What’s different about Fox and Falco’s shines?

What do you think of Fox and Falco’s shines? How do they differ? Some say the ability is overpowered. Is it?

Fox’s is a lot bigger. Falco’s is much smaller. Fox’s hits at a horizontal angle. Falco’s hits straight up. Fox’s has fixed knockback. Falco’s has knockback growth.

Both come out frame one. Both are invincible frame 1. Both have the reflection hitbox come out frame 3. Both slow down the character’s fall speed in the air. Both can be jump canceled on frame 4. Both allow the character to turn around during them.

Basically, Fox’s is way better. It allows him to shinespike people, and its fixed knockback means it always combos regardless of percentage. Plus, he has a 3 frame jumpsquat, so his pressure with shine can be a lot tighter than falco’s 5 frame jumpsquat. And waveshine combos into up smash. Continue reading

Where Should You Look While Playing?

This might sound like a weird question, but when playing fighting games like melee, what should players direct most of their focus on? Their own character? The opponent? Or both? Where should they be looking the most?

It’s not a weird question at all, I’ve had a lot of people ask this before. It’s actually very astute of you to notice that you can be looking in different places. Most people don’t think to ask that.

Basically, it’s a matter of looking at what’s important at any given time. Most of the time it’s best to watch what your opponent is doing. It’s good to watch yourself when you’re trying to space yourself precisely. It’s good to watch between both characters when you’re spacing relative to each other. Watch yourself while recovering generally, especially for the sweetspot. Continue reading

Rebuilding Bam Ham Combat

How would you fix Bamham’s combat?

I don’t think you can really fix it. There’s nothing in bamham’s combat that really stands out to me as interesting or dynamic or worth keeping. You could obviously replace it with something better that is loosely themed the same, but that’s not really fixing it.

So the loose aspects of bamham’s combat are, you have attacking, and you have counters, then you have a few special actions that need to be performed before attacking certain enemies, like stunning them, jumping over them. Enemies that get hit enough get knocked down, and need to be knocked out, which takes time, but if you have a long combo chain you can do a special input that knocks them out immediately. Your combo chain builds faster if you press normal attack with good timing. Combo resets if you get hit. Occasionally you get to throw a batarang for extra damage and combo points. The attacks are built so there’s a ton of different attacking animations, but they all have sort of the same framedata. Some enemy types are slightly different, the big ones really, but otherwise the only difference is that some enemies need a button pressed before you can attack them.

This all kind of adds up to something resembling DDR. You attack with the right timing to build up combo points. You press counter when an enemy winds up an attack to avoid having your combo get broken. Then you press another button before attacking certain enemy types so you can attack them. And you have additional opportunities to press another button to get extra combo points. Like, there isn’t a strong decision-making process, the most dynamic thing is just where enemies are positioned and where you’re positioned, which is why later games added some crowd control options in the form of bombs and such. You’re kind of indirectly being prompted to just follow this sequence of button presses and you can do better or worse at that, but there’s no real trade-off between doing one thing or the other, it’s always just a matter of keeping up your button presses.

Though there’s one pattern there that kinda works I guess. You gotta take time to knock enemies out after knocking them down, but other enemies can interrupt you. So this means that knocking an enemy out in a group encounter is about crowd control. You gotta make sure none of the other enemies have access to you as you knock that enemy out. This also incidentally means that individual enemies are totally trivial. So if you wanted to spice up the bam ham combat system, this would be the dynamic to target.

Since combat is trivial with one enemy, it would also be smart to make sure setting an enemy up to be knocked out doesn’t remove an enemy from combat in the process, like disabling them currently does. One idea I had was doing something like knocking their soul out of their body, then performing the disable action on their soul, while their body is still attacking you, so even versus a single enemy, you still have to manage their access to you while knocking them out.

Obviously the whole “knocking the soul of their their body” idea doesn’t fit the batman theme unless you cook up a bunch of new story elements that don’t really fit Batman in the first place, but just examining the combat system in abstract that seems like an obvious move.

So from there the things to accentuate are the enemy behaviors in having access to you. For sake of simplicity we’ll say that if they’re set up to attack you, interrupting the knockout animation, they have a connection to you. The goal is to break their connection to you long enough to knock an enemy out, and then set up the next enemy to be knocked out. So to make this goal more interesting, you could add environmental objects and enemy behaviors that affect under what circumstances they have a connection to you. Two obvious conditions for having a connection to you are being adjacent to you, or having line of sight to you. Obvious examples of environmental objects that could modify these conditions are physical barriers that block enemy movement and line of sight, patches of floor that disable line of sight while standing on them, patches of floor that slow movement, or one-way barriers.

