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templewulf

a la carte martial arts?

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So, I'm working on my engine, but I'd like to get opinions from fellow programmers and martial artists before I go too far with a flawed design. I was a little disappointed in Jade Empire, because the different styles consisted of 3 attacks with the occasional harmonic combo. It was a lot more interactive than your average RPG, but I was expecting Street Fighter RPG and wound up with Final Fight: Knights of the Old Republic. My idea would be to break up styles into stances, and each move can only be executed from a compatible stance or "momentum". The idea of momentum is that if you throw a spinning kick with your right leg, you're likely to be moving in a direction that makes certain attacks harder to do (like a left spinning kick). As it stands, I have a precondition (the stance or momentum) and a postcondition (the momentum you're in after the move executes); it's a lot like arranging 1-dimensional puzzle pieces. How can I organize this system to be both interesting and fair?

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Sounds interesting, but a bit like a classical designers game. Too complicated and requiring too much forethought to be much fun. Main problem I see is that you´ll come up with too many dead ends from a control point of view.
If you manage to put a meaningful action to every input method to every node of your stance tree, then you´ll probably have one hell of a basis for a fighting game.

I suggest you have a look at the Soul Calibur series, they had different stances to some extent - i.e. execute a move and stay in the end position, rather than revert to the start position.

The downside is that the number of moves you need multiplies with each stance you add...

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Original post by Hase
Sounds interesting, but a bit like a classical designers game. Too complicated and requiring too much forethought to be much fun. Main problem I see is that you´ll come up with too many dead ends from a control point of view.
If you manage to put a meaningful action to every input method to every node of your stance tree, then you´ll probably have one hell of a basis for a fighting game.

I suggest you have a look at the Soul Calibur series, they had different stances to some extent - i.e. execute a move and stay in the end position, rather than revert to the start position.

The downside is that the number of moves you need multiplies with each stance you add...
I'm actually a huge SC fan. I'm currently devouring SC3, and it's one of the best fighting games I've ever played...as long as you don't try Chronicles of the Sword. [lol]

I get what you're saying about requiring too much forethought, and that's one design aspect I'm struggling with. I enjoy setting up a team in an RPG like Final Fantasy Tactics, because the planning was at least as important as the battle itself. Putting together a custom fighting style appeals to me, but does sound like most people would find it kinda dull.

I don't understand what you mean when you said "dead ends from a control point of view". Are you saying there won't be enough moves for each stance? My current problem is more along the lines of too many moves for too few buttons.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Also look at the bushido blade games, they were pretty neat in terms of the fighting styles and combinations of moves you could do from each style.

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Considering the ability to use different styles including weapon styles, and magic, I thought Jade Empire had basically the best fighting system it could. A fighting system like soul calibur or street fighter would have completely turned me off to the game.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Some martial arts focus on have unorthodox and clumsy looking movements and patterns.

Not all martial arts flow.

If you're system requires one move to be linked to the stance/momentum from the last move all of your styles will be forced to be similar in cadence and flow.

The stance idea has been proven time and again. It works. Maxi/Nightmare/Ivy in SC and Lei Wulong in Tekken are examples of stance heavy characters.

Forcing things to be cohesive in terms of momentum would be bad as it limits you.

As far as a combo system is concerned. Abandon the entire idea of auto combos and instead do eveyrthing based on player timing.

Move: Head Kick
Startup Frames: 3
Lag Frames: 5
Duration: 7
Hit Box Duration: 2-5
Special Properties: Causes opponent to Lag for 3 frames on hit.

This is the basic idea on how most good fighting games handle moves.

Each character just has a big list of movements. Each with data.

When you press the buttons for Head Kick, the engine waits 3 frames before it starts the animation. The animation is 7 frames long from start to finish. Out of those 7 frames, the hit box is active for frames 2 through 5 inclusive. If the hit box intersects the enemy player during those frames, and nothing else interferes like an interrupt or something, the opponent gets hit.

After the 7 frames on animation are overwith, the player is unable to do anything for 5 frames. Think of it like move cooldown.

Combos basically work by forcing the player to time things properly and coordinate the effects of moves.

