New fighting game design idea, opinions needed


What do you think about making a Street Fighter-style 2D fighting game in which the playing speed would vary in realtime? For example, a round could start at a certain speed and get progressively faster as the timer ticks down. This way, a zoning strategy would be more advantageous during the earlier parts of the round, while a rushdown game plan would grow more effective as the endgame approaches (as there’d be less time for accurate defensive reactions).

This is just my core gameplay idea, which is to say, it could be mechanically expanded upon in various ways, the in-match speed modifiers (perhaps a specific one for each character) being just one of the simplest.
Also, from a learning perspective, I think it could be helpful towards fighting game beginners in at least two ways:

  1. the slower pace at the beginning of each round would facilitate thinking for the more inexperienced player, so panicking would be significantly reduced

  2. projectile zoning is technically easier than (link) comboing, because generally we’re talking about successfully launching individual hits with optimally solid but fully independent timing vs. needing to string them with very exact timing.

As I see it, for the general balance of such a game to be achieved, zoning would objectively have to be at least slightly better than rushdown. From there on out, it’s a battle of experience, endurance, and reflexes. The differences between the characters’ abilities could be that the easier ones have faster projectiles and/or wider combo links, but in exchange for lesser damage and/or fewer HP and/or decreased movement speed and/or worse defensive options, and so on. Meanwhile, the grapplers would compensate for their inferior zoning and comboing abilities with their superior general stats and move priorities.

In-universe, the speed changes could have to do something with black holes and other cosmic timespace-warping elements (see Doctor Who s10e11 for additional ideas), but the round timer itself would always count down evenly, i. e. unaffected by any of them.

So, having proposed the gist of my idea, do you like it? Do you think it could work? Lemme know in the comments below. Thanks in advance!


How would Cammy-type work in the early game? Conversely, how would a Dhalsim-type work in the late game?


Hmmm… good question. I haven’t thought about the game in those terms yet.

I think it’s more practical to think in terms how a character would fare at a given point in the round, rather than how it would work.
By this I mean that each character would be mechanically consistent throughout the whole round (or perhaps a set of 2-3 rounds, if the speedup is more steady yet kept between them?), and the only comeback mechanic, aside from the natural meter accumulation, would be the time warp itself.

Strategically speaking, it would mean that the archetypes would best be played counter-intuitively in the early game.
For example, a Cammy archetype would benefit from defensive play early on, so as to unleash the mayhem late in the round, with meter gains helping an offensive that’s considerably harder to react to.
Conversely, a Dhalsim archetype would strive to knock the opponent out as early as possible, even though quick kills aren’t inherently in its nature.

All in all, I think that the idea of progressing from reaction-based to prediction-based play is very natural, both as a learning process and a hype-building tool.


By the way, I also like the idea of having a chasedown button instead of stage walls, as well as having unblockable moves which would come at the cost of lesser subsequent damage and/or worse defence/HP for those who used it. Whether those ideas would mash well with each other and/or with the Speedup Fighter idea, I don’t know; but I do know that I like all of them.


When you say time-warp (the actual speed up mechanic), are we talking something akin to the old SF2 turbo setting going from 1-star to max over the course of the match, or literally game-wide speed adjustment down to character function.

For instance, does a 4 frame jab start as an 8 frame jab (assume the speed doubles for sake of reference)? What exactly is effected during time warp? For instance, speed gems in SFxT concerned walk and jump speed, though normals stayed the same.

It’s an interesting gimmick, but rife with balancing holes and unprecedented character design issues.


I think the smartest and safest way to go about designing the time warp is to make it alter the general speed of the game - nothing more, nothing less.
Yeah, let’s say that it progresses through turbo stars, transitioning from a fixed speed to a slightly greater fixed speed every (let’s say) 10 seconds.

