Fighting System for Computer-Games

Realistic Arms- Armor- and Fight-Models


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.

  • Armour is as light as possible, designed to be as much as
    protective as possible against specific threats and weapons. Chain mail
    for instance was designed against slashes, but not against thrusts.
    Armour is also nearly impenetrable against those specific threats. You
    cannot, for instance, pierce late medieval plate armour with a bow or
    light crossbow.
  • Arms are as light as possible as well, and change with time
    to accomplish a very specific goal, to inflict damage to a very specific
    target. A flail is only useful against opponents wielding shields, but
    in that case very much so, because you can hit them behind their shields.
    A lucerne hammer won’t inflict more damage than a sword, but is able to
    penetrate plate armour, thus only appeared with the appearance of plate
  • Style arms and armour dictate how you are able to fight. You
    can’t just bang on plate with your sword and hope to break it some time.
    You could try to thrust into weak spots instead. There is no “parry” or
    hard block with weapons, instead real medieval combat focuses on
    counterattacks or avoidance.
  • Damage is primarily done to the opponent. The chance of
    damaging the armor in a way that it isn’t protective anymore is
    about null. But the armour will afflict your damage if not cancel
    it altogether. As part of a simple damage-model, fatigue could be
    used, thus making wounded agents slower. In extreme cases, limbs
    could be severed, limiting the physical possibilities of the agent

[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.

  • 3D-Engine Most basic. Mort probably any good one will do,
    focus on large seneries is best, as well it should be able to handle
    a great many objects with different textures (or shaders to accomodate
    for the lack of textures).
  • physics-engine is probably the most important part. Not only
    it has to apply phisics to normal objects, but also to players, and most
    importantly to weapons as well. It also needs the capability to define
    objects which can damage other objects, namely cut and pierce according
    to with which force/speed it is applied.

How it works

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,


Comments are closed.