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serious new fighting game proposal

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I think that I have a very good idea for a fighting game. Actually, it’s not just a single fighting game, but an entirely new control framework which I think will represent a big step forward in fighting games. I’m not too optimistic about making money from the development of this idea, but it would be nice, since I think it’s both good and original. So I don’t know... anyone who could give me some advice in making this idea a reality? I can be reached at bookofdreams@hotmail.com The full text of the proposal follows... Highly-Analog Fighting Game Proposal by James Green-Armytage CONTROLS: 1. left analog thumbstick (movement stick) 2. right analog thumbstick (focus stick) 3. left punch (LP) 4. left kick (LK) 5. right punch (RP) 6. right kick (RK) Something similar to the PS2 controller would do well, using the two thumbsticks, and buttons L1, L2, R1, R2. The other buttons won’t be needed. MOVEMENT The left thumbstick controls the MOVEMENT of your character’s body. Move toward, move away, jump, duck, etc. FOCUS The right thumbstick controls the FOCUS of your character. Focus high, focus low, focus towards, focus away. If aren’t touching the focus stick, your character’s focus returns to a default position. The focus applies to both offense and defense. The placement of your focus determines the aim of your attacks, blocks, parries, deflections, etc. So, movement of body and movement of focus are made independent. You can do a low right kick while standing (motion stick neutral, focus stick low, RK), a high left punch while crouching (motion stick low, focus stick high, LP), etc. The really cool thing about this is it’s highly analog. It’s not a simple dichotomy between high punches vs. low kicks, you can aim attacks exactly where you choose to. BLOCKING AND BALANCE Likewise, it’s not just high blocks vs. low blocks. You can block anywhere along the spectrum. And the accuracy of your block matters, both in terms of whether you take damage, and also in terms of BALANCE. Balance is a key concept in this game. If your block is close enough to the hit so that you don’t take damage, but not closely on target, your balance will temporarily decrease. Being off-balance means a few things. One, if you try to attack, it will be slower than normal. Hence being off-balance keeps you on the defensive. Also, the width of your block protection temporarily decreases, making you easier to hit. This width can be called the “BLOCK RADIUS”. The whole radius defines the area that will prevent a hit from connecting and causing damage, but the center of the area offers more “intensity” of protection, in the sense that it is better from a balance point of view. Intensity of protection gradually decreases to a minimum on the outside edge of the area, and then drops to zero outside the area. A loss of balance only lasts for a second or so, and you recover gradually over the course of that second, rather than all at once. Thus, the advantage of getting your opponent off balance is to continue with follow up attacks. For example, you can string five or six hits together where your opponent is just barely blocking them and hence staying off balance... and then by keeping the pressure up, you could get a full connect on the seventh hit. The degree of a loss of balance depends on how accurate your block was, how strong the hit was, etc. If your block is dead on target, then there is no loss of balance at all... maybe even a slight gain of balance against your opponent. If you pull back on the focus stick, and bring your focus inwards, this puts you in a more defensive stance, and increases the size and intensity of your block radius. PARRIES To PARRY, pull back on the focus stick so that as a hit is approaching you, you are aiming at where that hit is about to be. Then press one of the punch or kick buttons. You will then use whichever arm or leg you selected to try to parry the attack. (Arm parries are more common, but leg parries are possible.) If you are dead on target and your timing is perfect, you will have such a big advantage in balance that your follow up will almost certainly connect. The further away you get from the target, your balance lead decreases, eventually becoming a balance deficit and then a clear hit by your opponent if you’re totally off. The parry radius might be smaller than the block radius for many characters; the idea is that you take some risk by deciding to parry rather than doing a straightforward block... this risk counterbalances the chance of reward if your parry is successful. If your parry is a split second too late or too early, it will also decrease in effectiveness. If your parry is completed before the hit reaches, and you just swipe the air, then you will have only served to temporarily decrease your block radius. Parrying much too late will also decrease the block radius. DEFLECTIONS This is to knock away your opponent’s guard, allowing you to connect with a follow-up attack while their guard is deflected. To do a deflection, aim at your opponent’s guard (that is, not so far forward as the opponent’s body) and press a punch or kick button. (Punch deflections will be more common, but kick deflections are also possible, especially from the air.) Quickly pressing another button will execute a follow-up attack. If your deflection is on target, and you opponent does nothing to stop it, the follow-up will probably connect. How do you stop a deflection? Either move out of the way, or counter it with a punch button. Hitting a punch button in time basically neutralizes the deflection. If the counter is a bit slow, then you might lose some balance. If the counter is well-timed, then balance should be roughly equal, give or take a bit. A DEFLECTION is something to do when your opponent is relying too heavily on blocking. It is a way to mix up your offense and get through a defensive pose, as parries are a way to mix up your defense and regain the initiative. SIMULTANEOUS HITS If the two players launch hits that don’t intersect (e.g. one high and one low), and both connect at exactly the same time, then both will take damage. If one connects very slightly earlier, then that hit will maintain its full strength while the other hit will become a bit weaker. If the gap between hits is long, the second hit will not connect at all. If the two players launch hits that intersect (e.g. high left punch vs. high right punch), and they have similar momentum at the time of connect, then the result is neutrality. If one player’s hit has