wait until after 1.0 release, but I think it might be something interesting to discuss.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2012, 03:30:19 PM »
I wonder, does anyone try to block shots by spawning a crate in the line of fire?
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Offline Professor Paul1290

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Re: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 03:34:47 PM »
I wonder, does anyone try to block shots by spawning a crate in the line of fire?

I have tried this a few times, though it seems that a lot of projectiles either go through the crates or they destroy them instantly on their way through.

Offline x4000

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Re: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2012, 03:37:15 PM »
Good point on the crates.  In terms of the tactics of combat in tight quarters, my general reasoning for not being enthused on blocking is that you already have some tactical options:

1. Draw the enemy out into a more open area.
2. Wait for the enemy to pass when you are still invincible, then sprint for a more open area.
3. Hide behind natural obstacles in the interior (walls, etc) and then pop out to hit them as something of a timing game.
4. Use greater or lesser teleport to get on the other side of enemies, and then draw them into a more open area or just simply avoid them.


My problem with blocking options is that it tends to make everything homogeneous.  Well, that's one of my problems with them.  Each way I look at the blocking mechanic, I'm just not sure what it adds but I do see what it takes away.
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Offline Bluddy

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Re: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2012, 03:42:14 PM »
(x4000 beat me to the punch, but I'll post it anyway)

I really think there are enough tactical options here. You can:

1. Dodge
2. Shrink yourself
3. Turn into a bat
4. Duck (sometimes)
5. Use a shield (and I think the elemental flavor of each shield is a *good* thing)
6. Perhaps use a crate (?)
7. Avoid/run through areas where you wouldn't be able to dodge.

I think the key point is the last one actually. This is part of the tactics of the game. The environment presents you with challenges, and this is one of them (in fact I'd like to see more like the poisonous mushrooms and other stuff) If you really care about the fact that you can't dodge in hallways, plan ahead. I think this post http://jonshaferondesign.com/2012/04/03/make-a-better-game-limit-the-player/ is SO relevant here. Limiting the player is a good thing. If the environment doesn't create tough, interesting and varied situations and you can handle any situation by blocking, then why have an environment at all? Especially a random one?

Post-1.0 I'd like to see the environment get even more involved, with different traps, different objects that do different things (electric damage from blowing up the TV? A knocked down clock falls and hits whatever's below it?) Each environmental object could become a different trap/element of gameplay, creating both opportunities and challenges.

Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2012, 03:45:40 PM »
I think i'd rather not see a hardbound block option --- I like that there are problems in the game that have a few imperfect solutions, forcing an interesting choice.  But I think that putting something defensive in slot 0 and rebinding it to the shift key is a good enough and non-obvious enough trick that the game should lead you to it. Perhaps do that keybinding by default and either call it "primary defense spell" or add a gravestone in the tutorial that suggests putting a shield or teleport spell there? No matter how you play you're going to screw up and cornered sometimes.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 03:49:49 PM by Martyn van Buren »

Offline x4000

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Re: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2012, 03:47:03 PM »
This is part of the tactics of the game. The environment presents you with challenges, and this is one of them (in fact I'd like to see more like the poisonous mushrooms and other stuff) If you really care about the fact that you can't dodge in hallways, plan ahead. I think this post http://jonshaferondesign.com/2012/04/03/make-a-better-game-limit-the-player/ is SO relevant here. Limiting the player is a good thing. If the environment doesn't create tough, interesting and varied situations and you can handle any situation by blocking, then why have an environment at all? Especially a random one?

Post-1.0 I'd like to see the environment get even more involved, with different traps, different objects that do different things (electric damage from blowing up the TV? A knocked down clock falls and hits whatever's below it?) Each environmental object could become a different trap/element of gameplay, creating both opportunities and challenges.

I might have beat you to the punch, but you explained it better.  Exactly all of that.  And yes, I really want to do lots of more environmental hazards post-1.0 also.  I know that's been big on your personal list since forever, Bluddy, and it's something that interests me a lot also.  Just been one of those things that got squeezed out for time constraint reasons so far; but I have loads of ideas for that sort of thing and I expect players have even more.
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Offline x4000

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Re: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2012, 03:48:13 PM »
Oh, by the way -- we're all forgetting about the seize spell.  It lets you thrust arbitrary background objects (trees, furniture) into the way of your enemies.  And those objects usually have more health than crates, and are certainly bigger.  So all that furniture isn't just there for looks, it actually can be used in combat if you're wanting to.
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Offline Terraziel

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Re: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2012, 03:51:29 PM »
Having suggested a couple of defensive spells on mantis a fair while ago I can see the need for some more varied defensive options, but I can see no justification what so ever to not have them consume mana, or in the case of using items it consuming the item.

On the note of seize the last time I tried it, which was admittedly ages ago the objects had sufficiently little health that it didn't help much, to say nothing of being very situational.

Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2012, 03:55:42 PM »
Well, you could use shrink to build a collection of durable, portable barricades.  I really like the idea of dropping a line of trees into a hallway as I fight my way down.

That said, is there a good reason why there are no destructable objects that block shots? A few things like boulders and thickets could be good, both as useful things to carry with shrink and to add flavor to the world. I'd quite like occasionally having to tunnel through caves, too.

Offline x4000

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Re: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2012, 03:58:08 PM »
Non-player crates block shots, but that's it, yeah.  Everything else pretty much pierces through.

Why?  Cheese.  So, so much cheese possible with players being able to arbitrarily block a shot of any strength simply by dropping 100 trees between them and the overlord, then lobbing stones over them or something.
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Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2012, 04:02:29 PM »
Hmm.  I still like the idea of encountering them in-world; blowing up bits of the scenery is fun.  How about making boulders immune to shrink?  Anyway not a priority for 1.0.

Offline x4000

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Re: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2012, 04:22:21 PM »
Yep, something to think about.  I want some digging sections as well, for the record -- I have some neat ideas for some "digging sands" ideas in several different styles, actually.  Those would be mainly mission-focused.  So many ideas...

I just hope the game does well so that we actually get to realize as many of them as possible.
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Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2012, 04:52:33 PM »
Dang, I do hope so.  I'm buying Tidalis out of solidarity, anyway.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: "Blocking" and possible alternatives.
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2012, 04:53:10 PM »
Dang, I do hope so.  I'm buying Tidalis out of solidarity, anyway.
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