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The ULTIMATE fighter discussion topic

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I think that the board members should discuss topics of interest here to what makes a good and bad fighter. This will allow for small time game makers to get a consensus on issues and not ruin a possibly good game. First Topic for Discussion: The Importance of Balance My friend was creating a fighting game, and wanted me to sketch out some of the characters abilities. Of course, he already had them drawn, so I was limited, but I designed it like this. First I created the average, all around fighter with a variety of moves. Then I made a counter to him (Assuming two players of equal skill level). Then I made a counter to the counter, and so on and so forth. Now everybody in the game was equally good, due to being able to ALMOST POSITIVELY beat one character and was equally vulnerable to another character. The trick though, is that if you use a character in a strange way, you can beat their counter. For instance, Let's say that a character had very powerful vertical strikes, and its counter easily dodges vertical strikes. If you use short horizontal weak shots, you can actually defeat your counter. Discuss Balance in Fighting Games

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That doesn't seem like very good balance to me. Any character should be able to beat any other. Naturally, some will be better than others against a certain character, but skill, not choosing the right counter character, I think should be the way to win.

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There's two real options for making characters in fighter games:
1) Balance the game by making the characters all the same.
2) Make the game somewhat unfair and unbalanced by having a variety of characters.

That's really what it comes down to...I suppose a lot of playtesting by those who aren't developing it could work out a fairly good balance so one character doesn't easily dominate the rest, but dispel any notion of complete fairness unless you're willing to use the exact same moves & shape for every fighter.

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The fighting games out there weren't made to have character that were intentional dominate.For example, Marvel vs Capcom 2 seem farily balanced when it fist came out, but after a month or so you started seeing infinite combos and gliches.
There are alot of things to conside and like forgottensoul said you just have to let people test the game to see how balanced it really is.

I like the idea that every character has counters. This makes the makes it so there is no true dominance. However, when making these characters moves you have to consider how they can be used and also how they can be used with a game engine( juggling combos, dizzie, ect.)

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I misspoke earlier. By "counter", I meant to the fighters basic fighting style. For example, all newcomers to SCII that I have met, use Raphael and his stabbing A move over and over and over. The fighter who is a counter to him is someone who can beat the expected strategy better than any random fighter. But, if you change it up and use different strategies a fighter could defeat their counter and every other unit.

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I just hope you idea turns into decent representation of martial arts. Unless of course the fighters are not martial artists or they rely on powers.

Anyway things to avoid:
1) Infinite combos
2) Unblockables that have no decent counter (every character should be able to counter every technique)
3) Uninterruptable killer combos/moves
4) Characters that are fast but too weak with no defensive advantage (like practical dodging. Something in the style Aikido would be best, dodge and move in with an economy of motion.)
5) Invincible states almost always lead to poor balance.

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I don't think designing a fighting game characters around a paper-rock-scissors approach is really a good idea. If a character is balanced against other characters, tweaking one character would throw the whole game off. I like the approach of making all the characters the same, and then tweaking a character by balancing its strengths and weaknesses.

When you talk about "counters", do you mean one move that will always defeat another move, or like Street Fighter 3 style tech-blocking?

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I think, that it is very difficult to made a balanced fighting game. There is so much variables i.e.:

1. The coplexity of fighting system (3d or 2d, walls or open arenas, blocks, recovery like in SF series, Guard Impacts, stuns etc.)
2. The power of each move, I think it is the main factor alnog with
3. The speed (how many frames are needed to perform each move) as usually hard punches or kicks are slower than light one but unfortuantelly there are exceptions

Try to give an advantage to some moves in certain situations if two moves are performed simulateneously.

On many tournaments there is only a handful of characters used by players as the likelyhood of winning is the highest. So, without hard and long tests is almost impossible to make a balanced games. And even then players can find some 100% custom combos.

But on the other hand, what is the fun in playing fighting game where every character is the same or almost the same?? The soul of it, is to master your skills to defeat anyone by playing your choosen character, to known your's and your opponent's characters strenghts and weaknesses.
It is better to have less but balanced characters than having 20 or 30 but with only few really playable as the rest is to weak or slow or both or sth else.

