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Suggestions on magic bars and charging mechanics

gp_v

Backers' Beta Tester
Backers' Beta Tester
Feb 7, 2016
4
0
Someone on stream 12 talked about Tien's and Velvet's bars and how they must be changed and I was thinking this since I first saw both Velvet's and Tien's gameplay so I though I'd post some suggestions I was thinking about since.
So...here is my ideas about bar charging in game so far.

Tien's bar should fill when specifically moving towards oponent. Maybe even vertically (when right above the oponent or something). More distance covered - more magic. Like go in - do stuff - go out dancing thing. Somewhat like half-cavalry, heh.
This will make player to actually try and base plays around her mobility tools, closing up and then breaking distance repeatedly, not just plain 'charge, stick close and combo and whatever and stick close again'. Will make her to prepare visible setups in which both players can participate more dynamically.
For an opponent it opens more ways to counterplay. Like playing 'turtle' and not backing away, keeping Tien in the corner, all in attempt to cut her magic supply. And/Or catch Tien player while she is trying to reposition herself for extra magic charge. Unlike current state, plain running away will be punished, oponent will be forced and rewarded for actually interacting, for bullying her over.
Will give more opportunities to it overall. More opportunities to make mistakes, which is a good thing. Also fits her offensive moves. Tien has no backing moves or back-dodges at the moment though.
As a side thought, may have specific fire animation while charging. 'On fire'/'Not so much on fire' theming.

As for Velvet. Can't say for sure cause never played it, but it seems to me that her bar is unreliable so much that it's nearly broken. What I mean is that magic is very essential to her playstyle but player may be unable to say how much there is, if any, without explicitely looking. Reason being non-constant and time based fill rate - way to hard to track. Shouldn't be more than one 'x' in this equaStion (same for current Tien, but unlike Velvet she has only two bars, so not that big deal).
I'd suggest to make at least her first bar (or two, yet better all) to fill at constant rate (or constant condition even) so it will be more like a clock, more certain. Thus player will be able to sync it to spinal reflex instead of having an eye at the corner of the screen at all times or relying on hard-to-get-right 'fealing it'. More reliable this way.
For the rest of the bar I'd favor some 'hold to it' counter-interactive ideas to stress her biggest-zoner-in-the-game style. Like 'how still (horizontally) she stays' (wind/magic vs mobility?) or 'for how long did she not use magic' (attack use/burst vs defense use) or 'when she is not moving towards oponent' (ranged attacks vs melee attacks). Idea is to force player to trade between all-out-zoner and utility/mobility when needed, giving oponent opportunities for exploits. These are wild guesses though as I can't imagine how it would play on top of issue/idea I mentioned earlier.

I certainly would not leave both Tien's and Velvet's bars bound to 'distance' cause it is looking way too similar now. I think they better be bound to 'mobility' in more inderect way. But I really like your idea of Velvet's bar being a frosty-twin of Tien's.

Oli's super-meter 'reading charge'. I'd suggest to speed it up at constant rate. Say it starts somewhat slower and fills 20% more after every second, speed-ups happening discretely. There is too much I want to say to back this up so I'd better not.

By the way, great idea for Paprika bar recovering only when gifts are ate by oponent, both deep tactically and in character.

Ok, mind flush complete. What are your thoughts about these?
 

CamTSB

僕は誰なんだろう?
Mane6 QA
Feb 2, 2016
486
497
30
Ontario, Canada
twitter.com
Okay, this is quite a bit of text and comprises a lot of elements, so I'm going to take it piece by piece here, and I'm gonna try and keep it separated by character.

Tianhuo:
Tien's bar should fill when specifically moving towards oponent.
Unlike current state, plain running away will be punished, oponent will be forced and rewarded for actually interacting, for bullying her over.
What about the characters that are supposed to run away? You don't want to create a situation where your only answer to someone gaining their resource is you having to play a character completely different from the way that is intended, or designed, or even situationally correct. In this situation you're asking a Velvet to rush her down despite the fact that being distanced from her opponent is the best course of action in most scenarios. Not only that, but you can stay full screen and forward dash, and then backdash to gain yourself some magic. That completely circumvents your entire system intending you to move towards the enemy. DFC actually has this method of meter gain in place for all characters, and that kind of movement just to gain resources was extremely common to see, just a superjump forwards and then doublejump back to maintain your distance, but gain resources for doing nothing with any risk involved.

As a side thought, may have specific fire animation while charging.
As a side note, nothing in the game is considered done yet, all things are subject to change. The UI is designed to be able to be read from a glance and that's what it is able to do pretty well.

