Open discussion on fighting game design

Wasn’t really sure where to post this, but I wanted to have an ongoing discussion about general fighting game design. Why do some things work in certain games but not others? What makes your favorite fighting game stand out to you? What if you could make your own? Artistically/visually what interests you in a game? Feel free to talk about anything in relation to design.

Ill start off by mentioning some things I noticed about SFIV.
Slight character visual design changes:
Ryu’s gi still looks like normal. Very similar to his other iterations. However, Ken’s gi looks like the sleeves were just cut off or maybe he has a sleeveless gi. Also, Akuma’s gi is very tattered with only a thin strip of fabric keeping it up and also uses rope for his arms instead of pads like the other shotos as if to show that he lives a very rough secluded life. These are minor detail changes but I believe they work well to convey the backgrounds of these fighters. These are just a few of the little design tweaks that can be made possible by using individual 3D models as opposed to reusing parts of sprites.

Other things 3D models allow:
Sagats eyepatch stays on one side, Guiles USA flags dont flip flop from arm to arm, etc. HOWEVER, in order to keep the same gameplay as the classic street fighter games, character’s stances and moves had to be identical on one side of the screen to the other. This is accomplished not by flipping the character around (as was the case with sprites) but merely flipping the “skeleton” of the character so that motions, and limb placement was exactly the same on either side. The only character that still shows drawbacks from this is Vega (Claw), because there is no animation showing him moving his claw from one hand to the other when he changes sides. I like how they did this to keep the 2D gameplay feel. Other 3D fighting games such as Soul Calibur might have the characters front facing you on P1 side but back facing you on P2 side but in the same stance in relation to the other character.

3D models also allow for dramatic camera angles on moves (specifically Ultras).

Thats all I could think to write about right now. Again, I dont want this thread to focus only on SFIV, I just used it as an example.

I am not a fan of the “fill the screen with flashing lights and tons of crap” style of MvC.

I think BlazBlue looks like it hits the mark right for having a VERY active in game window with tons for your eye to look at, without taking it to the ‘seziure generator’ thing that MvC has going on.

Please no one take that personally, I’m not bagging on MvC, just saying that aesthetically, its too much for my personal taste.


My worst qualm about MVC2 is the fact that if someone super-jumps, it’s hard for grounded chars. to see what’s going on. Wreaks havoc on beginners lol.

I really like KOF XII TBH, It’s not the flashiest or highest-def, but I do like the style and the effects are interesting to watch (especially the clashes)

I like SFIV’s style too for the camera angles (and Chun-Li’s alt…)

If I could make my own it would be a Star Wars fighting game that is a mix of guilty gear/third strike.

Have parries from third strike with at least some moderate air juggle combos from guilty gear.
It would be so cool too see Star Wars characters in a 2d crisp environment. ( kinda like blazblue graphics I suppose, which actually has 3d backgrounds)

Anakin Skywalker
Darth Vader
Boba Fett (Or Jango? whichever one really)
General Grievus
Darth Sidius (Akuma style gameplay!)
Chewie (grappler)
Luke Skywalker
Darth Mual (sp?)
Leia (she could use the chain as a weapon that she strangles Jabba the hut with)
Han Solo

Obviously with so many Jedis and siths they would be very clone like, would have to do something about that, or just create a better character line-up, this is just what was off the top of my head.

I think the facial expressions of your opponent when you do ultra in SF4 are great. Then there are the facial expression some characters make when they land the Ultra, Ken’s being one that stands out to me. One thing that I really like in some games like the new UFC game is the lack of a health bar. I think it makes the matches more interesting since it’ harder to see when your opponent is getting really weak.


