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Every fighter has the same move list

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Let me explain. In most games, players have the different button presses for the different characters. So if you learn the 35 different attacks of Forest Law, then you might have to learn another 23 for Armor King. My suggestion is that all the characters have the same move lists (button presses for attacks). But those button presses don't necessarily do the same thing. For instance, everyone has an attack that's execute by pressing G, P, P, K. Now for Forest Law that could be a grab and multi-hit combo. For Armor King, that could be a Block/Parry and Suplex. Now personally I would have a button sequence (or three) that is unique to that character. But I guess my point is that if you pick learn the button sequences for one character, then you have learned them for all characters. It just you'll have to learn what attack that sequence executes (because it won't be the same thing, well not necessarily the same thing). I figure that would ease development and player's ability fight and strategize quicker and more effectively, then having to learn a plethora of button sequences/move lists.

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Don't most fighting games do that anyways? The last time I played Tekken 3 every character had a huge list of combos and basic attacks but they were all pretty much the same. There are only so many combinations on a controller you can do. I agree that it would be easire to play if all button combos were the same, but that would take away different players mastering different characters for the viscious versus battles.

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Surely the idea is that they're deliberately different? Obviously the basic moves are identical but the complex ones differ to give a real sense of learning an individual character, as opposed to just learning the game and reskinning the figure onscreen. It gives a real feel that something is different. It also plays a useful role in handicapping players; someone can agree to play with a character they don't know very well and will have fewer moves available.

On top of that, putting moves that operate completely differently for different characters on the same keypresses is going to make it harder to memorise them. Quite often the sequence of keypresses relates semantically to the move you're performing, even if it's a slightly tenuous link. Break that link and you make the memorisation a lot harder.

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Obviously in a fighting game, there need to be differences between the different characters in terms of basic attacks, mobility, et cetera. Special attacks should also be significantly different, though. If you have two fighters that play with completely different styles facing off against each other, then you get an interesting fight. If everyone has the same style, just with different animations, then things get rather boring. For example, you compare a grab+multi-hit attack to a grab+throw attack. Both attacks are ones that (presumably) penetrate blocking, deal some damage, and push the enemy back. They'll be used in similar situations.

Personally, I think that Super Smash Bros. had the right idea when it comes to special attacks. Not only do the attacks not require arcane button presses (standard attacks are all A + direction; special attacks are all B + direction), but they're different while being somewhat predictable. For example, every character's Up+B ability aids them somehow in vertical recovery, whether it be via an uppercut, a teleportation spell, a simple midair jump, or any of several other things. The Side+B attack directs power to the sides, by e.g. charging, firing a ranged attack, performing a special melee attack, and so on. Standing B attacks keep the player in-place, whatever they do. Down+B attacks direct power along or at the ground. This slight predictability in abilities makes it easier to learn to use a character while maintaining distinctions between characters.

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Original post by Derakon
Obviously in a fighting game, there need to be differences between the different characters in terms of basic attacks, mobility, et cetera. Special attacks should also be significantly different, though.

Agree.
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If you have two fighters that play with completely different styles facing off against each other, then you get an interesting fight.

Agree.
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If everyone has the same style, just with different animations, then things get rather boring.

For the record, that's not what I am suggesting.
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For example, you compare a grab+multi-hit attack to a grab+throw attack. Both attacks are ones that (presumably) penetrate blocking, deal some damage, and push the enemy back. They'll be used in similar situations.

For clarity, since I used Tekken characters for example, I was comparing Kung-Fu with WWF-style wrestlling. Also it was a grab + multi-hit attack vs. a block (or parry) + throw attack. So they can't be considered the same.

