9/25/18 - Candel's Thoughts on The Game's Balance, Important Features, and Community


Feb 22, 2018
I made a rambling video about all the stuff I think could be changed in the game, stuff I think is important to include in the future (before the game gets story mode/out of early access), and things our community could improve on.

My description was too long to fit in YouTube's description, so... I'm posting my description here as a forum post.

Here's the video:

Here's what I wanted in the description. It kinda works as a standalone post, though for more explanation you'd need to watch the video. It's a highly informal video, just me going through my notes and voicing my thoughts/explanation while also being sick.

Timestamps for the video are in each section, though some stuff is scrambled.

"I'm still sick and my hand hurts again, but screw it. I wanted to put some thoughts out there. The video isn't the most professional thing, I still have no idea if my noise gate works. No editing for the most part, some swearing, whatever.

Well, I figured having a tl;dr down here would be helpful, since not everyone's gonna want to sit through my sick ramblings. I do go into more detail in the video, but it's highly unstructured and free-flow. If you want my thought process and explanations, refer to the video. There's also a few things down here that I forgot.

= = = Character Changes = = =​

- - - Arizona 1:40 - - -​

- 6B 1-2f Slower, Counterhit during recovery. It's a bit fast considering it can be cancelled into/high profiles, though I wouldn't make it slower than 22f startup. (Active on 23rd frame.)

- Speed up sh.C by 1f, maybe 2.

- 6A's horizontal hitbox reduced a bit. It currently beats a lot of options just by dashup 6Aing, could be toned down a little bit. The forward movement and the extra active frames were both significant improvements, the huge hitbox might be overkill, though maybe it's supposed to function as a wall. Depends on dev intent, really.

- Input leniency on magic dash improved. It's strangely easy to drop, especially in low FPS settings. If you do 4236 or 4126, you should get Magic Dash. But if you do 45236, you should get Magic Headbuck, and if you do 41256, you should get rope. If you never hit 5, then it should be a Magic Dash. (I realize this is more an issue with online FPS drops, but still. Half-circles in this game are stricter than other modern games, though I realize why, considering the input overlap between Magic Dash and Magic Headbuck.)

- - - Velvet 17:45 - - -​

- Super less damage on last hit, faster startup, hits opponents who are closer while maintaining its current max range. I think her super does silly damage considering it's the cheapest super in the game and also leads to practically guaranteed chip afterwards.

- 214C more reactable. Not different speed, but rearrange animation so the frames in which she's in midair are more prevalent. Should be about 24-25f of reaction time. Velvet shouldn't have an overhead that's only 17-20f of practical reactivity.

- I'm fine with her damage due to her "no mixup" playstyle. It's very hard to get that damage unless the opponent screws up bigtime. The only damage I don't really like is her super.

- - - Oleander 30:12 - - -​

- Fred easier to pushblock. Basically boils down to giving him more blockstun, which is technically a buff, but considering most of the time I get opened up by Fred is because I missed his tiny pushblock windows, it'd be more of a nerf.

- j.2C horizontal hitbox toned down. It'd still be great on defense, but currently it's too much of a catch-all.

- - - Paprika 40:20 - - -​

- Super Oki removed/nerfed, at least no crossup potential/needs to really dash forward for a crossup. The entire reason Stagger was changed was because strong combos into vortex was too strong. Pap's super breaks this philosophy. This super does high damage and leads into one of the strongest oki scenarios in the game. Her combos already do a ton, the super adds a bunch, and gives her a low/overhead/crossup/noncrossup/command grab scenario on command at the end of just about any combo. And because she builds herself meter like crazy with j.C, this scenario happens multiple times just about every round with a Paprika in it. You need to guess right if she has 3 meters, or you die in 3 combos. And that is frustrating as hell.

- Super invincibility while it comes in, giving her a much better reversal that can't be OS'd so easily.

- 5C>2C - boosts damage and hitconfirms a bit in exchange for the loss of total vortex after supers.

- - - Pom 53:46 - - -
- Super JDG or lower launch. Looping Level 1s is too practical and damaging.

- Mama and Papa should not cover opponent visually. Not being able to see your character in an intense mixup situation is not okay.

- Unblockable protection. It might already be high, but it could probably be higher. If you can't react to the fact that you blocked one or the other, and switch in time to absolute guard the rest, then it's not exactly fair.

- Different colored magic meter. Change hers, or change Arizona's. They're identical in number of stocks, length, and color.

