Thursday, April 25, 2013

Killer Instinct 3 - Opportunity to Raise the bar on fighting games!

With some very practical and helpful ideas from fighting games such as Skullgirls (Tournament Mode) and Injustice: Gods Among Us' navigational functionality and user friendly interface, the bar for fighting games needs to be set. Players will eventually (or at least SHOULD) have new expectations for fighting games that release in the future.

With the new PS4 and the new untitled "NextBox720", there are some brand and grand opportunities here, just waiting to be taken over. More than any other fighting game Killer Instinct has the greatest opportunity to really take advantage of and profit from.

New Console Generation, means time for change. New platform, new ideas, new games. In the previous generation, Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs Capcom 3 helped bring both old and newcomers to fighting games and stuck around to play! Rare hasn't released any KI games since KI2, and everybody is craving for KI----SOMETHING.... To generate a very loud but positive crowd response, all the development team would have to do is "ANNOUNCE" (not even release, just announce) a new KI game for the new XBOX system to release. Just as importantly, they would have to announce Killer Instinct 3 with MK special guest characters or announce Killer Instinct vs Mortal Kombat. Fan anticipation is just as important as a game's release date and whether the response is positive or negative, the important thing is to get the word out into the streets and have fans talking about it all over the world. Since we're a long ways away from KI to come out and the next generation of consoles are around the corner, it would be unrealistic to say that they would have to make KI3 / KIvsMK a launch title. Although the surprise would help establish incredible amounts of hype.

Street Fighter, almost singlehandedly revived the fighting game community (FGC). With such a strong demand for a new KI game, Killer Instinct has a similar opportunity to do the same. Killer Instinct has always been a newcomer friendly game and veterans love it just as much as well. What SFIV aimed to do was close the gap between competitive and casual gamers, and I think KI perhaps executes this idea best. KI has tons of depth, but button friendly enough that you can mash buttons casually and see the flashiest combos happen. People can only take so much Street Fighter.

Competitive and casual gamers are always the target audience when making games. This is especially true when talking about fighting games. What isn't targeted however are spectators and newcomers. Games do not produce features & functions that aid spectators who don't understand the game and newcomers that are just picking it up. Sure developers install "trial modes" and "tutorials" to help them learn the game, but these things lack a particular human touch. Brief but vocal (and sometimes visual) explanation AND encouragement. During combat (Arcade, Versus, etc), set challenge goals and achievements to help them get a "hands on" feel for the mechanics of the game. King Of Fighters XIII did this during Arcade Mode.

How this should be done?
First, developers need to keep the fast, flashy, but button friendly combos, such as with KI and KI2! Keep the mechanics, including combo breakers (but keep combo breakers in check with some other mechanic or dynamic of the game).
Secondly, develop this game with spectators in mind. Include an "Audience Mode" and perhaps "Instant Replays". Audience mode will have a narrators, commentators, and/or fonts to help explain/highlight characters, in-depth situations, strategies, and even the character themselves during the character select screen and during combat. For example, during character select, highlighting a character will provide a screen that briefly (for maybe 10 seconds) explains what the character is about and that character's strengths and weaknesses are. Instant Replays would automatically select a highlighted portion of the match, replay it in slow motion, and just briefly explain the replaying segment. These options should allowed to be turned on or off of course, in case these get annoying.
Thirdly, follow Skullgirls and Injustice as a template. Skullgirls's "Tournament Mode" is amazing. A few things such as transitioning back to controller slot select when a controller is unplugged is just so convenient. Injustice has the movelist displayed for both P1 and P2 sides when you pause it, and the entire move list display frame data when you highlight an individual move, and if it's a special move, it even describes the special attack and if the move has other functions, like charging.
Lastly, keep the character designs, sensible. Girls are also a demographic in the gaming market and getting their attention only HELPS! MAKE MORE FEMALE CHARACTERS and do NOT make TOO MANY "sexy" female characters. Two half naked female characters is enough (see Orchid). After that, the rest of the female cast should be sensibly dressed and should be treated/marketed as an individual, not a female to attract males. Let's welcome girl gamers too!