One thing that I LOVE about alot of fighting games is when you connect a hit your character kind of has a freeze frame. Something about it just tickles my soul. It makes you really feel the hit in your mind. I believe thats why I prefer 2D games to the more popular 3D ones where besides how your opponent reacts (falling back, getting knocked into the air) The attacks just feel kind of weightless. Getting off fighting games for a second, I noticed in many MMOs theres no freeze on a hit. That makes me feel like Im just always missing even though life is still being taken. Phantasy Star Online/Universe’s freeze on hit was much more gratifying to me so I preferred that game.

Guilty Gear has always been my favorite fighting game. Something about the mix of metal music and anime along with the crazy gameplay style just really stuck with me. Another thing that I believe attracted me to the series’ characters is the idea of polar opposites (Sol and Ky) in direct conflict with one another. From their personalities to the very color of their clothes something just draws you in, and makes you want to pick a side.

i am a fan of guard breaking and big chip damage

I think a lot of fighting games have the default damage level set too high. It sucks when a simple three hit combo can take off 40% of your energy and in some cases, all but end the match right there. The SF2 games are particularly guilty of this, but they aren’t the only ones.

I actually like it more when you have a much lower lifebar. It makes turtling a less effective strategy, and promotes offense over defense.

Maybe its just me, but if I’m leading in SF4, I tend to take it easy, while I’ve found that not to work nearly as well in HDR.

i think what you mean is that the sf2 games are guilty of being hard-hitting and awesome

Yeah, I’ve been singing the praises of this type of thing for years. It makes a small difference, bit it’s nice to see. In fact, with SFEX, they took it to another level - the characters always had their left foot forwards, so the character actually rotates 180 on crossup and has their back to you on the 2P side. Also, they use one limb consistently, so that Ryu always jabs with his left hand and always does a dragon with his right.

Same here. Makes me think the game is aimed at pre-teens.

Agreed. And it makes the speed a bit too fast as well. There’s something to be said for regular gameplay speeds

Well, back in the early 1990s, the skill level was not nearly as high as it is now, so you didn’t get much above 4 hits anyway.

There was a wrestling game like that on the 8-bit Nintendo. It’s an interesting idea.

Well, they ARE hard hitting and awesome, but not because of that.

25% of the lifebar for a 3 hit combo is good, but 40%? It’s a bit excessive IMO. THe rounds are over before you know it.

good! less room for mistakes!

I’ve written some things related to fighting game design in the past. One regarding Mortal Kombat, and another regarding combos in fighting games. Kinda ‘TL;DR’ but I get like that with these topics. Have a nice read.

I had an idea for the online system of a game where as the host you could voluntarily “lock” yourself to play a certain character in unranked matches. Then other players could search for your specific character if they were looking for experience with that particular matchup. Similarly, you could “advertise” what character you wanted to play against and potential joiners could search for hosts who want to play that matchup.

Obviously it would never work in ranked matches since you would get people trying to counterpick all the time but IMO it would be a nice feature and give you more options when you’re tired of fighting the same 4 characters all the time.

I would buy that game in a heartbeat :karate:

There are a lot of things that I think Fighting games can be improved upon and I won’t mention all my ideas for business purposes, but I’ll tell that I always thought it was funny that a character could be beaten to an inch of their life and could still fight like normal.

do you also find it odd that people are shooting fireballs out of their hands whereas you have never seen this in real life

One of the major things I hate about fighting games is the execution. Sure enough I can pull off the maneuvers myself, but other would be players give up cause of the steep learning curve. I also have a distaste for fighting games with excessively long combos. To me, I see combos as simply a way of capitalizing on an opening, not the entire purpose of the game. Having simple 2-5 hit combos that do good damage fulfill their purpose by my standards. Honestly combos don’t offer much strategy as far as I’m concerned. The only time they remotely seem to have strategic value is when you can change the positioning of the opponent on the screen, or when there are options to get out of a combo. But changing the positioning of your opponent can be done just as well with small combos, and you won’t need combo breakers if they aren’t long in the first place. In a game like Guilty Gear combos are incredibly situation, so it can show off a great deal of skill to be able to combo at any given moment, but is that really where we want our skills to be focused at?