What makes Fighting Games Good?


I am new to the SRK scene. I’ve been in and out of fighting games for my whole life. I played MK2 for the Sega Genesis back in 1996. I was only a kid. In the 2000’s I mainly played Marvel Nemesis, Dragon Ball Z, a few WWE/WWF games and Tekken 5. In 2011 I got my hands on MVC2 I’ve had fun playing that game. That has become my number 1 favorite fighting game. In 2012 I was in college, I finally played against a real person and I got trashed hard in UMVC3, and Persona 4. I’ve joined SRK to discuss fighting games, how to make fighters [games], What makes a fighting game good, bad or fun.

My goal is to study fighting games and make a decent fighter [In which will be Free to play. But not like FTP MMOs]
I own Street Fighter II , Super, Turbo [SNES]
MK Trilogy [N64]
Tekken 6 [PS3]
DBZ Budokai 1, 3 [PS3]
MVC2 [PS3]
MK9 [PS3]

Theory, Programing. I’ve come across two threads on SRK. Unreal 4 and Unity.
Where on this forum would be appropriate to have such discussions?
–also I’m going to visit/read some of the fan fiction on this site.

Thanks for your time Nikorasu out!
Disapears in a splash


I’m gonna take a wild guess and say this belongs in Tech Talk.

I look for a game that looks good and plays fluidly, with a set of rules that the game operates on. I don’t like dealing with too many exceptions to rules, such as bnb combos not working on a bunch of characters because of their hitbox. I think my favorite fighting game purely from an aesthetic point of view would be SkullGirls, due to all of the frames being hand drawn, and being stylistically unique overall.

On the other hand, I think games like Mortal Kombat look awkward as all hell, with 3d models that have one animation for the hit, and the enemy reeling animation, and they don’t fit together but who cares? I hate clunky games, and although I still bought MK and Injustice I can’t get into them for that sole reason.

That’s my 2 cents, hope it helped :slight_smile:


I know characters make or break a game. Having a lot of aesthetically pleasing characters is good. Then back that up with a good system would back for a solid game.
I’ve played some skull girls. It has its own style. Miss Fortune was my character. She played amazing. Her play style reminded me of Wolverine.

Mortal Kombat always felt klunky, but in MK9 that klunkiness felt fluid and it has a solid set of rules. I haven’t got into Injustice. I can tell it was a decent fighter from how it played. When I played it the one thing I noticed was the large stages, and how the characters seemed to gap [distance] at times. I liked the intractables as well [I didn’t like that they respawned though].

Also projectiles. Characters that can perform a projectile are always a plus. But I hate some games that are too flashy. [I wish I had an example video]
(UMVC3 is flashy but not too flashy.)


Back in the day, ex-Capcom adviser Seth Killian (@s-kill‌) put together a great blog series on here called Domination 101

He discusses fighting games down to an almost developmental level; defining the key make or break characteristics of a fighter, the exploitables, the game changers, the difference between a beam mechanic and a projectile mechanic, the importance of both balance and unbalance in character design and loads of other stuff. I’d fully recommend reading them all. They’ll give you a good roundabout grasp of the things you missed, as well as the things you loved in fighting games over the past decade. Too late to open discussions on those threads, but they should point you in the right direction in terms of what questions to ask and what to look out for in other fighting games.


Here’s a good quote.

"Nothin’ like a good fight to make you feel all warm an’ fuzzy inside!"


Thank you for that post. When I’m done reading them I’ll make another post. I’ve been trying to debate which would be easier to make a 2D fighter or a 2.5D or 3D. I’m starting to come to the conclusion: Whatever you like more should be the one you are build. The only thing is with sprites it may take a long time to create/animate correctly. If that is the style I want I should go for it (even if it takes longer to make).

S-Kill is so right about Street Fighter and the Hadoken and how it helps the game. He also provided more insight to the parry system, which I thought about using. Also If I’m making a fighter I wouldn’t want more than 10 feet away from bother fighters.
I’m going to watch some Virtual On to see how that 3d fighter handled fireballs

Also I highly dislike MUGEN :frowning:

How true that is. That’s true :3


Id say its a game that keeps a good following through the years and also is constantly revived in areas. ST and 3rd Strike seem to be the biggest examples of that.


All the really good fighting games that have been around for a long time and still get played and are considered some of the best examples of the genre have all focused on unique and interesting mechanics both in terms of general gameplay and character specific things over balance.

You can see this from looking at the most beloved games of the genre like ST,3s,CvS2 and MvC2 to name a few.

