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I'm developing a turn-based combat system for an RPG, and I'd like to know if there is any kind of best practice around diagrammatically modelling something like this.

The ideal modelling paradigm would capture quite a few things, including:

  • entities (and their stats/status)
  • entity actions / interactions
  • positioning
  • terrain effects
  • temporal effects

Do I use something from UML? BPMN? A combination? Do I home-bake something?

To clarify: I'm not looking for any advice on designing the system. I'm already quite far along with that. I'm looking for a good way to diagram the model.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Fenja. Unfortunately this question sounds like asking for advice for a complete game, which is too broad to be answered by a single answer here. In general, there are no best practises for most game-related techniques. If you are unsure, start working on one idea and see if it works. If you get stuck on a specific step, that would make a better question to be answered here. \$\endgroup\$ – TomTsagk Sep 24 '19 at 9:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ I know of relatively few standardized diagramming techniques for game design. Machinations could cover this, but I think the result would be less clear than using your own custom diagramming style. \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Sep 24 '19 at 10:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm only trying to help you make your question more approachable to more people. I've created turn-based games in the past, both similar to pokemon style, and something influenced by Final Fantasy tactics, yet I'm unfamiliar with the terms you mentioned, so I don't understand what you are looking for. I'm sure there are more people like that here. If you are happy to not want to give them a chance to help you, that is your call. \$\endgroup\$ – TomTsagk Sep 24 '19 at 10:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @FenjaLouwrens It doesnt seem like you need a programming diagram. It seems more like you need some sort of Overview what effect does what (like attacking an enemy in cover gives him more defense, hitting from above deals more damage etc.) i would consider this part of the game concept less suitable for some sort of diagram. \$\endgroup\$ – PSquall Sep 25 '19 at 8:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @FenjaLouwrens In that case maybe take a look at some rulebooks for Tabletop systems, Those basicly do the same as you want to to - group model types, actions, terrains and status effects. There are some free out there. E.g.: Warmachine / Hordes \$\endgroup\$ – PSquall Sep 25 '19 at 12:41
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I would use OOP and detailed UML diagrams. Obviously a class diagram will help you a lot, but the more you use, the more you will have an accurate idea of what you will have to do and how it works. I would also recommend a Use-Case and State diagram too, if you are willing to spend a little bit of time concepting the thing.

You will never find one perfect diagram to visualise everything; you'll probably have to do a bit of everyting, because each diagram has its particular meaning and usefulness.

If you are not familiar with these concepts and want to have a quick look, here is a quick sum of the more used diagrams and why you should work on them.

A UML diagram is a diagram based on the UML (Unified Modeling Language) with the purpose of visually representing a system along with its main actors, roles, actions, artifacts or classes, in order to better understand, alter, maintain, or document information about the system

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    \$\begingroup\$ This answer would be better if it included some details about what makes this particular diagramming approach suitable for this purpose specifically, or superior to the alternatives. An example of how such a diagram could he applied to this case would also be valuable. \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Sep 24 '19 at 13:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to GDSE & thanks for participating. I agree with you that UML would likely address OP's needs, but as written, this answer doesn't address the specific interaction called out in the question. UML is a very broad subject with over a dozen different diagrams. Calling out a couple of the more useful diagrams is a good first step. This answer would be further improved if it followed up on that by directing readers in how those diagrams might specifically be applied to the question at hand. \$\endgroup\$ – Pikalek Sep 24 '19 at 14:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ A UML activity diagram might cover most of the functional process steps in a turn based design, since it the design is really an iteration of a turn across the entities in the system. However, I think a game system can suddenly take on non-standard processes and events. (I am thinking of my own forays into designing board games) As @Pikalek stated, UML has several diagrams that might be coaxed into working, specifically in the Sequence type diagrams. \$\endgroup\$ – Vanzanz Sep 26 '19 at 20:15

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