- - - Tianhuo 1:04:18 - - -​

- 7D - Ground throwable on ground version, can only air dash forward or backward. Only forward would keep its ability to whiffpunish/start pressure while making it consistent to punish/not a get away free card, while only backward would make it so she either can escape or attempt to challenge your punish with falling j.C. Having both options is a bit strong.

- No cancelling to 7D after whiffed Firecracker Kicks.

- Less scaling on Level 2 combos. Maybe make it 20%

- Less damage on Level 2 Crash. It has ridiculous base damage of 400 even with the 25% scaling, and can be used twice. It's essentially the equivalent of a super you can use twice in a combo.

- 236A not be + in midair, more unsafe on block? -6 is very hard to punish in this game.

- Fix the flashing on her Dragon Install masking the color flashes on her knockdowns/CC. I know this is already being worked on, though.

I realize I mentioned in the video that a lot of Level 2 supers aren't worth it and a lot of Level 1 supers aren't worth it, but never delved into it. I'd need to think more about that before I explained myself, but generally speaking I think Pom, Velvet, and Paprika's level 2s aren't worth it usually, while Arizona, Tianhuo, and Oleander's Level 1s are rarely worth it.

- - - 1:29:08 Important Changes to Have When Story Mode Hits - - -​

- Overheads listed in command list - Especially Pap Free Tee Shirt. Hell, make it the move used for the grounded overhead tutorial. Most new players don't know that Pap Free Tee Shirt is an overhead until someone blatantly tells them.

- Rematch with Spectators - Currently very inconvenient to watch longer sets, being able to watch consecutive games between good players would be great for new players.

- "Wrong block" indicators - While it is a "polish" change, it's one that would help new players a ton in understanding how blocking works and what keeps tripping them up.

- Community Page - A lot of new players have no idea a community even exists. I know the Discord server is "unofficial", but it's too important to not tell people about. Seriously. This is important.

- Good Matchmaking - Pixel lobbies are great, but a lot of people are going to care about ranked, so this thing needs to function.

- - - Wishlist - - -​

- 2D BACKGROUNDS PLS - Personal thing, but hot damn, it can't be that hard to implement and it would help so many people who get inexplicable framedrops online. I do not want to play in the Void, where you can't tell where the corner is. Please. I know it's polish but I can't imagine it being too difficult.

- Input Buffer for Normals out of Blockstun? - The less I think about this, the less I like it. Maybe just make some hard-to-punish moves a teensy bit more unsafe, or alter the blockstun timing. Notably Tian 236A and Oleander 22D. If everything had input buffer after blockstun, Arizona would instantly be broken af. Hence, normals only.

- Reversal indicator - Just so it's easier to tell if you got a reversal special move or not. It's quality of life.

- Timers for Fred and Dragon Install. It's very nice to know when this is almost running out.

- - - Community 1:41:00 - - -​

Streams, events, tournaments, content - It's important to have these sorts of things in a small community like this. FF should probably get back on weekly streams, even if it's a different commentator for now. More tournaments should be hosted, as the only current ones are one that is mostly secret and a major one with limited slots that only happens once a month. I'm going to try hosting some myself, and stream more at twitch.tv/candel_. I'm also going to turn my Arizona written guide into a tutorial around when the game leaves Early Access, to give new players a good resource for one of the characters. Stuff like this is important, and it's something we as a community need to do, not the devs. Our community is small, and it is welcoming, but if there's nothing for us to do and no way for people to find us, it won't grow."

(Some of the stuff listed in this list is not in the video, or is explained in the later sections of the video when I remembered it.)

As it stands, I think all the characters are strong, there's just a few things I think are dumb about each that could be toned down. And I do think the community is good, it's just that I worry for its future and wish it were a bit more active.

So yeah, if anyone wants clarifications on any of these changes, in case I wasn't clear in the video/description, just ask me. This is all my opinion, all based on the perspective of an Arizona main, and all based on purely online play. Just a little disclaimer. Shouldn't be necessary, but just making sure.
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Backers' Beta Tester
Backers' Beta Tester
Feb 4, 2016
I've been thinking about doing something like this, but I don't feel like I've seen enough of the game yet and also am lazy, but this is a good excuse to type up a fat wall of text.
Mostly responses to your points with a couple asides and random ideas thrown in because I'm nothing if not opinionated.
For the record, I'd call myself a mid-level netplay only Oleander with good combos but weak fundamentals, for some perspective on my perspective.