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Personally, I think that Super Smash Bros. had the right idea when it comes to special attacks. Not only do the attacks not require arcane button presses (standard attacks are all A + direction; special attacks are all B + direction), but they're different while being somewhat predictable. For example, every character's Up+B ability aids them somehow in vertical recovery, whether it be via an uppercut, a teleportation spell, a simple midair jump, or any of several other things. The Side+B attack directs power to the sides, by e.g. charging, firing a ranged attack, performing a special melee attack, and so on. Standing B attacks keep the player in-place, whatever they do. Down+B attacks direct power along or at the ground. This slight predictability in abilities makes it easier to learn to use a character while maintaining distinctions between characters.


I really need to play more Nintendo games [smile]

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Besides Tekken and other 3D fighters, try Guilty Gear XX. The majority of fighters (about 20 or so fighters) have the same moveset. Not the same moves, but when you do QCF QCF HS, you're going to pull off a move.

Despite an easy learning curve for the moves though, there's a huge learning curve for the game. Just because you pull off a deadly special move with one move, if you try another character, that move could end up losing you the match.

Some characters MoveX is a fast high attack, other characters it's a slow recovery low attack, etc. Other characters it doesn't actually attack, but rather guard/combo breaks.

If you like 2D Fighters, I seriously suggest trying it. Guilty Gear XX > All things Street Fighter, and is the game of choice for fighting game competitions in Japan. (Although, avoid Isuka, Dust Strikers, etc. Just play the games that came out in the arcade).

[Edited by - Nytegard on June 8, 2007 3:40:42 PM]

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It seems to me that you would not remove the need to learn the character, because, since they still have different attacks on ABABAB or whatever, you'd need to relearn what combinations are appropriate in what circumstances.

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Original post by King of Men
It seems to me that you would not remove the need to learn the character, because, since they still have different attacks on ABABAB or whatever, you'd need to relearn what combinations are appropriate in what circumstances.


Exactly!

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Original post by King of Men
It seems to me that you would not remove the need to learn the character, because, since they still have different attacks on ABABAB or whatever, you'd need to relearn what combinations are appropriate in what circumstances.
I don't think anyone's arguing that there would not still be learning involved, but it's entirely possible (and, I daresay, recommended) to lessen that slope where you can without harming the depth of the game. If every Down+A attack is a sweep, then a player who is trying a new character has a fairly good idea what's coming when he inputs Down+A. The specific details are different, and it may well turn out that the playere, had he known those details, would not have wanted to do a sweep at that particular time, but the fact that he does not have to blindly try out button combinations to figure out what results in which move saves drastically on learning time.

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Different characters are there to present different fighting styles, not different sequence styles. In my opinion, it's better to give all characters the same sequence to do a similar type of attack. If F,DF,F performs a rising anti-air attack for one character, then all character's rising anti-air attacks should use sequences that are similar to that.

I think the relationship between controls and special moves is slightly important when dealing with the complexity or effectiveness of attacks. Such as F,DF,F,Punch performing a more complicated attack than DF,F,Punch. Aside from that, I don't think players should be required to learn new sequences, or explore possibilities of sequences, to learn new characters. The major function of sequences in fighting games are to give players a large array of moves with a limited number of buttons. To give more control to players, not to add more complexity. Mastery of fighting games is not about learning sequences. It's about anticipation and strategy. Punishing other players for being slow, repetitive, and predictable.

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I think this is a great idea because it lowers the learning curve required to play competitively in a game. It will make the game easier to learn, but just as hard to master, know what I'm sayin?

In fact, I've been working on something along these lines for my next game :) Fighting games have a lot of features that are "This feaure has always been in fighting games, so it has to be in this new fighting game." I'm trying to cut all the useless features that are in every fighting game and start over from scratch. "Memorizing huge lists of moves" is one of those features that can easily be cut.

