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Thread: 1:1 input response in Dark Souls

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2013

    1:1 input response in Dark Souls

    I've been thinking about Dark Souls lately and why I've been so indifferent towards the series despite being a big fan of older From Software titles. I've played all the games except DS3 one time each, and enjoy them but never have the desire to replay them, and I think it's because of the lack of interaction between player and game while waiting for long animations to complete.

    The amount of effort the player puts into controller inputs should more closely match the amount of effort the player character in exerting on screen. What form this would take is debatable, but instead of the player tapping a button and then putting up the leg rest on their recliner while the super slow 1 second attack animation plays out, the game could instead require the player to hold or mash the attack button depending on weapon weight/attack direction. This could also naturally lead to new mechanics, like performing feints with lighter weapons. Does anyone else agree or am I wrong?

    Also, just to preempt anyone that somehow tries to spin this into a "get gud" argument, I am better than you at videogames. The only Souls boss that I don't have a single digit death count on is Ornstein and Smough (12 deaths or so). So I don't want to hear any nonsense about getting gud.

  2. #2
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    Quote Originally Posted by yxlplig View Post
    So I don't want to hear any nonsense about getting gud.
    ...how about "up your skillz, brah"?

  3. #3
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Australia
    Apart from Fancy Pants in DS3 (which I never use anyway) I can't think of any animations that take longer than a half second or so. There are some ultra heavy weapons that have slow movements, but that seems fitting given the tradeoff between damage versus speed.

  4. #4
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    I think Dark Souls is actually more realistic in a sense, considering that it doesn't allow you to swing all these heavy weapons around without committing yourself to the action. For instance, if you swing a sledgehammer at someone's head, you're not going to be able to suddenly change your mind after the swing, or take 5 steps back a quarter of the way through the action when you've already thrown yourself forward. Swinging a light sword, a sledgehammer, or anything that weighs more than a couple of pounds takes a lot of physical effort to do. The most you can do is force yourself to counteract the momentum you've invested into the swing, slowing it down slightly mid arc. You can't just interrupt it on a whim.

    I think DS taking this into account is one of the many reasons why its combat feels so much more visceral than other games. It's not a 100% perfect simulacrum of reality or anything, but it does a good job of creating the illusion that everything has a weight and heft to it.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2013
    Even if the animations are only 0.5 seconds, the point I was trying to make still stands. Even then, it takes me around 50ms to press a button, then I wait and do nothing for 450ms for the attack to complete. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great in concept, I'm saying if they are going to make a game like this there should be more input required from the player. Whatever the actual figures are, there is was feels like an eternity of dead time in the combat. They could have further developed this by requiring more inputs.

    What represents swinging a greathammer better: pressing a button once and waiting, with the onscreen character who is obviously exerting themselves greatly, but the player only being involved in the first 10% of the effort? Or, pressing a button to initiate a swing and continuing to mash it through the entire animation? Lets say 16 button presses equals maximum damage, less reduces your damage. Lighter weapons with faster swings and less recovery time, perhaps a button hold would be better. If this is how Dark Souls worked, I would also use words like visceral to describe it, but as it is it's more like a character action game in slow motion.

  6. #6
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    The thing is, you're arguing against the core concept of the entire series. It's not about hammering buttons as fast as you can. It's about being forever alert, and knowing when to swing, and when to hold back. If that ain't your thing, then it ain't your thing.

    Though I notice you said you haven't played DS3, which speeds everything up by what feels like a good 50% or more. And there's Bloodborne, which is like DS on Adderall spiked speed.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    To me, personally, what you describe here sounds awful. 16 button presses equals maximum damage?

    It seems maybe you just don't like Dark Souls very much. That's okay. You don't have to justify your not liking it to us.

    I love the slower, heavier, more deliberate feel the game provides as is. But you don't have to like it as much as I do.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2013
    16 button presses equals maximum damage?
    The exact numbers aren't important, but you're right that's too much. If we're assuming a 0.5 second swing it should probably be more like 8-10.


    Demon's Souls was my favorite. I played Bloodborne too, easily my least favorite in the series. I guess it is a faster paced game but it still suffers from my previously mentioned complaints.

    If anything goes against the core concept of the series, its being able to swing a massive weapon by leisurely tapping a button one time. My proposed change would not alter the pace or timing of the combat, nor would it increase the speed at which you can attack. I'm proposing that the game be exactly the same as it is now but with the player having to make a physical effort that is more commensurate with the effort that the character in game is putting in. That's all I'm saying, all the things you say you like about the series I like too.

    Obviously you two aren't feeling my idea which is fair enough. Maybe someone else can add their opinion and hopefully address my main point more directly.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I don't think there's a lot of difference between having to press a button once or twice or eight times as far as it represents swinging a weapon. Hmm... maybe they should replace the controller with a giant hammer that you swing around in your living room. I mean, otherwise all you're doing is sitting your ass on a couch and leisurely tapping eight times on a controller while the weapon swing plays out.

