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Friday, October 21, 2016

Alpha v0.13 Released - new controls, game balance and AI.

Download page.

Showing new controls and some other stuff to come :)

New controls:

  • Abilities are activated via holding down a movement key + "W", similar to Super Smash Bros.
  • Grab key is now "A", and standing grabs can only be performed after 2 basic strikes. But it is no longer interrupt-able by regular jabs.
  • Roll is now done via double tabbing a movement key
  • There is also an experimental, optional roll key "R" 
  • Abilities will now track towards the target better, including abilities used while running. The tolerance for this to activate is currently set to 60 degrees.
  • Input buffering are now only active on the last 300 ms of any action. 
  • Block can now be freely canceled by any action
  • Fixed several bug that caused controls to behave unexpectedly
New game balance:
  • Reduce snowballing further:
    • Damage to the green bar is reduced based on how low the red bar is. So effectively, the character will always fight at approximately full strength
    • Stamina regenerates faster
    • Roll cooldown is now 5.0 secs from 6.0 secs
    • EXPERIMENTAL CHANGE: using abilities and rolls with a non-zero cooldown will cause that character's maximum stamina to reduce by 4% of that ability's SP cost for the remainder of the right
  • Guard changes:
    • Stamina regen is halted while guarding
    • Shield pop up effect now changes in color and size to reflect how much more that character can block
    • Blocking a strike will cause the blocking character to lose some stamina depending on the strength of the move blocked
    • Blocking character is now knocked back based on the breaking strength of the move that character is blocking
  • More options for the downed character, less uncontrollable time:
    • Submission holds duration are decreased by ~20% across the board.
    • While standing up from the downed position, the character is invulnerable.
    • Characters will passively sit at the downed position for less amount of time 
    • Wake Up Kick cooldown is now 12.0 seconds but stamina cost is 40.0 
    • Wake Up Kick now knocks foe into the air instead of only staggering (this reduces the chance that the 2 characters are piled on top of each other)
    • Wake Up Kick now have much greater breaking power, however, it still cannot hit foes in the air 
  • Abilities are generally nerfed across the board to make other options, such as regular attack and dash attack relevant. The changes to abilities are too numerous to list but just note that there are super armor/break power changes to the abilities which determines which ability can interrupt the other move.

And finally, an improved AI.

"BS AI" will inevitable come up so might as well address it now:

First of all I want to build a coherent and fair combat system that has no option that is dominant 100% of the time. What is meant by that? Lets take a look at similar games and how their combat balance results in "spam":
  • Rumble Roses -> spam the counter button
  • Princess of the Ring -> stand still, spam attack and wait for the AI to walk into your attack spam
  • Fairy War 2 -> spam the strongest ability, pick the character that has the strongest ability to spam with
In contrast, I hope there is no dominant strategy in this game. Everything has checks and balances. It is designed so there is a proper response and counter for everything. The higher difficulty AI will block, evade and counter etc if the player throws their arsenal randomly against the AI.

Secondly, I want the abilities to be unique, powerful and varied. This actually puts a lot of stress on the AI system. Imagine if the AI only blocks and rolls randomly. Then it is questionable whether a move like Ruby's Jump Smash is healthy for the game. It is barely interrupt-able, it is unblock-able and it deals tons of damage when hit and it has a low cooldown. But because the AI can handle such powerful-if-not-dealt-with move correctly most of time, it is okay for these type of moves to exist in game.

Thirdly, the other means of creating challenge is quite boring. It is actually very easy to make an AI that is retarded but has ton of health and/or damage relative to the player. In contrast, all the AI in game has no statistical advantage against the player. The players who eventually manage to beat the lvl5 AI actually finds that it is a fulfilling experience.

Fourthly, care taken to not create a perfect-play AI. Otherwise Ruby would never use such as risky move as the Jump Smash against the player that can roll. Obviously there is a very fine line between the AI just countering enough versus countering too much and that is something that is hard to get right. But thats what the Alpha is for :).

Finally, I understand that this isnt everyone's thing and thats why the lower difficulty AI exist. The "Watch" feature is only unlocked at difficulty 4 because I want the feedback and to "stress test" the system. Without it, many of the issues with the controls would never have come to light.

I also want to thank the pre-alpha testers, their feedbacks are invaluable and without whom this patch really wouldn't be possible. 


  1. I like how it's not too easy and theirs a real challenge to it. Makes the game feel like a real wrestling game. Throws is a awesome addition. Finishers might be cool to but shouldn't be over powered i think. Omg love this game.

  2. Couple of points to make about this one. You can't run when roll is available because the input is the same. Given that rolling is a mid-combat reactive action, while running is more premeditated since you'd only need/want to use it at long range, I feel it would make sense to switch the arrow+R function to run. Second is that you can't block wake-up kicks anymore because when you do, it does successfully block, complete with the block collisions sound effect, but then you get hit and fall down anyway a few frames later. Is that intentional?

    1. Roll before dash is intentional to balance the dash attack.

      The guard effect on failed blocks is a bug and is fixed ;). Wake up kick in the current patch is not blockable.