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

Friday, October 8, 2010

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where does your name come from, Alternate?
A: Simply put, I was looking for something different that I've never heard as a name, so I called myself Alternate. But to make sure it was universal through all networks (not taken), I added 3 numbers at the end. The closest thing I've ever heard to Alternate was Altergenesis, who is by the way a really cool dude~ =D

Q: Korean Panda is your other name. Where does that come from?
A: Actually "I" didn't come up with that name. I was on another online community called GaiaOnline and many of my friends there continued to call me Korean Panda, so I stuck with it as another alias. I actually have a friend of mine (Dogysamich) who calls me the FGE which is short for Fighting Game Encyclopedia. That came from the fact that I was very well versed and intimate with a lot of the older fighting games like GGAC, CvS2, multiple KOF games and so on.

Q: You're pursuing your career as a tourney host and as a competent player in the Fighting Game Community (FGC). What is that like and how is it going for you?
A: It's very challenging. I try my best to participate as an analyst as well as player trying to frequent tournaments. It's especially hard when you don't travel around the nation for tournaments like the many pros do. Although I'm now finally capable of catching up with the newer games as my biggest weakness comes from the fact that I never had anything beyond laptop and much too lazy to play my PS2 games. So only fighting games that I could emulate were titles I were consistent at. But now that I have a 360, that's going to change. Concerning my tournament hosting career, that is also slowly developing into a much more consistent activity. With the help of Jewdo Smash and a few others, I've been capable of running several events with no trouble.

Q: What got you into fighting games? What inspired you to play competitively?
A: I started out with NeoGeo coming up in my younger years. It goes without saying I had a lot of fighting games on the NeoGeo to play, so naturally I grew up with and favored fighting games. However, a friend of mine named TC (Terrance Kirkland) is the man responsible for my competitive drive. He would always mock me when I didn't know moves or when he would never teach me how to play just so he could stay the best between me and him; and I hated it. Because of him, I turned over my dedication to fighting games, almost religiously, just so I could defeat him. Not long after that, I found GaiaOnline, which in response, I discovered SRK and EVO.

Q: How do you feel about your very popular matches vs Dark Geese, VDO, and Justin Wong?
A: Unfortunately, the opponent I've closest to ever defeating in matches was against Dark Geese. I'm not exactly well exposed to MvC2, as knowledgeable as I am of the game, so my experience was left much to be desired. AT THE TIME, the same thing will be said about my match with Justin Wong. I will continue to pursue gaining more experience from playing against the pros. That's probably the most influential way of getting better in my opinion.

Q: You're most known for the KOF games. Is it safe to say that is your favorite title?
A: Yes. My personal favorites are KOF2K2um and KOFXI... I'm *DYING* for KOFXIII. I'm also just as in love with GGAC as I am with the KOF games.

Q: Why do you main low tiers?
A: I used to believe that maining low tiers would teach you more about a fighting game than a higher tier character. I've recently discovered that's not true at all. Although, it's ALMOST safe to say that you might know more about low tiers than anybody else xD However, I no longer practice the motion of maining low tiers. I try to play only the most technical of characters. Technical precision is what excites me most in a battle

Q: So you have your own crew? Crew Round 2, how did this crew come to surface?
A: Honestly, it's simply a second coming of CDE. The Reflex Wonder was the founding father of his Smash Crew, CDE (Columbus Does Exist). Reflex, Dogysamich, and several others agreed that CDE died sometime after Brawl was released. In doing so, I received comments that I should revive and make a better crew. Being cR2 (Crew Round 2). What makes cR2 much more structured is that we are more organized, via facebook group and that we're not limited to the immediate location. There is also a PSN and XBL division of cR2 called cR2x and cR2p. So I have members throughout the world, not just the city =]

Q: What are some of the crew's strengths and weaknesses.
A: Different interest in games is our biggest weakness. Only a couple here are into GGAC and only a couple here are interested in SSFIV and this goes on and on throughout the crew. I'm having to become the universal mediator that is capable of playing *ALL* of these fighting games each of the members of the crew are interested in. Our biggest strength? We're worldwide and not bound to a single city.

Q: Overall, what are you trying to accomplish in the end?
A: Competition. I'm trying to be able to help create a strong competition in the immediate area and be able to bring the crew to stronger opponents and better ourselves. It's very difficult to do this if there aren't very many people that share this same passion.

Q: Who are some of your favorite characters?
A: Most of my favorite characters are usually females. Cammy, Chun, Makoto (3S), Makoto (BBCS), Hsien-Ko / Lei Lei, Kula, Yuri, etc etc. If it comes down to only a certain few... It's definitely Hsien-Ko from Darkstalkers and Jhun Hoon from KOF.

Q: You say you don't like SSBM, but you play it almost at tourney level. Why is that?
A: Competition is abundant in the immediate area. I just recently decided to like that game more than usual because I'm now capable of understanding the game much more than I've ever been able to.

Q: What games outside of fighting games do you play?
A: Haha... That's funny. It's rare that I want to play something outside of a fighting game. But on the off chance I happen to be in the mood, you can find me playing Castlevania, Resident Evil, Fatal Frame, Legend of Zelda, and even more rare occasion a JRPG or Strategy RPG. You'll notice it's rare I play a shooting game. I have friends that can vouch for me, my aim is so horrible, that I held a gun at point blank and still missed. This happens in more than one shooter. Guns just aren't my style, although you will find that I play Perfect Dark.

Q: Who in your FG career has influenced you most?
A: Raiden365, I Kei I, and Dogysamich. It was actually a surprising discovery to me when Dogy revealed to me that he's sort of passionate about fighting games as well. Not as much as myself, but more than others that I know of. Before I knew Dogy on a personal level, it was Kei that brought me up to who I am now and was my teacher in combat. Raiden365 was not my teacher in combat, but in fighting game history. He taught me the timeline of fighting games in it's entirety, right down to each game's storyline.

Q: You have a girlfriend. Is she any hindrance to your career?
A: Not at all. I've always feared being in a relationship would slow down my passion for tournaments. But Amber has been good to me and she's willing to learn what my world is like and how it works. I'm currently teaching her how to play SSFIV. Maybe I might try to convince her to play KOFXIII or even BlazBlue sometime. Even in a relationship, I'm still able to see my dear friends and still able to go compete with other players in fighting games. When all is done and over with. I show her how much I love her and spend quality time together.

Q: Why are you so obsessive with shuffling cards?
A: Ever since I was a young lad, perhaps 7 years old, maybe just a little older... I've always collected cards. Started with Pokemon, then Yugioh, then Magic the Gathering. I played these trading card games and during my TCG career, anytime I was sitting idle, I would be shuffling my deck. Now I can't help but shuffle something if I'm not playing a game or typing on a keyboard, then I *MUST* shuffle something. I'm thinking about investing in a rubix cube. My doctor says it's not a disorder, it's a mania.