Shattered Realms - A Combo Heavy Brawler

pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
edited December 2016 in Fighting Game Discussion

Shattered Realms is a 2D sidescrolling Brawler, that uses combat mechanics like those found in Guilty Gear, BlazBlue and MvC. It has local co-op support for up to 4 players.
It's being developed by KopSkop Games, a small indie team from South Africa.

The game is still in the pre-alpha stages of development, and our primary focus at the moment is getting feedback on the combat mechanics. How does the game feel to play, what is intuitive and fun and what isn't? We've been through a few cycles of focused feedback which has improved the game immensely. However, I believe the biggest improvements will come from the feedback we receive right here. By the people it's being made for.

The Combat
Combos use the cancel on hit confirm principle, and generally cancel routes are pretty loose. Virtually all moves are perform by either pressing a direction and a button, or double tapping a direction and a button (↓+P or ↓↓+P).

Rank and EX Moves
During combat you gain Rank for doing damage, though repetitive usage of moves will reduce the amount gained. Rank is spent on doing EX Moves by holding down the attack button while performing the move (not all moves have EX variants). The strength of an EX Move is determined by the Rank you spent to execute it. Thus a EX Move done with X Rank is far superior to an EX Move done with B Rank. EX Moves have additional properties including more damage, more hitstun, wall bounce, ground bounce and importantly they also build your Super Gauge when an enemy is hit.

Super Moves
Super Moves are for doing massive damage, gaining tons of Rank, and escaping tough situations using their invincibility frames. All Super Moves cost Super Gauge to perform, which can be filled by either picking up Gems, or performing EX Moves.

Defensive Options
There is no blocking in Shattered Realms. It's boring. If you get hit too much we'll make the characters more powerful :)
Infinites are prevented using hit stun deterioration (for now the only enemy that uses this is the boss, Gregor).
Other defensive options include Backdashing (↓+J), Air Recovery (Hold any button) and Burst (Any 2 buttons with at least one Super Stock).

You can download the latest playable build over on our page.
Shattered Realms on itch

Check out the Pre-Alpha trailer below.

If you'd like more in depth knowledge of the game's mechanics or the character's frame data follow the links below:
Game Mechanics
Character Discussion - Bullet Elf
Character Discussion - Summoner

Post edited by pieterator on


  • liero116liero116 #rumblepack Joined: Posts: 203
    Looks interesting. Reminds me of Dungeon Fighter quite a bit.

    It looks like a lot of your special inputs are double taps. Any reason why this instead of quarter circles?

    Also, I haven't played this yet so I'm just guessing here; but you don't like guarding since you say it's boring. That's an interesting way to look at it, but hey, it could work I suppose. Anyways, I haven't played this and I don't know how your AI behaves, but with such limited defensive options, is this the sort of game where you're just going to get hit and you have to deal with it?
  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    @liero116 The double taps were mainly done for ease of input, though qcf inputs can easily be done. This is part of the feedback we're looking for, would people prefer to do qcf rather than double taps.

    I'm joking a bit with the blocking, it's not boring at all :D Blocking is however a mixed bag when it comes to brawlers. It works well if there are a small number of enemies, but if you get swarmed you end up holding block either until your guard breaks, or you become frustrated and try something. If long combos becomes a problem we could definitely looking into damage scaling along side the hit stun scaling.

    Not getting hit is actually not that hard if you keep moving, if you do get hit it's usually because you stood in the same spot for too long (at least for me).

    I'd love to hear what you're opinion is after you've tried the game, all feedback is welcome.
  • PSYCH0J0SHPSYCH0J0SH Joined: Posts: 5,469
    phoenixnl wrote: »
    ̄Hey that title reminds me of some other fighting game ...

    That's why I chose a name that was unmistakable~

    GigaMaidens on twitter - on deviantArt - on Discord


  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    Haha... (cough), yeah I really don't know what to say, feeling super sheepish :s

    We actually spent several hours and many cups of coffee coming up with Shattered Realms. We bounced a few names off various people, and it was the one that caught most peoples' attention.

    Guess it's back to the coffee, eh?
  • PSYCH0J0SHPSYCH0J0SH Joined: Posts: 5,469
    I dunno... "Fractured Realms"?

    Or just keep it the same. It's up to you.

