Author Topic: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA  (Read 3303 times)

Offline ProphetSword

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DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« on: October 09, 2015, 02:03:23 PM »
FRUA and the Gold-Box games have a pretty solid combat engine.  DC is close, but it isn't where it could be.

One annoying aspect is how it displays messages (check the screenshots below).  In DC, it's hard to know sometimes who is attacking and who is being attacked.  You receive a less than helpful message like: "rolls 3 and misses," which doesn't tell you a lot in a video game, so I'm not sure why the dice rolls were included in the first place.

In the DC screenshot below, you might think that Super Spud is attacking.  But, he isn't.  He's being attacked.  His name and stats appear when he is the target, which seems...wrong?

In the Gold-Box games the acting character/monster is the one who appears at the top, and you receive a message that tells you who is attacking, who they are attacking, and what the result was.  Did they miss?  Did they hit?  If so, how much damage did they do?

The second aspect is the icon sizes.  They don't seem to be scaled right.  I think this was discussed before, and I don't know if there's a way to fix that or adjust it, but it also seems wrong, especially on a higher resolution screen.

Just some things to think about.

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Offline manikus

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Re: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2015, 05:02:26 PM »
For teh first issue, make a mini-mod please. I will put it in the bug pipeline. :)

For teh second issue, not sure what you mean. Do you mean icons relative to combat art? Do you mean combat field size? Do you mean the icons are too small? DO you mean the issue is with the icons not being bigger in higher screen resolutioins?

Offline ProphetSword

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Re: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2015, 05:07:59 PM »
For teh first issue, make a mini-mod please. I will put it in the bug pipeline. :)

Is showing the target at the top a bug?  I was under the impression it had always been that way in DC, and could be part of the reason that the combat feels disconnected and off to some people.  Also, what about the message that is printed?

Quote
For teh second issue, not sure what you mean. Do you mean icons relative to combat art? Do you mean combat field size? Do you mean the icons are too small? DO you mean the issue is with the icons not being bigger in higher screen resolutioins?

The icons seem smaller than they should be.  I don't know...can't put my finger on it.  I have heard others say that the combat in DC doesn't feel right, and I'm trying to provide feedback as to why that is.
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Offline manikus

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Re: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2015, 05:41:12 PM »
For teh first issue, make a mini-mod please. I will put it in the bug pipeline. :)

Is showing the target at the top a bug?  I was under the impression it had always been that way in DC, and could be part of the reason that the combat feels disconnected and off to some people.  Also, what about the message that is printed?
Paul has redone combat at least twice on the road to 1.0. I was under the impression that you said the wrong info was being displayed. wrong = bug

Quote
For the second issue, not sure what you mean. Do you mean icons relative to combat art? Do you mean combat field size? Do you mean the icons are too small? DO you mean the issue is with the icons not being bigger in higher screen resolutioins?

The icons seem smaller than they should be.  I don't know...can't put my finger on it.  I have heard others say that the combat in DC doesn't feel right, and I'm trying to provide feedback as to why that is.

There are more combat cells visible in DC than in FRUA. 49 (7x7) in FRUA, 81 (9x9) in DC. The icons are relatively smaller to the whole combat field. However, they are exactly the same ratio to the combat art as FRUA.
800x600res - 121 (11x11) combat cells.
102x468 res - 225 (15xx15) combat cells.

For your designs, you can make it 7x7 if you want. :) Well, as soon as I share teh new config.txt with you. And I will as soon as I am sure the glitches are worked out.

So why is DC's combat field bigger? FRUA is 320x200, but DC is 640x480, so without changing proportions there is room for an extra row in DC, but then it would be an even number and I guess CocoaSpud and whomever were coding it back in the day decided that you should have a center to the combat field, so they took way the extra space in the combat screen (as compred to the 3D screen) and made the combat field larger.
FRUA is okay with 7x7, because the largest icon in the game is 2x2 (3x2 in the GB games). But DC has some really gigantic icons.
This is all for the 640x480 default resolution and layout.

You  can try and lobby Paul to provide different combat resolutions for the 3 resolution sizes.

My suggestion, is that when the new config.txt is ready, you make your game look like FRUA if that is what you want. Actually, because I am trying to do the PoR conversion as if it were 640x400, I will share mine with you. I'm thinking that minus the compass, you can make it look pretty much like FRUA (I mean in proportions, not that you would use FRUA art - unless you wanted to). But this will only work for 640x480.

Offline Nol Drek

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Re: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2015, 07:22:40 PM »
In the DC screenshot below, you might think that Super Spud is attacking.  But, he isn't.  He's being attacked.  His name and stats appear when he is the target, which seems...wrong?

I have mentioned this MANY times. I agree with you 100% on this.

Super Spud is the TARGET, but the screen shot shows Super Spud and "rolls 3 and misses".

The Goblin is the ATTACKER. The screen should show Goblin and "Goblin rolls 3 and misses".
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Offline ProphetSword

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Re: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2015, 07:59:12 PM »
It does say that the Goblin attacks Super Spud at the bottom of the screen, but I don't usually look down there as it takes away from the action.  I think it would be a little more intuitive if it looked like the FRUA/Gold-Box version, something like this:

Goblin
rolls 3 while attacking
Super Spud
and misses

-or-

Goblin
rolls 18 while attacking
Super Spud
and hits for 4 points

But, I don't know how hard that would be the change.  Not even sure if color changes would be possible.  I just know it's something that I can digest quickly and easily because the information is presented in an easy to read format that you can scan down quickly to get a quick impression of what is going on.
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Offline Paul R. Stevens

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Re: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2015, 08:22:00 PM »
I think that eventually we can print anything
you want.  There is lots of room for the
target's cousin's names, favorite ice cream,
and so on.  We'll probably script it so
each of you can print his favorite statistics
in his favorite colors.