Ari needs some cancel/frametrap options toned down I think, definitely if her shj.C gets buffed. It is incredibly unsafe to poke out of her pressure since she pretty much always has the option to make whatever she just did into a frametrap, i.e. 2a 2a 2b 2c 22a 22b 236C 236D super, and at any point could have reset pressure instead, or turned any of the 6 lows into an overhead with a ton of reward. If she has 1 bar the chance of a 3f invincible frametrap that does 1100 damage on it's own is always there waiting for you to try to poke her. The risk/reward on abare is terrible, on defense the only somewhat consistent play is pushblock her out and try to make something whiff, and even then she can whiff cancel everything but 6B into super for another layer of "hope you didn't just hit a button." I'm not sure what I'd change, but she definitely doesn't need her blockstrings buffed without trading something pretty significant and could probably use some reining in.
Also yeah her 6A is nuts, personally I think it's way too tall in addition to somewhat too wide. She's the most grounded character in the cast, she shouldn't have an anti-air that you can't bait with a double jump as Oli. She should have to 6A an actual attack, make use of that upper body invuln and actually time it a bit instead of just having a hitbox twice as big as even her standing hurtbox to throw around whenever you're above her.

Velvet I'm fine with, I don't feel her basic combos are too damaging after the most recent nerf, but I don't have much experience against Velvets that get more optimal combos off average hits. It feels appropriate for the investment as a way to end short 4-5 hit confirms, but maybe the minimum damage should be lower.
I'm terrible at blocking her overhead so I wouldn't complain about an animation change to make the startup more obvious.
I do think her DP might be a bit too good though. Not completely sure since I haven't looked into ways to beat it yet, but plus on block means you can't safejump it and the range means you can't backdash OS it, and she gets a combo on hit. Could just be me not having found an option for it yet though, and I'm definitely jealous given Oleander's completely terrible invincible "reversal."

Oleander I agree with the j.2C change you suggested. I do really like doing max range j.2C stuff, there's a lot of potential for neat fireball+teleport fuzzy/crossup setups and confirms, but it's an unreliable gimmick at best and it definitely does connect in some pretty absurd situations. Moving it backwards without shrinking it reduces that, but also makes it a bit more reliable as a crossup. It already can cross up, but it will whiff in situations where it looks like it should have hit based on the animation if you're just a pixel or two too far, probably made worse by the weird hurtbox shapes quadruped characters have. Moving the hitbox back would just make the move feel more consistent in general I think.
One point about your statements on Fred's blockstun, you don't react to the move hitting you but to the animation starting. 1D has 15 frames of blockstun, but you see it coming 21 frames in advance going by your frame data chart, assuming it hits on the first active frame, so you have 36 frames to recognize to it. You do still have to time your pushblock in those 15 frames, and I don't feel experienced enough with Fred stuff to say whether it's too difficult to do consistently or not so you very well might still be completely right about it, but it's not demanding a 15f reaction.
I'm not sure about the air fireball thing. It is kinda ridiculously safe, but she also doesn't have an entire screen full of other projectiles like Velvet does, and this is a game where most characters have plenty of options to get in on fireball spam even if they can't directly punish. It's not a hadouken where jumping over it right guarantees a hit, but it's also not a game where "fireball until they jump then DP" is a reliable strategy. I think the tradeoff of being able to just crouch under air fireballs is enough.
On that note, if she does an air fireball immediately before she hits the ground it can actually hit crouching. It's tough to do consistently but should probably still be fixed.
Also her traps should last another ~2-3 seconds. They keep timing out right before I try to do a cool improvised combo with them or knock someone into one for a rad conversion or something.

For Pap I mostly agree with you. Super into oki into super repeat is the only real instance of "you only get to make 3 decisions this round" in the game, which they seem to want to keep out. I don't want her super completely invulnerable, but that's pretty much entirely just because I hate getting hit by it. If the reward on hit was less maybe I wouldn't mind, but I'm not sure she needs a true invincible reversal anyway. Defense mechanics in this game are strong enough that invincible reversals aren't necessary, especially invincible reversals that can lead into a full combo with another bar. And I didn't even know she couldn't 5C2C, that's weird.