Then you obviously would want to give batman abilities that allow him to affect enemy positioning and movement such as to prevent them from having a connection to him. Obvious examples are ones that push enemies away, that stun enemies, or that create environmental objects like above. These could be melee, they could be ranged, they could be remote activation. Abilities that also allow him to affect the location of the target to be knocked out are also sensible.

And of course back on enemy behaviors, you might want enemies to have a connection to you based on keeping you within a certain range, like maybe a certain AOE, or within a ring that is a certain distance away from the enemy, or just simple line of sight, or maybe they use projectiles that have a more complex relationship of connection to you, or they could switch between having a connection when adjacent and a connection based on line of sight at fixed intervals or under certain conditions.

Their movement patterns could also stand to vary. The most simple is just moving directly to you. They could move slowly without line of sight and faster when they do have line of sight. They could try to maintain a specific distance from you. They could try to center themselves in an open area, moving closer when you’re in their range. They could have a movement towards you like gravity. They could move in a preset pattern across the room. They could move in a bouncing pattern off environmental objects. And of course they could switch between these behaviors based on what you do.

And by this point it really doesn’t sound like Batman anymore, but whatever, these are a bunch of ways of playing with that one dynamic.

Thoughts on Pinball

What do you think of Pin ball?

Pinball is really interesting from a historical perspective. The original pinball machines were more like pachinko, no flippers, no spring, just put the balls in and let them roll downwards. They were more like gambling than the game we know today, and on the original machines, the only way to influence the ball’s movement was to tilt and bump the machine.

http://www.bmigaming.com/pinballhistory.htm

Later machines included tilt and bump sensors to detect if people were physically tilting them to cheat, usually tuned so there was a little tolerance, so players could still bump it, but not too much or the sensor would give you a warning, or eventually disable your flippers if you ran out of warnings. If you’ve ever seen old cartoons with the pinball gag, then this is where it comes from.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PinballGag Continue reading

Conflicting Goals to Encourage Depth

>Conflicting goals are frequently helpful for encouraging depth, by giving players the challenge of prioritizing goals situationally.
Now this is interesting. Examples of this?

Okay, my favorite example of this is Touhou. Touhou has a few different systems that create conflicting goals. First is pickups. Pickups require you to move over to them to pick them up, instead of sitting where it’s safe and shooting. Next, you can pick up all the pickups onscreen at once if you move to the top of the screen, which is where enemies come from, which is really dangerous. Next, there’s the graze system, which gives you a score multiplier for grazing projectiles, which means getting close to them, or getting close to the place where they spawn, so you can graze a lot all at once. These give you conflicting goals between gaining score/getting more powerful, and staying alive. So they might make it easier to win, but the process of trying to attain them also makes it easier to lose. Continue reading

Contact Damage Enemies are Amazing

How come direct contact enemies are so good? Alpha Metroids in AM2R are so great, Konami slapped a sine wave motion to some faces and they are talked about to this day etc, they seem to create much better depth with character movement and abilities than a dedicated “press for iframes” dodge button

Contact damage is nice because it allows the enemy to block your way with their body. In non-contact damage games, you can hug up against enemies to run past them without much issue. It also knocks you back in the process of touching them (having no-damage knockback, accompanied by a shoving animation, might be a smart idea to make enemies better at blocking your way without contact damage) Continue reading

Negative Feedback Makes Me Rage

What do you think of the rage mechanic in smash 4?

It’s irritating. If there weren’t multiple stocks, then I’d outright hate it unconditionally.

Rage is a knockback multiplier, similar to weight. As you gain percentage, you deal more knockback, which also means you deal more hitstun. Damage in Smash Bros increases knockback, so by dealing damage to your opponent, you’re giving them rage, which increases their knockback, much as if you had taken damage. Effectively, by hurting your opponent, you’re hurting yourself, thanks to rage. (Actually, I think rage multiplies knockback more than percentage does, so you’re hurting yourself more than you’re hurting them) Continue reading

AM2R and Scumbag Nintendo

What do you think of nintendo making their own Metroid 2 remake?

Kinda scummy. Doesn’t look as good as AM2R. The Parry is unexpected, I guess it follows from Other M. It looks really lame versus the boss enemies, but versus common enemies the parry can hit enemies to varying places depending on the angle of impact, which is very slightly dynamic. Also you can shoot at any angle, which makes sense, more-so than using a trigger button to hold the weapon at an angle.

Also they added an attack to the metroids that lets you farm drops, so you can’t completely run out of missiles to kill them with. I’m mixed on this. It alleviates the frustration of running out of ammo and being stuck with no option, but it also removes the challenge of needing to be ammo efficient. Continue reading