Mass Effect MU*?



  • @shelbeast said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    So, i've never seen/played with FS3. I hear about it a lot. It seems like it's really ONLY good for firearm combat. I've heard that it doesn't do melee well. It doesn't do magic. It doesn't do this or that.

    I think it does melee (and small vehicle combat) decently enough for modern or futuristic settings. What it's not made to handle is feudal/fantasy combat (swords and horses and stuff). There are hacks out there that try, with varying degrees of success.


  • Coder

    @ganymede

    Sometimes the best way to help is to appear that you didn't do anything at all.

    ;)


  • Pitcrew

    @Ganymede is right that FS3 is pretty much awesome for Mass Effect -- and @Tat is right that there are some weaknesses. I don't know of any way to do combos without a) the GM hand-tweaking things when they come up, or b) adding a system where certain attacks added statuses to their targets. But tech attacks and many biotic powers can easily work under the attack/suppress/distract/subdue system as is. With Ares, shields/barriers can easily be handled with the new Armor Specials. The best way that comes to mind for handling the fact that some weapons/powers/abilities work best against armor/shields/barriers is to have a weapon special for all weapons called Match that provides some extra penetration. It's a little cludgy and requires players and GMs to be on their toes, but it would certainly work to represent Warp vs Armor, Shield-Piercing Ammo vs Shields, etc.


  • Pitcrew

    @three-eyed-crow said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    @shelbeast said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    So, i've never seen/played with FS3. I hear about it a lot. It seems like it's really ONLY good for firearm combat. I've heard that it doesn't do melee well. It doesn't do magic. It doesn't do this or that.

    I think it does melee (and small vehicle combat) decently enough for modern or futuristic settings. What it's not made to handle is feudal/fantasy combat (swords and horses and stuff). There are hacks out there that try, with varying degrees of success.

    I think it also depends on how much you want your combat system to be your absolute and total authority, and how much you want your GMs to be able to be like 'you know what? I screwed up with that NPC and these results are stupid and I'm changing them'.

    The further you go from the intended design, the more willing you have to be to just fall back on GMing when something doesn't work as you meant it to.

    Like, the one time I made a different NPC type to represent giant alien bugs, it turns out I made their armor a bit too thick and I did some modifications on the fly. Or the time my NPCs were statted higher than they should have been and kept crushing my PCs, so I modded them down. Occasionally I've flat out ignored the results of rolls (always in favor of players vs NPCs) to keep the scene moving.

    If you're willing to do that sort of thing, your options are much wider.


  • Politics

    @shelbeast said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    So, i've never seen/played with FS3. I hear about it a lot. It seems like it's really ONLY good for firearm combat. I've heard that it doesn't do melee well. It doesn't do magic. It doesn't do this or that.

    That's what Faraday says. She built it for standard pew-pew games. But it still has armor and melee weapons, as well as firearms and grenades. A number of us disagree with Faraday's assessment as to her combat engine, but I'd be the first person to say that her engine would need tweaking to handle non-modern combat simulation.

    Still, even were I to magically get mad code skills, I'd still call the system "FS3" in honor of its creator.


    @tat said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    But then you get into the idea of shields and barriers, and the fact that some characters and skills are largely built around dealing with these. FS3 has no way to deal with shields and barriers, and you'd probably have to cut those abilities from your canon if you want to use it.

    I thought about this, but I think you could modify the existing code for combat. For example, combat/treat is used to heal injuries in combat and revive people for a period of time. That command could be cloned and slightly altered to augment a PC's armor. I don't know if it can be done, but if Faraday's code is easy to modify -- I have no reason to believe it can't be -- I don't see why it isn't possible. Maybe not now, but maybe a bit later.

    I don't think combos are going to work, or would be too complex to make the time investment worthwhile.

    On A&O, we used the ME3 multiplayer skill list because it was varied, but also small enough to wrap our head around, and we didn't have a combat system so it didn't matter whether things worked there or not. We saw a really varied display of types of players. Everyone got three powers, like in MP, and no two characters were the same. It was actually super interesting watching people play with their strengths and learn how to build via teamwork.

    It's going to work a bit different on this game.

    The centerpiece is going to be the company's resource management engine, something that keeps track of the PCs' contribution to the team. It will be the driving factor that motivates players to put their PCs into combat and take risks. At least, that will be the goal.

    As far as skills go, I envision Action Skills being similar to BSG:U, with a few things swapped in and out. There'd probably be a "Biotic" skill, along with a few "harvesting" and "crafting" skills relevant to the resource management system. But it won't have the "special skills" that you see in ME games.