As for whether the frame data should change proportionally to the game speed adjustments - or at all - I’d have to say no, for two reasons:

  1. suppose that a round lasts a minute, so you need to equally shift the speed 5 times in total, starting with x and ending at 2x; in order to have a clean and fully proportional frame data, you’d have to have all moves have numbers of frames divisible not only by 2, but also by 1.8, 1.6, 1.4, and 1.2, so you can already see how this math kills any and all practicality there - not to mention that the animation would necessarily suffer;
  2. even if the exact frames somehow weren’t a problem, I think it’d still be better design-wise to have the frame data be exactly the same through all speeds, because better reaction time would be rewarded with the option of a more lenient input.
    Hypothetically, let’s say you’re playing with proportional frame data: your opponent attempts a jump-in attack on you, and you have to complete the DP input at the halfway point of that jump in order to anti-air in time; in that case, no matter how fast your input is, if the jump animation is past its first half, you won’t anti-air successfully.
    Skip to 2x speed, and it wouldn’t be enough to halve just the reaction time - you’d have to halve the input time as well, whereas with consistent frame data, you’d be able to stop the jump-in at, say, the 3/4 of the arc, just by inputting the DP faster.
    Without such flexibility, zoners might have unnecessary difficulties even in the early game.

In conclusion, I don’t think the individual character/move speeds should be modified anyhow either, else they could be a non-system comeback mechanic, making the game balancing much more complex than it needs to be.


So which elements are sped up exactly?


Just the overall “turbo” speed. The frame data remains the same, and likewise, the individual speeds all stay in proportion to each other throughout.


Jump speed, walk, dash/run, etc?


All of the above. By the way, is there a clear overview of the details for each turbo speed per each SF game somewhere?


Not that I seen but surely somebody was interested enough to document findings


Why don’t do the opposite? As the match progresses, fighters are getting tired, so the speed goes down? The tempo change could even be visually more clear, since you could introduce different fatigue animations (different idle animation?).


Stamina in the context of a fighting game can be interesting, though people have knee jerk reactions to the concept. It’s one of those ‘better build your base’ things because the FGC will not have your back.


Sound interesting, decent idea on a opposite version. I also like the OP post.

I remembered Sirlin in a different thing but has time related mechanic were you able to flashback events…


You mean implemented as a stamina bar? If so, that’s not what I’m aiming for. Both characters should be equally affected as the match progresses, so that the gameplay slowly shifts to a different pace. In the beginning you can go ham with your character, rushdown etc. Later on you will need to be more careful, as both characters are losing speed, which should lead to a bigger emphasis on footsies.

@The_Shakunetsu I’ll take a look at that, interesting…


If both characters are weighed down universally there’s no particular reason the rushdown character can’t continue to rushdown. Their archetype matchup should hold true relatively if both of them are slowed down at the same rate.


Later SamShos had an interesting take on “stamina” with the Kenki, or “Sword” gauge. Instead of making players unable to do specials, the Kenki gauge dictated how much damage attacks would do (including kicks). Doing any attacks (normals, specials, etc.) would drain the Kenki gauge, while doing nothing would make it start to rebuild.

This system does help punish spamming somewhat, since the more you press buttons, the less damage you do. However, this doesn’t really make the game rushdown heavy either - this is SamSho after all, big damage from slow, unsafe normals mostly kills that - however, it does help make the game’s footsies and defense a bit more dynamic.


I had this idea for a 2D fighter sub system that I can share now since my FG concepts took a hell of a turn conceptually. It was a ‘Stale/Fresh’ system similar to what was done in Smash where certain special attacks go Stale after repeated use within a small timeframe, but if used sparringly it maintains consistent damage and properties. And if used extremely rarely, it would be Fresh and function as a buffed version of itself.

I eventually felt half and half about it since whereas say Ryu can’t literally chuck fireballs all day with a versed player getting around it and neutralizing that tactic, my Stale/Fresh system artificially hindered a tactic through no agency of the enemy player. I suppose I could remove the Stale part of the system to reward a player for carefully reserving a special for the perfect moment, but another idea altogether became my go-to 2D fighter concept altogether so it’s moot.