But, as you could probably noticed there is not perfectly balanced fighting game. Cervantes in Soul Edge; Heichachi Mishima (heel sweeps :>, Thunder Godfist), Paul Phoenix (fast and strong character, in Tekken 5 is bit weaker but still a strong one); Akuma in Street Fighter 3 Alpha; Fulgore and Chief Thunder in Killer Instinct. And many, many more

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Oh, man. My friend and I had this discussion a while ago-- I consulted him for advice since he plays Capcom vs. SNK II competitively, and I was thinking about developing a fighter. We eventually came to the conclusion that it'd be impossible to do it right the first time. Honestly, there are so many things to consider, it's a miracle that Capcom and a few other companies manage to do it on a relatively consistent basis.

Things to consider:

Infinites:
I know this has been mentioned before, but I want to make the point that infinites are not always a bad thing. They only become an issue when they're abusable, really. For example, in Capcom vs. SNK II, Kim has an infinite, but he's still far from being considered a top-tier character. Why? 'cause it's not an easy thing to do. It's difficult enough so that even pros are going to have a difficult time pulling it off consistently during tournament play. In Smash Bros. Melee, the same thing can be said for Fox's infinites. Granted, Fox is top tier in smash, but his infinites have little to do with it as, again, they're just not practical.

So, infinites don't always break a game, although it's still important to try and avoid them wherever possible.

Normals:
People unfamiliar with competitive fighting game play underestimate the power of "normal" moves (jab, strong, fierce, short, etc). Probably the biggest reason why Chun Li is top tier in Street Fighter III: Third Strike is because her normals are ridiculous. Her low forward (crouching medium kick) comes out almost instantly, has obscene range, is safe on block and can be easily hit-confirmed to land a pretty nasty super. Her back-fierce and several other of her normals have immense priority and give her overwhelming dominance on the ground. Sagat and Blanka are also top-tier in CvS II for similar reasons-- Sagat wouldn't be nearly as good without his ridiculous fierce, and Blanka's crouching fierce and slide (forward crouching fierce) are pretty sick. D:

Normals are extremely important, and if you're designing a fighter they're probably the most difficult part of balance. Watch for priority, frame advantage, recovery and any other surprise factors in your game that could make a normal abusable. I can't see this being an issue of game design, it's probably more of an implementation thing since priority can be affected by hit box size/shape, the speed of the move, arbitrary frame data, etc. Just toy with the numbers until it works out.

Glitches:
Glitches are kind of like infinites: they're not always a bad thing, but you probably want to avoid them at all costs. Kara-cancelling in third strike and roll-cancelling in CvS II are glitches that provide some advantages in certain situtations, but they have not broken the games by any means.

Unfortunately, all that can be done here is testing. If your game has a glitch hidden in there somewhere, and it becomes popular in a competitive circle, there is no question that someone will find it.

There are tons of other things to consider, but those are probably the most immportant. There are going to be character-specific things to watch for as your fighter unfolds that don't really fit any general categories. For example, in third strike, Yun's custom combo super is almost completely broken. A good Yun player can easily get full meter twice within a round, and under optimal conditions can deal around 80% damage if he lands the super. He can also continue the combo after the CC has run out, giving him a good portion of his meter back before the other player even has a chance to hit the ground. I hate Yun.

Anyway, I think the best way to learn to balance a fighter is to play competitively viable fighters and pay close attention to what is going on. I personally don't really play on a competitive level, I just follow my friends around to big tournaments like Evolution and ECC and I learn a lot just by watching and listening. The mechanics behind these games are extremely complicated, and I don't think enough people really understand that. It is precisely the reason we see so many unbalanced fighters even out on the market.

On another note, it is also important to have a FUN game. Balance is important, but nobody's going to play a balanced, competitively deep fighting game if it's boring, i.e. Capcom Fighting Evolution. So... yeah.

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