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Does anyone else feel that SFD is too complex?

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DevCha
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Does anyone else feel that SFD is too complex?

Post by DevCha » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:21 pm

Hello,
I have been a fan of the SF series for nearly as long as it has existed and I have loved it from the simple characters to the strangely addictive shooting mechanics in the games: Superfighters and Superfighters Ultimate. It has grown on me to the point that a game that i am working on is heavily influenced by the SF series.
And over the years, I have concluded that why I love these games is because of the complexity that is drawn out of the simplicity. And I am sure that other people will have come to the same conclusion.
The past SF games, SF and SFU, have got something right that I feel that SFD has not.
What I mean by this is stated down below:
Picking up weapons
In SF, you could just crouch/roll and attack to pick up a weapon but now you have to stretch your finger to another button and then only can you pick it up. What is right in SF is that you can keep your fingers in the same place and also that you are not putting your ability to hit/shoot in jeopardy. On the contrary what SFD gets right by this is the ability to keep control of your character and not be stationary or in a predetermined roll movement. However I just feel that SF gains more depth because it can be used in so many different ways.
Grabbing
This is not a problem for the game as much as it is for the audience. Grabbing adds many new possibilities for how to utilize combat as it can be used in many combos. The problem here is that it is very hard to perfect grabbing combos thanks to the thoughtful design of the move but when people do master those combos it creates a hierarchy of the best and the mediocre and frankly can make the game unfun. Not to mention that grabbing also makes the skill ceiling lower for void kills because if someone grabs you near an edge then its over whereas in the SF the player trying to push you off the edge would have to make many maneuvers to do so like: mid-air kick, dive or punch combo.
Equipping
When I saw on the tutorial for SFD that you had to equip weapons to use them my heart sank and it was where I started to see this topic as valid. In SF, shooting or throwing grenades was simple however the mechanisms that were implemented through that simplicity, like the punch-shot combo or the kick-shot combo, added depth to the game where as in SFD it is dependent on how fast you can get to the gun/throwing weapons key and not on the ability to shoot/throw accurately
The stuff that SFD nailed
On the contrary, SFD provides features that we all wanted like: Map-Editor, Campaign and Character Customisation (I'm sure there are more however those are all that I think were very wanted in the game).

All in all, in conclusion, I feel as though SFD is more dependent how fast you can move your fingers instead of how accurately you can hit your enemy, etc.

Thanks to all that read this far and please comment your opinion please!
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Post by Yigrido » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:58 pm

Superfighters Ultimate is a copypasta of a Superfighters update with the word "Ultimate" plastered on the title screen by one of those sketchy flash sites, just so you know.
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Post by KliPeH » Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:43 am

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I would mainly like to tackle these two points as concerns over grabbing have been brought up in the past and I wouldn't want to get into them just as you were bringing fresh arguments to the table.

The original SF game has helped me create some great memories and the experience of playing it has been positive. It's a game I have found myself returning back to multiple times over the years, starting from my early teens, but playing it again to be reminded of its mechanics in order to provide you with accurate information and comparisons felt alien to me. I really do understand the charm of the simple controls and user interface, but will still argue things are better the way they have been implemented into the new Superfighters Deluxe installment of the series.

Let's begin by establishing that using pre-existing controls or control combinations to execute multiple different actions is never good game design. Even if just once out of a hundred or a thousand attempts, you will inevitably, unintentionally execute action X instead of Y, or Y instead of Z. This has been the case with the update that introduced the Grab move, in which players were asked to press the Attack AND Block buttons simultaneously in order to execute the move. Sometimes the game would not register one action or the other, and would cause players to attack/block/grab at the wrong moment, or not at all, leading to their death.

This makes characters less responsive - and makes YOU feel as though you are not able to control them to the full extent of your abilities. It's frustrating. A player may get confused or be pressured into pressing both keys within a short time period in an intense fight, causing them to waste time, stamina and possibly health executing the wrong melee move.

The same can be said about using the "press Right/Left twice to sprint" option, which the original SF featured and provided no alternative control scheme for. A player may elect to move in a direction once, only to change their mind and then change it again, causing them to lose stamina or fall to their death because they sprinted by accident. I find this control scheme to be inaccurate and cannot ever reliably platform my way around the SF stages / perform dives because I am not pressing the keys fast enough, or pressing the keys too fast when I don't intend to. I then lose ground, miss items, take damage - all unintentionally.

Needless to say, pressing a key twice in quick succession will take more time than just pressing one and holding onto it, split seconds that may be critical in a life-or-death situation.

