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Abilities serving a function without animation (E.g., Grapple) and some AI thoughts

abilities animation AI

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9 replies to this topic

#1
Osvir

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So I was just thinking about this, what abilities are there that can serve the same purpose without having an animation for it?

In Update 15 Tim Cain says that "grapple" won't be in the game because it is unnecessary resources. Is there a middle-ground here?

I wouldn't, personally, mind if there is a grapple ability (for the Monk) in the game. Even if it is without animation. I draw most of my thoughts from League of Legends regarding this, where you press a button when you're close enough to an enemy and there's a "clanky" sound and then "Stun" (if you are within range of your opponent). Could grapple be an ability without animation?

Sample Example 1:
I move my monk up close to the target enemy, use the "Grapple" ability and both my enemy and my monk are now "Stunned" or "Static". My own imagination fills in the blanks where the animation is lacking. Perhaps there could be a SoT (Stamina over Time) loss to both my Monk and the opponent (Dependent on Strength). The one with the highest Strength throws saving throws to be able to leave the grapple, for instance, the opponent has a higher Strength and thus can leave the grapple whenever he/she feels like it. The AI could react to distance, and amount of characters in an invisible AoE ring around it. So if I send a character to aid my Monk in this power struggle the AI could react and leave it, but if I stay away the AI continues to power struggle, because he/she is stronger than my Monk.

[EDIT]:
Sample Example 2:
My Wizard being able to throw an AoE Dome Spell, I could trap 3-4 enemies in this Dome with my Fighter, so that the enemies don't go away and focus something else, or perhaps trap them together with an angry Barbarian. Or better yet, trap them whilst I take out something else. This wouldn't need to be animated either but simple cause any enemy hit by this spell to not be able to leave the affected AoE area. Perhaps a glimmer of light around the selected area.[/EDIT]

Are there any other abilities that could be difficult or time consuming to animate that could follow a similar type of simplicity?

Ultima 1 (which I recently finished) is a very very simplified example (with hardly any abilities at all, I didn't buy any spells or try them I just wanted to finish the game as fast as possible so I could have it under my belt, i.e. I followed a walkthrough about 1/2 of the game). Are there any tl;dr folk left in the forums by the way?

TL;DR: AI thoughts, but really wondering if some animations for some abilities could be simplified. E.g., do you want to see an ability in P:E but you think it would be too resource heavy? Perhaps it could be simplified? How vivid does spell shields need to be?

Edited by Osvir, 26 November 2012 - 02:09 AM.


#2
JFSOCC

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I'm in two minds over this. On the one hand, I would like everything that this game offers to be polished. And animations are part of that. I want to hear a little clank sound when I move a piece of weaponry in my inventory. On the other hand, I don't see why you would need everything to have an animation. Like you said, grapple without an extensive animation but with an obvious effect should be equally feasible, if it adds to the game mechanic wise, I shouldn't disqualify it for lack of an animation.

#3
mstark

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It's a good concept (the idea of stun locking enemies and having their stamina drain with saving throws), but would it add fun? It also sounds a bit like it could become quite unmanageable without animations. Say your characters lock in grappling, and you and your enemies will now start micro managing your other characters to be in, or out, of range of the stun lock grappling fight. It would become quite confusing if you have a number of enemies stun locked together (boring?) and have to manage your remaining characters to make you win each stun lock grappling match. That's possibly an extreme example, but just trying to highlight some potential weaknesses (for the sake of refining the idea further :)).

How would you balance the grappling to not become the main fighting mechanic? Would it actually fit with the rest of the combat system and give it more depth?

While I do like the idea of locking two characters together in a stamina draining duelling manoeuvre, wouldn't the actual implementation of it in this way serve to make combat less interactive? Seeing as other stamina draining combat options actually call for more active involvement from the player, and don't lock your character away from being player controlled.

Grappling is awesome to do in real life, but does it have a place in a tactical & interactive combat party based RPG? Is it possible for the mechanic to be shaped to add depth to combat, rather than trying to find an excuse to include grappling for the sake of grappling?

Edited by mstark, 26 November 2012 - 05:49 AM.


#4
mstark

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Went to the bathroom and the following struck me:

Monk grappling could be seen, and used, as a mobile stun spell, in combat you could move your monk up to an enemy that you'd wish to lock out of a fight, knowing that your monk is too weak to beat this enemy in an upright duel, so your choose to Grapple Enemy (stun lock). This stun locks both characters for x rounds if the enemy doesn't save (no stamina drain). Now both your monk and that enemy are locked out of the fight until the rest of the party has dealt with the remaining enemies.

The monk would also have the ability to break the stun lock at any point, giving you back the control over your monk and freeing the enemy, with the risk that the enemy will strike a free hit on your monk.

While you'd usually want to have all 6 party members available in any given fight, this ability would have some really good special use cases. Say your party of 6 is fighting 2 powerful enemies, you can use just a single one of your party members to lock one enemy out of action while your other 5 deal with the remaining one.