In Tekken 3, Heihachi could use his F,D,DF + RP uppercut into LP, LP, LP, B+RP, F+LP while the opponent was falling. It was a juggle but the first LP had to hit the opponenet right or the F+LP at the end would miss. It took timing and skill to do this cool air juggle. None of it was preprogrammed. Each hit of the juggle took 1 command to do and they all had to be timed.

In Tekken 4, this combo stopped working as they changed the speed of falling and some of the frame data for the moves. We had to learn a new way to work the combo.

A perfect system would be one where players could come up with their own combos because nothing was preprogrammed but the individual moves were designed so they could be strung together if timed right. That is a true combo system. The best part is, it seamless integrates weapons/magic/martial art.

Also, it allows for characters to feel different because each characters moves could have different lag times and startup times or long hit durations.

That is, your slow/power character could have longer than normal startup and lag times with long animations and long hit durations. The effect to the player controlling is a slow character whose moves have large coverage and would probably require good timing to land things.

The fast character would have very short startup times with short animations and hit durations with normal lag times to prevent them from skill-less-ly bulldogging.

These are two cliched examples but all of these features can be used to give characters and styles really unique feels.

Off the top of my head, I can't say how one would tune it for multi-person battles but it should be possible with some thought.

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Original post by Anonymous Poster
Some martial arts focus on have unorthodox and clumsy looking movements and patterns.

Not all martial arts flow.
That may be true, but you still can't instantaneously switch to a spinning right kick in the middle of a spinning left kick. Allowing things like that causes animations that don't make sense. There would have to be a movement in the middle that allows one to transition momentums; a different attack, a feint, or just returning to a stance. This is where my "jigsaw piece" idea comes in. If the character's current momentum is incompatible, the next input must wait to return to stance or be discarded.

As far as a style not flowing, what styles do you mean? Can you be more specific as to how one would perform movements that don't flow from one to another? I'm having trouble picturing what you mean.

I do appreciate your description of a move's properties; I've got something a little similar. Mine, however, multiplies a move's stats with your character's stats. That way, you can have a tiny guy doing pro-wrestler drop kicks, or a huge Zangief-type doing jeet kune do, both with appropriate bonuses and maluses.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I do appreciate your description of a move's properties; I've got something a little similar. Mine, however, multiplies a move's stats with your character's stats. That way, you can have a tiny guy doing pro-wrestler drop kicks, or a huge Zangief-type doing jeet kune do, both with appropriate bonuses and maluses.


Good stuff. That is great for any rpg type game with player character creation. Not necessary for a fighting game because the characters are generall precreated and balanced against each other.

As for martial arts styles: Think drunken boxing. Sway this way and strike that way. Always looks to be off balance. Note, I'm talking about drunken boxing from movies not necessarily the real thing.

For real stuff look at Muay Thai. Lots of short chopping attacks from the base stance but not a lot of moves flow from one to the other.

Any grappling style will be similar. Work to a given position and apply technique. Chain throws are basically BS in real life. No one does 3 suplexes in a row. They do 1. Then they start working for mount on the ground.

Maybe I should be more clear about what I said about not all martial arts flowing. When I say flow, I mean stuff like linking a spinning kick into another move into another move etc. At lot of real martial arts are choppy. Maybe that makes more sense? Like boxing. Punch punch move. Punch punch move. There is some flow I guess but the cadence is choppy not rythmical. Make sense?

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Original post by Anonymous PosterAt lot of real martial arts are choppy. Maybe that makes more sense? Like boxing. Punch punch move. Punch punch move. There is some flow I guess but the cadence is choppy not rythmical. Make sense?
Ohh!! You meant irrhythmic, rather than without flow. In that case, you're certainly correct, but I'd say a good grasp of rhythm is even more important for Drunken Boxing.

I still don't get how my system would prevent you from fighting that way. I feel like the pre/post condition matching would allow a more creative way to string moves together than premade comboes (think Mortal Kombat [sick]). Although, I think I may be asking for trouble letting the player do any move at any time. I'm-a gonna have to brush up on animation blending!

I guess what I really want is a system that reflects the way people think about moves in real fights. This is just how I conceptualize the moves I do when I spar.

Perhaps instead of asking if this system is good, I should just ask everyone how they think about martial arts in general?

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