    I mean, this is going to require some work, yes. But Faraday's supportive of efforts to use her new system, and I'm hoping we can build on that. If you and @Three-Eyed-Crow, and anyone else, are on board to help out, then I think we can start considering a schedule.


  • Coder

    @shelbeast said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    Why hasn't someone just come up with FS4 or something? Take the general concept of FS3, if not the code, and create something similar that can handle these other things?

    Pardon the tangent... Mostly the whole reason people use it is because they either don't have a coder or don't want to go through the trouble of coding an entire system from scratch. I mean really, that's the main appeal.

    3rd edition, which is in Ares, does melee combat a lot better than 2nd. It has armor specials which give you more armor flexibility for things like shields, and lets you augment melee damage with strength, and smooths out some goofiness with the way defense skills worked, adds a distract action, etc.

    What it flat-out doesn't do at all is magic. Mostly because there's no satisfactory way to do that generically. It's always going to come down to how do you want magic to work, which will result in custom attack actions, custom damage effects, and so on that will inherently vary from game to game.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday I would say that -combat- magic works fine. I would even say that non-combat magic outside of combat works fine too -- it's usually just a skill roll. What doesn't work very well is non-combat magic in combat. We had several hacks in for it on The Fifth World, but they weren't great, and weren't often used because you had to look at a Compendium on the wiki to use them, rather than just setting a combat action. It's definitely possible to do non-attack/defense magic this way in combat, but it's clunky, and gets back toward the WoD/Saga method of doing combat, which involves a good deal more back-and-forth between player and GM, plus more waiting for rolls and for the GM to resolve them.


  • Pitcrew

    @ganymede said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    I thought about this, but I think you could modify the existing code for combat. For example, combat/treat is used to heal injuries in combat and revive people for a period of time. That command could be cloned and slightly altered to augment a PC's armor. I don't know if it can be done, but if Faraday's code is easy to modify -- I have no reason to believe it can't be -- I don't see why it isn't possible. Maybe not now, but maybe a bit later.

    Armor and shields are very different things, primarily because of the re-gen factor. It's not actually the augmentation that's difficult, it's the taking down shields and barriers, and the possibility to re-generate them. For example, one of the primary uses of overload is to fry shields in one fell zap. You can take that aspect out, definitely, but for me that's part of why I like about Mass Effect.

    I hesitate to call myself 'a coder', but I have written code and messed with customization in FS3. Adding what is essentially regenerating HP points could be done, but it's not a minor change. It's the bit that keeps hanging me up (that, plus I'm not ever going back to MUSH if I can help it, so I'm waiting for Ares).

    It's going to work a bit different on this game.

    The centerpiece is going to be the company's resource management engine, something that keeps track of the PCs' contribution to the team. It will be the driving factor that motivates players to put their PCs into combat and take risks. At least, that will be the goal.

    As far as skills go, I envision Action Skills being similar to BSG:U, with a few things swapped in and out. There'd probably be a "Biotic" skill, along with a few "harvesting" and "crafting" skills relevant to the resource management system. But it won't have the "special skills" that you see in ME games.

    Are you envisioning 'biotic' as the skill and specific attacks/abilities as weapons? That will work for many things, but not all. Maybe it's not an issue if you're willing to cut out anything that deals with shields and barriers. The sort of 'special skills' you're losing vs those you're keeping will definitely have a huge effect here.

    I think there's a thin line between simplifying the gameplay and losing a lot of the flavor of what makes ME fun for a lot of people. It's sort of the catch 22 of setting a text-based game in the world of a game that is designed to be.... well. A game. We're never going to match those mechanics.

    That said, sometimes mechanics have a lot of weight in canon, too. For example, there's a balance in terms of keeping enough biotic stuff to make the general feel and history of biotics make sense, while keeping it doable in the system.

    For me, playing combat on AO was often really freaking fun because of the wild stuff we could do with ME's skills. I'm not sure how much that could've been pared down to get a similar effect.

    I mean, this is going to require some work, yes. But Faraday's supportive of efforts to use her new system, and I'm hoping we can build on that. If you and @Three-Eyed-Crow, and anyone else, are on board to help out, then I think we can start considering a schedule.

    If I weren't on board building a different game, I'd be all over it. I'm pretty sure people will hit me over the head if I take on two, though.

    That said, if you do end up on Ares and you want any help doing things like breaking the web portal in new and interesting ways, let me know.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    3rd edition, which is in Ares, does melee combat a lot better than 2nd. It has armor specials which give you more armor flexibility for things like shields, and lets you augment melee damage with strength, and smooths out some goofiness with the way defense skills worked, adds a distract action, etc.

