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Swordmaster

fighting game finishing moves

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Can anyone fill me in on how fighting games implement a "finishing move" into said game, and yet still retain game balance? What are the mechanics behind them? Do most of these moves rely on the same principles, and if so what are they? You can give me an example from any fighting game you want.

These come to mind. Killer Instinct, Soul Calibur, Samurai Shodown, Guilty Gear

I forget which iterations from that selection have these sorts of moves, so I didn't bother adding numbers after their titles.

But in hope of someday making and completing a fighter, could you guys give me some ideas on how to integrate finishing moves in a new way, into gameplay? Such thoughts that occur to me are about a finisher combo, and moves that you can only use once your opponents life bar is about to drain. And since I plan to make my game quite violent, I encourage such correlated concepts.

Other than that, I don't know how to word what I want to say, since I run into mental walls about this stuff. I'm almost positive it has to do with my little knowledge of fighting games and the balancing act involved with them. So could someone please enlighten me? Since I'm unsure if any of my ideas would work.

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The simplest way I can think of implimenting a finishing move in a fighting game is to detect when the actions o a player would drain their opponents life bar and they perform a certain move combo (and hit with the combo). Then, instead of the normal combo animation playing, you would play the finishing move animation.

The thing about games is that the game has to know the results of the actions before they can display it on screen, so all you need to do is use this to achieve your goal.

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Quote:
Original post by Swordmaster
Can anyone fill me in on how fighting games implement a "finishing move" into said game, and yet still retain game balance?

Instant kill moves (I guess this is what you are talking about) are basically worthless in most games in high level play, therefore no balance problem. I suppose the moves are there mainly for the amusement of bad players. Some games set up preconditions for the moves like the opponent being hurt enough, or the player's own character being hurt enough, but either way it ends up not being very interesting for different reasons. The concept of "ring-out" in some 3D fighters also involves ending the match instantly, but manages to be relevant to high-end play and does not involve a specific "move".

Anyway, I don't see how you can make sense of fighting games or design a worthwhile one unless you learn to play some of the existing ones. The fighting genre is one of the most long-lived and refined ones around. If you understand the system and concepts of (for example) Virtua Fighter and SSBB, you are much better armed to work with the genre even if your game is nothing like these games.

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I might be remembering this wrong, but I think I played a Dragon Ball Z game one time where you could trigger a high-risk sequence. You'd go into a little cinematic camera mode and a quick-time event would take place, consisting of two or three paper/rock/scissors checks. If the attacker beat the defender each time, the move would complete and heavy damage would be inflicted, but if the defender guessed right even once, he'd pull off a combo breaker, mitigate the damage done and damage and/or daze the attacker, gaining a momentary tactical advantage.

If I was going to have instant-win moves, I'd present it as the end of a series of these tests, scored a little like tennis. At first, you'd just be looking to score against your opponent, but when some criterion is met, be it HP thresholds or hard-to-execute moves/combos or some environmental condition or whatever, the victor for that "game" would be determined and the next would begin. For balance purposes, the loser might gain access to a new reserve of strength or the arena would shift to favor him or whatever. If a player wins enough games, then they win the set.

Evenly matched players will find themselves in a "deuce" situation, exchanging advantage back and forth until a victor is determined in a conventional way, either by knockout or time out or whatever. If, however, one player consistently wins the games and puts himself several steps out in front of the adversary, then he'd get a chance to earn a technical knockout, in the form of a finishing move.

So it might be like this: Ryu and Ken face off, and are on even footing. They exchange punches and jump-kicks and such for a while, and Ken manages to deplete Ryu's health bar, winning the first round. Ryu gets up, dusts himself off, and re-engages with a new, full energy bar and access to the hadouken move, which he didn't have before. Ken's at 30% health anyway, so he's quickly neutralized by the new Ryu with his new move. Ken gets his hadouken and his health back, and they go at it some more. The next one to fall gets up with the shoryuken to even the odds, and on and on it goes until one or the other loses all four of his energy bars and doesn't get up.

Next fight: E. Honda vs. Chun Li. The Honda player is way better than the Chun Li player, and he beats her down again and again. She comes back with her turbo-kick, he beats her. She comes back with that helicopter kick, he beats her. He's got 2/3 of his first health bar left when her third one goes down, and rather than letting her get back up with more health and another move, the crushing advantage is translated into a TKO, which takes the form of a sweet finishing move where Honda does a backflip and the truffle shuffle and whatever else before sumo-ing her out of the ring and being declared the victor. It's not something he could have busted out in the first round, but he earned it through total domination of the match.

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I don't know of many fighters that have finishers. I'm assuming you are talking about a move that you can do when your opponent is weak to finish him off. Not some ultra attack that can kill someone in 1 hit from full hp.

I think the easiest way to balance something like that is to make it blockable. You may also want to throw in some kind of penalty to the attacker if the move gets blocked, like a short stun or recovery time. This will probably already be built into the system, just make the penalty last a little longer than if it was a regular attack.

I don't know that finishing moves are really all that necessary. DOA is my favorite fighting series and most of the regular attacks look like they'd be enough to finish someone off.

There's nothing wrong with incorporating over the top, ridiculous attacks as part of the regular arsenal of attacks. You just don't have them deal a realistic amount of damage.

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SC4's critical finishes let you insta-kill someone who has been blocking too much or been too predictable and gotten theirselves guard-impacted too much. Extremely rare in high-level play, and only some characters have moves that inflict enough soul gauge damage on block to make it even somewhat viable. And of course ring-outs are insta-kills of a sort. Note also that a lot of moves that do significant soul gauge damage are unsafe on block, easily steppable, or slow.

Blazblue has its astral finishes that let you do an insta-kill move when you knock someone down to 35% life, have 100% heat gauge, have a burst stocked up still, and it would win the set of matches for you. These can be comboed into and thus are useful, but, aren't super-practical as you aren't likely to have that much heat gauge saved up and at that point you can generally just kill someone off normally.

Last Blade had more violent death animations when you killed your opponent with particular moves. No difference on the gameplay itself, just flashier.

Mortal Kombat has its finishing moves, but I've never played that series so dunno how you go about doing them.


If your finisher is going to impact gameplay (and not just be something done after the round end to humiliate your opponent), you need to balance it by:
-Making it unsafe if blocked or slow enough to be dodged/interrupted.
-Making it only able to be done to punish your opponent for making mistakes. This is where SC4 punishes you for excessive turtling or positioning yourself badly.
-Make it really costly to use in some way, such that you are giving up something else during the match to be able to do one later (not doing supers, rapids or bursting in Blazblue for example).

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Thanks guys, I truly appreciate everyone's responses. I wanted to make a post earlier, with my thoughts on the subject, and I will soon...but I every time I tried to word my ideas, it sounded like I wasn't making any sense. Anyways, I just need some time to learn how to draw the basic human frame, in different poses (my art books should help with that), so I can express my ideas better to everyone through pictures.

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