Seperate Battle Screens or Battles on the map?
Seperate Battle Screens
25% (1)
Have Battles on the Game Map
75% (3)
Total Votes: 4
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Red Slime
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Unsure: Seperate Battle Screens or Battles on the Game Map? 
 PostMon Jun 01, 2020 5:05 pm
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Hello out there,

it seems I am unsure which kind of battle system I'd like to implement, presentation wise.

I want to build a rather open gameworld, like many western rpgs do, where you can wander around, discover different new areas and quest lines as you please. Not as open as an elder scrolls game, but a far less linear than most jrpgs.
Also, I don't want to use a overworld map, instead implementing some kind of fast travel system, like e.g. they did in Secret of Mana, or Zelda.

This means:
A) Enemies should be visible and avoidable, as in Lufia II, no random battles. Maybe weak enemies even try to keep their distance from you.
B) Battles should be as non-intrusive as possible, to encourage exploration and wandering around. The battle system should reflect this, e.g. holdinng one button pressed to fastly run through the menus and having every party member using their standard attack so battles don't become a chore, fast and swift animations etc.

While this is all fine and dandy, I am not sure about the visuals.




Options 1: Battle Screen

The battle starts, the game switches to the battle screen.
+ Clear visual indication for 'You do Battle, now!'
+ Allows detailed enemy and character sprites & animations, + more dynamic camera (e.g. Golden Sun).
- I obstrusive, the player is ripped from the area he is exploring




Option 2: 'On Site Battle':

The battle is performed on the game map, using normal walkabout sprites (characters are at least 32px in height, to have enough detail), (e.g. Chrono Trigger).
+ Seamless, because there is no visual transition, the fight just begins.
+ Further, the results of the battle might be then visible in the game world (i.e. dead bodies).
+ A bit less artwork to create
- More laberous scripting wise (make sure there is enough space to do the actual fighting etc...)
+ Less detailed sprites and animations for the battle itself


Any idea which you might prefer under those circumstances, and even better, why?
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostMon Jun 01, 2020 8:31 pm
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FEGBA_firstbattle.gif
Option 2 would definitely be the way to go if your aim is to have battling and exploration transition together as smoothly as possible. It's definitely a tall challenge as far as scripting goes (I'm trying to work on something similar, myself), but I'd like to believe the effort is worth it in the end. Also, if detail on character sprites is something you're worried about, would you consider using more detailed sprites in other contexts, such as text box portraits, or even one of those flashy "make my portrait take up half the screen" style super attacks that some RPGs use? It'd be more useful for emoting than showing action, of course, but it's something to consider.

I'm personally working on something of a hybrid between these two styles, in which encountering an enemy brings up the entire battle system as an overlay on the current map, with map sprites and battle sprites being the same proportions, a la Chrono Trigger/FFVI. I haven't finished, but here's an example from one of the games that inspired this style, Fire Emblem on GBA.
Metal King Slime
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 PostWed Jun 03, 2020 3:37 pm
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Oh, fun question.

I like on-map battles personally, because of the realism which I feel makes the game a tad more immersive. It gets closer to the roguelike ideal of being non-modal (meaning that you can do anything at any time, including attacking npcs or fighting inside a shop).
But on the

However on-map battles do cause major headaches, having to ensure there are no NPCs or obstacles in the way.
(And those constraints in practice probably mean you're further from the RL ideal, since now you can't even allow figuring battles anywhere.)

How is the obstacles problem normally solved, just by never putting NPCs and enemies in the same area, designing the maps around it, with lots of open space? But at the start of battles in Chrono Trigger the combatants move into opposing positions. I wonder how those positions are decided. One way could be to pre-define a set of open spaces around the map, and have everyone run to points on a circle or square around the nearest point.
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostWed Jun 03, 2020 7:09 pm
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I have no idea how they actually do it, but it appears that every individual encounter in Chrono Trigger is explicitly authored. Often you see enemies flying into the battle in unique movement patterns, which suggests they had a good deal of control over each detail of character positioning. I'd reckon it only makes sense they'd have designated x,y locations for each party member to run to at the start of battle (explicitly authored on each battle location).

As for how to avoid obstacles, I can't recall any instance in Chrono Trigger where enemy encounters and normal NPCs appeared on the same map. Additionally, it appears that physics may be void in battle. IIRC, Crono will run through terrain to approach an enemy and attack them with his sword. So, although battles visually take place on the game's exploration maps, it looks to be a completely separate system of movement.
Ps. I love my wife
Liquid Metal King Slime
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 PostWed Jun 03, 2020 9:28 pm
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Dang it yes, you are making me really want to re-play Chrono Trigger, and I don't have the time for that! :D

Yes, I think each enemy encounter in Chrono Trigger had specific X,Y settings for heroes and enemies.
Metal Slime
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 PostThu Jun 04, 2020 4:30 am
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Yeah I'm pretty certain Chrono Trigger simply ignored all collision in battle. I think there were also a handful of instances where triggering a battle would cause certain other interactive sprites (certain other enemies?) to simply vanish from the screen, but this (if it happened at all and I'm not just misremembering) was very rare.