    GigaMaidens on twitter - on deviantArt - on Discord


  • truendymiontruendymion Beer Me! Joined: Posts: 2,265
    Just the backdash? No forward roll? Is this co-op only?
    I'm making a fighting game!
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  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    Tech rolling after a knockdown is actually one of the very next things I want to add :)

    At the moment it is co-op only, yes. But a versus mode is being strongly considered, allowing you to play as the enemies and bosses as well.
  • liero116liero116 #rumblepack Joined: Posts: 203
    So I finally had some time to play it. I only got to play for 15 minutes or so, but here's what I think so far:

    • Mechanically it feels pretty good. Everything is pretty crisp and I don't feel like I had any issue with anything control related.
    • Characters are interesting
    • Some of the pacing feels good.

    • The enemies come in to close together. I don't like this for 2 reasons: 1 - it's too easy to combo them all at once, 2 - if for some reason you can't get them all in one combo or a second pack is behind you, you're going to get hit during your combo and likely have a lot of trouble getting away.
    • Movement speed is probably too slow

    So all over, I didn't hate it, but I played the ranged guy mostly and i found myself getting stuck in enemy combos a lot. I'm not sure what the issue is though. It might be that your game spawns way too many enemies too early on, but I don't feel like I was given enough time to learn what your game expected of me before I got surrounded. There may very well be ways out of things like that, but I don't know what those ways are; especially when playing it for the first time. So there's either no way out, or your game doesn't teach you how to avoid that sort of thing. I'm guessing it's the latter though. You definitely need to teach your players how to play. There's a lot of creative ways to do that without a tutorial, but that's the easiest way to do it. Though I don't believe this is the kind of game that most people are going to want to go to a training mode to have to learn to play.

    Something I didn't care for was being attacked while I'm comboing someone. This isn't really an issue in most brawlers because most of them don't have long combos, but it makes me not want to do them in your game at all. I found myself spacing with short combos and pokes and I don't think that's what you wanted out of this game. I started doing the because I jumped into the game, started comboing someone and then got stuck in an enemy infinite that nearly killed me. I addressed this above, but that shouldn't happen early on. Some of my favorite brawlers handle this in many ways. For example, one of my favorites (Battletoads Double Dragon) handles this by having enemies stand by when you're hitting someone. Obviously this isn't realistic, but since the enemies in that game are pretty strong, it works out pretty well. Ragnarok Battle Offline is another example, but they do the polar opposite. While BTDD has few strong enemies that dont gang up on you, RBO fills the screen up and none of them care. RBO is an amazing combo heavy game too, but it handles swarms of enemies very well by making their attacks happen at very slow intervals. You never get stuck in a combo if you're paying attention.

    Finally, I'm not saying you should change this, but the visuals are a bit off putting to me. Don't get me wrong, I think the presentation is good, but I guess I'm just a bit tired of retro looking games. The effects look nice, but I think this game really needs something visually to set it apart. I was playing and a friend of mine walked into the room saying "oh another one of these?". I think the problem is that since you're now competing with a huge influx of indie titles, you REALLY have to set yourself apart or you'll just get lost. Right now, I think this game needs something more unique.

  • CronopioCronopio ST Joined: Posts: 2,162
    liero116 wrote: »
    • The enemies come in to close together. I don't like this for 2 reasons: 1 - it's too easy to combo them all at once, 2 - if for some reason you can't get them all in one combo or a second pack is behind you, you're going to get hit during your combo and likely have a lot of trouble getting away.

    Haven't tried the game yet, but this is actually a good thing, oldschool brawlers work just like that. You either crowd control or you get surrounded and die. Remove the threat of getting surrounded and you lose a lot of strategy.

    Will give the demo a try later to give feedback, but always glad to see a new beat'em up. Such a great yet forgotten and misunderstood genre.
  • liero116liero116 #rumblepack Joined: Posts: 203
    Cronopio wrote: »
    You either crowd control or you get surrounded and die. Remove the threat of getting surrounded and you lose a lot of strategy.

    Generally I agree, but I think it happens too early in a way that felt unfair to me. It may have just been bad luck on my first play through, but I wasn't a fan of it happening like that.
  • truendymiontruendymion Beer Me! Joined: Posts: 2,265
    edited December 2016
    In classic beat em ups you usually have an invincible move that has a wide area of attack (like Haggars lariat).