Velvet:
What I mean is that magic is very essential to her playstyle but player may be unable to say how much there is, if any, without explicitely looking.
That is correct, fighting game UIs are designed around quick glances, allowing you to look quickly and check your resources, be they health, meter, or a game specific mechanic.

I'd suggest to make at least her first bar (or two, yet better all) to fill at constant rate (or constant condition even) so it will be more like a clock, more certain.
If you mean just at neutral, no matter where you are having some (or all) of her magic be filled on a basis of time passed, that is actually crazy. The character is supposed to be played at ranges, she is a zoner. If you give her the option to regain magic quickly while at close range, you take away all things that make her intentionally a zoner and change her into something that can rushdown and get all of its resources for free.

instead of having an eye at the corner of the screen at all times
Again, the UI is designed to be looked at briefly, there is no need to watch it at all times.

General:
I certainly would not leave both Tien's and Velvet's bars bound to 'distance' cause it is looking way too similar now.
Why is similar a bad thing in this scenario? The two characters have polar opposite magic charge styles representing the need to go in and do damage, and the need to stay out and keep your opponent at a distance.

This was a really good write up and I'm sure you put a lot of thought into it, but some of these ideas do not properly mesh with how the characters are intended to function, but by design and just by a character archetype. I need to point this last bit out, and I do not intend this to be an insult in any way shape or form, so please understand that.

Can't say for sure cause never played it
These are wild guesses though as I can't imagine how it would play
These are really important points that you yourself brought up. A lot of your views are based on how the game would feel to someone playing it, and as you are someone who has not played it then you have no knowledge of how it feels. These things have gone through the process of being tested by us over quite some time, and while they may not be perfect, they do feel right. Of course there's little to no way that you would be able to understand those feelings due to the inability to play it (Bear with us, please!) but just going from viewing it alone is not going to be a decent substitute for hands-on experience. A big issue you mentioned, the meter gain of Velvet not being a constant rate, does not cause any real issues, so long as you do keep an eye on your resources as you should be doing.

If you want to respond to any of my personal responses to this, do feel free, I'd love to discuss this with you since you've spent so long thinking all this through!
 

gp_v

Backers' Beta Tester
Backers' Beta Tester
Feb 7, 2016
4
0
Oh my, it's "Tian"...

First of all thanks for being direct in your response. And for noting this
Can't say for sure cause never played it
I also want to add few more disclaimers. All I state here should be taken with "In my humble and very subjective opinion", going to talk about things as I see them in this post, going to make statements without formalities to make the read shorter. Also, by no means am I trying to prove you worth of my ideas or push them or anything, just to back them up with some reason for you to see. Also I do understand that I'm throwing rather abstract ideas and all consequences of this fact. And if anything I say sounds mean by any chance, please keep in mind I don't mean it this way, it's just english is not my native language.

different from the way that is intended, or designed, or even situationally correct.
Intention and implementation are two different beasts. I like intentions behind Velvet, what I am saying is that current implementation represents original intentions in a way which has low gameplay value.

asking a Velvet to rush her down
Never said that. Just not constantly backing away will do. Extra reward might come if successfully interrupting engages but it's another story.

you can stay full screen and forward dash, and then backdash to gain yourself some magic
gain resources for doing nothing with any risk involved
As for my suggestion for Tian the possibility of such behavior is actually intended. Will make her do a thing where she could just stay idle. But I would not agree on no risk involved part. Dashing disables blocking, jumping locks your trajectory. Meter bound to distance in such a way that single dash or jump would never be enough and oponent would use her mobility/projectiles to get in and punish if this is used iteratively. And if oponent is too passive then why not to exploit it. The only setup I can think of when the problem you mentioned is present is Tian vs Tian. Otherwise I don't see how this kind of behaviour can be preferable. If possibility of such behaviour cannot be tolerated at all then my idea is plain wrong or must be corrected.

characters that are supposed to run away
I don't think it's a valid argument for two reasons.
First, and what if another character is supposed to stay close and gains no magic meter for it? Like Arizona whos preferable distance is somewhat alike to such of Tian.
I'll start from far with the second. In fighting PvP game player wins by successfully fighting another player. Fighting is the point. All skills, moves, positioning and other tools must exist only as a means to acquire upperhand (in wide sense) in fight, not for any other reason.
Issue with "running away will give you upperhand" statement without "forcing you to fight somehow" part is that it might as well describe a game of tag, which is not a fighting game.
If there really is an intention to create mechanic which hints player to run away (or generally not engage in fighting, melee or whatnot) more or less all the time then it's just over me.