A lot of battles definitely had pre-determined positions for enemies and allies, but I'm pretty sure not all of them. Actually this was probably more about trying to make good use of the targetting system for attacks ... which incidentally I still think could've been utilized much better if they had more time to work on the game.

As for a preference, well I value immersion pretty highly in most video games, but it's really hard to quantify. Changing the screen for battle seems a bit artificial, but also enforces a sort of consistency within the game world - rules of gameplay are distinctly different in and out of battle. Is it more or less immersive to maintain the same screen for battle? I "raise" immersion by feeling like the fight is happening in the current space. I "lower" immersion by seeing first-hand how the rules for battles ignore the geometry of the current space. On the whole, to me it's probably a wash and Option 1 seems to be a lot less work with very little loss of immersion if any.

All that said, I really like the idea that the results of battle could remain onscreen. Dead enemies, burnt grass from fire spells, leaves blown off of trees from wind spells, etc. Even non-permanent things, like having grass and trees blow in the wind created by a wind spell just while its graphical effect is on-screen. All of this sounds very difficult in the OHR, but it's kinda cool to think about.
I am Srime
Red Slime
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 PostFri Jun 05, 2020 4:33 pm
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At first, thank you all four your thoughts on this ;)

Baconlabs wrote:
(...) consider using more detailed sprites in other contexts (...)

I'm personally working on something of a hybrid between these two styles, [alá] Fire Emblem on GBA.


Bigger protraits and cut-scenes are planned, yes. I reallly considered the Fire Emblem style combat too, but ultimately I felt it is just another kind of battle screen, just with the game map in the background. I guess I rather want to have the battles directly on the map, with no different rednition as the rest of the game.


TMC wrote:
(...) I like on-map battles personally, because of the realism which I feel makes the game a tad more immersive. It gets closer to the roguelike ideal of being non-modal (...).

However on-map battles do cause major headaches, having to ensure there are no NPCs or obstacles in the way.

(...) How is the obstacles problem normally solved, [by] designing the maps around it, with lots of open space? (...) One way could be to pre-define a set of open spaces around the map, and have everyone run to points on a circle or square around the nearest point.


Ultima VI feels that way, you can initiate any action, even attacks very much as you'd do in a rouguelike, and once battle commences, the game world turns from semi- to turn-based.
I thought about the pre designated battle spots, but I really don't want to introduce movement into the battles, nor active time or such thing, I really just want to do the old turn based classic jrpg thing.

Taking a page from Ultima VI (and simplifying) seems to be the best way to me:
- The player can initiate an attack (or be attacked) when near enough to an enemy/potential oponent.
- Then the game world freezes, and an area containing the party and at least one enemy gets highlighted.
- Between those inside the area now turn based battle commences (with all participants frozen too, just jumping around to deliver attacks, no mevement allowed).
- The rest of the game world outside the area (arena?) remains frozen until after the battle.
- After battle, the game returns to normal.
- Rinse and repeat Smile

Yeah, I can see the picture now Grin


Regarding Chrono Trigger, I'd say those battles, save for those on the bridge, are all prescripted. I always felt a bit like I had no real control about where my characters would move to though. And active time is a nogo for me (I like it in games, but I don't want it in mine essentially).



msw188 wrote:
(...) Changing the screen for battle (...) enforces a sort of consistency within the game world - rules of gameplay are distinctly different in and out of battle.

(...) All that said, I really like the idea that the results of battle could remain onscreen. Dead enemies, burnt grass from fire spells, leaves blown off of trees from wind spells, etc. Even non-permanent things, like having grass and trees blow in the wind created by a wind spell just while its graphical effect is on-screen. All of this sounds very difficult in the OHR, but it's kinda cool to think about.


I think with the approach above the lines would be blurred quite nicely. But I was thinking too that this whole idea might be a game of diminishing returns. Then again, I am rather stubborn V

About the visual effects, I really want to have at least dead bodies and some blood. Shaking leaves and burnt trees would be nice too, but to to this in an elegant and (relatively) easy way... I have to think about that.


Bob the Hamster wrote:
Dang it yes, you are making me really want to re-play Chrono Trigger, and I don't have the time for that! Grin.


Tell me more Hurr
Liquid Metal King Slime
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 PostSat Jun 13, 2020 1:33 am
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Why not something completely new and different?
Red Slime
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 PostSat Jun 13, 2020 8:55 am
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I guess reinventing the wheel is futile, but I try to make the best wheel I can ;)
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