    In AVP the walkspeed was relatively slow but characters had crazy jump mobility as well as special moves that move quite a lot. You could also jump cancel any attacks mid-combo.
    I'm making a fighting game!
    SRK thread - Discord server.
  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    @liero116 Thank you so much for taking the time to trying it out, and leaving such detailed feedback!

    I hear what you're saying about the swarms of enemies ganging up on you, I've had this commented on before and I'll definitely address this in the next build. One of the ways we're looking at doing this is having less but more specialized enemies, though there will still be some cannon fodder enemies sprinkled in between. The pacing and difficulty curve is a little off, I agree. We wanted to keep the prototype short and with only two stages there wasn't much room from ramping up the difficulty slowly. But teaching the player gradually through gameplay is the best way to do it, and it's most certainly what we will aim for in the alpha.

    If I may ask, did you ever use the Burst attack? It uses one stock of your Super Gauge and is activated by pressing Any Two Buttons while in hitstun. It's invincible and it wallbounces enemies away from you. I'll also look at increasing the movement speed and see how that feels.

    @Cronopio I'm very keen to hear if you also experience the same swarming problem. I've found if you keep on the move, and launch into air combos quickly, this often gets you out of trouble. Though, even knowing that, I still get swarmed sometimes :D

    @truendymion I really like the idea of an AoE super attack for characters. I'll add something for both characters in the next build and we can see how it feels. (Thanks for the AvP link)
  • liero116liero116 #rumblepack Joined: Posts: 203
    Yeah I discovered the burst by accident and it worked pretty well.

    As for the difficulty ramp, if I may suggest something that worked pretty well for me on a previous project. Rather than making one level that packs too much information into it, you might consider making 2. Your first level would be the a representation of the first level of your game that teaches the player in an easy-to-understand way and your second could be a representation of a level that comes in the middle or end of the game. Or you can just make a hard mode where they attack more often and more spawn.

    Don't get me wrong though; I like the large swarms of enemies. I just felt that they were implemented in a way that felt unfair so early on. Honestly, that's only because I didn't know what exactly to expect. I think if you can teach people what to expect, you can probably work with what you have.
  • truendymiontruendymion Beer Me! Joined: Posts: 2,265
    Ok, after running through the game a few times I think I got a pretty good feel for it. Overall seems solid.
    What I like:
    • The combo system is fun!
    • Between the backdash, jumps, and attacks with movement abilities I think you have plenty of tools for crowd control. And if you do get caught you always have the combo breaker.
    • I love that the playable characters are so unique.

    • You could probably simplify into a 2 attack button scheme. Try and consolidate some of the existing moves? (whats the difference between neutral S and down S? Do you really need 2 otg moves?)
    • It would be nice if the input window on special moves was a bit more lenient. I was having difficulty with the dash attack especially.
    • Why are some double tap moves specials and others supers? I feel like the super input should be different somehow.
    • Is the boss immune to attacks while in the air? If so, that's annoying lol
    • It would be nice to have an AOE attack to help with crowd control.
    I'm making a fighting game!
    SRK thread - Discord server.
  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    @truendymion Thanks for giving it a go, and also all the great feedback.

    I'm busy consolidating the Bullet Elf's moves so each one has a more clear purpose/function. Like you said, she had too many moves that were very similar and also ones that you'd never use because better versions existed. A new AoE attack will be one of the new moves added. I have also increased the leniency for inputs so the double tap move come out easier. Two buttons would be sweet, but that would require the addition of other directional inputs like :qcf: or :dp: , and I'm holding off on that until I get more feedback on the controls.

    As for the Boss fight, no he's not invincible in the air, you might have tried attacking him right after an air recovery (which gives 50 invincibility frames, which I'm now lowering to 30). Actions are possible 15 frames after an air recovery.
  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    This is the new visual style we're playing with at the moment. It's not the actual moves the Bullet Elf will have, just some test animations. Would love to hear what everyone thinks :)

  • truendymiontruendymion Beer Me! Joined: Posts: 2,265
    Where'd her guns go?! Aside from that looks cool. I'd recommend not putting her feet in a straight line since the camera is at an angle. I would put one foot a little closer to the viewer than the other.
    I'm making a fighting game!
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  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    Hey everyone, over the last couple of months we have putting our heads down building the world of Shattered Realms. We were super fortunate to entice a very talented local artist, Malcolm Wope, to help us out, and together with Dawid Strauss, have been building the characters and world of Shattered Realms. All the art of the game has been completely reworked, and I'll be posting some new in game mock-ups soon.