The big outlier in this regard is Guilty Gear which manages to have every character feel entirely unique in terms of mechanics and playstyle and still sports a very balanced metagame.
If you are going to take inspiration from any game take it from how Guilty Gear does it and if you need help with that you can look at Sirlin’s old articles.


That’s not to say that you need to have a game built around a defensive “skeleton” you can look at ST as an example of a game with an extremely minimal backing system that still is beloved despite it’s terrible matchups solely due to how good the gameplay is, the problem with trying to follow ST’s example is that gamers today do not have the dedication to work out the characters to that degree anymore and the game like many other interesting games would be forgotten within a few months to a year for not appearing good enough from the outset.


Thank you so much for that post. I’m going to take a few days up to two weeks to play GGXX, and learn the system. While waiting for it to come I’ll hook up my SNES and play ST.
As of right now my main influences are Mortal Kombat 9 (MK2k11) and MvC2. I want to play CvS2 and in July I will download it from PSN.

The main mechanics I think about are
Fireball, Super Jump, Sweep Attack, Launcher, and SuperBlock/Combo Ender.
I wanted to include a InstantKill move for each character (I wasn’t sure if it would be a good thing. I was thinking maybe if it cost 5 meters.)
Also I know in GGXX The meter doesn’t carry over to round 2.

The first step to the fighting game process is Character Development.
I think it would be beneficial if I drew out 12 to 18 concepts and then develop up to 8 fighters. (I don’t know how much time this project will take. I do not have an engine to base anything on yet either. Also my knowledge of code is limited to minor HTML and css3)

I think I should look up different game engines as well, and subscribe to one.
(Trust me if I had the 10,000s of dollars I would try to get this project off the ground faster than doing it by myself.)

Step 1: Draw Character Concepts [And Backgrounds.]
Step 2: Play ST, and GGXX


a lot of people may not like the idea of an instakill, when Call of Duty created the ‘tactical nuke’ many gamers called it cheap and unfair, but if it’s done properly, it’ll actually be a work of genius.

it’s incredibly GGXX-esque actually ; while GGXX rewards players with meter for activity, your instakill mechanic would punish inactive opponents by providing players with a big meter lead with a win. You’d be watching both meters with equal importance.

this would also tie up well with team battle games like KOFXIII and UMVC3, where meter building is a legitimate strategy for many players, so maybe look at their meter systems for inspiration. (ie meter capacity increases, round by round in KOF, meaning meter intensive approaches have to be saved until later rounds, creating the need for ‘battery’ characters)


there’s that piece published in the main page of SRK, with Mike Z talking a little about this. The title is a little misleading, as he talks more about UI (from 0:00 to 44:42) and what to looks for to make a not-broken game (what to looks for to take out unblockables, for example)

and mauve explanation around delay/ rollback system. A little more techinical


This is a concept character I came up with:
His name is Mario Lorenzo or Marco Suprano.
His base concept was based off of Mario [Nintendo]. [He looks more like a old NES character from a beat them up IMO]
Instead of fireballs he throws wrenches.
QCF+P = Wrench
QCB+P = Spinning Arm attack [Like Hurricane Kick]
QCF+K = Drop Kick

K, K = Shoe stomp. Knee
level 1: QCF+PP = Barrage like Attack [Using a Wrench] 25% to 35%
Level 3 = QCFQCF+PP = Molatov/Fireball 40% to 65%
–Just Ideas.

When moving forward with this project I’m thinking of making a 2d fighter, with sprites. [and starting off simple. HP Bars, and Meter building]
I know there is google, but are there any “easy engines” to start building/learning how to build for a noob/newb like myself?
[I have to cut this message short. I’ll edit it later, and respond to the above two post.]

Please give criticism on the art/concept of Lorenzo.
also I need to learn how to become effective at GGXX. Bridget is defiantly the character I’m using.


I’d study up on a lot of the fighting games Arc Sys makes. Even though some of them have areas where the design choices may be questionable, they’re easily the best designer of fighting games today. Capcom creates stuff and usually its accidentally good because it seems like they’re stabbing in the dark, whereas Arc Sys’ games are good because they make intelligent and thoughtful design choices. Check out BlazBlue and Persona4Arena too while you’re at it.


If it has fluidity.


Now that’s just hating. You don’t consistently produce tournament level fighters over a span of 20+ years by accident. I know Capcom today sucks, but give credit where it’s due. When it comes to fighters they do it right most of the time.