[Edited by - the_dannobot on June 8, 2007 11:55:08 AM]

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Hmm, I don't like it. Tekken is one of my favorite fighting games, and the reason I like it is precisely because all of the characters need to be played different ways. Some characters are very fast and kicky, so you use the jump and dodge buttons (directional pad, technically) and the kick buttons to do their moves and combos. Some are big and slow, so you use the punch buttons and the throw buttons (button combos, technically) to do their moves. Yet it's important that the fast, kicky characters can still punch and throw, and the big, slow characters can still jump and kick. In Tekken (to me at least), almost all of the combos and special moves "feel" correct. The buttons represent certain things, a fast kick, a slow kick, a dodge to the left, etc. The special moves formed by pressing fast kick / dodge left / slow kick almost always involve the character doing something that is a fake out, quick hop to the left and then a strong kick moving back in towards the right. If the same button combo also made some other character shoot a fireball or do a five punch combo, it wouldn't feel right anymore.

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I really have to disagree. The motion of a move and how complicated it is usually has a direct correlation to the use of the move. Having everyone with the same move list would have many problems to it.

- You don’t want to have the actions the user inputs contradict the movements of the character. For example, with characters with many counter moves rather the offensive moves you don’t want to have a move combination directed forward when that move makes the character back up. In guilty geer if axl’s Tenhouseki or Housoubako used a forward motion it would feel very wrong as it makes him back up and counter.
- Movements change the way the character is played and gives positives and negatives to the move. For charging characters the user isn’t just holding back for a second before pressing forward to perform the move, he is defending by blocking for that second or more as well. This allows the character to have a move half entered while blocking making the counter move much faster to perform. In street fighter having Guile use the sonic boom and flash kick with quarter circle forward and down forward down-to-forward respectively would make him play completely differently.
- The difficulty of the move correlates to its effectiveness. If you have one character use quarter circle forward and do 10 points of damage with little delay and another character do 50 points of damage with little delay why would you pick the first character? Kings moves are more difficult to perform because they have a greater reword when they are performed correctly.

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I'm going to post representing those of us that just randomly mash buttons playing these kind of games, in the hopes that they'll miraculously pull off some super awesome move and win. Or you find one random sequence that does something impresive and repeat it over and over until your opponent figures out an effective counter-attack. Isn't that half the fun?
Okay well I did learn to play Paul of Tekken 3 half-properly at one point. But I've never owned a playstation or had one readily available, so that's as good as I could get.

I think that if all characters had the same button sequences then there wouldn't be as much to learn and people would get bored of such games quicker.

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Smash Brothers is the very soul of this idea, and is splendid. I'm so very glad that the Wii retains the ability to play that disc, because Smash Brothers, Wii Sports and a case of beer is about the most raucous evening you can have if your friends are all married.

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Original post by Joystickgenie
I really have to disagree. The motion of a move and how complicated it is usually has a direct correlation to the use of the move. Having everyone with the same move list would have many problems to it.

- You don’t want to have the actions the user inputs contradict the movements of the character. For example, with characters with many counter moves rather the offensive moves you don’t want to have a move combination directed forward when that move makes the character back up. In guilty geer if axl’s Tenhouseki or Housoubako used a forward motion it would feel very wrong as it makes him back up and counter.

I think that the benefit of having a uniform move set for each character outweighs the negative of having counter-intuitive moves. The player will figure out really quick what each move does and not give a second thought that the motion doesn't correspond directly to what happens on the screen.
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- The difficulty of the move correlates to its effectiveness. If you have one character use quarter circle forward and do 10 points of damage with little delay and another character do 50 points of damage with little delay why would you pick the first character? Kings moves are more difficult to perform because they have a greater reword when they are performed correctly.

There are other ways to balance a character other than just move damage, input motion, and startup time. You can tweak the size and location of the hitboxes to make the better move hit in a small, weird area. Now it's a powerful move, but it's only useful in specific situations.
Some other balancing suggestions:
-You can make the recovery time of the 10 point move shorter so the character isn't as vulnerable to counter-attacks.
-You could make the 10 point move unblockable.
-You can have the 10 point move add more meter, or make the 50 point meter eat some meter.
-If your game has a meter for block-stun, you could have the 10 point move add more points to that.
-You could not let the player special-cancel into or out of the 50 point move. That would make the move a good poke, but it's not as useful in combos.

