Most action-games, even the ones set in fantasy-environments concentrate on ranged weapons, or do have only a very limited support for non-ranged weapons, limited moves, thrusts and slashes. More so if they're first person perspective. Most RPGs on the other hand just display some pre-defined moves, according to whether the agent hits or not, which in turn is mostly defined by the stats of the agent and some dice. This essay will present you with an action-oriented alternative combat-system for first-person perspective-games
Real medieval hand-to-hand-combat is completely different than what ever is depicted in movies or computer-games. The aim is to incorporate these realities into a game-engine.
[If you're objecting now, you're probably wrong. If you're not practicing medieval armed combat and regularly wear armor, you most certainly are]
Here we look at the technical needs to incorporate this into a game.
For ranged weapons, its simple. You target preferably a weak spot of your opponent, and on a hit, your arrow or whatever will maybe hit some armour, pierce it or not, and inflict a wound.
For hand-to-hand combat, you use your mouse. left button slahes, right button thrusts; and it does it when you release the button, thus making it possible to direct the weapon with movements of the mouse while holding down the button. Its possible in that way, not only to direct your weapon exactly to where you want to, like a thrust into the eyes, but also to counter a thrust with a slash.
The weapons will of course have different mass and impact, thus making it possible to pierce a plate armour with a lucerne hammer, or to thrust through chain-mail with a one-and-a-half-handed sowrd.
Fatigue will be essential, making people wearing heavy armour or other load tired and slow down very fast; opening the possibility for lightly armed fighters to win nevertheless, even when one has to hit one small weak spot in the enemys armour.
A further idea for more realism is that, poeple having mass, you can define that some armour has sizes. Maybe three sizes for chain mail, but very fine-grained sizes for plate armour. This way, most plate armour found would be useless and could only be sold. This also balances the inflation of armour.
To slay a wolf, you just target the wolf, go near enough and thrust or slash anywhere. You could target the head or try to sever one of its legs. The wolf isn't armoured, so it doesn't matter too much where you hit.
To fight a barbarian which wears a chain mail gets a bit more difficult. Will you try a thrust to his head, or maybe a slash to his legs, where he is unarmoured? Or maybe just thrust anywhere, in the hope your long sword is able to pierce his armour?
The knight in plate armour is a very dangerous opponent. You could thrust to his axles, or maybe run around him in order to make him tired (and then thrust), run away, and so on.
Peter Keel, 04.11.2004