Developer Insight #4 - Actions in battle -

Discuss about all general topics which belong to SpellForce: Conquest of Eo

Moderator: Forum_Manager

Post Reply
User avatar
C oNe
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu 3. Nov 2022, 08:15

Developer Insight #4 - Actions in battle -

Post by C oNe »

Time for action!

Honorable Mages,
as promised, today we're going to take a deeper look at our combat and action system that is at the core of our battles. It's a little different from what many games do, so bear with us for a moment.

Basically, all of our units have three actions, represented by the little yellow diamonds below the health bar. Each turn, each unit can use up to two of them for movement, with the distance depending on the unit's movement range. The remaining action can be used for a defensive "take position" action or an attack. If you don't use the actions for movement, you can use them for attacks, spells, or other abilities. These always consume ALL remaining actions, and this is where we already differ from many games: We use what is called the 'Committed Action System'.

So when you decide to cast a spell or attack someone, you automatically spend all your remaining action points on that action, fully committing yourself to that course of action. In the following illustration, the necromancer apprentice has just cast a spell to heal the skeletons above him, leaving him with no further actions.


He could have spent two actions to move and still cast the spell, but once he casts it, he is "bound" and spends all his remaining actions. Now, if the skeletons decide to attack the paladins to their left, they will fully concentrate on the attack and spend all three actions on three attacks on the troublesome humans.

This makes combat much smoother and faster than counting action points, but still leaves plenty of room for maneuver. You don't have to decide what to do for every single action point, and you focus your attacks on one enemy. However, this also means that you have to think about which target to choose.

In melee combat, each additional attack results in a counterattack that costs the defender action points. Action points are not refreshed on YOUR turn, but at the beginning of a full turn - so at the same time for you and the enemy. So you effectively have three actions to split between movement and attack or defense - if you attack, you can't keep points for defense, and vice versa.

At first glance, this seems like just a way to speed up combat, but it actually opens up a lot of tactical depth: first, players can flank the enemy (which allows them to attack without being countered) or position their units so that they have a longer range (but watch the zone of control, or you'll suffer free attacks from the enemy) and still attack, or retreat and prepare a defense for the enemy.

Players also decide when to launch an attack or wait for the enemy. However, if the enemy attacks first, they will use up your action points by simply attacking your unit with three attacks - resulting in all points being spent on that melee counterattack and none left when it's your turn.

Of course, you can do the same with them: Surround a large, strong troll with hordes of undead and risk a few of them (which you can easily replace by summoning new undead) to keep the enemy occupied permanently and give you free attacks once the troll's actions are exhausted. This way you can control which of your units take damage and prevent strong individual units from using special abilities that can destroy your army.


This opens up new tactical effects - smaller units surrounding a larger unit can effectively pin down the large unit with repeated pin attacks rather than a simple exchange of melee attacks, and players must be careful not to expose their frontline units to an enemy swarm.

Defensive positioning is also important and can be improved by setting up next to inaccessible areas (such as rocks or buildings) or barricades (which some units also summon but can be destroyed), creating choke points or safe zones for ranged fighters to get behind, as seen in the following image where the Minion unit behind the fence can safely shoot the firebugs on the other side with their magic bolts.


Through our system for bound actions, flanks/control zones/blockers, and the way actions are refreshed, action points become part of the tactical considerations in combat, allowing you to control the flow of battle, use superior positioning to your advantage, and make unit numbers interesting beyond just dealing damage. And yet, the action remains fluid and fast. We look forward to you trying it out!

We'd also like to tell you a bit more about the game world and our main opponents: The Circle of Mages. Here's a little preview of one of them. Meet: Ianna, the singer.


More about this next time 😊.
Official THQ Nordic Moderator & SpellForce Freak
Post Reply

Return to “SpellForce: Conquest of Eo - General Discussions”