This is also the case with using the same key for both Aiming and Shooting. There's something odd about having to press a key to aim and then having to release the same key in order to shoot. It's almost as if one of the actions will always be involuntary. If you've changed your mind you have to actively cancel the action by pressing Attack, instead of simply letting go of one key. People will usually see an "I let go" action as "I want this to stop", and so I feel that's how you would go about implementing these controls naturally.

Aiming and Shooting are arguably two of the most important actions in this game, and so executing them should require intention and dedication - if you wish to aim you press a key and hold onto it until you no longer do, if you wish to shoot you press a key and let go of it if you no longer wish to shoot. SFD allows you to aim without shooting, and to shoot without aiming, thanks to having two different keys dedicated to these two different actions.

Keep in mind you could only hold one ranged weapon in SF at all times. SFD then expanded upon the inventory system by splitting the 2nd slot into primary and secondary slots, to present players with more options to engage opponents with (what with the primary slot now holding a larger variety of different weapons and the secondary complimenting it with alternatives of its own). This "simple" addition added 5 new keys to SFD.

Such a change would then prompt the introduction of another key, to switch between multiple weapons at will; this key could have been a singular "cycle weapons" key, but each slot had been assigned its individual number instead. Why? Because holding a weapon in your hands can now benefit you - you can either shoot from the hip while moving (dealing damage while staying mobile - mid-jump, for example), or switch the weapon into Throwing mode (another key introduced to give players more engagement options) in order to catch up, finish a severely damaged opponent off or set up a melee combo.

Thanks to the introduction of this "active" weapon system, helped by Number keys of course, there are now even more ways to approach a situation and end a game. Options are always good. Speaking of setting up melee combos, there's a "proper" melee system in place now. No longer do you alternate between kicking the object beneath you and punching your enemies! You can now execute each action at will.

Kicking can be used offensively but has other uses too - kicking objects to create cover, getting rid of objects to get to an item, kicking the object below you to gain momentum, distancing or downing an opponent to start a combo. But what happens if your opponent is standing on a glass floor or on an object close to the edge of the map? There was always risk of accidentally losing the game with the old control scheme; why would you let the game decide what happens for you if you can simply take control of the situation with two separate buttons?

Blocking is another intentional, dedicated action that requires the player's attention and cannot be assigned to an already occupied key. It can give you an edge over an overly-aggressive opponent and lead to some interesting exchanges/mind-game plays between smarter players. You can now also block and deflect bullets, potentially damaging opponents and setting off explosive chain reactions that benefit you - also a mechanic not present in the old SF.

Melee weapons have their own durability bar now, that way they cannot be used to punish players indefinitely. This mechanic serves to balance melee combos and Throwing, and also opens players up to using melee weapons they would have otherwise not tried. A Sheathe key has been introduced to use whenever you decide you need to save the weapon for another fight or don't want to leave yourself defenseless in the end-game. That's another key that has a purpose and cannot be assigned to a key taken up by another action.

Picking up weapons was another thing you were concerned about. Picking weapons up is now done manually (with another key), and that's due to the fact weapons are now treated as physical objects - unlike the ethereal entities that they are in the original SF world. Weapons can be dropped onto characters to deal damage, or Thrown (then picked up again and again) even if they run dry on ammo. A player may also elect to put a weapon aside in order to "waste" another, denying their opponent of the resource.

Weapons aren't simply "eaten" when replaced, they lay around waiting to be picked up. The decision of what to do with them - whether to lure an opponent in with a drop instead of picking it up automatically - should be left up to the player and not made by the game itself. Making this process automatic would again take away the control players have over the character and the game, and could possibly lead to confusion and irritation.

The pickup key also serves as an interaction key to be used with elevators (and potentially doors in the future), something SF did not feature. With scripts, anything can be made interactable - crates to be opened, food to regain health from, money to acquire and buy resources with, structures to repair, triggers to activate, you name it. This is one of the few instances where a multi-purpose key can be useful.

Aiming your weapon accurately also serves to give players more control over their character and requires a key of its own. Changing camera perspectives to suit the players' needs (hunting for items/focusing on battles) also has a dedicated key and is a good QoL addition. Talking with other players online requires a dedicated (chat) key, since that option was not available in the original SF game. Taking screenshots or hiding the chat has a dedicated key, as to allow players to do these things throughout the game without resorting to using option menus.

There's a reason SFD has this many keys. It features many great things, and that comes at a cost of making your fingers work a little harder. I would argue that this is what makes SFD greater than its Flash game predecessor - it was always meant to be more complex, but was being held back by a bad control scheme and faulty game design. The complexity is what makes this game so engaging - the ability to make a plan and follow through with it because YOU are in control, because you have options and can take whichever approach you see fit.

