Content of the article: "Thoughts on how Skyrim VR’s melee combat could be improved by using a Morrowind-style “attack charge” system."
Now that we have a mod that adds hand physics interactions to Skyrim VR (just released today,
), along with the improvements that VRIK adds, the only major thing left that could use a lot of improvement in my opinion, is the melee combat.
The other day, I was thinking about potentially better ways one could implement melee combat in VR. Most VR games use "weighted" combat, such as Boneworks or Until You Fall, where the weapons lag behind your actual movements to give them a feeling of weight. While it definitely feels better than the weightless melee combat in Skyrim, it still feels weird not having the weapon swings directly match your movements. This train of thought led me to thinking about how Skyrim VR's combat could be improved.
The solution I came up with is a "charging" mechanic, where you ready the weapon by raising it at a realistic speed (raising it too quickly will cause it to not gain enough charge), then swing to attack.
Funnily enough, this is similar to how Morrowind's melee combat worked. With this method, you are essentially roleplaying that the weapons have actual weight. While it may sound silly at first, this method allows you to naturally get a feel for how long each weapon needs to be charged through simple muscle memory as you use it. In my opinion, this would be more intuitive and less jarring (and possibly easier to implement?) than weighted melee combat.
For feedback, I looked at Sword Art Online for inspiration. As you ready the weapon, it will begin to glow and hum, both increasing in intensity as it becomes charged. When fully charged it will blink and make a ping sound. There would be an alternative, "immersive" option that uses haptic feedback. The vibration would increase in intensity as charge increases. When fully charged, the vibration stops for a brief moment, then gives one intense pulse. Of course, you would be able to mix and match the three settings (sound, glow, and haptics) along with their intensity to your liking.
Here is a quickly edited sound effect from SAO to give you a really rough idea of what I mean: https://streamable.com/ovnzm8
How much damage you do is determined by the charge level:
- 25% charge or less – No damage. Weapon glows red.
- 50% charge – 25% damage. Weapon glows orange at >25%, yellow at >50%, and green at >75%.
- Damage does not scale linearly from 26%-99%, but increases the closer it gets to max charge.
- 100% charge – Full damage. Weapon glows white.
For additional complexity, you could also add different attacks and weapon type bonuses. Drawing inspiration from Morrowind once more, here is how it could work:
Slash: A horizontal or diagonal attack that has good balance between charge speed and damage.
- Swords and axes deal additional damage with this type of attack. Swords get a stronger bonus to charge speed, while axes get a stronger bonus to damage.
Chop: An overhead strike that deals the heaviest damage and has the longest charge time.
- Maces and hammers deal additional damage with this type of attack and have an increased chance to knockdown.
Thrust: A stabbing attack that has the fastest charge speed and deals light damage.
- Daggers deal additional damage with this type of attack.
- Blunt weapons deal reduced damage, but have a high chance to stagger.
I just want to point out that I have zero experience creating mods for Skyrim, so I have no idea to what degree any of this is possible. I wrote this in the hopes that someone could use this idea as inspiration for a future mod. Let me know what you think!
Hopefully sometime this week I will try to create a mock-up video (I've never added visual effects to a video before so I'll need to figure out how to do that). Keep an eye out!
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