Inactive Anatomy


This concept is taken from the old FOSwiki. I'm posting it here on Cervator s behalf, given that it doesn't really "fit" in the new Wiki on GitHub.

Just to make it clear: This was written by Cervator, not me. I just migrated it from the old wiki :)


Most games today simply base themselves around an arbitrary health bar plus a certain number of slots for equipment, the exact placement of which doesn't usually matter. How about something better?


While this is a fairly advanced and likely effort-intensive system it would also be rather impressive. It probably could be set up in a very basic fashion (head, torso, arms, legs) and as long as the system is able to expand later could be made more accurate over time.

At a minimum the system would consist of a few specific body parts where the player (or monster, etc) can be hit, and where equipment might be wearable. Basic prototype could even leave exactly what body part is being hit up to random chance. Every mob/player could start with the same limbs, until more unique models show up to get their own custom "paper doll" - for instance slimes.

Key is starting _very basic_ while retaining enough flexibility to expand the system later. Make an anatomical definition the foundation of creature design, leading both to what sort of equipment they can wear as well as what damage they can take and abilities they might have. A player could gain skill in analyzing anatomy, leading to an in-game information display slowly revealing the anatomical definition as player content / knowledge.


Gear would protect exactly what it is placed on and nothing else. No more running around without a helmet because your chest plate of massive AC somehow reduces damage taken from a club to the head.

Different types of gear would be more or less effective protecting against certain weapons. Different materials get bonuses, but may also take longer to create or be more situational.

Multi-layered protection could offer a combination approach


Two ways to display what the system does in-game

  • Multi-layered paper doll representation in the game UI - outer-wear (armor), inner-wear (clothing), surface (skin, muscles), structure (skeleton), interior (organs), and a "blood meter"
    • While the blood meter might get compared to an HP bar it isn't really. You could bleed to death over time, but there'd be plenty of ways to die without losing substantial amounts of blood. It is just one more way to die ;)
  • Models smart enough to dynamically change the appearance of a single sub-component
Graphic effects on the paper doll could replicate what happens in-game, such as a sword swipe across the torso or a mace hit shattering a hand. Critical damage could be highlighted via glowing effects.

A target could also be graphically represented with its own paper doll, in a different corner than the player's.


Calculating the effect of an attack would go through a few steps:

  • How does the weapon affect objects? A breath weapon likely affects multiple body parts (or even targets) at once, while a spear focuses a deep impact against a single spot.
  • Did the attack hit, and if so which body parts were affected? Could start out determined entirely by random chance, maybe weighed slightly by the height of the two combatants.
  • Are any magic effects / buffs in place that could absorb something, and if so did the effect itself change / get exhausted?
  • For each body part affected, what effect was applied, and was outer-wear in place to absorb part of the blow? How much damage did this impart on the piece of equipment?
  • If the attack was strong enough to penetrate outer-wear, or the victim was not wearing outer-wear, pass the remaining impact through to the next layer (clothing likely absorbs nothing, unless maybe it is magic, or maybe the user wore leather armor under plate armor). Calculate damage imparted on to equipment again
  • If the attack cut through all equipment, how much does it damage the surface of the victim? Blood-loss starts here, amplified if a blood vessel was struck (random chance). Muscle damage could reduce the efficiency of the target body part (slows down or immobilizes a leg or arm)
  • Did the attack strike deep enough (spear) or hard enough (blunt force) to break any bones? Again can slow or immobilize a body part
  • Did the attack hit any internal organs? Depending on the organ there may be a secondary effect (lung or throat damage may cause a choking effect, bringing up the same air meter you'd get from being under water; heart damage may cause extreme blood loss, brain damage probably instant death)
  • Did an extremity hit cause something to be severed?
Death would ensue from an assortment of factors (unconsciousness could get involved earlier as well):

  • Critical damage to the head (mainly brain) or heart
    • Possibility for spinal damage paralyzing the body enough for rapid death?
  • Decapitation
  • Blood loss
  • Suffocation
  • Sufficient organ damage (body gives up)
    • Poison effects could be possible
  • Overwhelming structure damage (beaten to a pulp)
Some monsters (or maybe enhancements of some sort) could have natural armor-like protection either externally or internally. A player could perhaps learn of these details over time and be better positioned to kill a target faster.

  • A dragon's heart could be encased in strong bone that would need to be damaged before opening the heart to damage
  • A hydra could have a central head but leave all other heads expendable
  • A conjured stone golem could have no internal anatomy at all and only be killable by severing / shattering enough body parts
Some survivable damage should probably persist somewhat through death to not let suicide be an easy (and goofy) fix for damage like broken limbs. Fade such damage over time, leaving notes on "weakened limbs" in place.


Active Member
A few ideas that cross my mind after reading this :

damages could be of four type :
-blood loss : probably a simple scale, not location related, applied to the whole body.
-organ or bone damage : each organ/bone damaged/destroyed has its specific consequences. You can of course only damage organs/bones located in the body part you hit. Can skin be considered a specific organ, in the case of a burnt?
-shock to the nervous systeme : electrocution but also a blow to the head. can it be deadly?

Example of a simplified organ list : brain, heart, lungs, digestive system.
Bone structure could be simplified to the minimum also (one bone per limb for example).


The Damage Effects you discribe are somewhat similar to the Oblivion mod Deadly Reflexes (like the hitzones for organs). I think those are awesome ideas and i would like to implement them all (if possible )and if you all agree that this will make the game and the combat more fun. I just have to get the "simple stuff" working so i can built upon that. My plan is to have a core combat system that is just handling the hitdetection. All Gameplay relevant Systems should be covered by other Systems that are decoupled from that. This makes modding and changes much easier. Other things like the Damage or Status effects and things like durability system for worn armor pieces that gets damaged , based on the hit body part should really be separated from that, since those things are more likely to change while development. At least thats my plan for now.


Org Co-Founder & Project Lead
Thanks for posting that, x3ro ! This seems to be the right place. And I get to give myself a rainbow rating via proxy since my original writing of that was definitely optimistic bordering on pipe dream :D

I don't know how much work it is, how doable it really is, or how well it would fit into the early core game - I don't think it is something we could promise or aim for early. But if we have somebody like aherber here who is willing to see it through I'm sure we can find a place for it one way or another. I'd be absolutely thrilled to see it if we can pull it off.


Lead Software Architect
I certainly could get behind this. I would suggest it would be worth getting skeletal rigging/animation in place first, because that would probably be represented as a network of entities that could provide the backbone for the system.


New Member
A dragon's heart could be encased in strong bone that would need to be damaged before opening the heart to damage
I can't imagine attacking a dragon this way without the scene being brutal and full of blood. o.o

It does sound awesome, I hope it would be fun to play aswell.