I think that those are all better ways to balance the game than making the moves difficult to perform. They require the player to figure out where each move fits into the rules of the game and when to use it. That makes the game harder to master, whereas adding arbitrary difficulty to performing a move just makes the game harder to learn.

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Original post by the_dannobot

There are other ways to balance a character other than just move damage, input motion, and startup time. You can tweak the size and location of the hitboxes to make the better move hit in a small, weird area. Now it's a powerful move, but it's only useful in specific situations.

Oh I absolutely agree. There are other ways to balance characters then just the move inputs. Infact the move inputs are probably one of the smaller contributing factors when balancing is concerned. But I believe it should be one of the factors.

Let’s use street fighter 3 as an example. There are many moves that use the same motion. There are a ton of moves that use quarter circle forward, down forward down-to-forward, half circle forward, quarter circle back and double quarter circle forward supers. You know that when you use quarter circle forward input you will most likely be doing a special move that does moderate damage for the character straight forward. This is good because it gives everyone coming up to the machine a basic entry point. Having similar moves allows you to grow and learn from that starting point. That is why so many entry level players use Ryu, Ken and other similar characters. You already know the move list now all you have to do is learn the subtleties of the moves.

But now lets look at characters like Hugo (the wrestler for this street fighter) if you take his special throw move and change it’s input to just a quarter circle forward to make it consistent with other character’s move lists rather then the full 360 motion. The 360 motion limits the use of the move. As you do the 360 the character has the tendency to jump while attempting to perform the move. To get around this you learn that you can only use this move when you are either already jumping or have something else going on to limit the jump like blocking your opponents move, standing up from the ground or many other options. This is an important thing to learn in the process of mastering the character. Now if it used a motion from another characters’ movelist you wouldn’t have that tendency to jump in the middle of performing the move and you could use the move while walking up to the character or from just a neutral stand. You could change other balancing variables with the move but by doing so you would have changed one of the core designs of the character and the use of this move when he is meant to be a character that is played more defensively then others and this move is meant to be more challenging to put off during combat.

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Original post by the_dannobot
I think that those are all better ways to balance the game than making the moves difficult to perform. They require the player to figure out where each move fits into the rules of the game and when to use it. That makes the game harder to master, whereas adding arbitrary difficulty to performing a move just makes the game harder to learn.


Move lists are about far more then just making the game harder to learn. The movements change the way that game is played entirely and learning how to use the motions that you have to do to put in the move to your advantage is a big deal in adding to the games depth. While putting in quarter circle back + punch with Necro in the game you are doing more then just performing the flying viper move. In the process you are crouching and possibly teching low, then crouching and blocking low and then blocking high while standing. All of these instances can be used to your advantage while performing the move. If everyone has the same motions for the moves everyone has the same advantages and disadvantages that those inputs lead to, making the game a much more shallow experience.

Balancing fighters but making every fighter feel unique in fighting games is probably one of the most challenging parts of the design and most important parts. It is very hard to get right so you need as many tools at your disposal as possible to do it. The move list is a great place to put subtle balancing changes into the game for moves that would normally be slightly out of balance without changing the core uses of the move and in my opinion is one of the more important aspects in making the characters feel unique from each other.

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It sounds like basically you're saying that because the inputs for a given move have meaning on their own, there's more to balancing a move than just what the move itself is. I recognize that this does affect balance, but frankly I don't think it's a terribly good way to do specials. Any such arcane method of inputting a special move (i.e. through a specific sequence of directions and attack button(s)) inherently requires two things:

* Knowledge of what inputs form a valid move
* Practice simply performing the inputs correctly

The former means that nobody is going to do remotely well with a player that they've never played before unless they've pre-memorized the move list (there's only so far you can get with standard attacks), and the latter means that nobody is going to do very well in your game at all without a lot of practice with its input system. I submit that, for a fighting game, these are both bad. They effectively lock out all but the most determined of newcomers, and make the game only fun for people who have already invested a lot of work in it. You're losing the casual players by doing this, and ideally a game should be fun for both casual and serious players alike. Remember, casual players don't know what a "fireball motion" is or how to input it correctly. How are they supposed to divine that that cool move that they saw another player pull off requires six specific directional inputs, let alone what those inputs are? Even if you tell them that, how many times are they going to have to try to perform the motion before doing it properly even once? Is that even fun?