    Wait wait. 3rd edition has SHIELDS? Is there a place where I can read more.

    My level of excitement just cranked to 11.


  • Coder

    As a coder, what I would do is just add a separate health track called Shield/Barrier which was controlled either by a biotic barrier skill, or a piece of equipment. Then I would tweak the combat code to hit that /first/ before affecting health. They would have a recharge time in rounds, etc.

    All of this is moot, because I do not know Ruby, but that is how I would attack Shields and Barriers.



  • Best thread necromancy ever!

    Let's call it a resurrection.

    Listening with rapt attention.

    Particularly interested in the kind of incentive @Ganymede 's planned resource system would give players.


  • Coder

    @lithium said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    Then I would tweak the combat code to hit that /first/ before affecting health.

    Yeah I have no idea how ME shields work, but assuming "generic energy shield" sort of behavior, I'd do something similar. Start with a number of shield points, tracked like ammo. Recharge value would add back so many shield points each turn. Damage would subtract shield points based on damage level. When the shield reached 0, the shield would go down and the damage would go through.

    Or something like that. You'd have to touch a couple code functions but it wouldn't be too bad.

    @tat said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    Wait wait. 3rd edition has SHIELDS? Is there a place where I can read more.

    It's not quite done yet, but there's this new thing called "armor specials" which work like the new 3rd edition "weapon specials". They can augment protection or (in the next patch) defense. So a shield special could give you a bonus to defense rolls and some extra armor on your arm. A helmet special could give you armor on your head. You can also, of course, code in whatever special coded effects you want.

    @seraphim73 said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    I would say that -combat- magic works fine. I would even say that non-combat magic outside of combat works fine too

    Depends on your definition of 'fine' really. If you treat them as skills and/or custom weapons, then yeah. But there are so many different ways to represent magic and/or superpowers: skills/powers/gear, learned/innate, leveled/unleveled, etc.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    Yeah I have no idea how ME shields work, but assuming "generic energy shield" sort of behavior, I'd do something similar. Start with a number of shield points, tracked like ammo. Recharge value would add back so many shield points each turn. Damage would subtract shield points based on damage level. When the shield reached 0, the shield would go down and the damage would go through.

    Or something like that. You'd have to touch a couple code functions but it wouldn't be too bad.

    Yes, this is how ME shields function (and biotic barriers, too), and that's how I'd do it, too. With the addition that certain skills can recharge you to full.

    @tat said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    Wait wait. 3rd edition has SHIELDS? Is there a place where I can read more.

    It's not quite done yet, but there's this new thing called "armor specials" which work like the new 3rd edition "weapon specials". They can augment protection or (in the next patch) defense. So a shield special could give you a bonus to defense rolls and some extra armor on your arm. A helmet special could give you armor on your head. You can also, of course, code in whatever special coded effects you want.

    Oh good, I feel a little less bad about missing it in the documentation, then. ;) I look forward to it!


  • Politics

    I'm going to glaze over a lot of the engine-specific ideas, because @faraday's got it covered and I wouldn't know what I could add to the conversation except --

    -- yeah, damn right! Uh -- yeah.

    @tat said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    Are you envisioning 'biotic' as the skill and specific attacks/abilities as weapons?

    Two questions here. I see "Biotic" as an Action Skill, just like Melee and Firearms. When you talk of specific attacks/abilities, I presume you mean things like "Carnage" and "Marksman." Unfortunately, I don't see a place for those specific powers on the game, but FS3's combat has things like "aim" and taking aggressive combat stances that serve as a substitute. With my custom system, I had those abilities in there, but I'm willing to sacrifice it for the wondrous combat engine.

    That said, if there were a way to code it easily? I'm all for it.

    I think there's a thin line between simplifying the gameplay and losing a lot of the flavor of what makes ME fun for a lot of people.

    I'd like to think that what makes ME fun is one of two things: (1) the fast, FPS action; and (2) the interesting setting. I don't think a MUSH is going to be able to compete with the real game for (1), but it can get a bit deeper for (2) due to its nature.

    If I weren't on board building a different game, I'd be all over it. I'm pretty sure people will hit me over the head if I take on two, though.

    Depending on the timeline, maybe you could come on board when it's all done. There's a lot to be said about planning, and I'm a planner.


    @godot said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    Particularly interested in the kind of incentive @Ganymede 's planned resource system would give players.

    So, I think @Sparks had this concept, but I was working on something similar and I don't mind stealing good ideas (as long as credit is given).