Overall, consider Tian vs Generic-Non-Tian matchup in current state.
Lets put them close and look through Not-Tian's options regarding bars. If she holds ground Tian will gain meter for nothing - 1:0. If she backs away: she becomes subject to be attacked (no blocking while backdash, locked jump trajectory), she won't be able to attack herself while some backing moves, it will be easy for Tian to catch up while still attacking - I'd say 2.5:0. You can't even back reliably while blocking (not a bad thing by itself, unless in situations where you "must"). Lose-lose situation for Non-Tian without any definite way to get out of it, unless maybe attacking in turn. Which not anyone (read Velvet) should be able/forced to do.
Situation is somewhat similar for Generic-Not-Velvet when put far from Velvet.
But what troubles me most is that this way a player with one of mentioned mechanics would play a 'single player' 'minigame' of maintaining superposition. Say Velvet player can add "whatever happens get afar" rule to her mindset and will never have to adapt it (the rule itself) to oponent's tactics. I dislike to think patterns, but to me it falls both into 'best-strategy' and 'anti-fun' design anti-patterns (I'd say later issue hits Velvet much more harder than Tian, cause anyone can some melee). Also lacks meaningful counterplay. With my still far from perfect suggestion they both would have to pull more of the same rope, share control for single, more dynamic "value", adapting to each other plays. Even for a single Tian/Velvet on stage. Maybe I am just in over my head on this one but I can see it even in phrasing: "How close Tian IS to oponent" vs "How much Tian COULD charge towards oponent".
Another, although weak, point is that you already have forward-charging moves in game which are similar in few nuances.

The UI is designed to be able to be read from a glance
Where possible, additional UI (not sprites themselves) should be helper, not a necessity.
To this matter Arizona's magic charging is nearly perfect. Post-newbie player will look at UI only to confirm what's already in her head and more profient players just won't look at it at all developing a 'feel' of it (read: they will count without looking).
Velvet players, on the other hand, will be forced to look there until they acquire 'the feel', which will be especially hard in Velvet case. No matter how informative UI is it is still a distraction from the 'main UI' - sprites themselves. Under pressure, without clear visual/logical presentation in 'main' part, magic meter may appear random to player, leaiding from 'unfair' feel to anger.
Take a MOBA as an example (just as a good showcase of an issue I'm talking about). Until player is accustomed with character she is forced to constantly look at cast bar for cooldowns. When she gets used to character she would prefer to 'feel' and not distract herself with looking. Now imagine how hard is it to 'feel' when cooldown timers ticking non-linear.

Again, the UI is designed to be looked at briefly, there is no need to watch it at all times
If Velvet player wants exactly two bars she doesn't have for a combo she has in mind, she will be forced to monitor the bar constantly (or as often as possible), literally all the time until she gets those two. And she won't be able to calculate it in mind reliably.

If you give her the option to regain magic quickly while at close range
Not quite what I meant.
Yes, if zoner's mechanic is not forcing player to actually zone then it's broken. That's why I was and am so vague about my suggestions for Velvet. But lets assume Velvet will get the first bar (and only first bar) of magic meter at constant time rate (for instance, like if she were screen away), no matter how far from oponent she is. Stated like it, I dislike it too. What it does is it shows a way (not best by far) to somewhat ease issue I talked about above without giving her that much power in close quaters.
I can't suggest anything particular for Velvet cause all ideas I like and can think of is too distanced from what you have in a game now. I can only point to what I think is done wrong.

Why is similar a bad thing in this scenario? The two characters have polar opposite magic charge styles
Please mind, I don't judge mechanics themselves now.
Opposite does not necessary means similar. I really like the idea of them being opposite, but at the moment their magic bar mechanics are more similar than opposite and that's dull. Let me try explain it with analogy.
First player is red, second player is blue. Are they opposite? Yes. Are they similar? Yes. Is it dull? Yes. Color is the only difference.
Tian is gaining bar faster when distance to oponent is minimal, Velvet is gaining bar faster when distance to oponent is maximal. Yes, yes and yes. Operator of magnitude function (min vs max) is the only difference.
In general terms, this kind of oposite is dull because whole difference lies completely inside one single category (color, distance). These mechanics might appear to be oposite but in fact they are not even somewhat diverse.

they do feel right
This one is off topic, but I think you fell a victim to a logical paradox here, no offense.
You say you have a knowledge of things feeling right in the current state, cause of expertise you are receiving while playing them. But a guy on the stream (sorry, I guess I only know Jay by voice) said these things are not right (this is not the point yet. Also I know he didn't name same reasons of why things are not right as I did, in fact he named none at particular).
At the same time my suggestions are not implemented (not pushing, just explaining) so you won't be able to tell how do they 'feel', only what you think of them.
While this does not deny advantages of your advanced knowledge in general, in my opinion it renders a 'feel' argument not meaningful in this specific context.
Also you said yourself that nothing is final, so amount of time which was put into testing cannot be accounted for the sake of discussion yet.