In contrast, a game like Smash Bros. (yes, I'm bringing it up again, because it's awesome that way) is very straightforward in this sense. That awesome move? A direction and the B button. Very simple. Yes, you lose the ability to force players to only use moves in certain situations, but the tradeoff is that the game is exponentially more accessible. Nintendo's smart. They're making games that everyone can enjoy. Think carefully before targetting your own game at a niche audience.

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That goes both ways. By focusing your game on the casual crowd you loose the dedicated crowd. If you can play that game for hours practicing moves and the games mechanics and another person walk up never playing that game and beast you or performs just as well, you just lost the dedicated player. You may be making it more accessible but that does not correlate directly to more desirable.

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Original post by Derakon
* Knowledge of what inputs form a valid move
* Practice simply performing the inputs correctly

The former means that nobody is going to do remotely well with a player that they've never played before unless they've pre-memorized the move list (there's only so far you can get with standard attacks), and the latter means that nobody is going to do very well in your game at all without a lot of practice with its input system.


Casual crowds are nice and all but with fighting game (which is a niche market to begin with) you have to think about competitive play and that means thinking about knowledge and practice. All games have learning curves. Learning curves are not a bad thing.

The base learning for a game should take no more then a few minutes and will street fighter as an example (yes, I'm bringing it up again, because it's awesome that way) you can learn the basic moves of the game in under five minutes easily. So if two people who have never played the game before step up to play it they will both be able to play with each other and have fun very quickly.

However it takes much longer to learn the advanced portions of the game. Someone walking up never playing that game will most likely never beat someone who has played the game for a year unless that player is handicapping himself somehow. But for competitive games like fighting games I fail to see why that is a problem.

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Original post by Joystickgenie
That goes both ways. By focusing your game on the casual crowd you loose the dedicated crowd. If you can play that game for hours practicing moves and the games mechanics and another person walk up never playing that game and beast you or performs just as well, you just lost the dedicated player. You may be making it more accessible but that does not correlate directly to more desirable.
Careful there - you're assuming that a game that appeals to casual gamers does not appeal to dedicated gamers. Certainly it's possible to make games that appeal only to one or the other, but it's also possible to make games that appeal to both. There's a hell of a lot of dedicated Smash Bros. players out there. And there's no way that a beginner is going to be able to beat them. However, a beginner, playing against other beginners, is still capable of taking advantage of the full range of moves that each character has. He may use them inappropriately (many's the time I've seen a player accidentally commit suicide with an inappropriate action), and he certainly doesn't use them as well as the dedicated player does, but he can do them.

Contrast that to a game where specials are performed by inputting anything more than just a direction and a button. In these games, the beginners don't have access to the full range of abilities that each character has, because they don't know what is required. Most beginners start out by button mashing, and from there they find out which buttons do what, and gradually gain more control over their characters. But it's hellishly hard to figure out what random sequence of buttons you input caused your character to shoot a fireball, because it's not just one button; there's no obvious direct correlation between what you input and what the character does on the screen. Your submission that five minutes of practice is all that's needed is only accurate if the players have a reference sheet in front of them and have prior experience playing other fighting games.

The point I'm trying to make here is that the difficulty of inputting a move into the game has very little, functionally, with the gameplay itself. It's an artificial limitation imposed by the game not having an adequate control scheme. Yes, the inputs of a given move may restrict that move's applicability because it requires you to input "jump" in the middle of the sequence, but realistically most moves can be input at any time, and the only difficulties involved are a) managing to actually input the sequence properly, and b) knowing when to use the move and when not to. Learning the latter can actually be fun, but learning the former is just mechanical practice, which very few people find entertaining. Thus, presumably, you want to maximise the latter, and minimize the former.