    For the games I've enjoyed, one of the things staff did with code, participation, or stories is get you, the player, to feel like you're affecting the environment. As a casual gamer, it can be difficult sometimes to find 2 hours to play through a good scene or get involved in a PRP. It's a sucky feeling being on an awesome game, but never being able to really sink into it because you don't have the time, or the popular times for the playerbase are outside of your available times.

    But there are games out there where, if you even have 20 minutes on a day, you can have some involvement. On Arx, you can learn secrets and pass them on for a price. On Requiem for Kingsmouth, you could assist territory-holders in defending their borders or taking over other territories. You just needed to be present for a roll, or to plug in a command. And that's it: you've made a meaningful contribution without having to spend hours on end.

    A group resource management engine can do this. It manages not only commodities and currency, but also time.

    In the case of this game, the Company (I'm going to capitalize it because it's special) is the focus. PCs go on missions (PRPs) for resources or credits. PCs can individually devote time (as the only renewable resource in the system) to obtain resources and credits. Resources and credits are used to fund projects, to which PCs can devote time to accomplish, or to purchase other resources and necessities. Or to craft them. Finishing assignments from NPC Company Heads may increase a PC's status. Or time can be used to train and gain XP.

    It's really just a commodity tracking system. I'm not sure where to begin to code it, but I don't think it would be as complicated as a combat system.

    Why is this important? Well, suppose you played a doctor for the company. You'd probably be sucky at combat, and only brought along to do some occasional healing. But that doctor could also use her time to research, develop, or improve the company's medi-gel efficiency, which might increase how much a medic-type can heal with the 'combat/treat' command in the combat engine (it would require staff to tweak the command a bit, but so be it). All of a sudden, your doctor concept becomes very important to the team because you're the one keeping them in the fight. Or maybe your technician innovates and improves a weapon.

    And so on, and so on.


  • Pitcrew

    @ganymede said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    I think there's a thin line between simplifying the gameplay and losing a lot of the flavor of what makes ME fun for a lot of people.

    I'd like to think that what makes ME fun is one of two things: (1) the fast, FPS action; and (2) the interesting setting. I don't think a MUSH is going to be able to compete with the real game for (1), but it can get a bit deeper for (2) due to its nature.

    I will say that this thread got a bunch of old A&O players reminiscing, and one of the common threads was how badass people got to feel on that game. So I wouldn't actually discount the idea that exploring creative combat in an exciting way is something to drop by the wayside too quickly.


  • Politics

    @roz said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    I will say that this thread got a bunch of old A&O players reminiscing, and one of the common threads was how badass people got to feel on that game. So I wouldn't actually discount the idea that exploring creative combat in an exciting way is something to drop by the wayside too quickly.

    I don't mean to. Frankly, I like the FS3 combat engine. A lot. It's pretty badass. But until I crack it open and figure out what it all means, I don't think I can promise everything. For all I know, I could end up being a wiz at it, and devil-hack a bunch of special abilities.


  • Pitcrew

    @ganymede I'll come ST for you once you get to that point iffen you'd like. I won't really be down for administration or whatnot, but I'll run scenes and plots and combats and things. I've got itches to run some spacey sciencey stuff.

    Edited to fix the spelling of one of my made up words.


  • Politics

    @sunny said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    I'll come ST for you once you get to that point iffen you'd like. I won't really be down for administration or whatnot, but I'll run scenes and plots and combats and things. I've got itches to run some spacey sciencey stuff.

    All the STing! But if you want sci-fi, try BSG:U? It's sci-fi-y. :D


  • Pitcrew

    @ganymede Not quite my thing. Tag me when you're to the point you need me with your place. <3


  • Coder

    @ganymede said in Mass Effect MU*?:

    Unfortunately, I don't see a place for those specific powers on the game, but FS3's combat has things like "aim" and taking aggressive combat stances that serve as a substitute. With my custom system, I had those abilities in there, but I'm willing to sacrifice it for the wondrous combat engine.

    Having only played ME for about an hour before it started collecting dust on my shelf, I can't really comment on the specific abilities.

    In general, though, adding new combat/foo actions in Ares is pretty easy, and the tutorials will have instructions for how to do that. There are certain generic system behaviors that are easy to hook into - modifiers (initiative, attack, defense, damage), doing damage, healing, and certain pre-defined special effects (like stress or shrapnel). It's only when you want to do something really unique - like a tazer that stuns you for three turns and then reverses itself, or a superspeed power that gives you two attacks - that you're going to run into hideous code obstacles.


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