I like the ideas, and I definitely like the idea of providing a more modern interface. I absolutely agree that ranged spells should not require a target -- I would say that, at the point of activation, if the cursor is pointing at an object's collision shape (typically the capsule around a monster), then that object is taken as the target. If no such collision shape is in the path of the cursor, the spell simply launches directly forward. This could be irritating if you're trying to shoot past a nearby creature to hit a distant one, but that would fail anyway because the spell would come in contact with the nearby collision shape just like the cursor did. This approach would provide a mild form of auto-aim while allowing for leading targets or firing AoE spells "around" corners.
I could also see treating spell-casting as analogous to the bow's draw-and-release system. When you cast the spell, go ahead and play the casting/buildup images, then alternate between the last two to show your character holding that spell ready for release. Once the spell in activated, finish off any "release" images and let the spell fly away. Probably better approaches, I'm just trying to think of what could be done with the existing assets.
I would also be strongly in favor of an option for "make targeted recast immediate", so that I can bombard something with rapid fire attacks (just like I can rapidly heal myself, or rapidly slap with touch spells). This would work with either removing the targeting of spells or the partial auto-aim from above. This would also be clearer, because recast would always be a single button action instead of the current system where non-targeted spells instantly recast but targeted spells require the extra activation to complete. Note that this is just a gameplay option, like "single click to attack", and not
another button for a different recast mode...
So much for the comparatively simple adjustments
Personally, I would like to see an option for Skyrim-style wielding. Put whatever you want in each hand, and then pick which keys/buttons activate each hand. Default would seem to be left/right mouse buttons (or triggers) for left/right hands, but user should have the option to redefine. This would require some way of assigning a spell to a hand, which is an entirely new system, and in its final form would even need to impact the paper doll system. As a general rule, I wouldn't worry overmuch about trying to figure out every combination of blending this with other systems, just have a giant switch for "modern wielding" just like "modern look."
That having been said, IF
this could be implemented by basically auto-pressing the relevant keys in the background (preferably with a system to bypass the "switching hands" delay for this purpose), then it might "just work" with most systems. To clarify:
- If I put a mace in my right hand and a dagger in my left hand: The right-hand-activate button would see if the mace was in my character's active hand and if not it would "immediately switch hands" before activating the normal attack button. The left-hand-activate button would do the same, but for the dagger.
- Because the left/right-hand-activate buttons end by activating the normal attack button, this would transparently work with either click-to-attack or swipe-to-attack (as long as the left/right-hand-activate buttons are handled on 'press' rather than 'release')
- "immediately switch hands" will require a little hacking, because this system is assuming that both weapons are already equipped, so the hidden "switch hands" isn't a real action and should not take time (unless you wanted to add a dual-wield skill that addressed the cognitive difficulty of effectively using two weapons, in which case increasing the dual-wield skill would decrease the hidden "switch hands" delay)
- The normal equipping delay would be activated any time the user changes either hand's equipped item/spell.
- If a hand has a spell "equipped", then that hand's activation does whatever internal sequencing is needed to cast that spell.
- left-hand-activate would also need to set a flag for the animation system to mirror the attack animation
- Now that shields are held in a hand that can be activated, it raises the question of how to treat blocking. Dark Souls enthusiasts would probably prefer that shields are only effective while you have that hand activated. Myself, I'd prefer the shield to have normal effect all the time, but if I activate that hand then I am actively hiding behind that shield and get some kind of boost to the shield's effect.
- ('Monday' morning insanity option) I sort of wonder if Khajiit and Argonians should be given an extra "small equipment" slot for their tails -- just enough for a light dagger or a buckler. Low accuracy, low damage, more of a distraction... Not sure how you'd simulate that inside the combat system...