Automatic L-Cancel & 1-Button Wavedash

On the topic of controls, do you think certain tactics like L-cancelling should be automatic? Being manual obviously punishes weaker players, but there are already a lot of hard techniques in the game. Even just short-hopping or wavedashing require quite a bit of practice (they did for me, anyway).

I’m ambivalent on the matter. I think that “automatic L canceling” is kind of a misnomer, because it would actually be more like all the moves being made with landing animations that are half as long.

Regardless of whether L canceling is automatic or L canceling exists or not, the default standard of landing lag should be a lot shorter than in smash 4. What L canceling does is, there are essentially 4-ish speeds of landing lag, the normal 4 frame landing lag which is really short of a standard landing, 6-12 frames for L-canceled aerial attacks and the 14-24 frames for non-L canceled attacks. The big deal with these is, autocancels, float cancels, and missed L cancels (no cancel). Autocancels, such as on marth’s nair, get 4 frames of landing lag, meaning they’re plus on block or neutral, same for float cancels a la peach. This means that they’re pressure setups, much like the shine. Most L canceled aerials are negative or neutral on hit, meaning that you can never grab the other person before they can grab you, but you’re usually safe on block because their grab takes longer than your escape options. No L cancel means you’re usually unsafe on block unless you’re fucking sheik.

The key thing here is, there’s a certain amount of landing lag that is balanced and fair, and allows for combos while not making everything bullshit on shield.

Bonus round, why is it (sort of) cool to have unsafe landing lag? (and therefore, cool to be punished for not doing this tight execution thing) Because the amount of hitfreeze you get is different based on whether you miss, actually hit them, or hit their shield (the last one being the longest). Seeing as the window for L cancels is only 7 frames, you need to actually know roughly whether you’ll hit, miss, or hit shield in order to get the safe and combo-able amount of landing lag so you can capitalize on a hit or keep yourself safe from reprisal. There are plenty of stories about people who can L cancel really great on whiff, but then play people and can’t combo (because they’re not used to hitting people and L canceling).

This means there’s a light element of decision-making there, because if you shoot to L cancel for whiff, you’re really gonna get fucked if they move forward into your attack at the last millisecond and shield. However that’s still mostly a situation where there’s pure advantage and always a correct decision. What can the defender do? The defender can actually tilt their shield up or down to make you go into hitfreeze sooner, so you miss your L cancel timing when you hit the ground. It’s an extremely slight and situational element of strategy, but it is there, so that’s kinda cute. If you make the window wider, the only element of strategy inherent in L canceling disappears.

Beyond that, it feels kinda nice on a kinaesthetic level every time you do it, you get a little “flag” of when you actually land present in your mind to help you remember when you can actually act out of landing. The other thing is when you hit a tiny window and get one motion flowing faster into another that’s the type of thing that naturally feels good, like a link in Street Fighter 4, it feels totally unlike a frametrap.

Overall, I don’t think it’s right or wrong to have L canceling in the game. I think if you just had shorter landing lag, short as typical L canceled landing lag, that it’s not really that big a setback, the strategic element is extremely small, and it’s not really that big a deal to have something like that in the game considering it almost never comes up. The thing which I honestly really hate is when indie developers try to make it easier rather than just outright removing it. It’s missing the tiny tangible benefit of even having it, just so they can pay lip service to melee fans that are used to it. They don’t know why it feels nice that it’s there or what it even adds to the game, as insignificant an addition it is, so they trivialize it, yet leave it as a vestige. It’s dumb business.

What do you think of people asking for advanced techs like SHFFLS and wavedashing to be put back in Smash 5 but have them bound to a button? e.g. hold LB and if you jump you shorthop, continuing to hold it causes a fast fall, flick the Lsick with LB held does an air attack. L cancelling would be left as is though. another e.g Holding LB and then pressing left or right along with shield causes a wavedash, etc…

Seems like it would be awkward, counterintuitive, and missing the point. Project M making those things easier is contentious enough, outright changing the inputs, especially to introduce a new macro modifier button, is over the line. Shorthopping, fast falling, and l canceling are all individual actions that can be performed independently. If you change the input then the metaphor for shorthopping breaks down, same for fast falling. If you change the left stick to attack when modified by left trigger instead of move the character then you remove the utility of the move almost entirely versus grounded attacks. A key component of shffls is you can move forward or back while doing them.

