Advanced Sword-Combat System (Help welcomed)

Hey UE4 community!

This is just an overview of the general gameplay mechanics of the combat and locomotion system I am working to achieve. Let me know what you think of it!

The main reason I designed this system was because I felt that sword combat was something that many games have not done correctly before, and I love melee combat.

It is made to have a good balance between realism, control, and fun. It is also not style or technique specific, so it can be used with many weapons across any time period. It is also not a simulation, so historical accuracy may not be 100% in the techniques used, but it is generally what people expect when they think of sword fighting. Players can control directions of swings, parries/blocks, while targeting an enemy.

It is used with a 3rd person system that is broken up into 3 main states of locomotion, controlled by the left trigger of a game pad.


1st State:
Standard or Directional movement. This is the characters default state. (Left trigger completely unpressed) The character can move in all directions, and turns to face the direction of movement. (pressing forward on the left thumbstick moves character away from camera, backward moves him toward camera while facing it. )

2nd State:
Strafing or Aiming movement. (Left trigger partially pressed) The character turns to face in the direction the camera is facing, and can strafe in all directions. Rotating the camera will rotate the character. The camera also becomes slightly offset from the character, so you can see more of what is in front of him. An aiming reticule would appear to assist in targeting, which is the next state.

3rd and Final State:
Targeting or Combat movement. This is where the combat system comes in. (Left trigger completely pressed) Whatever the camera was looking at in the strafing state (using aiming reticule), whether that be an enemy or another object, will become the characters orbit point. This will “Lock-On” to or target anything the player wants. (Character can now orbit an enemy by strafing left or right, and either move closer or farther away, but always face the enemy)

Camera movement will also be locked, with the camera focusing on the target while also staying behind the character and moving with him. (Since the right thumbstick is not being used, because the camera is locked, It now becomes the method for deciding swing or block direction)

Combat System

(When 2 characters are “Locked On” to each other, they can fight.)

8 directions of swinging, and one stab. (both heavy and light attacks for each direction)
8 directions of blocking.

**Controls: **

Right Trigger - Initiate attack (quick press for light attack animation, hold for heavy attack animation)
Right Bumper - Block (assume a defensive stance)
Right Thumbstick - Decides direction for both attacks and blocks. Pressing a direction on the thumbstick will be the direction of the swing. Example: pressing left on the thumbstick will result in a right to left swing, down on the thumbstick would result in an overhead swing from top to bottom. Blocking is the same way. Holding the right bumper and pressing a direction on the right thumbstick will result in a block in the direction of thumbstick. Example: An enemy swings at the player with an overhead strike. The player must hold the block button while pressing up on the right thumbstick to block the enemy attack. (defenders weapon or shield must connect with the opponents weapon to disrupt the swing)

Since the face buttons are still completely unused, they could be used for a variety of things such as kicks or grabs.


This system would allow for very complex and interesting fights, without the need for a ton of flowery animations such as combos and a multitude of counter-kills to keep combat from getting repetitive.

This system is open to improvement, as I only outlined the very basics, but I do believe that keeping its core mechanics is important.

Animations could be either weapon specific or weapon type specific (one hand, two hand, polearm, or spear types), as long as they have the basic attack directions and blocks. This way any weapon could be fought against with any other weapon, and still work with the system. (Also, some weapon advantages would naturally occur, as a shortsword has less of a blocking area then a longsword, and things like that.)

Another major improvement would be adding physically based animations and interactions with the weapons and characters. This could pose as a great challenge, but would greatly increase its realism and fun. Inverse kinematics on the arms and upper-body could be implemented to modify swing heights and such, and allow the interactions between weapons (for example 2 swords colliding, or a strike landing on a shield) to be realistic and flexible. Other games have done this already, however I don’t know UE4s capabilities or limitations when it comes to this matter, but I’m pretty sure its possible. (fingers crossed) The best example I could think of would be the game in development called SuiGeneris or its little brother Exanima, which is being developed by Bare Mettle Entertainment. They have implemented a completely physics based animation system, which is pure gold.

While I have not mentioned some extra features I have planned for this, hopefully this will give you an idea of what I am trying to accomplish.

Let me know what you think! Also, Id love to have any help from anyone who wants to see this become a reality!

Cheers, KingTumTum101

Really impressive. I also think that its necessary.

Is this for a dueling game? Because lock-on combat doesn’t work well outside of duels.