    We would really like to hear from you guys, so please let us know if you like the new redesign, or what parts you think could do with some more work.

  • truendymiontruendymion Beer Me! Joined: Posts: 2,265
    Very cool concept art. Does this mean you are ditching the low-res art and going full on HD?
    I'm making a fighting game!
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  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    Haha, no we're still sticking to the 640x360 resolution :D We actually tested out a couple of different styles at different resolutions, and we found in terms of speed and production cost, working at a lower resolution is the best fit for our team size.

    Believe me, if I could make this game in HD with the art these guys are producing, I totally would. Unfortunately it is just sooo far out of the scope and budget that it's not viable.
  • PSYCH0J0SHPSYCH0J0SH Joined: Posts: 5,469
    Art looks good. Curious to see how it looks in motion.

    GigaMaidens on twitter - on deviantArt - on Discord


  • CronopioCronopio ST Joined: Posts: 2,162
    edited April 25
    Forgot about this, gave it a quick try.

    First thing that comes to mind that could improve is enemy placement. In the demo enemies appear and come at you at fixed intervals. There doesn't seem to be much variety in how the waves are placed, or their approaches. You made the AI go for your back from time to time, which is good, but their behavior shouldn't be limited to just spawning and coming at you. Come up with varied placements, make them come while you are fighting the other group instead of making them appear only once you have dispatched the previous wave, avoid "dead air" in between enemy waves, work with their placement on screen, make their behavior more varied as in make some cover some areas instead of only making them come at you. You can also mix up attack types as in ranged guys that work in tandem with the melee ones, make them stay away and the melee guys protect them, that sort of thing.

    As for the combo system, it's very free-form and fun, but maybe you should make the juggles less floaty and add some sort of juggle potential system. I was just launching enemies and then infiniting them with walk up attack xN, which sort of defeats the point of having a complex combo system in place. Damage could be a bit higher too.

    Overall it shows promise. With a few tweaks it could be really good.
  • truendymiontruendymion Beer Me! Joined: Posts: 2,265
    @Cronopio I disagree with adding any kind of juggle limit. One of the most interesting challenges in Scott Pilgrim and AVP is infinite juggling enemies! It's mostly unnecessary if you make the enemies sufficiently aggressive, it will be a huge challenge to avoid attacks and keep infinite juggles going. And in the case of bosses they have a combo-breaker or something so its a non-issue.
    I'm making a fighting game!
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  • CronopioCronopio ST Joined: Posts: 2,162
    AvsP does have juggle limits, you can't just keep juggling forever in that game. It gives you leeway to chain several attacks, quite a bit if you relaunch from OTG but you can't just walk up jab to keep everyone juggled, the timing is much tighter. You don't want a game with braindead juggle infinites as in Sengoku 3, you can juggle entire mobs with walk up attack with zero timing; what would be the point in having tons of options if you can do something like that?
  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    @Cronopio You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear you say that, because those are all things we've been working on the last couple of months.

    Currently we're experimenting with 10 different enemy types with a variety of attack ranges. They also don't all come in for the attack at once any more, with some loitering in the background waiting for a chance to strike. Enemies also have much lower HP and now spawn mid wave as well. There are still breaks between some waves, but feedback like yours is helping us find the balance.

    In terms of limiting air juggles, we use hitstun deterioration, so after around 6 walk up punch juggles the enemy will be able to do an air recovery (I think I'm going to nerf punch especially hard though). Air Recovery however, is an ability we want to reserve for higher tier enemies, allowing you to mess with the lower tier grunts however you want.

    Thank you for taking the time to play the game and giving us feedback. If you have any other suggestions, please let us know, we seem to be on the same wavelength.
  • CronopioCronopio ST Joined: Posts: 2,162
    That sounds promising and would take care of nearly everything that needed tweaking. In addition to hitstun deterioration I suggest making the juggle state a bit less floaty so timing is tighter, but the main problem of easy infinites will be gone in any case so that's good.
  • truendymiontruendymion Beer Me! Joined: Posts: 2,265
    edited April 26
    Huh, could have sworn AVP didn't have any hard-coded combo limits...