With an already established franchise with a secure fan base that deserves a sequel that is LONG overdue, KI3 / KIvsMK cannot fall short of success.

Friday, March 30, 2012

XBLA & PSN Fighting games

With a few re-released games being ported or even overhauled onto the new generation systems, perhaps some fan favorite games would be nice releases as well. It's understood some games are niche titles, as such, bundles would be encouraged. For example, people want another CvS game. Why not have

Capcom vs SNK
Capcom vs SNK 2

Bundled for the price of one, upped with a couple extra features if only ports of each game.
Or perhaps more ambiguous, Bundle Capcom *AND* SNK games in this particular circumstance.

Capcom vs SNK
Capcom vs SNK 2
Street Fighter Alpha 2
Street Fighter Alpha 3
King of Fighters 98
King of Fighters 02

Now perhaps this is asking too much. I'll be realistic. But collection games aren't farfetched and collection games crossing over universes doesn't sound too far fetched either does it?

If SNK could release a bundle, something more imaginable might be feasible.

KOF 98
KOF 02
KOF Ex Howling Blood

Now, I know this will never happen, but wouldn't it be great if SNK released a bundle like this on XBL. Here would be a neat idea I think.

Darkstalkers 2
Darkstalkers 3/Vampire Savior

Or even a vs collection.

Xmen Childeren of the Atom
Xmen vs Street Fighter
Marvel Super Heroes 
Marvel vs Street Fighter
Marvel vs Capcom

An ambiguous hits collection or something would be nice as well. I know this is all wishful thinking, but it's not completely away from reality.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Red Earth
Capcom Fighting Evolution

I know this post is useless ranting and wishful thinking. But think about this for one second. If you have a favorite game and what a re-up, why not make some noise. I mean, Guilty Gear Accent Core is coming to XBLA and PSN. TvC made it to the U.S when everybody declared it wasn't coming. Marvel vs Capcom 3 finally developed. Street Fighter vs Tekken is a thing now. At this point, I wouldn't put it past developers to hear voices being heard.

Personally, I want these games up on XBLA:

Ninja Masters
Breaker's Revenge
Vampire Savior
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Xmen vs Street Fighter

Make it happen!!!! 

Friday, December 31, 2010

Fighting Game Conveniences

Sometimes, when a new fighting game is under development, game developers will overlook some of the more modern and very useful conveniences. Not saying that it isn't important to put a tremendous amount of focus into the game itself. Whether it's keeping the game balanced, making it consistent, creating lots of depth, less depth, etc. However, it does help to have a few options available for those who do more than just play the games.

For instance, if you look at Guilty Gear Accent Core or even BlazBlue; it has one of the "MOST" in-depth training modes I've ever seen. Nearly every single training option is available to you. This ranges from computer actions, available resources, recording player actions, recovery, etc. KOF's training mode has it so you can record inputs, frame by frame. While not necessary, it allows the community to dissect the game even further, with a lot less hassle of having to program our own resources to do so. Even BlazBlue Continuum Shift has the option to change your control settings directly from the character select screen. This is amazing. Guilty Gear Accent Core has a tournament friendly pause menu. When you pause the game, you can change the control, with several of the most commonly used pre-set control settings in America and Japan. Also available from the pause menu is the ability to return to the character select screen.

Point is, there are a few things that developers could pay more attention to, besides the game itself. Here are just a few of the options that would help make fighting games much more successful.

1) Replay/Record option - Great for uploading videos, tutorial, combo videos, etc. Why wouldn't you have a replay save mode?

2) In-depth Training mode - Tools available from BlazBlue, KOF2K2um, and GGAC's training mode are useful. In both BBCS's and GGAC's training mode, almost damn near every single option is available to you. Opponent's recovery timing, recovery directions, displaying FRC inputs, and so on and so forth. Even the ability to reset character positions by pressing the select/back button. Great stuff! Better yet, VF4-Evo has an option to view inputs and animations by individual frames. Among other superior VF4Evo training mode options.

3) Useful pause menu - When you pause the game, options like: Character Select, Stage Select, Button Config, etc.

4) End of each match option - When a match has ended, provide options to return to main screen, character select screen, re-match, and other useful options are very welcome.

