Input Movement Metaphors (QCF and More)

I absolutely adore Platinum’s stuff but absolutely cannot find anything to like in fighters. What differences between the two do you think causes this?

I can only guess, dude. That’s on you.

My guesses would be that fighting games have a very different control scheme from platinum games. I can only think of Ramlethal in GG Xrd who has chain combos of the same style as your average platinum game. Apart from that, the control schemes are extremely different, and fighting games are even different from normal 2D games in many ways.

And that fighting games aren’t really fun until you “get” them. It’s tricky to really understand what’s going on until it clicks for you, and before that it can seem like degenerate button mashing.

And that fighting games are a lot harder than platinum games. They have way more complex systems, more difficult commands to input moves, and tighter input windows for successful actions.

Perhaps it’s just because it’s multiplayer instead of single player? The single player modes in fighting games aren’t exactly great.

Do any of these sound correct? If not, you’ll have to elaborate on what you find lacking in fighting games, or on what you’d like to find in fighting games that you’re not finding.

The best I can come up with is that button combos in platinum games have associations. Like, in W101, if you want to do tombstone you press L2+R2. A similar move in a fighting game would be, like, up left left right down B. None of the movement inputs correlate to the move it’s just an arbitrary string of quick inputs. Like, in Smash, Down+B is not necessarily a downwards attack, just a different one to B with no direction. A launch in W101 is Jump+Attack – there’s that button association.

Alright, lemme cover Smash first. In Smash, you usually have Neutral B, Up B, Down B, and Side B. Up B and Side B very clearly correlate with directions, this is true on the ground as well as the air. So with Side B you get Fox/Falco Illusion, Raptor Boost (on falcon), Dancing Blade (Marth), Luigi Missile, and a bunch of other moves that move to the side. Up B is almost always a recovery move. Down B however can’t always go down. Sometimes you’re standing on the ground and you can’t really go down anymore. There’s exceptions of course like Falcon Kick, or Mario/Luigi Tornado which go down if you’re in the air. There’s a similar deal with down smash. Down smash can’t reasonably go down since you’re on the ground already, so it hits around you instead, or you get mewtwo’s which is a stronger attack hitting in front of him. Because Down Bs can’t really go down, most of them are designed to be utility moves like neutral B is. But apart from that, Smash mostly plays nice with the directional correlation.

In traditional fighters there’s a few very common input sequences that are common to most games. There’s Quarter Circle Forwards, there’s Quarter Circle Backs, there’s Dragon Punch motions, then there’s Charge moves. There are a few more complex motions than these, but they’re typically reserved for special moves or they’re not much different than these.

One example of a Quarter Circle Forward is Ryu’s Hadoken, a move that shoots forwards. Most projectiles are QCF motions. All of the ones in SFV are. One of the rare exceptions I can think of is Athena in KoF who uses QCB for projectiles. Chun Li’s lightning legs are another good example, now being a QCF motion, but they used to be a mash motion, which related to her kicking very fast, but now relates to the forward motion of the legs.

QCBs are usually less direct moves that serve some utility function rather than straight up aggression. For example, Ryu’s Tatsumaki isn’t as useful in most situations as his fireball. Nash’s sonic scythe has a backswing that kind of correlates with the QCB motion. Almost every character with a command throw has it on the Half Circle back motion, fitting this metaphor that you’re pulling the opponent in. Some characters have command grabs on 360s like Zangief, to strengthen the feeling of the pulling in.

Dragon punch inputs almost always do uppercut type of moves or something more special and less direct than standard moves. FANG can slide through opponents with his. Nash does this leaping hitgrab thing that drains meter and health.

Charge moves are a lot like dragon punches and QCFs, they all have this back to forward or down to up thing going on. Like Guile has back to forward sonic boom, down to up flash kick. FANG will lunge forwards on his back to forward charge and shoot a fireball up on his down to up charge.

The thing is, the movements are really not that complicated. Probably the two hardest movements in the list here are Zangief’s 720 and Guile’s back forward back forward.

These lists are comparable, except for the addition of Guile’s Delta inputs in SFIV (which are legitimately bullshit).

“similar move in a fighting game would be, like, up left left right down B.”
There’s basically no game with a move like that. You’ll run into a few games with weirder and harder inputs (usually just for the super moves), like King of Fighters and Guilty Gear, but for the most part, you can figure out most characters’ moves through trial and error once you know the common patterns.’98_Ultimate_Match/Moves_(normal_characters)

And beyond that, part of my issue with platinum games is that most of the moves are accessible through combo sequences, which have no directional cue at all. You just gotta remember that this arbitrary string of punches and kicks or light attacks and heavy attacks produces an attack with this effect at the end of it. It’s even more arbitrary than fighting game inputs.

Also, because platinum has shied away from using hard lock, they don’t have many back directional inputs or side directional inputs anymore. Bayonetta, MGR, and Transformers Devastation all seem to only use forward forward, back forward, and 360 motions for attacks (I think bayonetta had launchers on back + attack), so all of their attacks are generally in the forwards direction. DMC used to have back inputs, like for launchers, but also utility moves like windmilling the enemy to pummel them or freezing himself with cerberus, a rising uppercut or kick with Beowolf, drive or dance macabre with rebellion in swordmaster style, and so on.

Launchers in fighting games tend to be arbitrary moves, sure, but they’re arbitrary moves in platinum games and other crazy action games frequently as well, like prop shredder, charge shot, or a bunch of other combo sequences.

I mean, I think you’re just not following the directions very well if you think this is all arbitrary and come up with an example like, up left left right down B for your case. Try starting with a simple character like Ryu or Guile or Cammy. They have very intuitive motions and only 2-3 special moves.

On a related note, the fox costume in Bayo 2 got me thinking, what if there were a crazy action character who could shine like fox? Or maybe even multishine and wavedash?


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