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Original post by Derakon
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Original post by Joystickgenie
That goes both ways. By focusing your game on the casual crowd you loose the dedicated crowd. If you can play that game for hours practicing moves and the games mechanics and another person walk up never playing that game and beast you or performs just as well, you just lost the dedicated player. You may be making it more accessible but that does not correlate directly to more desirable.
Careful there - you're assuming that a game that appeals to casual gamers does not appeal to dedicated gamers. Certainly it's possible to make games that appeal only to one or the other, but it's also possible to make games that appeal to both.

I don't think he's saying it's impossible to "appeal" to both, but by taking away something important that hardcore players of a genre enjoy, you are guaranteed to lose some of them, no matter what you try to replace it with. Most dedicated fighter players enjoy learning complicated moves; they don't consider it a chore as you seem to. They will see nothing gained by the lack of variety in playstyles, and a lot lost.

Quote:
Most beginners start out by button mashing, and from there they find out which buttons do what, and gradually gain more control over their characters. But it's hellishly hard to figure out what random sequence of buttons you input caused your character to shoot a fireball, because it's not just one button; there's no obvious direct correlation between what you input and what the character does on the screen. Your submission that five minutes of practice is all that's needed is only accurate if the players have a reference sheet in front of them and have prior experience playing other fighting games.

Almost all recent fighting games that I'm aware of have training modes and include a list of all the moves in the help menu of the game.

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The point I'm trying to make here is that the difficulty of inputting a move into the game has very little, functionally, with the gameplay itself. It's an artificial limitation imposed by the game not having an adequate control scheme. Yes, the inputs of a given move may restrict that move's applicability because it requires you to input "jump" in the middle of the sequence, but realistically most moves can be input at any time, and the only difficulties involved are a) managing to actually input the sequence properly, and b) knowing when to use the move and when not to. Learning the latter can actually be fun, but learning the former is just mechanical practice, which very few people find entertaining. Thus, presumably, you want to maximise the latter, and minimize the former.

Well, I'd make two points. The first is to restate that you're wrong when you say "most people" don't like learning moves. The fighting game genre is based around this concept for the most part, and the people who enjoy those games do, in fact, enjoy learning complicated moves, and being able to show their mastery of those moves to other people at the arcade or to their friends who come over to play against them. It's not like the makers of Tekken or Street Fighter are just too dumb to come up with the idea of having one big button for all the moves; they know that their fans wouldn't like it. The second is that the "difficulty" of the move is not the sole reason nor the most important reason that fighting games use a variety of moves. As Joystickgenie and I have both said, the variety of moves changes the strategy and the playstyle of each character. Moves that incorporate directional movement allow you to crouch/jump/block as you're doing them, moves that incorporate the different kick or punch buttons allow you to set up combos and fake-outs that differ for each character. The "only difficulty" in Tekken is most definitely not learning the sequence; the more important element is learning how the moves within the sequence can be used to your advantage.

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Original post by DerakonYour submission that five minutes of practice is all that's needed is only accurate if the players have a reference sheet in front of them and have prior experience playing other fighting games.


Well if they are playing the game at home and not the arcade then yes they do in fact have that. There are generally move lists both in game and in the manual for traditional fighting games. Even if they are in the arcade many machines do even have the move list printed out on the console just below the screen.

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Original post by Derakona) managing to actually input the sequence properly, and b) knowing when to use the move and when not to. Learning the latter can actually be fun, but learning the former is just mechanical practice, which very few people find entertaining. Thus, presumably, you want to maximise the latter, and minimize the former.