greater momentum (e.g. because it was launched slightly earlier), then that player will gain an advantage in balance. SIDESTEPS You can step left by pressing LP+LK, and you can step right by pressing RP+RK. When your opponent is standing still, sidesteps will not be useful. Sidesteps are mostly useful to dodge an opponent’s attack, and then counter attack while his momentum and focus are still in another direction. JUMPING Approximately the upper third of the motion stick’s circle causes your character to jump. Pretty much anything you can do from the ground (attack, block, parry, deflect), you can do from the air. The further you extend the stick and the longer you hold it in the jumping direction, the further the jump will be. There is also the possibility of a long-distance auto-aim jump which is done by tapping back-down on the motion stick, then holding up-towards. PRESS-AND-RELEASE VS. TAPPING I am leaning towards a press-and-release system, although this is optional. The argument against this is that it slows down the action, and is cumbersome. The argument in favor is that it can produce a much wider range of moves. It also makes it harder to get moves wrong when they require simultaneous button-pressing (such as the sidestep), because even if you don’t depress the buttons at exactly the same instant, the fact that they are held down together during the same time and then released registers the sidestep. Examples of press-and-release moves... In some cases you might produce a stronger hit if you have held the button for a longer time. Also, you could do an uppercut by pressing the punch button when the focus was lower, and then releasing it while raising the focus. The possibilities are very expansive. Feints could be an interesting part of the game. THROWS Throws can be executed by some combination of buttons such as RP+LK or LP+RK. Throws can vary depending on where you aim, e.g. you can do a different through by grabbing the legs versus grabbing the upper torso. Throws can be blocked; in order to successfully throw, you need to get past your opponent’s guard, just as you would have to do with other kinds of attacks. WALLS AND POSITION Walls are optional. A player who is blocking hits is generally pushed backwards. With one’s back against a wall, blocking becomes more difficult (block radius decreases). I would prefer to have walls in the game rather than ring outs. CHEESE: JUGGLES, GROUND HITS This game must avoid giving an advantage to cheesy players. So it shouldn’t allow too much in the way of juggles. Sure, if you can throw your opponent is in the air and you do a jump kick into them, that’s fine, but then they should appropriately go flying in the other direction, as the laws of physics dictate. No silly stuff like where you give someone little punches and kicks that just keep them conveniently floating in the air in front of you. Also, I don’t want to go overboard with ground hits. Players should be able to get off the ground very fast, so that you can’t get extra cheese points via endless sweep kicks. INTUITIVENESS A talented player who is relatively new at the game should have a fair shot against someone who has all the moves memorized. That is, knowing all the moves shouldn’t make you practically invincible. Actually, I think that in this game, most of the moves should be highly intuitive, since you can tell your character exactly where to hit and when. Combos shouldn’t just be a matter of memorization; you should be able to constantly improvise new combos. MOMENTUM AND WEIGHT SHIFTS It would be interesting if you could program the game so carefully that it would keep track of the characters’ momentum and weight distribution. For example, if you’re moving forward at a high speed, then your punch should come out differently than if you’re standing still. Probably it will be stronger, etc. I’d like to give the logic of hit sequences (combos) a grounding in realistic momentum and balance. For example, if you are repeatedly doing left kicks, you can do one or two while still moving forward, but after that you have to plant the foot (or hop, which wouldn’t give you much momentum). As the left foot is coming down, there will be extra momentum for punches, especially a right punch. If we can give the characters flexible combination options based on factors like this, the result will be more realistic, more intuitive, and more fluid. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CHARACTERS Characters can still have special moves, although the moves still aim toward the indicated point. A very wide range of moves can be fit into the control framework of this game. Some characters may do certain moves with unusual effectiveness. Characters can differ in terms of balance, block radius and intensity, effectiveness of parries and deflections. Characters can differ in terms of range, speed, and strength, both globally, and in the execution of particular moves. If desired, you could use this system to render a wide variety of martial arts styles with a fair amount of realism... or you could render more fantastic styles. STANCE CHANGES You could have the option of doing rather fine-tuned stance changes, e.g. by holding down something like LP+RP+LK+RK, and then making adjustments on the sticks before letting go. You could also change the default position of your focus this way. DIFFERENT VERSIONS AND OPTIONS In the arcade, you would have a standard mode, but in home consoles, you could have very flexible play options. You could adjust the speed of play. You could decide whether you want the players’ foci to appear visually on the screen, and whether you want a visual display for the characters’ balance. You could adjust the length of the lifebar, the width of block radii, existence of sidesteps, the speed of sidesteps, the effectiveness of deflections, parries, and so on. You could also choose to play a game with a different kind of lifebar, which only measures the difference between the damage each player has taken, and the match doesn’t stop until the difference in favor of one player or the other makes it to a certain level... This sort of match could go back and forth for awhile before you get a winner, if the players are evenly matched. CONCLUSION The goal of this game is that it should be extremely fun to play. It shouldn’t get old and boring once you learn the moves. You shouldn’t feel frustrated by the limitations of the characters’ moves, as I do in most fighting games eventually. Instead, you should feel a great sense of flexibility, a sense of easy and fluid control, whereby you can fully engage with the game, almost as a form of self-expression.

