Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In Preperation For Demo 3, Part 1


It has been a while since I've written anything on Showdown Academy, and I've got a lot to write about. Demo 3 is essentially a real demo of the game, less of a system test and more of a how does it actually play kind of thing. I'll write about some of the most recent changes in a few parts. But before I get to writing about any of that...

A "Preview" (a review for a game that is still a Work In Progress) of v2.9 was supposed to end up in issue 14 of GM Tech Magazine, though it never ended up in the issue because the editor felt it was too "dated". How the most recent version of a game is too dated is beyond me, but whatever... Demo 3 will hopefully get previewed in a following issue. I did get my hands on the preview, and it was quite positive. There were some complaints about a lack of combos, but one thing I'd like to say is keep playing! v2.9 does have some serious combos hiding in there, many of which have been toned down (which is a good thing) for Demo 3. SDA does have combos, you just have to make them yourself. No Dial-a-Combos here.

But for the Demo 3 information, I figured I could leave this post for changes to the game's fighting system.

One of the first things I ever did was add 1 frame (there are 50 frames per second in Showdown Academy, 60 in a typical fighting game) of throw invincibility (and throw invincibility only, nothing else) when coming out of block stun. This single frame is after block stun is over, and will carry through to anything that happens after block stun. This was needed because throws could easily be abused and used over and over (mindlessly) to win a match in v2.9. Now, in Demo 3, throws are still very powerful but are not simply a mindless assault. Some thought has to be put into the use of a throw.

Most fighting games have buffers. Buffers for everything. Everywhere. Sort of. They're useful in certain situations to make the game feel smoother, or to add an actual strategic element to the gameplay. v2.9 of SDA doesn't have enough of them, but Demo 3 will have more, and better buffers. What a buffer basically does, is it gives the players a chance to "store" some inputs while doing other things, and these inputs are then used later. Sort of... they can also simply store that information for a set period of time and free it, meaning you still have timers and things on special moves. Which is what I've done in the new demo during times like hit stun and block stun. Before, special move inputs could not be done at all during these times. But with a buffer, you can now start your special move during your hit frames. Yay smooth gameplay.

Half Circle Motions... were all messed up. I don't even know how to describe them in v2.9, except that they needed some fixing and some short cuts could be found to lessen the length of the actual motion (to less than a half circle). Well now they are true half circle motions. This is a good thing for Aroon, who relies on half circle motions for his Forward Knee... and his Super.

Super moves are one of the newest additions to a character's arsenal in Demo 3 and they should end up being really fun to play with. A super meter has been in the game for a long time and has been reserved only for EX moves, up until now.

Guard Damage used to run on a universal system, where certain types of attacks would cause a certain amount of damage to the Guard meter. After some discussion, these values are no longer universal types and each attack has its own Guard Damage value.

Normal moves no longer build super meter on whiff (on use of the move, though whiff usually refers to the use of a move that does not connect), but build extra Super on hit to compensate. Special moves now build more Super on use than they did before, but build less when they connect (a trade off that might sound simple at first but some thought did go into this). Throws no longer build meter (as they shouldn't). Dash Attacks build meter on hit, but do not build meter on whiff (when used). Getting hit gives 1 more Super to the defender than before, and blocking a hit now gives Super (half of the Super received when getting hit). And also, loss of Super from Counter Hit has been increased. Lots of crazy super shifts and adjustments that make for slightly better gameplay.

Some good news for Jiro players: Jumping attacks can now be done after a Wall Jump, whether or not a jumping attack was already done before the Wall Jump was performed. Wall Jumps can also cancel a jumping attack, so you can do attack, wall jump, attack. I say good news for Jiro, because Aroon can still not wall jump.

A pretty big bug in the past occured when a throw and an attack met at the same time. This meeting caused some strange animation and movement glitches and the only workaround I had to this was to make Throws immune to attacks. This means a throw will always win over normal attacks. Obviously it would be more ideal to have normal attacks win over throws, but I'll have to take even more time to come up with a workaround.

Next time I will post more on a few different bug and character changes to go along with the general gameplay changes of today's post.