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Tactical / Strategy RPG - Part 1

Greetings everyone. (Happy Mother’s Day to you mothers out there…)

I have been reading forum posts for RPG Maker, Unity, Unreal Engine, and CryEngine over the last couple months. I can’t help but notice that there is a large need and a large void for things such as tactical / strategy RPG’s. If you are unfamiliar with what this genre entails, I’ll list a couple for you. The purpose of this post is to finally determine and put into action what is needed to form one of these games. It would seem that so many individuals have started making games in this genre but then abruptly disappeared.

Todays post will focus on a couple things:

  • Giving examples of what a Tactical / Strategy RPG is.
  • Covering an Isometric Grid.
  • Combat.
  • Referencing A.I.
  • Enabling G.U.I.

Tactics Ogre
Final Fantasy Tactics
Fire Emblem

There are a couple of games coming out in this genre that look promising… In a way…

Arcadian Atlas
Hartacon Tactics

What makes these games great? A lot. Let’s start from the top. Combat.

Combat
Combat takes place on an isometric grid, with several tiers of environment.

Example: Buildings

http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/finalfantasy/images/f/f0/Magic_City_Gariland_1.gif/revision/latest?cb=20120910224153

Example: Cliffs / Hills
lutra2.gif

This grid, as shown by the pictures, generally takes place on a 2D or 3D isometric grid map. The map itself can give one side a tactical advantage. Seeing as how FFT (Final Fantasy Tactics) incorporated different attack distances based on job class (ranged, mage, melee, ranged melee [lancer]) as well as move/jump distances based on job and equipment (teleport / increased jump). Much in the same way, Tactics Ogre, as well as FFT, had several flying characters or classes. I am referencing Tactics Ogre here because one of the main characters was a flying champion.

So, obviously, one of the first things one would want to do is to set up some type of grid. A grid where you can set the height of objects / have different elevations, have certain areas that either increase move distance (grass) or slow move distance down (sand), as well as having objects that cannot be progressed through (deep water).

Grid
Using assets that are already created, one could say that setting up the grid is basically done. Just have to add different meshes and textures to this design made by Knut. With the minor amount of time I have been able to test this asset out, it would appear you are able to do a lot of what I have mentioned, in relation to the grid system itself. The beautification of the grid is something completely different and there are plenty of assets to pull from for beautification. Something that sparked my attentions was this:

http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53ccb489e4b0881d48be2fcf/568645511115e06a4a1708eb/5686455625981d3d91219452/1451640155081/2DIsoStarter_02.jpg?format=1000w

Okay, we possibly have a grid system for combat to take place on.

Moving on to more of the combat side of it.

Those who love these genres pride themselves on their ability to use a combination of different characters and abilities in combat. I think Final Fantasy Tactics did a phenomenal job at this. Encompassing 30+ jobs each with their own facets. Obviously, that is one of the most complicated issues, balancing jobs / equipment / levels / enemies / etc.

My questions in the area of combat, looking at a small portion of it, is there a blueprint / design available to:

  1. Determine what the A.I. does.

For example, RPG Maker has this:

maxresdefault.jpg

They have an easy system where you can determine the general stats of the enemy (HP/MP, accuracy, defense, elemental resistance, etc.) as well as determining how likely an enemy will use a certain ability on a numeric scale as well as unlocking new abilities based on HP - mainly good for boss fights.

Unity has this application:

http://forum.unity3d.com/attachments/eventeditorsmall-png.84654/

While I have only used Ork Framework through the video tutorials online, it seems to have plenty of issues. But, the focus of posting it is referencing the GUI system it has.

  1. Create Animations.

Animations is one of the things that seem to have several free and paid applications. Such as:

Motionbuilder
Mixamo

While this genre of game does not tend to have hundreds of animations from the character they do tend to have a multitude of spell / ability animations. Assets of this nature seem to also be available, mainly in the paid sector. But, the nice thing is, there are several free “tween” applications that help you create your own spells / ability animations.

Is there a specific plugin or program that anyone would recommend that would assist with the ease of the spell animations?

  1. Character HUD

A character HUD usually appears when in the options menu or party menu of games. Such as:

c6caf3138bff946cdc75f5a80964663b1a940c31.jpeg

3be7ce71d15584d41b92a5bc5a27f9ef6b451c50.jpeg

But, also, in this genre, the HUD appears in combat. Such as:

620e7ede7aacdc22d0854a014f1c46797ea0b3dc.png

af3f3dafac1884750c280b4eef4f6d727eb4d148.jpeg

  1. Character Stats

In almost every RPG, the individuals with the best equipment and abilities win the fight. In this genre you can change the tide of the fight based on the strategy of your movements as well. But, character stats are very much an important factor.

With that being said I have not seen a lot of blueprints or assets available for character/class creation and progression. I have seen a few, however.

  1. Classes / Abilities

Summary
What does part 1 entail?

  • Isometric grid system
  • A.I.
  • Turn based combat on the isometric grid
  • Character Creation
  • Character Animations
  • Spell Animations
  • Character HUD

I have no issue paying for assets / help that will assist in this creation.
How would I put these ideas into UE4?

Thanks!

  • Bear

well i have the same problem. im not an experienced game programmer and i struggle a lot when it comes to implementing my ideas. there is no tutorials for spesific topics but seperately. and the the tutorials are really beginners level and wont apply to real life situations.

Start by picking up the Advanced Turn-Based Strategy Toolkit. It solves a lot of the above mentioned problems.

Pick it up here: https://www.unrealengine.com/marketplace/advanced-turn-based-tile-toolkit

We’ve been very happy with it.

We’re building an isometric strategy game too - maybe we could exchange ideas?

That would be nice! I am using the same toolkit, as well :slight_smile:

I will release a Turn Based RPG template in December. It has AI, turn based combat, abilities, stats, cool animations for Boss intros and spells. You can follow it from this topic: