Game Design for Lone Wolf Combat System – Combat Openings

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One thing that I learnt from research and analysis for the design of the combat system for “Lone Wolf: Flight from the Dark” is OPENINGS. Its not a very deep nor complex concept, but it does play a part in designing the combat for lone wolf’s game design.



Combat is about openings, and to create openings, you strive to be the first person to get the first HIT in (not the first attack), whereby you gain an advantage over your opponent.

Imagine a dam standing between a huge reservoir of water and a village. When the dam breaks, the opening is created, and the water rushes in, unleashing chaos on the village, destroying everything in its path. Similarly, an opening is created when, the guard is broken/attack lapse occurs/opponent unable to react… and you let loose your attacks to inflict maximum damage with your combos.

2 main ways to create openings:

  1. An OFFENSIVE person would create the opening by attacking fast, attacking first, and attacking at the right place at the right time.
  2. A DEFENSIVE person would create the opening by defending first, and awaiting the right window of opportunity where you can get your hit in. Either by the opponent making a mistake, or in the lapse in the opponent’s attack.



Great example below (also shows why Street Fighter is such a great game… although I do not play it much… needless to say, I suck at it…)

About the video: (I don’t know the name of the guy who did it but I’ll refer to the characters instead) One more hit and it would be game over for Ken, but he created an opening in Chun Li’s attacks by parrying ALL the attacks in her combo chain. At the end of the combo chain, the LAPSE in the attack created an OPENING in which Ken capitalized on and he UNLEASHED a combo chain of his own which sealed Chun Li’s fate.


Knowing the importance of opening means knowing that the first hit plays an important role in combat. Some areas for game combat design that would come into consideration includes:

  1. speed to execute first strike
  2. npc attack anticipation time, lapse in attacks or pre-strikes that allows player to get hit in
  3. combo that follows
  4. damage amount for first strike
  5. damage amount for combo
  6. duration to recover from the opening
  7. penalty for missing or failure
  8. ways to get the first hit in
  9. ways to create the opening
  10. … more…



To say that we’ll be executing a combat system as good as Street Fighter for Lone Wolf is a pretty high target for ourselves, but the basic game design principle that I’ll be following for the combat system is, and will be the same. Combat design is not just about openings, but also about time and space, and many other factors, so just note that openings is just a portion of the whole combat system for Lone Wolf.

How successful it will be? Wait for the release of “Lone Wolf: Flight from the Dark”…

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