And ArcSys ain’t perfect. Did you forget how broken BBCT and BBCS were?




It’s not hating, it’s acknowledging that Capcom is very inconsistent in their offerings. Some games are masterpieces, some are just utter WTF-fests. It’s not to say they aren’t good games, but Capcom makes design choices that don’t always appear to make any sense. Let’s take USF4 for instance. Why would you nerf a character like Gen who’s already not the best character in the game? Capcom’s ALWAYS made questionable decisions in terms of balance and sometimes in terms of sheer design. It’s just how they operate. But to deny that is just ignorance.

And as far as them being tournament level games, they all tend to get at least one shot at being tourney games regardless of quality BECAUSE they’re Capcom games.

Arc Sys, while not perfect, seems to put a lot of thought into their choices and there’s a level of consistency that they’ve cultivated over the years. BBCT wasn’t a well balanced game, but I’d argue that it’s one of the better BB titles out there before Arc messed with the speed and some of the mechanics of the games itself. BBCS seemed watered down, but I’ve only played BBCS2 so I’m not sure about 1. But if you want to talk about balance, look at how well balanced most of the Guilty Gear games are despite having a lot of really out there characters that have the potential to be game breaking but aren’t because ArcSys is thoughtful about how things are implemented in a way that Capcom usually isn’t.

TL;DR: The two companies seem to espouse two completely polar opposite design philosophies. Capcom’s is generally “Let’s throw all this stuff into the pot and see how it shakes out” while ArcSys tends more towards “Let’s design every inch of this very carefully so we know how it will affect the rest of the game.” There’s merit to both philosophies, but the former tends to yield pretty uneven results as we’ve seen over the years.


I’m not denying that Capcom messes up sometimes with there fighters. But to say they just do whatever and hope for the best, and it has worked for them for 20+ years? I don’t buy that. That just sounds like personal bias. As for Capcom fighters being in tournaments because it’s Capcom. Um maybe because Capcom earned a reputation for making good fighters most of the time?

Also "ArcSys tends more towards “Let’s design every inch of this very carefully so we know how it will affect the rest of the game.” Once again BBCT and BBCS say other wise. You like ArcSys and their fighters? That’s cool. But don’t point out the flaws of other developers and their fighters without acknowledging your fav developers flaws and the flaws in their games.

BTW, I heard the pink haired lady Kokono I believe is game breaking in BBCP. 4 games in and they wind up with a character that dumps on the rest of the cast. That’s some nice balancing there.


I’ll get into this conversation a bit later.
Until then I’ll leave another concept character.
(sorry for not saying anything else yet.)

This monday I’ll be getting CvS2. Any tips for improving my GGXX [PC] or CvS2 gameplay to learn the system better.
[I could get IIIrd Strike as well.]
20 to 30 dollars
which fighters should I pick up [$8 is being used for Fatal Frame]


-don’t think in a binary way. You will find things to be praised and others to be criticized in every game. Ex: see MikeZ movie above. He shows some things from 3rd strike that he straight copied to skullgirls, because they were just so good. Others (like the reason for urien unblockables existing) he have gone to the extra mile to not be in skullgirls.

-don’t buy “on brand name”. A product is not maked by a brand, but by people that was working in that company at the time, at that project.
ex1: outside of music composers, you won’t see too much people in both sf alpha series and sf3 series staff. For guilty gear and blazblue, they even give different names for the 2 developer teams.
ex2: in pre 98, you will see employers changing from capcom to snk and from snk to capcom all the time. The most famous example are the creators of street fighter 1 (and the 6 buttons layout). They were head-hunted by snk, and ended up as the creators of fatal fury and art of fighting.
ex3: after the 98 economic crisis some companies closed, others survived by massive layoffs, merging with other groups or giving up in certains market areas. The people working in snk and capcom today aren’t the same. The companies standards aren’t the same as in the past too.
ex4: a lot of people that was dismissed in this crisis started working as free lancers/third party. The guy that maked mvc3/umvc3 boxart is a freelancer today, but used to be a snk ilustrator. The creators of street fighter 1 have started their own companies, and one of them ended up creating a companie to make 3rd party job. One of his works was sf4’s 3D models.

Other example of this last case: ASW. They were a company that maked 3rd party works, but hardly received credit (or money return). After the economic crisis, they were able to catch experienced and talented people that just lost their posts (like Daisuke Ishiwatari, that was part of Snk’s Last Blade staff) and ps1 development kits. So they started to create their own projects.