I didn't mean to discuss or defend specifically my suggestions, still I'm finding it interesting. If you would like to point out more issues with them or to reason further I will happily participate.

and I wanted to make this one shorter...
 

gp_v

Backers' Beta Tester
Backers' Beta Tester
Feb 7, 2016
4
0
Anyway, as I said I didn't mean to discuss or defend specifically my suggestions, I'd rather know yours and the others'.
  • Do you think magic bar charging mechanics are already in places they should end up?
  • If not, what issues do you see?
  • If any, how to correct them? What's the reasoning behind corrections?
  • What is lacking, if anything? (within the scope of current intentions, i.e. Velvet should remain zoner etc.)
  • If anything, what would you add and why?
  • If any changes to be made, how strong should they bound by the current implementation?
 

Avering

Pew-Pew
Backers' Beta Tester
Feb 3, 2016
1,280
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Your soup
Holy cow those are looong posts.

Anyways, my quick observation: while Tian have mobility tools, they are for closing the distance from her enemy and then staying in their faces making a mess of it.

That gain meter from moving could be used for a future mobility oriented character (*ahem* Goat *ahem*), with some tweaks of course. It just feels weird on Tian, needing her to disengage and run away after a combo instead of trying to start a new one.

Or at least that is what I've gleamed from the gameplays showed so far. Cam has a bit more info on it though. Just a tiny bit.

I won't comment in the rest, since the current UI looks fine (albeit the juggle decay bar could be a bit wider) and it's still a work in progress anyways. If the magic can't be read at a glance, it should be just an easy fix with a different color set or higher contrast.
Also, I don't play enough fighting games to really be able to form mechanics based opinions.
 

Thai Ming

Crowdfund Backer
Crowdfund Backer
Feb 3, 2016
24
24
I want to say keeping track really shouldn't be an issue. From my experience, no matter how much a fighting game goes out of it's way to make it's bars complicated and hard to read (looking at YOU, Under Night In-Birth), after just a bit of play you always manage to squeeze in that quick glance you need in order to know whether or not you have the resources you need just in time. A lot of games also employ a little sound cue when a bar fills up, so you'll even be "notified" if you weren't explicitly looking for it at that moment, I would be surprised if that hadn't been considered yet for TFH. Not knowing about how much resources you have at the moment where you need it, due to the rate your bar fills up, it's just not really a thing. Taking that quick glance is just too fast for that to be an issue. Especially when you're doing a combo, one you've done so many times it's well ingrained into your muscle memory, you can usually just do the combo "blind" and keep watching the bars at the same time to know well in advance whether or not you will have the given resource by the time you need it. It may sound convoluted and hard to do, but I propose it's way easier than trying to keep track of your meter "by heart" just from knowing the timing with which your bar fills up. Situations are just too flexible for that to really be viable - the time at which you need to know whether or not a particular bar will fill up by the time you want to use it, and the amount of bar you already have at that moment is different for every situation anyway, even with the bar filling at a consistent speed. You won't get around checking frequently.

Other than that I also feel like it's hard to talk about how well the systems currently in place work or feel without actually having played the game. The most recent player versus player footage we've seen is also comparatively old so not even that is a great reference.
 

gp_v

Backers' Beta Tester
Backers' Beta Tester
Feb 7, 2016
4
0
*to myself: keep it short, keep it short!*

I won't comment in the rest, since the current UI looks fine
nono, I never blamed UI itself. UI is beautiful, as far as I'm concerned.

---

Under Night In-Birth
wow, what a showcase.

A lot of games also employ a little sound cue when a bar fills up, so you'll even be "notified"
Simple, lowcost, sounds great. Hope it had been.

it's hard to talk about how well the systems currently in place work or feel without actually having played the game
Hard, maybe silly even, still possible :p
 

Rocketknightgeek

Backers' Beta Tester
Backers' Beta Tester
Feb 3, 2016
85
37
With Tian's meter generation, it could possibly be tied to screen coverage where she has either a visable or invisible battery that fills from a center and out into an X/Y cross that fills out as you move on those axis. This would obviously shrink on each axis automatically over time and how full the circle is directly corresponds to your magic fill rate. As such you are rewarded for a non-linear play style where you are always in motion.
 
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