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#1 2/8/10 1:18

From: Karatu, Arusha, Tanzania
Registered: 18/4/10

A Mechanical Comparison Of Oni And Melee

So, I'm going into the Peace Corps in a couple of months, here. While I'm off, there's not going to be much I can do to help with AE/Flatline/getting more Oni players. I'd like to help, though, so I figured I'd write this up and get it posted before I go. I think the information in here should be useful to consider as you guys continue to work on Oni's melee system.

And apologies in advance for the ridiculous massiveness of this post.

I know that others here have played some of the traditional fighting games and have some ideas for modifying/improving Oni's mechanics based on them, and that is good. I think we probably will want to make Oni's mechanics more complex as time goes on.

I've played the Super Smash Bros. series, which also has many similarities to Oni and to the traditional fighting games. It also has many differences. I figure I may as well share some of Smash's mechanics here, since the more ideas we have available, the better. I'm not sure which of these mechanics would be good to add; I'm just documenting them (for now at least).

Note that, of the two Smash games I've played the most, Super Smash Bros. Melee is mechanically more complex, so I'll be using its mechanics here.

Also note that there's a really good series of videos on Melee's "advanced techniques", which use many of these mechanics. The videos are called "Advanced How To Play", and are on YouTube. The first of the videos are at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n4s5yB7ZkE . They're kind of long (over half an hour in total), but are really good for giving an understanding of many of Melee's mechanics.

I've set this post up as a comparison in an effort to make it clearer where the Smash mechanics would tie into Oni, if they were implemented.

Overall, it feels like the movement is quicker and more fluid in Melee. You can switch between different forms of movement so quickly that moving around in complicated patterns can be used to make yourself hard to predict, and you can use different movement types to quickly use a wide variety of attacks from a wide variety of positions/angles.

in Oni:
You can walk. You can run - either jogging, or dashing. Runs have a short startup time, so you can't rapidly switch between running and doing other things.

You can crouch. You can crouchwalk while crouching. Getting into or out of a crouch takes a little time, so your mobility is really hosed when you go for a crouch.

You can jump. You can do a "flip jump attack" to increase the height of your jump. When you land, there is a short recovery time when you can't do anything. Once you've done any aerial attack, you can do nothing else until you land.

You can roll.

in Melee:
You can walk. You can run - either jogging, or dashing. You can "moonwalk", which is like the moonwalk dance, but at dashing speed. Runs happen instantaneously, so you can rapidly switch between running and doing other things.

You can crouch. Getting into or out of a crouch is nigh instantaneous, so your mobility is only slightly hosed when you crouch.

You can jump. You can jump once again in mid-air. You can jump a third time with your upwards special attack. You can walljump if there's a wall available (although not all characters can walljump). Landing recovery time varies depending on what you did in the air, and in many cases is nonexistent. You still have access to any of these options after most of your aerial attacks.

You can roll.

You can airdodge in place or in any direction.

You can use the directional airdodge to slide along the surface of the ground. You can do this either when you're about to land (a "waveland") or at the very start of your jump (a "wavedash").

You can jump to a ledge, grab onto it, and dangle from it. You can then let go and fall, or jump up from it, or pull yourself up onto the platform it's on.

In Melee, you have many more options in the air, and you can fall back to the ground much quicker. When I jump in Oni, I often feel like I'm stuck in the air without much to do, waiting for myself to slowly fall back to the ground.

in Oni, you can:
1. Control the height of your jump - anywhere in the range from shortest possible to highest possible.
2. Steer yourself (if it's a moving jump).
3. Perform your punch, kick, or "shift" aerial attacks.
4. Perform your backwards punch, kick, or "shift" aerial attacks.
5. You can do a midair jump by running off the edge of a platform and pressing jump immediately after becoming airborne.
6. You can do rising aerial dodge moves by running off the edge, pressing jump immediately after becoming airborne, and then immediately pressing the dodge move's inputs. You can do the same thing while still on the ground to do a normal dodge until you roll/slide off the edge, at which point you'll rise into the air while finishing the dodge.

