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Colony Ship RPG Update #5: Making a New RPG, Combat and Stealth

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Colony Ship RPG Update #5: Making a New RPG, Combat and Stealth

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 18 May 2016, 18:11:40

Tags: Colony Ship RPG; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

This month's Colony Ship RPG development update is out. Once again, it's divided into two parts. In the first part, Vault Dweller ruefully goes over the list of things that need to be done in the course of of creating a new RPG from scratch, which is an experience that he'd happily forgotten over the years. To make a new RPG, one needs an engine, writing, systems and art, of which the latter is the biggest obstacle. The second part of the update is about systems, specifically combat and stealth. I'll quote the combat part here:

Melee-based combat makes a lot of things simple in 3 key areas:
  • Melee attack can be dodged or blocked (or parried or deflected), thus you easily miss even if you’re standing next to the guy you’re trying to kill. The famous duel in Rob Roy would have been very different if both duelists had SMGs.
  • Damage dealt can be modified by effort (i.e. fast or power attacks).
  • Combatants can just stand there and trade blows all day.
So, logically, combat with guns should have higher THC in general, higher mobility, no dodging bullets, no damage modifiers, which means that fast attacks, normal attacks, and aimed attacks will do exactly the same damage, which means the player would want to use the fastest attack unless there’s a strong penalty, but we’ve just decided to keep THC relatively high.

The obvious conclusion is that we need grazing, cover, and a wide range of attack types:
  • Let’s start with grazing. I wanted to implement it in AoD but we were out of time and the fast attacks were basically grazing attacks, doing a lot less damage. The ranged combat is perfect for it.

    Let’s say you have 80% THC (to-hit chance). You roll the dice and as luck would have it, you’re 1 point short but the binary miss-hit system doesn’t reward your near excellence and treats it as you weren’t even close. So, we’ll change that and go with 4 roll 'ranges': miss, graze, hit, critical hit.

    This will give us some flexibility with damage ranges and allow you to trade damage for THC.

  • Cover is another way to lower your THC without raising eyebrows and explain why the combatants take 4-5 turns to kill each other. We don’t want to place cover objects everywhere, so we’ll go with energy shields you can place in front of your character (i.e. you throw a 'gadget', it generates an energy shield in front of you (not around you) which absorbs X amount of damage and makes it harder to hit you while you’re hiding behind it).

    Naturally, once you decide to go with gadgets, why stop with one? Why not have gadgets modifying every available battlefield stat?
    • Depletable energy shield (absorbs x damage)
    • Reality distortion field (THC penalty against you)
    • Optical illusion a-la Total Recall (chance that enemies will target the illusion)
    • Cloaking field aka Stealth Boy
    • Stasis field (holds enemy, no damage can be dealt)
    • Brainwave Disruptor (don’t leave your home without Psychic Nullifier)

    As mentioned previously, expect 10-12 gadgets with 3-4 upgrade levels. Earlier I was toying with the idea of energy armor but the energy shield idea is better as it ties you down, creating tactical opportunities for your enemies. Then you’ll have upgradable synthetic armor offering different degree of protection against melee, projectile, and energy attacks.

  • Attack types
    • Three basic attacks are Fast aka unaimed (increases your Graze roll range and cuts the Hit roll range in half), Normal, and Aimed Attack (doubles the Hit roll range, cuts in half the Graze range). You can use these attacks with any weapons.
    • Class- and weapon-specific attacks like Short, Long, and Wide Burst for SMGs (some SMGs would be more suitable for wide bursts whereas others would be more suitable for long burst; however, these attacks would be available to all SMGs) and certain shotguns; Fanning for revolvers, Double Shot or Full Broadside for multi-barrel weapons.
    • "Tactical" attacks like Suppressive Fire and various Interrupt, Attacks of Opportunity Reaction Shots
Another thing worth mentioning is that firearms, unlike fairly straightforward melee weapons, have very different designs, so each category (Pistols, Shotguns, SMGs) will have 3 subcategories. For example, Shotguns will have One-Handed Shotguns (sawed off and ‘Mare’s Leg’ style shotguns), long, heavy-barrel shotguns, and shotguns with revolving cylinders. So even if you choose to specialize with a single weapon class, you will have plenty of tactical options within this class.

Last but not the least is the focus on mobility. In AoD we didn’t want a melee opponent chasing you all over the map, so your movement rate was slow (2AP per square). In the CSG we want mobility play a large role, allowing the enemies (and encouraging the player) to move around, flank and flush you out.​

That THC mechanic seems kind of familiar! It's worth noting that this update reveals a tentative title for the game - The Sunless World. It's not final, but then, neither was "The Age of Decadence" at first.

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