The match timer: can it be cut?

Alright, long story short, working on a game I have in mind to be taken seriously by tournament players and at the same time fun (said game along the lines of Capcom’s Darkstalkers), and I’ve been putting serious thought into forgoing the timer completely, cutting it out of the game.

It makes sense in something like street fighter, because those are more martial arts tourney matches. Here it doesn’t as much…(Not to mention it’d make programming some aspects easier, and a few tourney-worthy games do lack timers right?)

So is the timer necessary in your opinion, or something that could/should be removed as a gameplay factor?

Getting rid of the timer would encourage runaway tactics. That’s the big effect.

it can encourage runaway in that you can take your time to comeback if you’re behind on life rather than having to do it before you run out of time, but it also discourages it in that you can’t just do some damage and then run away for the rest of the match

i’d say don’t get rid of it, the timer introduces interesting dynamics and speeds up the pace of matches.

Thirded. A lot of tactics that aren’t necessarily unfair, but which are certainly unfun to play against, benefit a lot from a lack of timer.

without a timer, stupid matches get even stupider:


and crazy matches become less crazy:


a lot of doujin fighters cut the timer, but as people here have said, its not a very good idea.

I can’t imagine cutting the timer… That is part of the strategy of the game. If there is no limit of time, matches would last forever and people with ADD would probably quit fighting games (Which is probably a lot of us) :slight_smile:

Okay, not really, but half of the challenge in a fighting game is getting a clear cut winner in 99 game-seconds. I don’t know the nature of your fighting game entirely, but if it isn’t straying too far from 2-D fighting game roots, I don’t recommend getting rid of a timer. It is tampering with what is considered to be one of the few good stalemates in fighting games in general, which shouldn’t be done unless that is exactly what you are going for.

I think a good question to ask yourself though is how fast your timer should elapse. Fast, slow, or “normal” (whatever that is). A lot of it depends on the pacing of the game, but that is up to you.


I’d like to see a new game that’s not completely rushdown oriented…

With that said, the timer is necessary for defensive players to exert another kind of pressure on the opponent. Of course it would be possible to play even more defensively without a timer (as some said, runaway tactics) I think it hurts many defensive players. The clock forces action out of the attacker, which defensive players prey on.

Not having a clock hurts everybody because the rushers have to deal with runaway, and defensive players get no outside benefit from the clock. It used to be in old SFII that defensive styles could put a little bit of damage on and stretch the lead, using the clock as part of the psychology. (re: Jeff Schaefer’s Style of Play on agsf2.) I think it would also tend to cut the playable characters down significantly.

As for what type of clock you should use, that has to depend on the game. The standard 99 seconds is pretty good, but if you’re going to be making a high damage ratio game, it could be cut to 60 pretty easily. For example, good ST matches are usually finished up pretty quickly… outside of the defensive players, I think ST could (in a lot of cases) work with a 60 second clock. Maybe not with all matchups, but Rog/Vega/Bison and others tend to wrap things up pretty quickly.

As both a defensive player (total defensive player in 3s, ST, and such) and a rushdown player (in marvel), I say cutting the clock takes an incredible amount of strategy out of the game. If anything, it would just simplify the game and make it another casual game that hardcore players pass up. The best players are the ones that control the most variables. Timer, spacing, etc.

In short, it’s worth the effort of coding if you want this game to be a success. Good luck! :tup: I’m sure that such a contributor to the mugenverse should do well!

I pretty much agree with Grits above me, except that a real committed turtler will sit in his corner for 4 hours if need be. It becomes a senseless battle of wills. With no timer to stop me from sitting in the corner, nothing is going to move me. You will not outwait me on the other side of the screen. I will never be the agressor. That, to me, actually restricts gameplay more than it evolves it, and absolutely gives the advantage to the turtle. I can go make a sandwich, go to work, sleep for 6 hours, wake up, and the turtle will still be sitting there, determined not to make the aggressive move. Where does this leave the person who actually wants to play the damn game? Well he either has a stubborness contest and sits on the other side of the screen until the year 2013, or he has to go on the offensive, and feed right into the turtle’s strategy. Use a timer. It evens the playing field. Just my two cents.