For that I completely agree. The player should only have to practice how to put the move in for a short while and then they should be concentrating on how to use the move for the rest of the time. But I have never felt that a quarter circle from down to forward was to difficult to enter either.

For smash brothers in general, we will have to agree to disagree there. I personally don't enjoy the game at all. I find the controls to be awkward (not really sure why on that part) and that I don't have the amount of options available to me as I would like. 13 possible actions per character just seemed so small and limiting when coming from more traditional fighting games. I really felt like it didn't have close to the depth that I expect in a fighting game.

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Original post by makeshiftwings
Quote:
Original post by Derakon
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Original post by Joystickgenie
That goes both ways. By focusing your game on the casual crowd you loose the dedicated crowd. If you can play that game for hours practicing moves and the games mechanics and another person walk up never playing that game and beast you or performs just as well, you just lost the dedicated player. You may be making it more accessible but that does not correlate directly to more desirable.
Careful there - you're assuming that a game that appeals to casual gamers does not appeal to dedicated gamers. Certainly it's possible to make games that appeal only to one or the other, but it's also possible to make games that appeal to both.

I don't think he's saying it's impossible to "appeal" to both, but by taking away something important that hardcore players of a genre enjoy, you are guaranteed to lose some of them, no matter what you try to replace it with. Most dedicated fighter players enjoy learning complicated moves; they don't consider it a chore as you seem to. They will see nothing gained by the lack of variety in playstyles, and a lot lost.

[Replying to all three of you] Very little fighting-game superiority has anything to do with knowledge of super moves. Dedicated players don't need super moves to fight well in well designed fighters. They do not rely on a learning curve to enjoy the game. The learning curve is just an annoying stepping stone that limits the number of worthy opponents that can challenge them. The one thing a dedicated fighter needs to keep having fun with a game is constant challengers. No one who truly knows what they are doing would ever dread a newcomer walking up and winning a battle. That type of thing would totally make their day.

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(Tried to post this earlier, but the SQL connection attempt timed out. Oh, well)

Well, it should be fairly clear at this point that when it comes to fighting games, I'm not a dedicated gamer.

Makeshift Wings: I'm not saying that the immediate effects of keying in a set of inputs that have meaning outside the sequence itself is not important. I'm just questioning the utility of that method for performing specials as compared to other, more straightforward methods.

Joystick Genie: I'm not proposing that you take away the general concept of learning good ways to fight with a given character. But I think that's more fun when you have the entire character's moveset available to you. For example, I'd rather spend time trying to find a better combo than I would trying to pull off a single move in that combo. There's a lot more depth to the former than there is to the latter.

Bottom line, I'm saying that controls should be as simple as possible, given that you need to have a good variety of moves. It seems to me that it should be possible to find a spare button on most modern controllers that, when pressed in combination with a direction, performs a special.

Perhaps I'm over-exaggerating the difficulty of learning to key a specific sequence of inputs to perform a special, but I really do feel that doing so makes fighting games very inaccessible to new players. And while I recognize that niche games are appreciated by the gamers in the niche, I think that games are better when they can be played by anyone, but only mastered by the dedicated. Learning curves are one thing, but they should be gentle in the beginning.

Oh, and there are at least seventeen moves per character in Smash Bros. ;) (neutral, forward, up, and down attacks, same for smashes, same for specials, same for aerial, plus a dashing ground attack). Also four throws, the shield, and rolling, not to mention jumping. Of course, Street Fighter 2 (which is the last Street Fighter I've played much at all) had six attack buttons, with each having a low, standing, and aerial version, then blocking low and high, two throws, and whatever specials the character had. And I'm sure there's a lot more specials now than there used to be.

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Aye, indeed Smash Bros. is a good example of this... and it definately has its place. Maybe not with the hardcore fighter crowd, but with the party fighter crowd. It's easy enough to begin that a newbie can pick it up and play without getting too frustrated, but difficult enough that someone can still truly master the nuances of a character... but perhaps not to the technical extent that it can be done with a traditional fighter.

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