5) Button Config in Char-Select screen - Ala, BlazBlue Continuum Shift, this has proven very useful in tournies.

6) Netplay Lobby Support - If the game has netplay, this would be great. SNK isn't very good with lobby's when playing games like MOTW or KOF2K2um. But it helps to have something on par with the likes of SSFIV or BBCS. 

7) Online Spectator mode - If a game has netplay features, one of the more important ones is spectating. Some players just want to watch, so why not support this? Have an option to switch between active player/spectator. This would be wonderful.

8) Online Player Skip - SSFIV and BBCS have some sort of method of skipping players. Perhaps combine the elements of both, a time limit if opposing player is ready *AND* an option to skip your own turn.

9) Online Training Mode - Also a tool from BlazBlue Continuum Shift, this allows you to play in training mode while you await your next opponent in an online ranking match. This game has proven there's no excuse for not having something like this.

10) MvC2 / HDr Style Button mapping - It's just ever so convenient when you can map your controller/stick from just the tap of your buttons. The maps are LP, MP, FP, LK, MK, FK in that order. So when you're mapping LP, you tap the button you want it set to. Then it automatically moves to the next button map. This makes it quick and easy to map your buttons. This is also convenient for players that have sticks with no button labels on them, or for players having to use adapters/converters.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Teaching Fighting Games to newcomer

Many of the OGs, veterans, or just very adapting players in fighting games have learned, that it can be very difficult to inspire, encourage, or just plain 'n simply teach a newcomer to get better. Simple fact of the matter is this. If they don't have any motivation or interest in becoming a competitive player, then it's simply not going to happen, no matter how much effort you invest in it. However, I think I've come up with a very efficient training program and I'm using this process even now, as this blog is typed. As you cover these topics in order, make sure you're able to cover and show examples. It also helps to teach only what you *do* know and show examples of situations/combos that you're capable of executing. The student/teacher relationship becomes much more stable by doing this. Without further ado, my training regimen:

1) Movement - All the combos and mixups can't help you if you don't know how to make it move with you and your intentions. More than learning the basic fighting game fundamentals, movements is absolute the most basic and mandatory skill that any newcomer should learn first and foremost (Dashing, Backdashing, Walking, Jumping, Jumping in, Jumping Away, Air Dashing, etc). These are the most important mechanics of any fighting game.

2) Approaching - After learning how to move, learning to approach is the next skill that needs to be elaborated. I know many would categorize "approaching" under "movement", but I assure you, a newcomer wouldn't know the difference either. Knowing how to move around the arena isn't the same is knowing how to get in on the opponent. A clear understanding of what to look for and what to look "out" for, while getting closer to the opponent will make things much easier for both the student/teacher relationship in the long run. I promise.

3) Blocking, Runaway, Zoning & the Corner Walls - Whilst a lot is listed and it sounds like a lot to remember, keep in mind, you only want to teach the student only the basics to remembers so that it isn't overwhelming. Teach how to block, how to zone, what to expect in corner situations and then explain a few significances of each circumstance. More importantly, more than any of the listed defense oriented topics, blocking is the most important for a newcomer. Corner walls, Zoning, and Runaway  can be covered much more in-depth at higher levels when they are comfortable playing the game.

4) Basic Combos - At the end of the day, the players just want to play. So let them break the tedious lessons by playing some matches and applying some very basic combos and attack strings. This will probably be the most fun to anybody new coming to the competitive, besides winning of course. Which only brings me to mention, it can be very discouraging if you're intending to just play the game until your friend/student learns to get better. At the end of the day, he or she will just say you're cheating and want to play a game the can actually reach an accomplishment.

5) Making and Breaking Habits - Know some players that play enough of the game to spam a high priority move out of wake up? Well, teaching them to make a habit of this is a both a good and bad thing. Teaching him/her to break this habit is an even better thing. This way, whether they realize this or not, they will feel much more at home with learning new strats, tactics, and feel better about managing better habits. It'sare important to make sure they make a habit of certain moves, situations, etc so they can learn more about what they are doing much later in their learning career.

