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Games similar to Hybrid Heaven, Toribash, Rose&Camellia. Turn-based fighters


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This is a super long post, I apologize, but if you have any input it will be greatly appreciated.

As a few of you may know, I dabble in very amateur game design in my free time. Mostly side scrolling shooter prototypes and proof-of-concepts, but as of late I've been working on a Turn-Based Fighting prototype that combines the strategy of a tactics game except on much more personal level (away from giant armies or squads). Again, it's more a proof of concept prototype than a real game at this point, but I'm making a lot of progress. On occasion though, I run into speed bumps that, because there are so few games similar to what I'm trying to do, cause me headaches when trying to figure out the rules for the game. I've written down pages of pen and paper rules to each turn, and I've got a decent start, but there are a few areas that need a lot of work, and in all honesty, I don't even know that this type of system would even be fun to play. It's merely a system I think has potential and I want to see if its possible to even develop such a thing.

Again, I have a working prototype on my computer that works decently enough (it's basic don't get me wrong, with only a prototype combat mechanic in place) but there are a few little hiccups in my system that could use solving and the only way I've been able to is by analyzing both rules in video game RPGs and pencil paper RPGs. Analyzing how much better professional game developers solved a problem helps me 10 times over, and analyzing gameplay from various RPGs (both video game and pencil/paper) have already helped me on my way.

You don't control armies or squads like you would in a turn based tactics-RPG, but you control the methods of an individual's attack and movement in a 1 on 1 scenario, including leaving yourself open to attack, opting for quick attacks, choosing to make risky moves, evading, counters, etc. I've been looking around the internet for various turn-based combat games in this vein to research how they handle their combat system, but I just cannot for the life of me find anything OTHER than 3 titles.

Tactics RPGs on the other hand are EVERYWHERE, but are not what I'm looking for. What I've learned is that they focus mainly on movement. Attacking is secondary to that. There's no strategy to actually attacking (unless you include order of attacking). You just attack once your guys are in position. Most of the strategy relies on how you position your army of units (occasionally healing them, or producing more). Army based, squad based tactical RPGs are little too wide in scope for what I'm aiming for. Fire Emblem, FF tactics, and Advance Wars would be included as games that are not what I'm looking for. There are typically no defensive responses in these games that the player can decide on. Valkyria Chronicles, allows defensive attacks, but they're automated if I remember correctly. Also not what I'm looking for. Combat should flow freely between each person. Defensive tactics should be inputted by both individuals fighting. So one person would go into a robust defensive mode when the other is attacking, and vice versa. There must be games out there like this, I just can't find them.

So I started this exploration into the vast crevasses of the internet (it got scary), and I can only find 2 or 3 games even remotely similar to a turn based fighter, where micro level decisions are made by the player in regards to how to fight:

1. Hybrid Heaven (Konami, N64)

2. Toribash (Indy, freeware) http://www.toribash.com/

3. Rose&Camellia (flash game, http://nigoro.jp/game/rosecamellia/rosecamellia.php)

Hybrid Heaven is VERY close to my proof of concept. It plays like a regular menu-based RPG except with movement which allows you to choose melee attacks, or move to a strategic melee location. Again, it feels more like a regular old RPG with a movement system, and attacks you can do are limited to melee attacks, largely. What makes it unique is that you can target different limbs and limit your enemy's potential attacks by disabling their good arm/leg/etc. It's as close of a system as I've been able to find that actually mimics the strategy required in a fight. It uses a particularly clunky menu system though, which my prototype is trying to avoid. Still, Hybrid Heaven's mixing of genres is the closet I've come to finding a true, turn based fighter.

Toribash is a little out there and is kind of obscure the way fights are handled and play out. It's more of a systematic physics game than a turnbased fighter, or tactical RPG. You pretty much control a ragdoll to smack people in ridiculous ways as you fall. Strategy is involved ( I think ), but not really the strategy I'm aiming for. Still, the game demonstrates the ability to react to enemy attacks dynamically. Toribash is a little TOO in depth in that you control joints and joint movement to a degree far more complex than merely choosing when to punch or kick. And again, fights are... silly at best. Really, Toribash is a joint movement sim where people just move the joints to kill each other, but you can still react in a timed way. Again, not exactly what I'm aiming for, but the timing structure is cool for reference.

Rose and Camellia also demonstrates something similar, albeit MUCH simpler. where you can choose to attack. You can always evade, but based on how well you're doing, evasion gets increasingly harder to do. Similarly, on occasion you can react to an enemy attack by an instanced counter option. This ebb and flow of fighting is similar to the system I'm trying to develop, though again, much simpler. Good starting place though.

What these games have in common is the ability to react to an enemy's attack. A single attack has ramifications that must be dealt with a turn or two later (position of enemy, status of their arm, etc.). These games (particularly Hybrid Heaven and Rose&Camellia) are very similar to the prototype I've developed. Combat is a little more natural in my system though, and outside the confines of a typical RPG menu system, yet still turn based and strategic.

So my question is this... Are there any more games like these?

I'm looking for games similar to Hybrid Heaven, where the focus of turn based combat at the level of actually fighting. Again, in most regular turnbased RPGs you just choose your attack (Final Fantasy, Pokemon). Hybrid Heaven is unique in that the fight actually feels like a real fight. There are consequences for choosing to punch. Does a punch leave you open to another attack?