Some potential (logical) limitations/perks:
  • Grappling would only work on normal/small sized entities, not dragons or trolls.
  • Protection spells, like mirror image, would work against grappling.
  • Attacking an enemy being grappled by the monk has a 50% chance of hitting your monk instead of the enemy (you would be wise to break Grapple before attacking the enemy, or risk killing your own party member).
  • Monk stun would be different (more effective) than Wizard stun, requiring different saving throws.
  • If the enemy being held fails every single saving throw for each round, they could lose x stamina if the hold reaches its maximum duration.
Rather than grappling, this ability could be called "Grappling Hold" of "Joint Lock" instead, which might make more sense.

The nice thing is that death will be a serious consequence in PE, so you wouldn't be able to abuse stun lock by repeatedly stun locking and killing both the enemy and your monk, and then immediately reviving the monk after the fight.

I know it's not exactly grappling, but it's an idea I had from the OP :)

Edited by mstark, 26 November 2012 - 06:17 AM.


#5
Osvir

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^That is exactly what I'm going for. Monk (or Unarmed) specific ability, so unless you go with a 3+ Monk party the battle wouldn't be static. The Grappling/Stun Lock would definitely be a double-edged sword.

Another thought, to negate some abusing, is that when your Monk is in a Stun Lock with someone else, and you send in your Rogue or Fighter (or whatever, really) to deal damage to the enemy there's a chance you'll hit the Monk instead. This way it'll be a risk to send in a character to backstab the enemy.

Example: Monk Stun Locks the Bandit, they struggle, my Wizard throws a Magic Missile aimed at the enemy, but as the Monk and Bandit wrestles, the Missiles miss the Bandit and hits my Monk instead. Same thing with my Barbarian, I send him in to deal some massive Hulk damage but I miss and now I've beheaded Forton. It'll make the ability much more a "Should I use this?" or not.

I also think that you shouldn't be able to just leave the "Stun Lock" at a whim, you'd have to have proper Strength (or something). If the enemy is stronger, especially if the enemy is stronger, I shouldn't be able to just dance out of it as if it is nothing. If I engage a Stun Lock it should be a risk I am willing to take.

#6
anubite

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Just make it so grapple only works on bipedal humanoid targets of the Monk's size. A basic grapple would simply be grabbing the attacker's arms and holding the attacker in place with brute strength (although obviously not a skillful grapple, I think it would be enough of an animation). Then, when making your monster/player models, put attachment points on the monster's wrists so the Monk knows where to attach his hands when he gets in melee range. It might look a little silly, but I think it would work out fine and most players could suspend their disbelief a little over what's really happening when the Monk grapples.

I think too many people are expecting Holywood polish from games these days, it's fine to let players imagine a little. Grapple is certainly possible when you restrict it to a logical set of enemies (you could grapple a tiger, but it would take some pretty specific animal training to do so, grapples are focused mainly on humans, so just restrict it to those kinds of enemies) and make the animation simple and concise.

To be fair, of course, Obsidian's game will PROBABLY be fine without a grapple spell. I think it's a little unfair to ask very specific things like this, since it may not really be worth the effort. I'm sure Obsidian could come up with lots of diverse, complex, cool abilities that are cheap to make, rather than spend a lot of labor on attachment point systems and grapple coding... just for that one move and probably that one move alone.

Edited by anubite, 26 November 2012 - 08:40 AM.


#7
Osvir

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I think it's a little unfair to ask very specific things like this


I think you are reading way too much into the grapple thing, I started this topic because I was hoping there was some more abilities (I couldn't think of any tbh) that could be "nerfed" in terms of animations and stuff that really takes Obsidians time, so we can get more game and less effort.

On the AI thoughts: Not only related to Grapple but generally, if I send my hulking Barbarian and my Fighter whilst shooting arrows and Magic Missiles after 1 enemy, is he just going to stand there taking that pounding or could he react as the Fighter and Barbarian enters the suggested AI AoE ring (invisible to the eye, only in code) and hightail it the other way?

#8
Aldereth

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I am all for adding something that add tactical depth to combat. As long as they are balance, animation is secondary.

However, I do get the feeling the dev. are used to a certain unspoken "industry standard" for polish of a game and likely, they would not implement it if they are not doing animation. Whether that is the right thing to do is entirely a different discussion.

#9
Jarmo

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I wouldn't.

NWN2 had some combat actions without animation, great cleave, (whirlwind attack?), don't remember what else. And that didn't work at all for me.
Imagination wouldn't fill the blanks, all the blanks were just full of disappointment.

#10
rjshae

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Monk grappling could be seen, and used, as a mobile stun spell, in combat you could move your monk up to an enemy that you'd wish to lock out of a fight, knowing that your monk is too weak to beat this enemy in an upright duel, so your choose to Grapple Enemy (stun lock). This stun locks both characters for x rounds if the enemy doesn't save (no stamina drain). Now both your monk and that enemy are locked out of the fight until the rest of the party has dealt with the remaining enemies.

A decent idea; I could definitely see a grapple-type attack being implemented via a spell-like special attack that effects both parties. I don't think it should be a full stun effect, but it could definitely give some action restrictions to both. You could even have multiple, cumulative grapple effects against a single target. A simple visual effect, like an appropriate spell going off (Bigby's grasping hand!), would provide all the graphics it would need.





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