Zeltima Ulda is a game of platforming, adventuring, and skillful combat. Freely explore the non-linear world and discover your own path through the game. Engage in combat in which blocking, dodging, and correctly timing attacks matters. Find hidden villages, explore forgotten fortresses, and learn secrets from townsfolk. The world in Zeltima Ulda is dangerous and will require skill to master. It will be difficult, but you will succeed. You must.
Zeltima Ulda is a platformer RPG focused around a skill based combat system, in this overview, I'll go over the basic combat system and design philosophy to that system.
Posted by Squibbons on Mar 13th, 2014
One of the key elements to Zeltima Ulda is it's skill based combat system. Designed around games like Zelda II and Dark Souls, the core concept is simple, allow for an extremely skilled player to be able to actively fight every enemy in the game without taking damage.
One of the tenants of the game's design is that all enemy attacks can be dodged or blocked and have some form of foreshadowing or pattern, giving the player who is paying attention time to react accordingly.
Basic combat for the player involves blocking and attacking. Attacking and blocking are always done at the same height, so if the player is blocking high, they will attack high, and if they are blocking low, they will attack low. A simple concept that is easy to learn but can be difficult to master when facing aggressive and intelligent AI.
While Zeltima Ulda is intended to be a difficult game of skill, there will be a curve, and all new features and enemies will be introduced to the player in a clear manner. Enemies will start off simple, and each new attack type and style will be introduced one at a time, allowing the player a chance to learn the skills required to tackle the more difficult AI found in the harder areas of the game.
The enemy combat styles in the game will evolve over time. Early on some enemies may only attack high or low, or may not move much, while later ones will be able to block and attack at separate heights while hurling projectiles, countering the player's actions, and even possibly learning from it's successes and mistakes when fighting the player. Yes, one of the goals of the game is to test AI that learns how to exploit the player's weaknesses and/or strengths, but that is for another article.
It is not only AI that improves and gets stronger further into the game though. As the game goes on, players will learn new attack styles and moves. Other forms of attacking and blocking are being tested, such as the ability to block/attack upwards for any downward falling projectiles. The goal for all of these will be to make sure the controls feel intuitive and responsive, and that the player isn't accidentally entering blocking/attacking stances they didn't intend to.
In Zeltima Ulda when the player takes damage or dies while fighting, they should feel as if they were the one to make the mistake, and that they can get better and conquer the challenge.