Meanwhile, back in the lab - Combat Technique Design

I can't help but notice, as I look around, that everyone is super busy working on a thing you all might be waiting for. You know what that means?

There's still no one to stop me from telling you about my day! Muahaha!

So, allow me to once again hijack the shiny train and discuss one of my favorite topics: Combat!

Last time I spoke about combat, I took some time to explain how much positioning, especially of the camera, matters in combat. But one of the things I didn't touch in that conversation is that how your character moves through a fight matters to feel, too. There's a momentum and a weight to attacks that bring with them a sense of inertia. Your attacks can pull you through the space of a fight, or you can try to rigidly control your movement through a fight to maintain a tactical advantage.

In fact, part of a combat consideration for a fighter involves using the attacks you know to move you or your enemy in a way that grants you a superior position. Whether that's knocking an opponent off their balance so they have to take a step back, or deflecting an opponent's attack to move them out of position and create an opening, positioning is a major piece of what dictates success in a fight.

It probably comes as no surprise, given what I've just said, that we spend some time "shopping" our attacks before they ever make it to the game proper.

Before we even get to this level of pre-alpha: Sword and Shield Attack

We start back in the Fight Lab, with something like this: Mace and Shield Combo

Most of the momentum of the attacks don't exist yet at this phase, which lets us play with the attacks to figure out where we'd want them to move us in the fight, and determine whether that actually reconciles against the attack's visual language. When they don't match up, the attack feels wrong in a subliminal way that is far easier to feel than it is to see on paper, or probably even in a gif. But, because of that, we can quickly vet whether a rough combat animation is going to work before we take the time to build in the motion and weight that makes an attack feel right.

It really goes back to what I was saying last time: Taking the time to think about feel early is important. It feeds into all sorts of other aspects of the game. If the only way to make the momentum of an attack feel right is to move you into a position that doesn't fit the overarching style we're building for the attack, or if it just results in an untenable tactical position for the player, we won't include it.

In this particular case, checking the feel isn't just an "it'd be good if we did this" sort of thing; it's literally how we get to the in-game attacks you saw at the top of this post from this: Attack Tree Diagram

Thanks for letting me talk shop a little, I do hope you enjoyed it!

Stay shiny, Elyrians! :)

  • Snipehunter
4/5/2019 1:10:10 AM #1

Nice :)

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." - Robert Frost

4/5/2019 1:11:30 AM #2

That actually looks pretty good, miles better than a lot of MMOs on the market already.

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4/5/2019 1:13:06 AM #3

Now we need throwing knives :D




4/5/2019 1:14:02 AM #4

Keep up the good work :)

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4/5/2019 1:14:34 AM #5

Looking good!

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4/5/2019 1:14:36 AM #6


Count LizenÇace VeLeîjres of Mydra's Crossing, VII of the order of the IX.

Order of IX

4/5/2019 1:17:02 AM #7

Hmm, snipe by chance have you played kingdom come deliverance ? that had a pretty nice method of combat to it.

4/5/2019 1:17:24 AM #8

Can't wait.. will the hit boxes be realistic? like if I hit them in the shin will his leg get knocked out from under him as opposed to his whole body flying backwards like he got kicked in the chest..

4/5/2019 1:17:45 AM #9

Idk why exactly, but I got Absolved vibes all the sudden.


"As man seeks justice in equality, so society seeks order in anarchy"

4/5/2019 1:19:41 AM #10

I like the camera angle you've gone with. Sequences look good so far as well. The thing I enjoyed the most is your gleeful "While the cat's distracted the mouse will play" attitude lol!

Posted By Snipehunter at

There's still no one to stop me from telling you about my day! Muahaha!

4/5/2019 1:21:07 AM #11

Posted By zimmah at 6:14 PM - Thu Apr 04 2019


Based on personal fight choreography I'd guess CC= Center Center, CU = Center Up, RD = Right Down, RU = Right Up.

4/5/2019 1:21:18 AM #12

Not to bad mate I see love it.

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4/5/2019 1:21:43 AM #13



4/5/2019 1:22:11 AM #14

I'd love to see styles which try to accurately emulate real fighting techniques. Twirling around for a shield bash might look cool, but realistically you're just conveniently pulling your shield out of the way to give your enemy a nice free shot at your back. How nice of you.

Realistically the mace user wouldn't just 'stop' his momentum on a missed swing, he'd curve the trajectory and swing again from the opposite angle, he might even spin his weapon with his wrist to further preserve momentum until he'd inevitably connect. This is done to relieve strain on the muscles from missing & constantly having to stop the weighted tip of your weapon, pulling back, & swinging again. Very taxing.

Skallagrim, a historical martial arts fanatic on youtube, has an amazing explanation of this mechanic.

4/5/2019 1:25:50 AM #15

I am SO happy to see effort being put into making the weight and sequence of attacks actually mean something.

I've played some games lately with fancy flashy attacks but it feels like they are just flitting a weapon made of cardboard around that just happens to make the target sustain damage. It feels fake and really detracts from wanting to engage in combat at all.

As mentioned, it's just as important for the reaction to taking those hits, or dodging, or blocking, or parrying. I hope defense gets the same attention, and I imagine it will.

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