A few concepts on how to minimally modify the existing turn based combat structure to better suit different play preferences. (*CAVEAT: I've only watched the videos & read the updates, I do not have access to the playable alpha)
Think of the current turn-based system as "100% speed". The player, allies and enemies all do their thing at normal speed, with whatever time that takes.
Here are a few approaches that make combat a lot faster:Auto-resolve combat
: AI takes on role of player, allies and enemies. Entire combat is done in an instant. May optionally choose (at prompting of auto-resolve combat button or in options) to use potions/expendable items, be cautious/aggressive, etc. Could be likely used with mid to lower level enemies in relation to the player, as higher middle level or epic monsters could potentially destroy the AI auto-fast-controlled players. Might be combined with auto-looting. Might be combined with a possible configurable player AI routine/reaction sequence (for smarter or preferred play-styles).Auto-loot
: a white-list and/or blacklist simple interface for what is wanted and/or not wanted when looting. Would only pop up with a message when something new/important comes up, such as burden issues, a new/undefined object, some scripted dialog sequence in relation to an item being taken, etc. (I really
hope looting is in the what-you-see-is-what-you-get variety! Please so much!)Fast-forward turn
: this is a one-button press that advances the animation/movement sequence of whatever character/actor/npc's turn it is to the end, with the actions taken by it done in the background. This would work best if there is some sort of text-based combat log which can be viewed as combat goes on (floating damage markers at the end of this turn would also be informative). Easiest if used as keyboard (or hotkey-able) shortcut, and a different one than 'advance/next dialogue'.Skip animation
: check list of the game's animations (either fully populated at the beginning or only spawning options after encountered in-game) that a player can choose to leave as is, have a brief version (maybe some quick stutter-like action? Unsure), or be fully fast-forwarded through/skipped. This can be useful if the main character often uses certain buffing and combat spells, long combat abilities, etc.Auto Fast-forward turn
: this is where it gets complex (or easy - just set auto fast-forward to 'always' for player or enemies or...). Essentially, it is the configuring of fast-forwarded turns under certain circumstances. In order for this to be possible, at the instant of a combat turns beginning (AI) or at the click/finalization of the player's choice, it would have to compare the animation/action sequences with the preferred list of wanted-to-be-skipped sequences. It would also have to log the animation properties of each turn and append them to the 'watched' list. Here are some examples of how it could work:
a) Show only first sequence per combat
: this option only shows the first iteration of an animation sequence during combat. Any of the same actions (e.g. movement, same melee attack, etc) in the current battle, are fast-forwarded through instead of played. Useful against high-health, 'tank-like' characters, or any time a large number of the same attacks & strategies would be used, such as a large-scale battle against many of the same opponents.
b) Show only first sequence universally
: as combat (above), but it only shows the sequence once in the entire game (perhaps even player profile or installation). Most useful in speed runs and after having completed the game multiple times, restarting/playing the early game the beginning with different builds, etc.
What is defined as an 'unique animation sequence' can be both vague and general, allowing for more or less to be skipped and viewed. In general terms, "male main character movement" would cover a lot - make it unique for every armour type and some more gets seen. Same thing with (melee) attacks - any melee attack, attack with each weapon, attack per every monster target/type, etc.
The auto-fast-forward configuration is about customizing what the player wants to experience in combat, instead of having the same thing again and again.Questions/my answers/topics of consideration
Q1) How will auto-resolve/fast-forward/etc work with co-op, multi-play and so on?
A) No idea. Maybe some of these can be single player only features, or some sort of proximity check/agree to same fast combat methods. (Or only for the player's turn that wants it enabled) Even if it is only implemented in single-player I'd be happy!
Q2) Do you hate turn based games?
A) No. Just repeating the *same* turn based/full animation sequences, and especially again and again.
Q3) Do you hate combat in (turn-based) rpgs?
A) More like get fed up with very
quickly. I tend to always "roleplay" (/cheat) uber-powered types to steamroll through enemies in order to get to the "good stuff": filling containers with things I found on the ground. Organizing skulls by size and shape. Exploring. Putting all the candles in one house. Quests, stories and so on. Complex, interesting magic rituals.
The only combat I tend to 'like' is when I select 'Easy' difficulty and it actually IS easy - so many games 'easy' difficulty is not easy enough. :P
Q4) Tracking and logging unique animation sequences would be so much work! How could it possibly be done?!
A) Something like... LOG: Male MC Ver. 6 *with* Plate Armour LV2 *wielding* 2H Sword Ver. 5 *attacking, non-critical* Small Spider Type 2. LOG: Female MC Ver. 2 *with* Chain Armour LV4 *wielding* Magic Staff Ver. 2 *casting* Lightning LV4 *against* Gremlins (multiple) *influenced by* Water Effects.
In the first example, 'new' sequences (even in the same fight) would be criticals and attacking other targets. Changing armour would also result in totally new sequences.
In the second, different spells, targets and spell combos would be new sequences.
Q5) Do you actually expect all of these to be implemented?!
A) No, not really! Ideally, auto-resolve & a fast-forward button could be put in at the minimum. Other ones are just gravy.
- All fast-forward methods should, of course, resume back to normal speed with impending dialogue, cut-scenes, etc. (Which could then be read as normal or hopefully skipped/fast forward-ed through as per clicks, ESC button, etc.)
- Apart from auto-resolve, all these options are centered around making (and seeing the results of) turn-based decisions faster. Think master chess players! Not slow at all.
- It is QUITE possible that the combat is SO amazing and varied that none of these options are needed and wanted. It is not impossible... So I'm not stressed in any case.
- If the above suggestions were implemented, my preferences would be something like this:
-- Show only first sequence universally: show only first instance of every animation sequence, with player dependent armour & weapons and environmental effects & monsters defined as new sequences. I would use 'per combat' initially (or maybe just leave it vanilla), especially if the fights are interesting.
-- Auto-resolve combat: moderately use it for dealing with weaker enemies, mopping up, etc.