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Combat design


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Hey all,

haven't been active in posting but read most of the stuff here ;)

I was reading this article the other day from Benson Russell about Uncharted 2 Combat Design and I was wondering if you guys know any other good reads about Combat/Encounter Designs? I've googled around but coulnd't find that much about it.


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Indeed good reads!

What I'm curious about is what makes a good or "fun" encounter?

Ofcourse good and fun are hard to describe in actual facts but I wonder if there are any things in combat design that are needed to make it fun or to make it as fun as possible.

According to the Anathomy of a Combat Zone it must contain:

  • - Support for different play-styles

  • - Enough space to maneuver

  • - Defensive cover having different height, sizes and density

  • - Elevation

  • - Risk and reward (places that are risky to get to offer a reward in a way like overseeing the whole combat zone)

These tell us what the layout should contain but what about the most important thing for combat design - Designing the actual combat ?

What makes a good encounter A.I. wise? Is it the difference between close- mid- and long range? Or is it the amount of enemies, the speed of the waves or the difficulty?

And the most important thing: What makes an encounter unique? And will your encounter be reminded?

Any thoughts about this would be appreciated ;)

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Designing in a vacuum is fun if you're not looking for practical results, or writing for gamasutra, so knowing what exactly you're designing for is going to determine what your requirements are and how to go about setting up a space. If you're just doing this as an exercise, maybe find a game to start with and build out from there. What makes a space work is going to be different from game to game, so there's not much sense in a collecting a bunch of general guidelines for 'game encounter' design.

Unless you're teaching a class on this, in which case, generalize away.

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It really depends on the setting you have to work with. From my experience I can say that there will be no fun gameplay when the game mechanics are bad. Actually combat design is the last thing made but all the other stuff like model props, game mechanics, even music should be designed to work perfectly with core gameplay.

Try to create a scene with orange boxes, arrange a little combat there. Play it without a voice. It will work and can be fun but it's still not good enough. After creating the environment the scene will be complete...

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