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Escape the Mad Empire The game is based on a mixture of genres, like traditional roguelikes, tactical party-based RPG (or CRPG), management/base-building RPG and even a touch of action-RPG by its format, pace and art.

Post news RSS Devlog #2: Combat System Overview - Escape the Mad Empire

In in devlog, we cover the basic of the combat system for our party-based tactical RPG and how it tries to bridge real-time with turn-based combat systems.

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Devlog #2: Combat System Overview

Discord

First of all, we’d like to announce that our Discord is now officially open! Come discuss the development of the game with us and other players! Discord.gg

Bridging real-time with turn-based combat

The most important part of the game is probably its combat system. It combines the strengths of real-time and turn-based combat systems by offering precision of controls while maintaining a high combat pace. It also tries to empower the player, setting the perfect ground for emergent gameplay, which is injected through a multitude of magic items and game mechanics. We’ll try our best to explain the basic elements of this combat system but it can be summarized by:

  • Deploy your characters
  • Engage in real-time combat
  • Chose when to launch a series of instant-attacks on pause
  • Use magic arrows and bonus actions on pause
  • Turn the combat around!

Real-time party-based combat

At its core, the game uses a simple real-time party-based combat system. Completed by a skills-based system, it reminds of other tactical RPG games like Baldur’s Gate II, Pillars of Eternity, Dragon Age, etc. Each character can be deployed to a tile to protect or an enemy to target. Once in place, the character will attack automatically with its basic attacks. Targets and actions can be overridden by the player at will. The player also chooses the proper moment to use the skills/spells associated with each character.

Instant-attacks on pause

Real-time with pause combat systems (RTWP) are relatively commonly used in RPGs or strategy games. What is less common in this case is that the attacks happen instantly on pause, without having to unpause the game. This sounds like a minor point and technically it is, but it completely changes the combat dynamics and helps to close the gap between real-time and turn-based combat systems.

Precision & Chain Attacks

First of all, the instant-attack feature allows the player to know exactly which creature his spells, AOE or not, are going to hit. Secondly, because the attack can be completed without unpausing the game, it gives the player the possibility of chaining a series of attacks through different characters.

Empowering the player & tools for creative solutions

The general idea is to give as many tools as possible in the hands of the player to help him find creative solutions to difficult combat situations, instead of restraining him. Here’s a few examples of how the game tries to achieve that:

Party Inventory

The inventory is party-based instead of character-based and it is accessible at all times, even in combat.

Bonus Actions

Each character has a bonus action on cooldown, which he can instantly use at any moment. That bonus action can be used on some consumables like potions and scrolls.

Ammo Belt

Ammo, like consumables, don’t have to be micromanaged. Arrows are automatically added to the ammo belt on each character, giving a direct quick-equip access to ammo from the party inventory.

Skills system & Quick-attack skill

The skills system uses charges & cooldowns. All skills or spells have a cooldown before they can be used again. Some skills have a limited number of charges, which can be replenished with a long rest or potion, but some skills have an unlimited number of uses. One of the default skills is a quick-attack, which can be used to attack instantly on pause. That skill can be used for basic attacks but it can also be used in combination with magic arrows. For instance, equipping a fire arrow and using the quick-attack will allow the player to set an oil barrel on fire, affecting the battleground instantly.

Turning the tide of battle

Obviously, those features used in combination with the instant-attack on pause can be incredibly powerful. By making a series of actions on pause through different characters and their bonus actions, the player can turn the tide of the battle instantly. It feels like the player has the opportunity to initiate his ‘turn’ whenever he likes to.

That’s it for this development log! The next log will probably cover the basics of the tactical aspects.

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