Pom's level 1 is definitely broken. It's honestly the only thing in the game that I would actually call unfair. It's plus infinity on block, lets her make almost anything safe(including her invincible command dash giving her a pseudo-reversal that's plus on block) since it will almost always at least trade, loops for massive damage, gives her multiple free high/low mixups and has a built in frametrap for crossups and to make pushblocking risky, can straight up beat cross canter even if you hit her and she can easily bait it without sacrificing anything, has 4f startup before the super freeze and puts a hitbox on screen instantly, she can use another one before the first has even left the screen, and she can level 2 on block or even whiff, not that it ever will since it takes up the entire screen. Look how great her level 2 actually is and then think about how it's almost never worth using compared to just more level 1s. It breaks basically every rule and convention about supers in the game and something needs to be done about it.
Other than that she's very strong but I think there are enough defensive options in the game to deal with her. Pushblock and Absolute Guard help a lot, CC is a good option when you're completely locked down since all her attacks have a lot of recovery on whiff. jC is crazy good and I'm kind of bothered by the fact that she can rising j.C and still hit a crouching opponent, not because it's a fast overhead but because it means she can cover air-to-airs since she doesn't have to delay it as well as most grounded options, but that does make it easier to pushblock out if she tries. j.B is hard to block, both as an instant overhead and a crossup, but if you pushblock the preceeding move it's easy to punish on whiff since the range is pretty small. Of course, if she does jC instead of jB there you probably get hit. Maybe the combination of j.C and airdash cancelling into another j.C or j.B on block is too good, but for now I'm working on the assumption that I just need to find the right options to deal with it.
Overall she's a very interesting character design with one or two options that are so strong and simple that they overshadow all of her interesting features.

Tian I have no real experience against after her level 2 change. Very little in general actually, mostly I'm just happy she doesn't kill in 2 touches any more. My matches against her seem to go either she airdashes into fireballs/fred fists and I win, or I miss anti-airs and lose. Definitely not high quality insights.

Supers that aren't worth doing:
Ari's lvl1 is a 3f invincible reversal with great damage on counterhit and a fullscreen fast attack that makes her opponent worry about doing long animations even at the opposite end of the screen, it doesn't also need to be a great combo ender.
Oli's level 1 is kinda crap and the damage is almost never worth the meter it gives, but Fred is so important to her that it doesn't really matter since she won't want to use it alone even if it gets buffed, and it can be nice to have a decently fast fullscreen option to confirm off a stray fireball or something for a kill. Maybe make it more safe on block so it's only punishable up close? Turn down the meter generation on it? Make it wall stick on raw hit so she can teleport up and combo? Probably not.
Velvet's level 2 refills her magic and makes up for the lost damage in chip. It's not always going to be worth doing but I think it fulfills it's purpose. Her level 1 is "Get over there" and her level 2 is "and stay there!"
Pap's level 2 should have more magic stocks in it, without increasing the number of projectiles when it's teleported to because it already does insane burst if they get lucky with pots. Maybe also some sort of crossup protection on raw teleport when the basket is too close, because it gets pretty silly the way the basket slides around as the screen moves when it's sitting right under you and it feels lame to get crossed up because the basket moved 1 pixel to the other side when she teleported. Maybe something like double the available magic stocks but only spawn 1 item per 2 magic on teleport, rounded down. It would let her use a lot more cinnamon rolls at least.
Pom's level 2 is absolutely worth doing, or would be if her level 1 wasn't broken. The combination of Papa and Mama is several seconds of basically uncontestable mixups(including a command grab) into massive damage into more mixups, and I'm sure the potential has only barely been touched. Papa is basically a Fred that sits on top of you with infinite duration so you can't just run away until he times out, you either have to kill Pom or deal with his 4 attacks to get rid of him.
For Tianhuo I think it could be cool if she had some way to cancel her lvl1 into lvl2 on whiff to get her install in neutral. Doesn't really make her lvl1 good on it's own, but more opportunities to use her tools for neutral rather than in combos is a good thing. Would probably need some adjusting to make it balanced with how long the duration is now, maybe like loses 25% off the timer if she gets knocked down.

Better rematch/spectator interation and lobby stuff:
Definitely important, and I'm sure it's known already, but the current system kinda sucks. Getting thrown back to the lobby after every match if there's a spectator or not being able to spectate, or interact at all, with players already in a match is really limiting. It feels shitty to join a lobby with some people in it but they're all already fighting and you sit there staring at dust clouds for 5 minutes before giving up. Some way of entering the spectator queue mid match, even if you had to wait for the next round/match to start would be a massive improvement.
Another thing I've been feeling the pixel lobbies need is a way to set up a best 2/3 winner stays etc system for matches. I know the normal lobbies already do that, but the addition of something like the Guilty Gear lobby cabinets would help keep matches flowing and get people fighting more different players instead of spending an hour in a set against one person just because it's easier. Going full idea-guy here, but as an example, a character jumps on a plinth in the lobby and stands there looking all smug until someone walks up to challenge them. They win, so they keep their spot and the next guy in line gets to try. That guy wins, so now he's on the podium and everyone has to look at him being all smug until someone else takes their place. Either make it something that players can spawn and disappears when no one is fighting for it anymore, or put one or two around the lobby for people to go to if they want. Display the current streak on the podium, track records for the server etc. I think it would go a long way to giving some framework to the lobbies without detracting from people that just want to fight.
The chat function also needs some improvement. I'd like to be able to see what was said while I was in a match, a keyboard shortcut to open and close the chat would be appreciated, and some minor quality of life stuff like different text colors for players and a resizable chat window would improve the experience a lot.

