TADS Combat System

I’m mulling over a possible combat system in TADS which will aim to turn combat encounters into a form of puzzle. I haven’t done any coding for it yet, but mostly planning out mechanics and trying to optimize the number of verbs it would create to lessen the potential learning curve.

Right now, the system will have gun-based combat in mind (clearing doorways and rooms, suppressive/covering fire, cover, area control, grenades, combat mindsets and goal setting, etc)

Wondering if anyone else has already done something similar before.

EDIT: What I mean by “combat mindsets and goal setting” is I’m pondering a way to preempt the combat system with how your character is planning to approach the upcoming turns, and that will provide nuance for your actions, which will allow the combat system to use fewer verbs, and let more verbs be synonyms.

For example: “FOCUS ON SPEED” followed by “GO NORTH” will have the character prioritize movement over target acquisition and firing, so when entering a room, any shots fired at enemies will likely miss and suppress instead, but the character will reach the nearest covered position in less time.

However “FOCUS ON AGGRESSION” followed by “GO NORTH” will have the character enter the room and immediately start firing. If there is just one enemy, then this works because the enemy will be dropped quickly. If there are multiple, then at least one enemy is sure to be dead, but the others are now firing on a character that wanted to fire before moving.

I could implement this instead of entire verbs like “CHARGE NORTH” and “STRIKE NORTH”.

This is just in the spitballing phase, so I’m likely to think some of my ideas here are dumb later, but just posting this clarification.

EDIT 3: Okay, gave it some more thought. I feel like the first priority is that the player should have a variety of solutions, and should have the tools to know which one is the correct one before entering the combat encounter. I don’t want to player to have no idea what’s going on and have to solve it by repeatedly dying and using UNDO. If adding more verbs to the system avoids that, then that’s the priority. Second priority is reducing verbs as much as possible. Third priority is making sure there isn’t only one single verb that can solve every problem; there needs to be an element of logical reason from the player. Fourth priority is keeping some semblance of sensible tactics that would be practical in actual firefights, and use narrative bridging to help this along, if necessary.

1 Like

It’s not in TADS, and it’s more about close-quarters combat than ranged, but you could check out Kerkerkruip (Homepage, Source Code), which is an IF roguelike with the explicit design goal of making combat interesting and tactically challenging.

@VictorGijsbers describes some of the thoughts that went into the design here: Lapis Philosophorum #2: Short versus long term advantages

3 Likes

Just had a moment to read this. This is reeeeaaaaally smart! I should also try playing this one lol

1 Like