I'm looking for games similar to these, and with the massive amounts of flash games that are available, one has to assume SOMEONE has come up with some kind of system that is similar to these.

(I hope I've worded this correctly. It's very difficult to explain this without being wordy or just straight up messing up the explanation merely because games in this kind of genre are few and far between. You see instances of it in a few action games, but a real system is rarely utilized, outside of QTEs, which don't really count. EA's FightNight has a system where you can counter, but its at its core a fighting game, and again, its an instance where that one counter mechanism is similar to what I'm trying to do, but still not exactly the execution I'm looking for. There must be a better way...)

Anyway, if you can give me some turn-based fighting game names, I would appreciate it. I hope I was clear enough in my explanation. Thank you for reading all the way down here... (and also, sorry for over analyzing simple RPG rule structures and writing about them in an overly wordy "written diarrhea" form, haha.)

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Okay, don't laugh at this, but this is what I've got so far. My system utilizes the passage of time based on how well each unit is doing. It's the best I could do to convert perception and morale into a tangible game mechanic.

Basically the better you are playing, the longer you have to perceive incoming attacks to defend. An algorithm controls how slow time goes based on how well each side is doing. If momentum swings one unit's way, the other unit has a shorter chance to block. Based on how quickly a unit blocks an incoming attack, they can gain bonuses, like counter attacks or swing the momentum their way for better chances at landing a clean blow...


This is a super basic demo, movement isn't integrated, no one can die, and the player only has 3 attacks available which is not enough for real strategy... furthermore, the idea of turns isn't yet in there... quite, but really to use turns I just have to limit how many attacks each player can do, and what their final position is (are their arms in the air, are they off balance, etc.). Distinct combos aren't in there either. It's a prototype, not even alpha. But it kind of works. The time slowness has to be slowed much more, and in a final version I'd want time to completely stop when an exchange has reached a particular point or if one player has left himself open to attack... in that situation both player would input there next action according to what they both see (move away, move forward, guess where the next attack is coming, etc.). Also, in a final version some more powerful moves would take longer to wind up and then attack, as well as the lag required to pull the weapon back into a fighting position.

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Your idea reminded me somewhat of Death Vegas (warning, some of the graphics have partial nudity and the like for you young'uns). The idea of giving time to react was vital here, though probably not to the complexity you're working on.

Interesting sounding idea, hope you can pull it off. Good to see people trying to develop new mechanics.

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Death Vegas is very cool and exactly the type of stuff I'm looking for.

Yeah, I'm aiming for more of a turn based game that isn't so much twitch reflexes as it is strategy. Again, my prototype doesn't have turns implemented yet, and only demonstrates how one unit can affect the perception of the other, as well as an automated Offense and Defense mode, which honestly was really difficult, but it works. :) It is way too fast and again, only accounts for quick combo exchanges rather than real strategy at this point. A menu based system is kinda easy though for attack defense. Just a bunch of if-thens basically.

At the end of that video, the guy that made successive hits forced the defender's reaction time to dwindle and, in fact, speed up. Yet, when the guy losing attacks, the slow down in time for the winning guy's reaction time is still slow enough for him to react. It is too fast though.

It's way too fast (because of my limitations in knowing how to actually program) but again, it functions as a proof of concept. Slowing down time much slower than I have it makes the program go fruity since it's an amateur way of doing it. If it were slowed down and accounted for properly and the addition of complete stops where the player can input his command after a successful exchange occurred (where to attack, to move away, etc.) then that's more of how my vision works (which I'm working on). It's turn based with an element of making the right timing for blocks, again, which is the only way I could figure out a system where an eventual failure to block would occur. I started this prototype a year ago, and its the best rule system I could figure out, outside of using only stats which I think is kind of boring. At that point there might as well be no defensive instruction required at all.

The problem I ran into was that if you allow people to input a defensive move consistently with no time limit, they will rarely be wrong when they play the game enough. At that point game will have to rely only on character stats rather than strategy or attempting to affect the balance of the fight. So I'm working on a system where stats affect not only the amount of damage done, but how susceptible to failure a character can become in the middle of a fight. More experience means less chance to fail, which both relies and doesn't rely on stats, which I find appealing.

I'm going to check out Dissidia. Thanks also for posting Death Vegas. It has a lot of similar elements that I want to take a look at. Still, my eventual goal is more of a strategy based rpg style (sans menus).

I appreciate your guys' input. :D It's actually helped clear a lot of issues for me in nailing down this rule structure! One day down the line, I'd like to try and get my programmer buddies and me to start working on some kind of game like this, so ... this is just an exercise in game design, rather than actually making a real game.

Still, this thread has been valuable. :D

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What is this? Actionscript? Java?

I couldn't program for my life, lol. This was built in an open-source game development utility called Construct. All I know is that it uses Direct-X and people can program games in Python for added custom stuff. I just use the program itself and its GameMaker like interface.

I'm not a programmer so yeah... I'd like to think of myself as a game designer, but people with tags like that are a dime a dozen... non-technical hobbyist maybe? lol.


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