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Rising Thunder - How We Learn Fighting Games and Why It's a Problem

Angelo M. D'Argenio | 1 Sep 2015 15:30
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Round 3: Dashing

A problem we already solved yet continue to reintroduce

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What about non-combat commands? Many fighting games, not just Street Fighter and Rising Thunder use the "double tap" input for their short, quick forward move. But many gamers have as much of a problem with this input as they do quarter circles. Luckily, we have a solution which we have already implemented since the days of X-Men vs Street Fighter: The Button Dash.

Button dashing is when you use face buttons (usually two attack buttons) instead of the joystick to dash. It's one input instead of two, which makes things like dash cancels incredibly easy to do. We have seen button dashing in Marvel vs. Capcom, Skullgirls, Under Night In-Birth, and many other titles, yet modern day games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and yes, even Rising Thunder insist on forcing people to double tap. This is especially difficult for people with hand tremors, like myself, as their fingers sometimes seize up when trying to do the same horizontal joystick movement in rapid succession. The Hitbox Joystickless Arcade Stick was made specifically because motions like this, and quarter circles for that matter, are easier when done on buttons.

And let's talk about the very concept of dash cancels for a while. This mechanic allows you to spend a resource, usually your special meter, in order to cancel whatever move you are doing into a dash. This can be used defensively by backdashing, but is more often than not used offensively, as a way to cut a move's wind down time and return to neutral in enough time to extend your combo.

Why require dash cancels at all? Why require the dash to return to neutral? Under Night-In Birth allowed you to do something similar at the press of a single button. Sounds familiar right, turning a complex input into a single button press? Heck, why require a special button press at all? Why not just let one special or normal cancel itself into a new move automatically if you have the resources? Capturing a piece in chess doesn't require some sort of special acrobatics. It just happens as a result of the rules and mechanics of the game. Fighting games could operate similarly.

More Complexity, Less Mechanical Transparency

The perils of innovation

None of this is to say that Rising Thunder is a bad game. On the contrary, Seth Killian is a brilliant designer, and the game is a ton of fun. However, I am saying that the game isn't doing what it advertises. I'm enjoying the game only because I already have extensive experience in fighting games, not because it simplifies the learning process in any significant way.

In fact, it's interesting take on the fighting game genre actually makes the genre harder to learn in many ways. Special moves are on MOBA style cooldowns which means that you can correctly respond to a jump-in with an uppercut, and your opponent can then just jump at you again, safe in the knowledge that your uppercut is now cooling down. You can't respond correctly twice if you wanted to.

It also has a loadout system which allows you to customize your move-list, but loadouts introduce more complexity, rather than take it away. Now, you can give yourself a disadvantage in a match before it even begins by bringing the incorrect loadout into battle.

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