    I'm making a fighting game!
    SRK thread - Discord server.
  • CronopioCronopio ST Joined: Posts: 2,162
    edited April 26
    It has combo limits, Avspadmirer has a detailed list of the hit points necessary to knock every enemy down. You can't juggle infinitely either, and the ground infinites are probably only possible due to the gun cooldown cancel that I guess resets the hit points. Now compare to a game that doesn't have any limitations like Sengoku 3, in which you can launch then walk up jab xN, the difference is obvious.
  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    Here is some of the sprite work that Dawid Strauss has been putting together for us. We are drawing a lot of inspiration from Hyper Light Drifter and also the gorgeous Dead Cells. Focusing on detailed backgrounds, and characters being more flat-shaded and stylised.

    I'm really stoked with the amount of progress he's made in such a short amount of time.

    Just a note that the animations are a first pass, and still need to be touched up by our cleanup artist, who is starting with us next week.

    bulletelf_run_sprite.gif bulletelf_cross_by_pieterator-db7bthw.gif
  • CronopioCronopio ST Joined: Posts: 2,162
    Looks very nice! I like the style. Only small thing I would change about that run is to have the body move up and down a bit, looks like he only moves his head right now and that takes weight away from the animation. The legs and knee protections on the punch animation change size too.

    Otherwise really nice spritework, love the motion blur and deformations, looks really really promising.

    A question, what lenght do you aim for? Arcade style, as in less than an hour for a full playthrough, or more console style with several hours and saves? I personally prefer shorter, more focused arcade games but I know I'm most likely the minority haha.
  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    Thanks for pointing out the tweaks in the animations, I'll be sure to pass those on to the art team.

    The length of the game is still something we're discussing. I personally am also for a short but highly focused gameplay experience, but many players enjoy a longer experience (hours/$ = value). If the game is really fun to play, players might be satisfied with a shorter game that they can play through multiple times. Adding in some secret stages can also make subsequent playthroughs more entertaining by taking different routes.

    The next few month is going to give us a good indication of how much content we can produce given our budget, so by the end we'll have a much clearer idea of how long the game could be.
  • CronopioCronopio ST Joined: Posts: 2,162
    A good compromise could be to use branching paths (not unlike what Capcom did with the Dungeons and Dragons games).

    You can keep playtime arcade-like and focused, but also satisfy people with the mentality that sees arcade games as too short for their money, without stretching levels with unnecessary padding.

  • X_SwordX_Sword -+FGs, Art, and Beats+- Joined: Posts: 1,781
    This game looks awesome so far! i can see theHyper Light Drifter influence in the color schemes and background. I will definitely keep an eye on this thread!

    Looking at the Bullet Elf's moves/ key frame sheet, are you opting to have different combat styles per character?
  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    Thanks, glad you are liking the new art direction :)

    Yes, there will be different combat styles for each playable character. Lynx is our close range rushdown character. Her rival (guy with blades on his arms) will be mid to long range, focusing on kicks, and the grappler (guy with ferret on his shoulder) will focus on positioning enemies with throws. These three will form the core characters for the game, but we obviously have a lot of other ideas for characters. I personally would love to have a shoto, combining the best of all shoto's into one super character.

    Are there any archetypes in particular you guys would like to see?
  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    Our artists have been working furiously the last couple of weeks on the new art assets for Shattered Realms.
    We're starting to put them in the game and wanted to just show how awesome everything is looking.

    Here is the concept art for the Beast King boss. Seriously, Akuma can kiss his ass :D

    There is still plenty to do, but we're making good progress.
  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    Some rough lines for characters, 360 degree reference views and move ideas for Lynx.

  • sigma_g19sigma_g19 YDK Lord Joined: Posts: 38
    It really is shaping up nicely! :)
    "Boku ni wa kate nai yo~"
  • pieteratorpieterator Joined: Posts: 27
    Hey @sigma_g19, how are you dude?
    Thanks for dropping by :)
  • sigma_g19sigma_g19 YDK Lord Joined: Posts: 38
    I'm doing great bro! Really loving the animation work. WE IN THERE! :)

    Really looking forward to the next build. :)

    "Boku ni wa kate nai yo~"
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