But right now.....we need to address functional
problems;  editor crashes, combat failures, etc.
Get back to us when there are no higher-priority
projects.

Offline steve_mcdee

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Re: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2015, 12:00:57 AM »
In the DC screenshot below, you might think that Super Spud is attacking.  But, he isn't.  He's being attacked.  His name and stats appear when he is the target, which seems...wrong?

I have mentioned this MANY times. I agree with you 100% on this.

Super Spud is the TARGET, but the screen shot shows Super Spud and "rolls 3 and misses".

The Goblin is the ATTACKER. The screen should show Goblin and "Goblin rolls 3 and misses".
I agree, and I agree it should be treated as a bug.

Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2015, 02:40:29 AM »
One of my main gripes regarding the differences in the combat engine between FRUA and DC (and a major turn-off for me) is that DC handles movement like the old Gold Box games do, and not like FRUA. I find the Gold Box way of always making me press "MOVE" each turn before I'm allowed to move very roundabout and clunky, and I much prefer FRUA's way of characters moving automatically when you press the direction keys or click with the mouse inside the combat window.

The targeting system is better in FRUA, too; I don't remember the details right now, but one aspect is that when DC cycles through potential targets, it counts your allies among them. FRUA only allows you to target hostiles for regular attacks that aren't spells. I consider this secondary to the movement issue though. FRUA's combat GUI is much more comfortable and user-friendly than that of the older Gold Box games, so I don't get why DC mimicks them instead of FRUA:

Offline ProphetSword

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Re: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2015, 06:54:47 AM »
Given how well DC handles other events, it's a shame that the combat is somewhat clunky, given that the combat engine is the primary draw of Gold-Box style games.
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Offline Paul R. Stevens

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Re: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2015, 09:15:50 AM »
The user interface is something that can evolve
a bit without worrying too much about backward
compatibility.

Some of what Mr. Leroux complains about can be
changed in the scripts, I think.  Moreover, it is already
possible to move without "MOVE'.  It has been for
quite some time.  Unless I misunderstand the problem.

Offline Dinonykos

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Re: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2015, 10:21:56 AM »
Moreover, it is already
possible to move without "MOVE'.  It has been for
quite some time.  Unless I misunderstand the problem.

I guess the confusion is caused because in FRUA, "Move" is not shown as an option. Maybe Olivier just never tried moving without using the "move" button... :D

Concerning targetting: I just started to play some FRUA modules and when using positive spells like healing, I was confused since it seems that my own characters could not be targeted via cycling, I had to do it manually. It least I think so, forgive me if I remember wrong.

I absolutely agree with ProphetSword that the "who attacks whom" thing is confusing in the current stage - this should indeed be more the way FRUA handles it.

... given that the combat engine is the primary draw of Gold-Box style games.
I think this is a matter of personal taste. For me, other aspects of DC and FRUA are much more attractive then the way combats are handled. But I assume particularly many FRUA users would agree with you.
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Offline ProphetSword

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Re: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2015, 10:48:09 AM »
... given that the combat engine is the primary draw of Gold-Box style games.
I think this is a matter of personal taste. For me, other aspects of DC and FRUA are much more attractive then the way combats are handled. But I assume particularly many FRUA users would agree with you.

Historically, the popularity of the Gold-Box games (especially a game like "Pool of Radiance") was due to the combat engine, which brought to life the turn-based nature of combat in AD&D games, especially when using miniatures and battle mats.  The storytelling nature of the games was another factor, but I believe that the stories told in a less robust engine might not have done quite as well (we'll never know, really).

I'm also taking into consideration the opinions of more than FRUA players.  Sites like "RPG Codex" often cite that the combat engine is the main draw of these style of games, as it was well built for its time, and considered to be a lot of fun with a lot of tactical options.
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Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2015, 01:11:21 PM »
Moreover, it is already
possible to move without "MOVE'.  It has been for
quite some time.  Unless I misunderstand the problem.

I guess the confusion is caused because in FRUA, "Move" is not shown as an option. Maybe Olivier just never tried moving without using the "move" button... :D

I did, last time when testing your unreleased design in September, but it was not possible, neither by using the direction keys nor by using the mouse pointer (both work in FRUA). Maybe it was only implemented for using the numpad? That would explain it, since the netbook I'm using to play DC does not have a numpad ...

If so, I can see why, as DC already uses the direction keys for cycling through the available commands at the bottom of the screen, something that FRUA doesn't allow. In FRUA you can only use the mouse pointer or the highlighted keys to select commands. I guess both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and are a matter of taste and accustomization, but if DC can't allow the use of the direction keys for moving, it should at least allow me to use the mouse for direct movement (but I assume this is more difficult to implement).  :-\

Offline manikus

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Re: DC Combat Engine - Differences from FRUA
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2015, 01:23:53 PM »
I am sure that I am missing much of the nuances of the posts above.
Olivier, are you saying that when trying combat with an up-to-date engine that you had to press MOVE in order to move? If so, that is a bug. For over a year, pressing MOVE has not been required to move in combat. Also the arrow keys (not the ones on the numpad) move the combatant. I know because I bleepin' screw up all the time because I am so used to DC reuiring one to press MOVE before moving. (Of note, I was against this change, preferring the GoldBox method.)

 

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