I want to be able to aim without shooting, and shoot without aiming, while moving and jumping. I want to be able to walk in one direction twice without running, or run in one direction once without walking. I want to be able to kick instead of punching, and punch instead of kicking. I want to crouch and punch at the same time, or pick up a weapon of my choice at will. I want to be able to run around with a weapon in my hands instead of briefly stopping to have it magically pop out of my back pocket.

I want control.
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Post by DevCha » Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:28 am

Hello,
That was very eye-opening and I understand where you're coming from.
All I would like to know is: what are your key bindings?
I cannot grasp why I can't seem to use controls as fast as other players do, and maybe if it's not just because I'm bad at the game then I'm not getting something down in the key bindings.

Btw I do use all my fingers when playing
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Post by Gurt » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:21 am

This is a very big and complex topic (no pun intended :) ). From a design point of perspective we wanted to expand the gameplay with new moves, actions and possibilities and remove all situational/contextual controls that Superfighters (the flash game) had (for example, the kick and punch was the same key and the game had to figure out the player's intent). We also wanted to remove the all-randomness spam-the-single-melee-attack-button that the melee was in SF. This undoubtedly resulted in more actions and more keys to keep track of in SFD which is a drawback compared to SF for sure.

If you want to play the Superfighters flash game, either play it on y8 .com or newgrounds .com. That's the only places we originally uploaded the game on. Anything else is either out-of-date or hacked in one way or another. You can also download it as an .exe version from https://mythologicinteractive.com/Superfighters if you want to keep a local copy.
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Post by KliPeH » Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:07 pm

DevCha wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:28 am
All I would like to know is: what are your key bindings?
I'd first have to warn you my control scheme is very weird and in no way representative of what you should be actually using to play the game. At the end of the day it's all about using controls that you feel comfortable with using. You know you're comfortable using them when you can instinctively execute actions without taking your eyes off the monitor in search of a specific action key.

My controls are a remnant of the years playing the original SF with a buddy of mine. They would use the left side of the keyboard (a WASD setup) while I would be using the right side (an Arrow Key setup). Using the right side forced me to use the Numpad to execute all the important actions and this has transferred over to basically every Indie game I play today.

I also play FPS games and those usually have WASD setups for movement, so I use WASD for movement too, my control scheme really is some kind of a mesh between moving with WASD and doing everything else with the Numpad.

I've created a demonstration for you if you do not wish to read my commentary.
Red keys are primary actions, green are secondary, the blue spots are the default resting positions of my fingers and the orange arrows demonstrate the path each finger travels to execute its assigned secondary action.

You can continue reading if you want some insight as to why I'm using these specific keys.
Up - W
Down/Crouch - S
Left - A
Right - D
I find not having the movement controls close to the other action controls gives you more space and feels less cramped thus being easier to get used to. So basically, not Arrow Keys + [N][M][,] like the default SF controls.
Strafe - Shift
I'd highly recommend you disable the "double press [Direction] to sprint" option. The reasoning for this has been provided in the previous post.
 Jump - Spacebar
It is imperative that you use a different key to execute a Jump than the one being used for moving up ladders or shifting the crosshair. Remember, you want control.
Attack - INS ("0")
Block + Aim - DEL (".")
Kick - PGDN ("3")
I initially used this setup because associating key size with action importance made it easier to learn what does what without looking at the keyboard. "The big button attacks, the small one next to it is more 'delicate' - it helps you attack more accurately. The one above that is also small and is a secondary attack action (kick)."
Melee - 1
Handgun - 2
Rifle - 3
Equipment - 4
Special - 5
A simple preference from playing FPS games. I used to have Primary at "1" and Melee at "3" at some point but I think that scheme got reset and I got used to this one.
Sheathe - Q
Interact/Pickup - F
Reload/Grab - R
Throw/Drop - G
Precise Aim - L. Ctrl
Change Camera - Tab
Using this setup I can keep all my fingers on all the important actions while having the entire selection of secondary actions available to me by moving a finger one or two keys over. It's not time consuming, it's easy to get used to, and most importantly it's convenient. The only trouble I'm having is getting my middle finger all the way over to the "5" key to use powerups, but I have powerups disabled on my server so I don't find this too troublesome.
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Post by DevCha » Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:15 pm

In FPS games I normally use ESDF because there are more keys to use on the left but in games where the player doesn't need a mouse I use the arrow keys or the numpad.
Thanks anyways for the knowledge!
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