12 (and a half) Hours total work time:
Rudimentary combat system: check.
Updated demo version here:http://www.vitruality.com/Stuff/Version0.2/PlanetApplet.html
You can now shoot stuff and punch stuff, and there's a (currently deactivated) robot for you to try both of those out on. Left click to move, right click to shoot. Move into an enemy to attack in close combat. Actual damage isn't implemented yet, so you can smack that poor robot around all day if you want to.
I've been giving the way I want the combat system to work some thought, particularly with regard to an issue which I think tends to pop up quite often in games with both melee and ranged combat. Specifically, how do you balance the two?
In the real world, guns are just better. The guy who can shoot you dead from cover from half a mile away has a distinct advantage over the guy who has to run right up to you and pummel you with his fists for a couple of minutes until you lose consciousness. In a game, however, this is a bit problematic: how do you get the player to use the nice melee combat system you spent so long programming when nobody in their right mind would realistically choose to do so?
Some games of course are fine with this (most FPSs, for example) - saving melee as either a weapon of last resort or for the occasional contrived 'oops, I lost all my weapons' set-piece. But things like RPGs, especially those where you can create a purely melee-orientated character, have a need to balance things out a little more so that either option becomes viable. This tends to get done by nerfing the ranged weapons down to the level of water pistols - so that melee-orientated characters can shrug off a few hits before they can get into melee range and start causing damage themselves. But, in my opinion at least, this tends to make the ranged combat in these games a bit dull (especially where two ranged-combat-oriented characters face-off), because each shot counts for so comparatively little.
For this game I'm taking a different approach. Considering the sci-fi setting I'm fine with most disagreements being settled by ray-gun - so ranged weapons will be generally more powerful and more useful - but I still want to give melee combat some distinct tactical uses. As well as the more usual disadvantages to guns - requiring ammo, having a lower to-hit chance and so on, there's going to be an important mechanical advantage to melee. As with most roguelikes, each character can only perform one action per turn - so you can either move or shoot, then the other guy gets a turn, and so on. But, you can move a couple of spaces at a time, and if you perform a melee attack as one of those moves, it still only counts as one action. As a bonus, anybody who has just been hit by a melee attack can't fire a ranged weapon on their next turn.
This is a really simple mechanic, but I'm hoping it will add a bit more tactical depth to a lot of common situations in the game.
For example: imagine you are low on health and just around the corner from an enemy with a great big gun. You could step out from behind the corner to get into a suitable position to shoot him, and then wait for your next turn to actually take the shot. But in between then and now he's going to have a chance to blast you with his mighty cannon, and you better hope he misses...
Or, you could leave your shoot-o-matic laser pistol in its holster and instead charge around the corner at full speed and rugby tackle him to the ground. You'll have done some damage immediately and removed his ability to blow your brains out, but of course with some other issues to deal with; you have to actually beat him in hand-to-hand for starters, and then you may ultimately have left yourself more exposed to his buddy further down the corridor...