I think having mashable A normals does enough of a job at making punishes doable. If you've go the timing down you can do an optimal punish with a 5C or something, but if you're not confident in your timing or the connection just mash A and confirm into B. It'll do way less damage but is easy and makes punishing a lot more consistent.

2D backgrounds, ranked queues, timers on timed things etc all pretty obvious, I'd hope there's a big list of that sort of stuff to check off before 1.0. A bad launch really hurts indie games and a fighting game needs the best start it can get.
A weekly semi-official stream would be a good idea. Take 15 minutes, answer a couple questions you've answered a dozen times before, show off some in-dev thing, play a couple matches or explain a somewhat obscure mechanic or get one of the better players to give some matchup advice, then drop it on the Mane6 youtube and post it on twitter and whatnot. Maybe get somebody back on re-tweeting random new TFH artwork too. It's been more than half a year since the last upload on the manesixdev youtube, and a year since the last work stream. This is a very low effort, no real preparation required, way of making people that aren't constantly following the discord feel that the game isn't stagnating. For a game in Early Access with the stigma that brings, that's important.

I've thought automated small casual tournaments using server side scripts might be a neat thing and get people online at the same time. The leaf admin has been doing some cool stuff with match tracking that shows there's potential there at least.

That's already too many words, I discovered that there's a character limit of 15000 and had to pare it down some, and I'm running out of somewhat clear ideas so I guess I'm done.
I'm sure a lot of these are already on a list or being worked on, and a few are probably unrealistic or just bad ideas, but it can't hurt to mention them. For now I'll say I think the game is in a pretty good state, for early access, and being able to get this far bodes pretty well for continued, if slow, successes so I'll keep playing. Would appreciate a nerf for Pom's super sooner rather than later though.


Feb 22, 2018
I do think her DP might be a bit too good though. Not completely sure since I haven't looked into ways to beat it yet, but plus on block means you can't safejump it and the range means you can't backdash OS it, and she gets a combo on hit. Could just be me not having found an option for it yet though, and I'm definitely jealous given Oleander's completely terrible invincible "reversal."
(Just a word of advice, it is punishable. Just imagine you're punishing Pap command grab. You don't block it, instead you hit it with a delayed jump normal. It only hits close to the ground, so doing something like slightly delayed jump normal is a punish. If you're Ole, you can absolutely destroy her with j.2C against it.)

Petea Copine

Crowdfund Backer
Crowdfund Backer
Oct 17, 2016
Is anyone still hanging around the pixel lobbies or is it Discord match-making?


Feb 22, 2018
Is anyone still hanging around the pixel lobbies or is it Discord match-making?
Most people play in Pixel Lobbies later in the evenings, tends to be more populated on weekends but there's usually at least 10-20 people on around 10PM EST from my experience.


Active Member
Mar 14, 2018
I'm going to add my two cents on balance. Let's talk for a moment about balance of power within a character. Not compared to other characters but within the character.

Pom. Currently her dogs are real hard to use, there's a few great options in mama and chopper dog but otherwise they seem very clunky and lackluster. For a character that's primary traits are: afraid, has dogs, it's kinda weird they are so bleh.

Meanwhile her air game is amazing. j.c has great speed and hit box size, leading to j.c. floatcancel j.c. being a incredibly strong neutral game tool. It's punishable but only with timing precsion avalible to much higher skill players, leading to it being a strong crutch in the mid tiers.

So taking some power out of her air game and turning it into doggo power and usability feels like it would be a great change for her. It puts her more in line with character theme and tones down a problematic crutch.

I really stress I don't think she needs to be nerfed or buffed, just retuned.
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Feed b ack
Backers' Beta Tester
Feb 4, 2016
I've been moving around the idea of setting up a tournament, with a Fungulates twist. I can go into more details if y'all want.

As for changes, I'm nowhere near competitive levels and just want Oli's teleport nerf cost removed.