Kickstarter Special: Combat

Kickstarter Combat Special

As if the dangers of airless vacuum, cosmic radiation, and de-pressurization risk weren’t enough to worry about, life among the stars also entails the hazards of combat! The galaxy is a rough place, especially since the Catastrophe spread hardship all over. Even in deep space, violence is once again a fact of life. As a result, today’s blog looks at Tau Station’s combat system. Listen up, Citizen, and you may just learn something that saves your neck!

Combat in Tau Station is turn-based. There are two broader categories, depending on whether you’re fighting another player (so-called PvP combat), or a programmed enemy known as an NPC (‘non-player character’). Fights with the latter are known as Player vs. environment (PvE) combat. Let’s look in more detail at each category.

Player vs NPC Enemy (PvE)

Combat against NPCs can take many forms. There are lots of named NPCs inhabiting stations. Many of these can be attacked; even without pretext if you’re inclined to such behavior! Be careful however. Some named NPCs have missions to offer which will be lost if you eliminate them.

Single Player PvE

Apart from attacking named NPCs there are also specific areas on each station where PvE combat can usually be found. For single-player PvE combat, The Wrecks area of the Ruins offers so-called ‘sewer campaigns’. To complete a sewer campaign you’ll have to fight your way through a sequence of enemies, one-by-one, to earn rewards and experience. But if all that sounds like hard work, this area also lets you fight only a single enemy by using the ‘look for trouble’ feature.

New player vs player combat in action

Coop PvE

For those who are part of a syndicate, there are multi-player PvE campaigns to be found in another area of the Ruins; the Wilds. You’ll have to co-ordinate with your teammates to tackle a sequence of enemies within a limited time-frame. If successful, you’ll obtain experience and special loot which is only available in this way.

Each syndicate member can only fight one enemy at a time, so be sure to think about which pairings make sense (clue; don’t send you weakest member to fight the toughest enemy!) Combat is always one-vs-one, and a campaign is basically a sequence of multiple one-vs-one fights. You’ll need to plan your collective approach strategically to succeed!

Player vs Player (PvP)

While you always have the choice about whether to initiate PvE combat, the same can’t currently be said for PvP. The galaxy is a dangerous place. Other players in the same station area can attack you at any time, or you them. This goes for all public station areas. Private areas such as your hotel room or your private ship are safe however.

Thankfully, there are also other safeguards. Each station has a Law and Orwellian level, indicating how strict local authorities are, and how much surveillance they use to catch rule-breakers. Attacking other players on a station with a high Law and Orwellian levels – such as the game’s starting location – is a risky prospect which often ends in the Brig. On such stations, you can go about your business relatively free from the risk of PvP attacks.

For trips to less well-policed destinations (i.e. stations with low Law and Orwellian levels), you may wish to consider hiring a Bodyguard to watch your back!

There’s one more important thing to consider with PvP. The game’s mechanics discourage ‘Griefing’ (i.e. continually attacking other players over and over). For example, players who regularly attack others will find that their in-game reputation score suffers. This makes it harder to negotiate cheaper prices for goods in the market. Just like in real life, a good reputation makes life easier and more fun!

The combat system

Whether you’re fighting another player or an NPC enemy, the combat mechanics work in the same way. Combat is turn based, with each participant having the same number of turns as the other. It comprises a long range and a short range phase. As part of the next update, you’ll have the option to move from one to the other by using either the ‘rush’ or ‘retreat’ options. If things are going badly, you can also try to flee at any time.

Combat success comes down to the quality of your equipment (e.g. weapons and armor), the level of your starting stats which affect how much damage you can take – and how much you can dish out, and any special skills your character has picked up (e.g. by completing combat courses).

Combat uses your physical stats of strength, agility, and stamina, and if any one of those falls to 0%, you lose the fight. Those defeated in combat end up in the sick bay needing to spend time recovering from injuries. They may also find that their credits wallet has been looted by the combat winner (but there is a silver lining; at least equipment and bonds cannot be looted!).

A visual demo of combat

The video below shows a work-in-progress for our new combat system, due  to launch as part of the next update. You can see the two combat participants on either side of the screen, their stats and gear. The outcomes of attacks are shown just below the stats, along with an attack animation.

We still need to address a few things (including sound FX) but hope you enjoy seeing the work-in-progress!