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Quote:
Original post by James Green-Armytage
I’m not too optimistic about making money from the development of this idea, but it would be nice, since I think it’s both good and original. So I don’t know... anyone who could give me some advice in making this idea a reality?
OK well first off, if you want to make money from your idea make sure you don't tell anyone until they have signed an NDA otherwise they can pinch the idea and...... doh!

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Sounds great - I've often wondered whether two controllers could work for fighting games.

If you're looking for realism though, don't have the fighters get up from the ground quickly just to solve a balance problem. The real issue is that low attacks should not be very effective against fighters on the ground, since they are a lot more stable.

You're going to need at least a 3D artist and a 3D programmer to get a prototype working. Unfortunately, I'm neither but try the help wanted forum.

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All I can say is that it sounds like an excellent control scheme.

Really First rate.


Some parts seem a little overly complex and might not translate well but it would be worth testing out.

Perhaps the buttons on the top can be used to move through different attack schemes

say you can switch fighting styles....jujitsu....taekwon...sword attacks...etc.



Great Idea

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The ideas sound great. Programming controls like that = hell.


100% of the games you see made by a lot of developers right now have awesome graphics yet crappy controls; programming a control scheme like the one you've detailed above would easily drive the most brillant person insane. And even if they somehow did get it programmed, they've have to get all of the animations timed to work perfect with it and you'd also need timers and move buffers so that you could create combinations and multi part moves. ':/

I truly believe that the hardest part of programming fighting games are getting realistic, or even believable controls.

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Uthman, if one is going to have a very articulate input scheme, and they wish for the intricacies of the user's input to be expressed in the motions of an animated character, and they want to do it with any sort of finesse, then they're going to have to do away with canned animations altogether and let all player character movements be algorithmic. Yes this shifts work from the animator to the programmer, but remember there could still be non-programming work involved -- if you want to parameterize the motion at all, you'll need someone to tweak the numbers just so to yield different kinds of movement styles, and the artists could play with that, perhaps generating these parameters from their tools.

I've had some similar ideas for fighting game input control schemes, and have just lately been doing some work towards them -- primarily in figuring out solutions to various inverse kinematics problems. When I feel confident with all my results, I hope to write a few articles about that and submit them here to GameDev.net.

James, your ideas sound pretty cool. Keep up the design work -- try writing a design document that's detailed enough such that if you gave it to two different development teams, they'd produce the same game! And if you manage to accomplish that, I've got some ocean-front property in Kansas to sell you...

But seriously, if you want to actually make this idea a reality...you'd better find a good programmer, or take up programming yourself (it's really not that hard, just some logic and math).

Good luck anyway, with all your endeavors.

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