    Maybe spectacle fighters would be more your cup of tea in this regard.
    Last edited by Starker; 7th Nov 2017 at 02:59.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2013
    Gentleman, obviously I'm expecting way too much from an internet discussion, but when I said "Does anyone else agree or am I wrong?", I was hoping for more interesting responses. Something like:

    "No, you are wrong. One button tap is more than enough to convey the inertia involved in swinging a 75 pound weapon. Reference Game A that tried what you are saying and it was bad. Also because of Reason B and partially Reason C. Furthermore it's actually better that 90% of your attack is spent watching the game instead of interacting with it because of Reason D."


    I don't think there's a lot of difference between having to press a button once or twice or eight times as far as it represents swinging a weapon.
    There's a huge difference. Not many games do it but there are some character action games where combos end with a button hold and release. Sajima in the later Yakuza games is built around this. Compared to something like Godhand, Yakuza is not an exceptional brawler, but this particular concept works and it feels like you're really blasting people with your charged up punches, and it's conveyed both physically as well as with what happens on screen.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    What would be the point of trying to convince you, really? Obviously, you have your set of preferences and that's fine. You do you.

  12. #12
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Australia
    I don't think that it's a great mechanic for DS based off the aforementioned points, but it could work on a fighting game designed to make use of slower animations, particularly if coupled with the ability to alter the end point of a strike mid-swing. But I do think that you would have to slow it down a fair bit otherwise it would turn into a mashfest.

  13. #13
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    No, you are wrong.

    What do people expect from a computer game ? Should it be a game like darts, where aim is the whole experience, where aim is everything ? Should the challenge be in how well you control your muscles ? Should the combination of button presses be as complex and long as possible ?

    I don't think so. I don't like that kind of a challenge.

    For me, when I play a game, the most interesting aspect is the new world I am in. The simulation part. My character is me. That's why I like 1st person better than 3rd person. That's why I like to play a nameless nobody in stead of a named hero. In games like The Witcher, Dishonored, and even Thief, you play someone else. Not yourself. But also not a real alter ego. You play an existing character (real or not real). In other games you get to play a character you create yourself. World of Warcraft, Skyrim, Dark Souls. Sometimes you are still the hero, but at least you are you. Not a king, not a historical figure, not a hero.

    Why is this related to the topic of this thread ?
    When I play a game, I want my character to do what I want her to do. Just like in the real world, I don't have problems doing complex interactions (making a cup of coffee), I don't want me alter-ego in the game to have problems doing simple things. I want her actions to be as easy and fluid to execute as possible. I want to be able to communicate to my alter ego with the least amount of work what I want her to do. One button press. The challenge should be in deciding where I want to stand. Not in which buttons to press to make her stand there. If I want to use a specific attack, I should be able to press a single button to make it happen. Not jump through hoops or mash my buttons for a second to make it happen.

    If the order and duration of button presses matter, then that will probably be different in every game. That means for every game you have to develop muscle-memory to play the game. I hate that. I would prefer to have every game feel the same. So I can easily switch between games without that awkward feeling that you can't do the easiest movements unless you practice for a bit. Complex interaction makes me feel clumsy. E.g. I though it was terrible that I couldn't make most jumps reliably in the Dark Souls games. (I finally added a keybind to make my fps in DS1 go from 60 to 30, and suddenly every jump is easy). Did hard jumps make the game more challenging for me ? More exciting ? Heck no. It was just frustrating. The same is true with complex or longer button presses. I would only be more frustrated because a boss killed me because I wasn't able to press X 5 times a second.

    I like the slower pace of combat in DS games. It forces you to think. It does not force you to depend on your instincts.

  14. #14
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    Quote Originally Posted by yxlplig View Post
    Gentleman, obviously I'm expecting way too much from an internet discussion...
    We could call you, like, mean names and stuff if you want.

  15. #15
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    It's an interesting idea for sure. Games already have you hammering X to pry open doors and whatnot, and having a similar input system on combat, where exertion = power of the attack is something I haven't seen done yet. I think in practice it would quickly get annoying though. Try playing something like Hammerwatch, which has you mashing the attack-button pretty much nonstop, and your thumb will be aching after a couple levels.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2014
    Play a fighting game instead?

  17. #17
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    I played a MMO where you had to hit a button for every swing with your sword. Multiple buttons to make combos. I can't remember which one it was, maybe Vanguard or Age of Conan. But now that I remember that, I also remember that combat in that game was very obnoxious. I didn't play that game very long.

    When I play a game, my mind wants my character to do things. The least amount of buttons I need to press to make my character do that, the better. The game should be about what I want to do, not about how good I am at pressing buttons in the correct order.

    (And yes, as I've stated before, the difficulty of combat in Dark Souls is not something that I think makes the game better. Not for me. I like the world, the atmosphere, the emptiness, the silence. Combat is just a necessary evil to move through that world).

  18. #18
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Australia
    Ah ha! I’ve found the perfect answer. Now I understand the vision.


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