Fighting Games Aren't Fun (For Me)
I've been playing games for years, so I've developed my own taste for what I do and don't like. I just haven't been able to get into certain game genres. Strategy and puzzle games I just don't like because they usually feel like a chore to me. Strategy games are also difficult for me to like because there is so much going on at once that you have to keep track of!
What is even going on here?
Another genre I don't like is the fighting game genre. But this one is a little different. For strategy and puzzle games, I just can't like them. They are just not my kind of game. I've given them a few chances and I just can't get into them. (No offense to those that love these games.) But fighting games are different. I want to like these! I love the feeling of head-to-head combat, but the problem I have with fighting games is the controls and technical skill needed to play well and enjoy the game.
Let's take for example a competitive shooter like Overwatch and a competitive fighting game like Super Street Fighter. In both of these games, there is a very high skill ceiling. What I mean by that, is that if you work hard and put in a lot of effort and practice, you can become a really formidable opponent in either of these games. However, unlike SSF, Overwatch has a lower barrier to entry. For some Overwatch characters like Mercy, Winston, or Symmetra, you don't even have to really be good at aiming. These characters main abilities will all auto-lock on to the nearest enemy (or ally in Mercy's case). And you can get pretty far in Overwatch just playing these characters. Now if we look back to SSF, there are so many things you need to know in order to even hope to get good at the game. Each character has tons of combos (specific to each character), not to mention any of the other advanced techniques that I probably don't even know exist. The barrier to entry here is just too high. Any time I play SSF, Soul Caliber, or Tekken, I don't really have fun because I just can't understand everything these games have to offer.
Each character has their own one of these and it's crazy.
However, there is an exception to the fighting game control problem, Super Smash Brothers. SSB is one of the most accessible fighting games out there right now. Why? Because SSB said: let's take away all the crazy combo lists and frame-perfect inputs and make a fighting game with essentially two main buttons: A and B. In SSB, A is your light attack and B is your special attack. For each of these buttons, you can tilt the control stick in 4 directions (or not tilt it at all) to perform different attacks. This works the same way for every character in the game. There is another button to jump and a couple more for shields, and that's pretty much all you need to know to get started. Sure, depending on your preferred version of SSB there can be more advanced techniques that can be pretty difficult to pull off, but with the four sentence guide I just typed, anyone can have loads of fun.
Everything you need to know!
SSB takes away the main barrier to entry that so many fighting games struggle with, but loses no complexity by doing so. The types of moves that the pro SSB players can pull off are way beyond what I can do. But these guys put in the time and effort to hone their skills, while I just like to play SSB sometimes with friends for fun. And that's the beauty of SSB. You can make it as complicated as you want, but it will always be fun, no matter your skill level. While complicated fighting games have their place, just like strategy and puzzle games, I think developers can do a lot more in order to bring in newer players, just like SSB has done. It's our job as developers to take a completely inexperienced player and give him all the tools necessary to master the game and do great, all while having fun every step of the way. Because if the player needs to become a master at your game just to enjoy it, you've done something wrong.
These thoughts on fighting games have really been dominating my mind lately because I've been working on something that I think I want to make into my own fighting game. I still can't say much about it as I'm not even entirely sure where this is going to go, but what I can say is it's going to be a simple to learn fighting game with a unique twist: each time you attack someone, it also hurts you. Each of your attacks will cost you some health, which will be dropped. You can go back and pick it up, but so can other players. I've got a few ideas on how to justify this in game, and I certainly have a lot of tweaking to do. However, I've already made the backbone of the game. Right now it has pretty fun (in my opinion) movement mechanics, wall jumps, and all three of its attacks. Here's a few gifs to show the attacks:
I've got melee, projectile, and dash attacks.
I'll keep updating y'all with more info as I progress with this game. If you want smaller updates with more frequency than my blog posts, feel free to follow my twitter @Heisengerm_dev . Thanks for checking out this week's blog! Be sure to leave a comment if you liked it or have any topics you'd like me to touch on. Also, don't forget you can subscribe to the mailing list to get updates when I post them! (Check your spam folders!) See y'all next week!