6) Game Mechanics - Whether you're talking about walk speeds, auto-corrected moves, blocking with a button, or blocking by pressing back, teach the players about the different ways the player can take advantage of the game's mechanics, and cover some of the things that higher level players look for to abuse & exploit the game mechanics.

7) Execution - One of the very last things that any player should work on; is execution.

8) Record and Critique -


Monday, December 20, 2010

KOF2K2um Angel & May Lee Tutorial - Work In Progress

Currently, I'm working on an in-depth video coverage of Angel & May Lee for King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match. The tutorial will be broken down into segments, explaining each segment in detail. Segments include, but are not limited to:

1) Normals / Command Normals
2) Specials
3) Supers / Max / Max 2
4) Crossups / Crossunders
5) Baits
6) Mixups
7) Combos

Deadline is subject to change, but expect video tutorial sometime during spring.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tournament Hosting - Gamestop Employed

Now this is a funny, yet interesting turn of events. After 1 year working at IHOP and hating myself for it, I finally managed to quit. Being a Computer Support Specialist, I never felt comfortable working at a restaurant. At the very least, the restaurant I worked at was something I could relate to... Pancakes! I can serve up some really mean pancakes, prior to obtaining the job. Hours were ruthless and never found any time to accomplish anything, especially on the weekends having to work 12 hours both on Friday & Saturday, accumulating 24 work hours in just weekends alone. The entire 12 hours and weekday work hours, I never took Tension Pulse off of my mind. It was torture working at a job that doesn't compliment your interests. Although something did come out of it. The job title "host" was only as befitting as my interest in hosting tournaments and events. Seems like hosting is just what I was meant to do. Serving as a public representative under the IHOP logo, I figured that I could try my luck at becoming a Game Advisor at Gamestop. Reading this article about obtaining sponsorships has left me very hopeful.

For the longest time, I've always wondered what it would be like if I could get a sponsors for my tournament "Tension Pulse". I've looked at the sponsors for Season's Beatings and EVO; so I grew a little jealous. Even finalround has a few endorsements here and there.  One of the most occurring sponsors I would imagine in my daydreams was Gamestop. If nothing else, I figured getting a position at Gamestop would help me advance one more step further to pursue my desire as a Computer Support Specialist. The idea at first was to get my foot in the door by gaining a position at Gamestop. Once settled in, I could probably find a way to convince Gamestop as a Corporation (not the local manager) to help Tension Pulse. A bit ambitious, but I believe it's worth a try. With a bit of charm, I managed to convince the hiring manager to let me join the team. In response, this has convinced my girlfriend, YummiAmbi, to charm the hiring manager at JC Penny. Blissful, here I am, now working as a Public Representative & Game Advisor for Gamestop. It will be interesting to see what I can do with this position and where I can go from here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Alternate's girlfriend... Amber Cannon aka YummiAmbi

Since May 13th 2010, I've been dating a lovely lady named Amber Cannon. Which is kind of fitting because Dogysamich likes to jokingly make fun of her last name when I play Cammy and start spamming Cannon Strikes. Amber is really pursuing central sterilization,  other medical careers in the medical field, and possibly her interest in modeling and fashion. Amber Cannon *does* play games, but she's not exactly a gaming medalist~ *YET* xD

However, and this may sound selfish (and it is, kind of), but I do have reoccurring plans in my head to  change that, making her much more competitive in very particular fighting games. Mortal Kombat 9 and Marvel vs Capcom 3 to be much more specific. I'm very open with sharing my realities to Amber, my attendances to conventions, tournaments, etc etc. So far, she's been enjoying our adventures and is learning more about my worlds each time <3 =]

Not before long, I hope to set her up with her own XBL account and give Amber her very own custom Arcade Stick. I'm constantly thinking about teaching her how to play KOFXIII and Arcana Heart 3 when those come out, but those are just ideas. With this in mind, I do not only plan on taking her with me tournaments, but also to have her enter in tournaments with me~ That is a wish of mine I would like to pursue. And for those of you familiar with Empire Arcadia, I know this may sound like the Valkyrie Project, with them teaching girls to become competitive and competent in fighting games.

Until then though, I'm happy with settling with our relationship and the games we can play for fun~ <3