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Olvand is a little multiplayer sandbox RPG, where the players live in self-built towns and can go on all kinds of adventures together. Imagine living with your friends in a small town in the mountains, or creating a new group of friends in a pub in the metropole you all live in. There will be several mini-games the inhabitants of a server can play together, among which will be combat based games like King of the Hill or Capture the Flag. You will be able to play against other people in your city, or as a city against another city, or as a whole server against another server. The combat works with self-built guns, in which all kinds of powers can be combined to create unique effects.

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Olvand's combat system works with powers which can be combined, and guns which can be customized so they work exactly like you want them to. A video and a more detailed explanation.

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In [the last gameplay demonstration] I included some fragments of two duels between me and my friend. Now that Olvand is getting some more attention, I thought it would be a good idea to show the complete battles. There are some things in the video I'm not happy about (the hud freezes from time to time, and the duel mechanic is also still a little bit buggy, the music doesn't change to something more exciting), but it works:

I can imagine, however, that you might be confused about what you're actually looking at. I tried to explain it a little bit in the other video, but I never gave the details. Until now! Olvand's combat system works with (1) powers which can be combined, and (2) gun customization.

1. Olbs and combinations of Olbs
Olbs are magical spheres which can be found around the world. Some are rare, others are more common. I've got six different types at the moment, but I plan to add much more (20-40). Every Olb does something special; there are no Olbs that do damage and nothing more. There are three categories: red ones, which cannot go very far but are generally very powerful, blue ones, which have a long range but are less effective, and green ones, which have positive effects instead of negative ones. I've read discussions about the Holy Trinity (tank, dps, healer) and how people don't like to be forced in one of these roles all the time. This is no problem in Olvand: if you want to be a healer, you pick the gun which you filled with green olbs, if you want to be a tank, you pick the gun with the red ones, if you want to be a hybrid or some role you created yourself... you get it.

So far, things are pretty simple and straightforward. It gets more interesting when you start to combine Olbs. Some combinations are simple additions (stun + damage = stun that does damage), but most offer you a new effect that neither of the original Olbs had. For example, the freeze Olb (simple stun) in combination with the heal Olb (increases health) freezes your health, which makes you invincible for a few seconds. Pretty useful if you want to a conquer the main hill in a particular minigame! See the videos for more examles.

At this point you may wonder if this combination system wouldn't take years to make (with only 20 olbs you already have 190 possible combinations)... but the anwer is no. It's just an matter of writing flexible code. If I for example wrote some functions for creating a wall of iceblocks, I can easily reuse this code for a wall of mines or fires.

2. Gun customization
Gun customization works with a system inspired by Blender's node system. I like to think of it as a simple drag and drop programming language. It works by putting in little machines called Olbifiers, which have inputs and outputs. These inputs and outputs can be connected to each other by cables. My guess is that most players will use Olbifiers to make their lifes a little bit easier: you can for example build a system that does some combining automatically (so there's no need to click multiple times, which gives you a time advantage over your opponent), or a system which quickly fires two or three olbs after another (an olb that stuns followed by an olb which does a lot of damage, for example). But much, much more is possible. You could for example build a gun which fires a unique Olb for every possible combination of keys, which gives you a massive amount of attacks to pick from (if you can remember all combos), or a close range gun which changes into a long range gun if you hit a particular combo. I imagine your gun will gradually evolve, and become more and more complicated. This could be the gun of a pro:

Finally, I am well aware that balancing all this is going to be crazy complicated. Although players with smart gun builds should have an advantage, I want no gun to be the 'ultimate gun', so lots and lots of playtesting is required. That's where you come in ;). I already did some playtests with friends and family to fix the worst problems, but I expect there is much more. So don't be too happy when you created an undefeatable build, because I might nerf the olbs or the combination of olbs, increase the cooldowns, or create something to counter your build the next day. Being undefeatable might be fun for you (although it gets boring after some time), but is incredibly frustrating for others. And the wish to create a fun game, that's of course what started this all.

If you want more development, see [twitter] or [facebook].


The background music in that video was soothing, maybe too soothing for what was actually going on; but the game is still in development so I understand.

The weapon customization is brilliant! Though, it sure does look daunting. I appreciate your inspiration from Blender's node system, well done.

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Woseseltops Author

Yeah, definitely. Rewatching the video doesn't recreate that thrilled feeling I had during the match at all. But I'm currently composing some battle music, so things will change!

And it indeed looks very daunting (in particular the pro gun I showed), but everybody who tried it understood it in less than 60 seconds or so. So that won't be a problem, I hope :).

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