Category Archives: Combat Systems

Designing Silicon Void’s Combat, Part 2: Critical Eye

Last time, I described how I designed Silicon Void‘s turn clock in response to what I perceive to be flaws in Chrono Cross‘ combat mechanics. In this post we finally leave Chrono Cross behind and look at a mechanic that has an entirely different inspiration. Besides the upcoming enemy turn… Read more »

Designing Silicon Void’s Combat, Part 1: Clockwork

Since the main selling point of Silicon Void (play the demo!) is the combat system, I wanted to spend some time digging into the rationale behind its mechanics. Two general principles guide my thinking about turn-based combat: Every action you take should have multiple consequences, allowing novel scenarios to emerge from a limited… Read more »

Chrono Cross Mechanics Pt. 5: Odds & Ends

In this final article on Chrono Cross combat mechanics I want to touch on various Element effects that aren’t related to directly dealing damage or healing. With such a large mechanical “surface area” there are numerous opportunities to design situationally useful abilities that let the player and the AI manipulate the… Read more »

Chrono Cross Mechanics Pt. 4: Colors

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“Elemental” damage is a fundamental concept in RPGs: it gets pretty boring pretty quickly if your one attack is equally effective against all targets, so games will typically have several different categories of attack that are differently effective, giving you a slightly more interesting choice to make. In Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei franchise, exploiting elemental weaknesses… Read more »

Chrono Cross Mechanics Pt. 3: Elements

Elements are all the abilities a Chrono Cross character has other than basic attacks and defending. They include everything an RPG usually categorizes as “magic” – attacks, healing, buffs/debuffs, status effects, summons – as well as consumable items and special mechanics like stealing items. In a game full of weird, unique… Read more »

Turning Points

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After 5 years of having a proper job, I’m working on a new indie RPG. As you know from reading my (apparently annual) posts on this thing, I’m interested in older JRPG combat systems, especially from series that have been dormant for 10-15 years. I recently replayed Xenosaga Episode I to refresh… Read more »