Really, don’t reinvent the wheel, just stick with what works.

Leaving L canceling as it is just makes the motion complicated in a different way.

Having a grounded wavedash function is similarly dumb, because wavedash is useful for braking during a dash dance and different angles relative to the ground travel different distances, depending on how parallel to the ground you’re traveling.

This also ignores wavelanding. When you land, you’re actually partially embedded in the ground, so you can wavedash perfectly parallel to the ground for maximum distance and speed, same when you rise up through a platform. There’s a balance there obviously, which most easy wavedash control schemes ignore.

How do you feel about auto L-cancelling being implemented as an option in the upcoming PM 3.6 ?
I haven’t gotten the chance to play it myself yet, but if it’s like 20XX’s implementation, it’s alright. In 20XX, you can set L cancel to be automatic, but pressing the button will still trigger the white flash, so you can practice getting better at the input while also practicing the correct followups from a successful L cancel.
It probably will not be allowed in tournaments, like input assist is not, so it will not affect the game at large. We have already agreed in our local scene to not use it.
Gonna repost my schpiel from facebook:
What I’ll say with L canceling is, for the most part it requires you to know whether you will whiff, hit the person, or hit their shield. If you thought you were going to whiff, then suddenly they move up and shield your aerial, you’re in for trouble. People can intentionally angle their shields higher so the hitstop delays you a bit sooner before you hit the ground. There are these situations in which the longer landing lag will come into effect, allowing for things to become punishable.
Not to mention it feels good, from a kinaesthetic perspective.
If you have L canceling, then you have this additional reminder, a “flag” you could say, of when you hit the ground, to better keep track of when you’re actionable out of landing.
L canceling isn’t something that needs to be in the game, but it’s not devoid of strategic elements.
The real point is that the amount of landing lag you get from L canceling is the amount that should be the standard, so if L canceling was removed, the length of the animations should be in the 7-15 lag frame range.

How WOULD you fell if auto L-cancelling could be toggled on a player by player basis? Kinda like a handicap.
Just don’t make it the standard.
I mean, we could potentially do this for a lot of things, why have it so short hop requires you to release the button quickly? why not allow people to bind shorthop to another button? Why not have a B-reverse/wavebounce button? Why not have it so you dash all the time? Why not add auto-sweet spotting to ledges? automatic meteor cancel? automatic perfect shield? automatic perfect pivot? Automatic multishine? How about a 10 frame buffer?
You could do all sorts of shit to make the game easier, but people don’t want that. People want to succeed and fail at these things because it is fun to succeed and fail at them. Arbitrary execution requirements are fun to have here and there. They just need to be appropriate to the action in question.

Extending the question about automatic l-cancelling, do you think wavedash should be mapped to a single button? It’s essentially just dash with awkward controls. I meant it’s just a dash when Melee is compared to other FGs like GG. I don’t see the point in the jumping input before the actual wavedash. What’s the point of awkwardly angling yourself against the ground? It’s just unnecessary inputs that make it harder than it should be.

No, because it isn’t.

Dash doesn’t have a startup time of your prejump frames + 10 more landing lag frames where you can’t act. Dash doesn’t allow you to perform ground actions that aren’t specials or dash attack, or move backwards while facing forwards. The initial dash animation doesn’t allow you to cancel into crouch until it ends.

The wavedash is essentially a short burst of speed, slower than a dash, that allows you to move in a neutral state after paying some startup time.

Not to mention that with the current control setup, you can arbitrarily wavedash any distance based on the angle of your air dodge, making it a valuable way to brake yourself during dash dance.

Because the wavedash is a jump first, it means that anything that cancels into jump also cancels into wavedash, which allows people to wavedash out of shield which can be important in some matchups, like versus marth, you can punish fsmash on shield with WD out of shield.