in Melee, you can:
1. Control the height of your jump - either short jump or full jump.
2. Steer yourself (when you're not attacking).
3. Perform one of your five basic aerial attacks.
4. Perform one of your four special attacks.
5. When you land after one of the aerial attacks, you can press the shield button to reduce your landing lag time.
6. When you land after one of the aerial attacks, you will slide a short distance. If you aim it so that you land and immediately slide off the edge of a platform, you'll be airborne again immediately with no recovery lag.
7. Increase your fall rate to your character's "fast fall" speed.
8. Perform your basic mid-air jump.
9. Walljump (not every character can do this though).
10. Perform an aerial dodge. When you do this, you can either: stop in place momentarily; or move yourself a short distance and then stop in place momentarily.
11. Perform an aerial dodge diagonally downwards onto a platform to slide yourself along the surface of that platform. You can either do this when you're about to land (a "waveland") or at the very start of your jump (a "wavedash").

In Melee, you have a wider variety of blocking/defensive options, and more complex strategy in terms of figuring out how to counterattack after blocking an attack. If your opponent is doing a good job of pressuring you with attacks while you're blocking, it's nontrivial to figure out how to get out of your blocking stance without getting hit.

in Oni:
In Oni, you block by not doing anything. Any attacks coming from in front are blocked.

When you block, you seem to get a certain amount of "blockstun", which lasts longer when you block more powerful attacks. While you are in blockstun, you cannot do anything.

After the blockstun wears off, you go back to standing immediately.

If you block while crouching, your block seems to be stronger/have less blockstun. Holding backwards when you block might have a similar (but weaker) effect. (I need to mess more with blocking.)

in Melee:
In Melee, you block by pressing (and holding) the shield button. A bubble appears around your character, and any attacks that hit the bubble are blocked.

When you shield attacks, you get a certain amount of "shieldstun", which lasts longer when you block more powerful attacks. While you are in shieldstun, you cannot do anything.

Furthermore, when you shield attacks, they impart some amount of horizontal momentum into you, and you slide back a little ways. You can't shield while airborne, so if you slide off the edge of a platform, your shield drops until you land again.

After the shieldstun wears off, you have five options:
1. Stop shielding by releasing the shield button. Your shield will drop immediately and you will be vulnerable, but you will still be limited to only these five options for another half-second or so.
2. Sidestep-dodge by pressing down. You will become vulnerable for a tiny fraction of a second, then invulnerable to both attacks and throws for a short period, then become totally vulnerable for another tiny fraction of a second, and then return to a standing position.
3. Roll by pressing left or right. You will become vulnerable for a tiny fraction of a second, then move while invulnerable for a little while, then become vulnerable for another tiny fraction of a second, and then return to a standing position. If your opponent guessed that you were going to roll or has very fast reflexes, they can almost certainly move to where you are rolling and hit you during your second vulnerable period.
4. Grab by pressing the basic attack button. Remember that in Smash, your grab move is what you use to start any of your throws. This is the main/easy counterattack from shield.
5. Jump. You can use this to counterattack with an aerial attack, to move away in a manner that is harder to punish than rolling, or to start a wavedash, which can also be used to counterattack or move away. You can also cancel your jump with certain ground or special attacks.

Over time, the shield bubble shrinks. As it does, your character's extremities become exposed, and can be attacked. The bubble also shrinks when it takes damage.

If the bubble ever disappears entirely, your shield "breaks" and you become stunned for several seconds. This gives your opponent time to set up for their most powerful combo.

You can move the bubble around slightly with the main joystick. This means that, once your extremities are exposed, you can do a little bit more to protect them. You can also make your opponent's aerial attacks hit your shield slightly sooner so that you can recover from your shieldstun slightly sooner.

Note that if you put your shield up on the exact frame/tick when you would get hit, you do a "power shield". Power shields are the same as normal shields, except that: they actually reflect projectiles back the direction they came; and they don't receive shieldstun, which makes counterattacking and escaping easier.

Finally, by pressing the shield button down only partway, you can perform a "light shield", which is larger than the normal shield and shrinks more slowly. However, when shielding with a light shield, your friction with the ground is reduced, so attacks make you slide back further, which makes it more difficult to counterattack.

