Hello, I’m starting, as soon as my Java is good enough to my own taste
(which means either next month assuming I have the time, or this summer
if I don’t), a fighting game from scratch as a personal side project for
school. I prefer C over Java (heck, I prefer Nasm over Java), but the
point of doing this is to learn, so I guess I’ll deal with it somehow.
This is going to be the first video game I’ll design, I’ve only created
a couple board games so far (and imagined hundreds of unrealistically
complex games that I’ll never be able to code, like every beginner does
Now, I’ve been a competitive fighting game player for the past 6 years.
I know what is ‘good’ and what doesn’t work, from a competitive point of
view. But professional players are usually very attached to their games,
even when skill transfers from one game to the other, and I won’t be
able to build a player base just from already good players. So I need to
make my game as accessible as I can make it. I realize, though, that my
inexperience as a game developer/designer and my lack of free time may
stop me from making the game as good as I would want it to be, so the
general idea I’m following is ‘don’t focus on the amount of content,
focus on its quality’.
So if you were to make a fighting game, how would you, as a professional
game designer, do it ? I’m being purposely vague here, feel free to talk
about whatever you’d like, you can be sure that it is going to be
relevant to me : would you start with the engine or the menu, would you
start with the universe and build the gameplay upon it, or find a story
to justify your gameplay ideas, or even why you think that fighting game
is not a viable genre if you think so.
Just for the record, I’ll sum up the most important aspects of the game
I’m trying to make, but don’t let it influence your answer. If anything,
use it as a basis for critique and tips.
The game will be on Ouya, or whatever Android based console cool kids
play when the game is ready. Its key element is that it focuses on
making the player build their own character and using it in story mode,
online ranked matches, and everything else, instead of using the
character roster like in other fighting games. The game will have a free
version for tournament play, which only consists in versus mode with the
ability to save replays, and a pay to play version which will allow the
player to create his character and play the other modes (story mode,
online mode, etc…)
The story mode is basically a big tutorial that has enough information
(which I’ve somehow managed to disguise into story elements) to make a
casual player good enough to attend tournaments and not get humiliated.
As the player goes through the story mode, he unlocks new moves,
aesthetics and other collectibles for his character, which act as a
candy-coated way to force players into following the tutorial.
The game still has a roster, which can be used by casuals to show very
quickly and easily how the game works to their friends, and has uses for
tournament play. It consists in the 8 main characters in the story mode,
the 8 bosses if you will.
Customization is a rather vague term, there are many way it could be
interpreted so here’s my version. This is very likely to change, but so
far, each character has a set amount of points he can spend by assigning
moves to the list of possible inputs. The better the move, the more
point it costs. The reasoning behind that is very long and boring, but
to sum it up, it allows easy balancing from my part, is easier to pick
up for newer players than other systems I’ve thought of, and puts severe
limitations to the maximum potential of a player-created character,
which is what I want.
To maximize the accessibility, the game does not follow the standard 6
attack button, push back to block, push up to jump setting other
fighting games follow. It has 2 attack buttons, a jump button, and a
guard button. Of course, I let the player decide if he wants to use pbtb
and putj, but that’s just an option. The 2 attack buttons behave really
differently. One is a magic attack button, the other is a normal attack
button. Normal attacks have a lot of variety, magic attacks have a theme
(the story involves you being the master of elements and doing elemental
magic) and use mana, which means they can’t be spammed and allow me to
have a big control over the flow of the match by tweaking the mana cost
of an attack that turns out to be overpowered. Combos are limited thanks
to a system I found in Smash Bros, which I will try to adapt to a 2d
traditional fighting game, that will allow me to not worry too much
about infinite combos when designing the different moves.
As for graphics… this is the big question I’m trying to answer right
now. 2d sprites are prettier, but sprites and customization don’t go
along well together. 3d fighting games are simpler to implement with a
ready-to-use 3d engine (and there’s plenty of them, Unity has just been
ported to Ouya I heard), but they’re ugly when they don’t have the
budget Capcom has. And as it turns out, I don’t have the budget Capcom
There’s another issue I’m not yet able to solve on paper, IA. But that’s
more a programming issue it doesn’t really belong here. I’ll figure it
out with time eventually.
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Unity would probably be a good bet, but it’s not java. You’ll need to go
through some tutorials to get a general idea how Unity works before you
skeleton, which should be pretty much standard, probably like the
skeleton used in motion capture files. You can attach different bodies
to the same skeleton. You should probably learn a modeler like Blender,
but you can buy many assets on the asset store. It’s pretty much
necessary to work out mechanics before you do any real design work.
There’s also a little java engine called jpct that might work out. It
has a version for Android and has a bones feature. Pretty light weight
your reaching to far for a 1st game. just make a two player fighting
game with only two characters thats played offline. this will give you
some perspective on what your trying to do
Well fighting games have the chance to have a sweet little program
called GGPO which does all the online for them. Big editors are
reluctant to use it (the ‘I didn’t make it, therefore it sucks’
mentality), but I’m not. I’ll have to dive into the pages of code it
consists of to optimize the compatibility, but it’s not as bad as if I
had to do it myself.
But yeah, there are a couple big features I consider optional (the
story mode, mainly, the online comes close and the amount of characters
is very likely to change as well), and I will not work on them until
everything else is ready. As I said, I put the emphasis on the quality
of the content over its quantity.
The game, in its early stages, will look a lot like what you’ve
described, though. But I’ll try to be smart and make it so it’s easy to
just ‘add more stuff’.