Because the wavedash works the way it does, there is the much harder perfect waveland command, when you waveland perfectly parallel to the ground when coming up through a platform or falling onto one. Perfect wavelands have more distance than wavedashes, which is important for some characters like ganondorf, for invincible edgedashes, and for generally adding more variety to the game. Also wavedashes can inherit speed from regular dashes because dash momentum carries over into jumpsquat.

If you change the way the wavedash command works, then you change the game.

That and honestly. It’s not that hard. I’ve sat down with a number of people who have never played smash bros melee much at all, and they asked me, “How do you wavedash?” or “What’s wavedashing?” And I show them, they try it with like Samus, Luigi, Ice Climbers, and eventually figure it out, and go, “Oh, that’s it? I thought it would be harder.”

It’s something so easy that I do it across the stage as a victory lap when I take a stock, that I’m mixing it into my dash dances, and I do it potentially risking death if I fuck up to get off the ledge. It’s easier than a clean dragon punch, and the motion to do it feels really nice to me.

The angle determines how far you will go, and you don’t always want to go the maximum distance. You jump so you can airdodge. The inputs aren’t unnecessary. If you remove the angling bit, then people can’t use wavedashing to brake themselves or control the distance the dash goes. If you remove the jumping bit, then wavedash out of shield and waveshine become impossible, not to mention that characters with long jumpsquats suddenly get way better wavedashes (when they typically rely on wavelands)

If you remove the inputs, then the functionality and flexibility of the motion is lessened. If you pare it down to a single “Wavedash” button on the L or R trigger, that you just press left or right during (and it defaults to the direction you’re facing) then you’re killing the entire functionality of the move. It’s significantly less useful. That and people will likely end up facing the wrong direction more often because they’ll press left or right on the control stick before the wavedash button is pressed. If you no longer have to angle it, then perfect wavelanding is pointless.

If they mapped wavedash to a button and designed the game around it, don’t you think it would lead to some interesting design? Combos in FGs, rocket-jumping in Quakes, and skiing in Tribes were all turned into ‘legit’ mechanics in sequels with modified, more convenient inputs.

Except what you’re describing never happened in ANY of the games you mentioned, and the phrase, “designed the game around it,” is vacuous. (I dislike vague statements like this categorically. I hear “they designed the game around X” without supporting details too often.)

Combos in fighting games are performed and operate the same way in modern fighting games as they did back in street fighter 2. They didn’t add a “Combo button” that does a combo for you. You still need to hit them with a normal, buffer directional inputs, then press another button for a special attack during the hitstop of the first normal making impact, just like you did all the way back in Street Fighter 2. The only difference is that the Kara window isn’t 5 frames anymore, it’s 1 frame, and the cancelable property for moves is determined arbitrarily by the designers now, because it’s intentionally put in there rather than being rollover frames from the kara-cancel that are extended in real time by the hitfreeze.

Rocket-Jumping in Quake and every other game that has rocket jumping is still performed by looking down at your feet and firing a rocket. If there’s a shooter with a rocket-jump button now, please inform me so I can avoid the abomination.

Skiing in Tribes is a trickier case, and arguably the only legitimate example you have here, because the original way skiing was performed was mashing jump, until players wrote a script for the original starsiege tribes that automated mashing space bar. In Tribes 2 and Tribes Vengeance (far as I’m aware, I admit that I don’t have first hand experience here), Skiing was reimplemented on the level of the physics engine, however the developers didn’t give the players a ski button, they gave them another macro button for jump. It’s only in Tribes Ascend that the engine was built from scratch and a dedicated ski function that modified your friction was implemented. However in all of these games, you ski the same damn way effective, you hold the space bar. The control method from a player perspective isn’t really any different. You still need to aim for downward slopes, and jetpack up upward slopes.

They don’t need to map wavedash to a single button, mapping it to a single button would be actively detrimental to the game. This is stupid like saying Quake needs a bunnyhop button rather than swerving to the left and right. When you change things in the name of making them simpler without very carefully considering what you’re doing, you end up removing operational constraints that players normally need to work around, and the flexibility of the option, ruining it for everyone.

It works the way it works, it’s better off being this way, get used to it.

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