Melee has a far wider variety of combos, more complicated ways to link moves into each other, and more player-to-player interaction during combos, because the defender can try to make comboing more difficult for the attacker.

in Oni:
Non-throw attacks do three things:
1. Deal damage.
2. Stun for a fixed period of time, OR stagger for a fixed period of time, OR knock down.
3. Push the character back a short distance.

Combos consist of performing a move that stuns or staggers, and then performing another move before the stun/stagger wears off.

You can also try to follow up after a knockdown, but you're never guaranteed to get a hit, and if you're not careful you can get hit by their get-up attack. In multiplayer, presumably prediction/mindgames will come into play and make the knockdown chasing more combo-like.

Combos are pretty much the same under any circumstances - Move X will always combo into Move Y. There is not a very wide variety of them.

in Melee:
basic combos:
Both throw and non-throw attacks do three main things:
1. Deal damage.
2. Stun for a fixed period of time.
3. Knock the character into the air travelling in a given direction with a given amount of momentum.

Combos consist of performing a move, then tracking where momentum/gravity is going to move the person you just hit, and catching up to them and hitting them again before the stun wears off.

Combos have some basic complications:
1. Different characters weigh different amounts, so the same move will launch some characters further/faster than others. Additionally, different characters fall at different speeds. This means that you have a completely unique set of combos against each character in the game.
2. The more damage the character getting hit has already taken, the more momentum they receive. That is, a character with 0 damage will not get launched nearly as far/fast as a character with 100 damage. Each move has a certain amount of "knockback power" at zero damage, and a certain rate at which its knockback power increases with the character's damage. This means that you have a completely different set of combos available against opponents at low damge compared to opponents at high damage.
3. When a character is hit by an attack, if the player is holding a direction on the main joystick, it will modify the move's trajectory slightly. This is called "directional influence", or DI. This means that, when comboing, after some hits you have to check which direction the other player chose to DI, because the place you have to go to continue the combo might be different depending on the DI.

All of those mean that there is a far, far wider variety of combos in Melee - literally hundreds, possibly thousands - but at any given time, only several of them are available. One part of Melee's strategy is keeping track of which combos you and your opponent have available at any given time.

When a stunned character hits the ground or a wall, they have two options. Either they can lay there for a moment and then try to get up, or they can tech.

If they lay there for a moment, they will be vulnerable for a moment before they can get up. In many cases, the attacking character can reach that spot on the ground while they're still vulnerable and continue the combo.

If they tech on the ground, they can either tech in place, or "techroll".

Teching in place grants immediate temporary invincibility, and the character stands up quickly. Once they stand up, they're vulnerable for a moment. If the attacker was expecting a tech in place or has quick reflexes/lots of time, they can wait until that moment of standing vulnerability and continue the combo.

Techrolling grants immediate temporary invincibility, and the character rolls to the side and stands up a little slowly. Again, they are momentarily vulnerable when they stand up. If the attacker was expecting a techroll or has quick reflexes/lots of time, they can chase after the roll, wait until the standing vulnerability, and continue the combo.

If they tech on a wall, they have two options, but it's not worth going into the distinction here. Basically they get their midair jumps back and can try to return to the top of the stage, but the attacker can try to intercept them.

So you have combos in the air, which vary based on the characters, the damage, and the DI. When a character does hit the ground, depending on the specific combo, a followup hit might be guaranteed; if a followup hit isn't guaranteed, it's usually possible anyway if the attacker correctly predicts the tech type.

smash DI:
The final complication is called "smash DI". Whenever a move hits, there is a fraction of a second in which both characters are frozen in place before continuing their movement/animations. The length of time varies from move to move.

During this time, if the player who got hit pushes the joystick in a given direction, their character will shift slightly in that direction. This is called smash DI.

If a character is airborne and close to a floor or wall, and getting hit by a move that will send them flying away from the floor/wall, they can smash-DI themselves into the floor/wall and tech. There are many cases where this is the only way to survive.

Furthermore, if a character is getting hit by a multi-hit move, they can sometimes use smash DI on the first hits to move themselves out of the way of the rest of the hits.

And finally, if there is a combo that only just barely works, smash DI can be used on the first move to shift oneself just barely out of range of the second move.


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