I don’t play much cvs2. how did cammy throw blanka out of c.ball?

Running down the timer is a defensive strategy as well. You cannot make a fighting game where you are completely defensive. Switching between offensive and defensive depending on the situation is what is needed and learning to block is just as important as learning to rushdown. As with anything, Rushing Down or Attacking always more rewarding, but it’s also more risky. When you attack, you can be countered/reversed, careless rushdown can be punished and being predictable will lead to your downfall.

In the end, what would removing a timer do to enhance your game? Removing the tense situation of the timer almost running out, one player with a marginal lead switching to defense (safety) or offense (desperation), the second player almost dead but needing 1 big combo to win the match before timer runs out and desperately chasing or looking for that one opening to take advantage of… The adrenaline of these situations always have 2 players thinking to attack, but you still have to remember that both players cannot always be attacking. When 1 Player attacks, 1 Player defends and this changes many times throughout a match.

Removing a timer favours Defensive players, but what does it really add to the game? It detracts more aspects than it adds and reduces your audience. This also comes down to an issue of how your game works and plays. In general I don’t think you could make a fun game that favours the defender more. It just doesn’t work unless you really loved DOA3.

Something as simple as a timer encourages this and is really in the end a big deal. It changes the dynamics of a game and honestly even from a programming aspect, I don’t see how it’d make things any easier. Programming a timer shouldn’t even be a blip on your radar and currently I don’t think there are any mass international tournament worthy fighters that do not or have disabled their Timer. That and any Arcade Fighter will have a timer no ifs, ands or buts.

I dont play cvs2 either, but im pretty sure its because he roll cancelled…
Your rolling properties i beliueve are still in tact is you roll cancel a move, ive seen someone roll cancel blankas air cannonball, and someone using guile just jumped up and grabbed him out of it, crazy shit, but yeah i think thats what happened. it was a running air grab on cammys part.

I think a timer is good if there’s enough time. If you put enough seconds to the point that matches arent ending with the timer all the time, then thats good.

IMO, rarely, games should end with timer, i just think that if two players happen to just be turtling for THAT long, that something should just end. The longest you think a round should EVER take, make the timer that. This is all my opinion of course.

Here’s how i would rate them:
best to worst

  1. Timer with way more than enough time
  2. Timer with kinda the right amount of time, maybe a little short
  3. No Timer
  4. Timer with not enough time

So its up to you. Timer and No timer arent black and white, there’s gray area’s to timers. =P

depends on the damage settings. In some games where you have it on the lowest damage settings, matches can take a few minutes. Offering more “comebacks”, however for this you’ll need the timer on slowest, or no timer at all.

but if you put it on normal settings, then a regular speed timer is fine, and should rarely ever occur.

On highest, its like WW all over again.

That then begs the question, where are the damage settings? Is it default and adjust the timer to coincide? Are you catering to the type of play that the game has (rounds would end too quick if left on default?), are you trying to get certain characters up in tiers (some are best played in high damage settings, and any lower and they can’t do enough damage to survive against top tiers).

Isn’t that one of Cammy’s airthrows?

Not to be offensive, but if creating a new thread in your program for a timer with some basic if and while checks is that much of a challenge, I suggest you brush up on your programming skills.

Mempis: Actually it’s being built on M.U.G.E.N’s engine not C, and has the continuous-round system of Vampire Savior, so effectively the timer would have to be built into the characters. In turn this would mean the in-built option screen would have to get tossed in favor of an external EXE handling such. Basically the timer is easy, it’s just the other stuff that could be a little annoying.

Alright folks, the timer effectively stays in then…thanks to everyone that gave feedback on the matter, it was extremely helpful in deciding this.

Although I’m not too familar with the likes of MUGEN, I’ll assume your 100% right on this one.

P.S. - Keeping the timer is an excellent decision. :wink: