Developer Update for Fallout Tactics
The conversion from a turn-based only single-player, single-character game to a multi-character, multi-player game that supports both turn-based and real-time play (through the CTB system) is interesting at times. One of the most "interesting" systems that needs some tweaking are the First Aid and Doctor skills. We've spent a fair bit of time recently going over them, and I thought you might be interested in where we are going. Nothing is final, so things could change between here, the demo and the final release - please keep that in mind.
In the original Fallout games, First Aid and Doctor were used to heal damage (both Hit Point damage, and in the case of Doctor, crippled limbs). To limit their use, there was an arbitrary limit of three uses per skill per game-day. This was to keep the player from simply skilling his health back to full. First Aid took 30 game-minutes, and Doctor took several game-hours. Neither skill could be used in combat, where the only healing was provided by items, like the trusty Stimpak. These skills had items that could improve the skill, but were not required for use.
This model fails under multiplayer conditions, since it basically means these two skills are useless. Your doctor character becomes nothing more than a repository for Stims, which can be interesting, but wasn't interesting enough for us.
We played around with several options, including one where the skills healed a percentage of damage over time (with Doctor healing a larger percentage than First Aid). This did not please us!
We're currently trying a system much closer to the original. First Aid and Doctor still heal damage based on small random dice rolls, but they can be used in the middle of combat (without some specialization and Perks, they could easily take longer than a single turn to accomplish anything, however). The higher your skill, the lower the AP cost and the more likely you are of being able to recover if wounded while healing your target. This gives a good reason to continue to improve the skill past 100%, like all the other skills. There will probably be a new Perk ("Stat!") that lowers the AP cost of using First Aid and Doctor in combat.
First Aid will not require an item for use, but Doctor will and there is a chance that your Doctor's Bag could run out after each use.
But we needed to limit the skills, and make healing items useful, so we capped the amount of health that these skills can restore to a person. First Aid cannot be used on someone who has more than 50% of their Hit Points. Doctor can go all the way up to 75%.
Playtesting will prove to use if these changes are worthwhile and interesting.
There is more, of course, but that's enough for this update. If you have any questions, please feel free to visit the forum messageboards.
Senior Game Designer - Interplay Entertainment Corp