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  • Writer's pictureSlaveyko Slaveykov

Combat Breakdown!

Hello everyone! It's me, Mr. Slate! Today I'm sharing a bit of a breakdown of the combat system in our Action RPG.

Hopefully you've already seen our combat system already but if not - here it is in action:


We're going for a very simple layout with two main portions.

Combat (left image) and Input and Stats (right image):

In the combat portion the player's name, avatar, life bar, status bar, clock, affliction counters and move indicator are on the left. Enemies get the same elements on the right except for affliction counters. The versus screen before fights is designed to imply this left/right arrangement. The move indicator (pair of six circular panels) flash at the beginning of moves to show what move your character and the enemy are executing. The blue button in the top left is the combat pause menu. We're still designing it but it'll have a few options relating to combat.

The input/stats portion is at the bottom of the screen. Stats shown are your character's health and stamina as well as a stamina bar. The blue button in the bottom is for two handing the item held in your main hand. This does change moves' length and damage slightly as you would expect. The buttons on the left are move categories. You have Attack (top, swords), Defence (middle, shield) and Belt (bottom, belt). Each category button when pressed presents three options on the right. The buttons on the right execute moves.


Before I continue I should elaborate on how moves are handled in our game. Every character has at most nine moves available to them at any time in combat. Three attack, defence and (none to three) belt moves depending on how many items you have equipped in the belt. You can see these moves when you inspect held or consumable items.

Every held-type item has at least six moves - three attack and three defence. Some held items have a special hidden move only available when two handing. Items held in the main hand (or your bare fists) always determine your character's attack moves. Items held in your off hand determine your defence moves unless your character is two-handing the main hand item. In this case the main hand item defence moves are used instead, and a special move replaces the item's second defence move.

Every consumable item can be equipped in a belt slot and has a unique move. There are three belt slots meaning up to three possible belt moves in combat. Belt slots can be left empty or can be emptied by use during combat.


Clocks are by far the most unique part of our combat system. Both the player character and enemy have one. Each clock has a hand represented here by a triangle at the top of the clock frame. The hand stays idle at the top when no move is executing. It travels around the length of the clock frame when a move is in progress. The hand shows what stage the move is in and applies damage or effects when it hits a pin.

The clock represents the different stages of a move through time and coloured pie sections. Every move has a unique length and combination of stage lengths. Most moves have at least one pin. A pin represents the point at which a damage or effect is applied to the opponent. To the right is shown the execution of a heavy attack, featuring the damage pin which is arrow-head shaped.

To the left is shown a parry move, which uses the effect pin which looks like a bright grey bar.

There are five possible move stages:

  • Wind Up - transparent black, before Main stage;

  • Vulnerable Wind Up - solid blue, can stagger the opponent using the kick move;

  • Main - no colour, dodge invulnerability-frames;

  • Parry Window - solid green, can parry opponent's attack move using the parry move;

  • Wind Down - transparent black, after Main stage, we are planning a backstab-opening mechanic for this stage but it's still in the design stage;

Timing your character's moves to interact with the opponent moves is key to the combat system.


There's a lot more to cover here! Please join me next week for part 2 where I'll talk about afflictions, statuses, ranged attacks, the blocking implementation and more!

Have a great week and I'll see you next Monday!

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