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April 7th, 2014, 19:03
Pyrodactyl Games has posted a new update for Unrest with news from EGX Rezzed, and goes into detail about how the games combat will work.


Combat in videogames is a funny thing. Since direct physical conflict is simple, exciting, and translates universally, it's been one of the staples of nearly all genres of game since the medium's inception. There are plenty of genres where you do little but fight things. For every other genre, it's generally a question of whether you fight a lot or a little.

And it's kind of strange that we've decided that roleplaying games are one of the genres where a lot of fighting is expected--or even demanded. Because while there's nothing wrong with lots of fighting, there's also nothing wrong with not lots of fighting…which is something we almost never get.

For every minute RPG protagonists spend discussing current affairs with aristocrats, haggling over supplies, or trying to boink party members, they spend anywhere from twenty minutes to several hours hacking their way through hundreds of men, beasts, and monstrous creatures that all presumably wish their day had gone differently.

And sure--there's not a lot of wit in pointing this out. Obviously the higher volume of combat is a game abstraction, just like the inventory system doesn't really capture the sublime subtleties of keeping one's after-battle snacks in a different pouch from the harvested bloodpig gallbladders. It was never intended to be realistic. It's supposed to be fun. And while that's totally okay, what it simulates makes the player act and think in very specific ways that deserve analysis.

Let's try to look at personal combat from a realistic perspective for a second. Bear with me here, because I promise I have a more nuanced point than "this is how things work in teh real worlds" coming up here.

As a fun exercise, imagine you round a corner and see two people with swords trying to kill each other. You don't have any prior information, and for the sake of argument the anachronism doesn't really register with you. Also for the sake of argument, you know they're not high, drunk, or insane.

Let's examine what assumptions you can draw about this scenario from a glance:

  • This is dangerous. One of them or very possibly both of them are going to be killed. SO:
  • Each of them must think they've got a good chance at winning. If either of them thought their chances of losing were as low as 49%, they would have either avoided this fight or run away instantly. THEREFORE:
  • The actual odds of either party winning are probably in the ballpark of 50-50. Obviously one of them has a better assessment of their chances than the other, but reasonably speaking, if they're both still swinging away gamely a few seconds into the fight, they're about evenly matched.
These three very reasonable premises lead us to one conclusion: they've probably been in very few fights like this before. In fact, they've probably never done this before. People who get into lots of one-on-one fights that they have a fifty-fifty chance of winning don't last very long.
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April 7th, 2014, 19:03
I read the whole article from their site. Interesting take and I tend to agree with and endorse it. Would be fun to try a game with it implemented.
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April 8th, 2014, 04:43
His spiel sounds great. Curious to see the implementation, as that's what really matters.
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