Friday, May 21, 2010

Balancing combat is hard, Let's go shopping!

It is amazing how difficult it is to balance the numbers that underlay combat. I've been messing them for a few hours now, and I have the game currently somewhere between Crawl and the "Nightmare" difficulty in doom. I can't get past the first level most of the time, so it needs some toning down obviously. A few thoughts:

  • Splitting HP into a regenerating and non-regenerating part is working great. For me, it makes the initial part of combat not-painful, as I don't feel like I'm burning non-replaceable resources (if hp didn't regenerate). As combat continues, it gives me a reason to finish quickly as soon as I get near the end of my stamina bar. If I let it continue past that, I start taking damage that won't regenerate easily.
  • Right now, allowing the player to rest after combat along with tough monsters makes the game feel like you're the little guy against the big army. You have to slink away after taking a guy or two down and rest before more find you. I've caught myself finding corners and cracks in the wall to press myself against before I hit '/' to rest to decrease the chance of a wondering monsters from finding me mid-heal. 
  • In the next iteration, I have a rough idea how to model things like sound, smell, and visual changes due to battle. That will make monsters even more likely to stumble upon the player while he's resting. I'll have to tie that along with a system to keep some enemies grouped up, so groups don't turn into hide around a corner and pick one off at a time. 
  • I've been tempted to go play a video game tonight instead of doing the work on my own, hence the title. For those who don't get the humor of the title, see here.

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