My Game Design Problem
Alright, basically, I'm working on a game design document for a 2D Fighter. I have a pretty clear idea of how I'm going to set the character specifications and such. I got the storylines for each character done, I'm also going to do the music as well since I know how to make music and don't mind doing it at all, have a friend that's willing to help me with the character sprites, I only have 1 character I'm having trouble with but that's not the major problem. The thing is, I'm making this a freesource game so that it'll make it easier to get into the industry and cause I have no money. Don't get me wrong, that's not the only reason I'm doing it, I'm also doing it cause I want to and absolutely love 2D Fighters. Anyhow, I'm not sure if I'd be able to find a programmer to help me, my other friend said he might be going into programming now however... I'm not sure how long he'd take, however, he hasn't started just yet.
Anyhow, I guess I might also need help with the character design for 1 character in my game and wouldn't mind the help from the members of this site since you've been so good to me over the time I've been on here. So, here's the other design problem.
I want to make a character that more or less, authentically uses the martial arts "Tai Chi Quan", however... You don't block in Tai Chi Quan, you kind of evade or "absorb" your opponent. A fundamental of fighting games however, is blocking. Oddly enough, Tai Chi Quan is a defensive martial arts and very flexible. Anyhow, I feel by not letting him block, he'd be underbalanced but by making his other options too good, he might be overpowered. I don't expect to make the most balanced game in the world or anything, however, I want everyone to have an option of choosing their favorite character while having a fair chance in a match. If you need any more information on Tai Chi Quan, you can ask, I actually study the art and even practice it. For now, I have to go to College, later "^^
I'm not familiar with the fighting style or your game mechanics, but perhaps 'blocking' for this character is simply the same as 'throw'? Does your game use throwing? If so, perhaps when you block with this character, it's sort of a 'passive throw', where an enemy's attack is automatically countered with a throw.
Though it's a 2-D fighter, perhaps Block causes a 'sidestep', placing the fighter behind the target? That seems a bit cheap, but maybe it places him behind and a bit of a distance?
As with Retro above, I won't say I'm familiar with your art, and cannot possibly be as familiar with your game mechanics. However the solution I pose would be this:
This character would be a counter character. Able to easily turn an opponent's offensive into their own offensive. The immediately obvious trade-off I would see is that the art is not agressive, and a large majority of your attacks could be traded for "counters". Counter fighters are typicaly risky since they require precise timing and to wait for the opponent to attack. If the counters become to easy, you could either:
A) Increase the precision required for the timing of the counter.
B) Lower offensive capabilities (both with regards to movesets and damage)
That would be my take on it.
I second Bittman's approach. A counter-based character.
Hm... That might work, I've been considering it but again, I'm worried if he'll be too crappy. I mean, counter based characters have been done before, however, they're usually some of the lesser characters in the game because you have to predict your opponent quite well. Well, I should probably give an explanation as far as the basic design plan for the game it's self.
The fighting game kind of has a basic structure.
Light Punch - (You don't punch too often in Tai Chi)
Hard Punch - (Again...)
Light Kick - (Again, you don't kick too often in Tai Chi)
Hard Kick - ("^^)
In order to block, you press backwards.
You can duck by pressing down.
The game involves doing quarter circles and such. (Hadouken motions,
shoryuken motions, basic things like that)
There are also overheads in the game (If someone blocks low, it's a way to hit them "High", as if you were jump kicking them). The terminology is a tad complex and such, but I hope you understand the basics.
So then, blocking is essential to pretty much every fighting game. Every character can do it except perhaps certain boss characters that would be too cheap if they could. But that's besides the point. Let me explain a bit about Tai Chi Quan
Tai Chi Quan is a martial arts that basically throws the opponent off balance and uses the enemy's strength against them. You have to be flexible and "soft" when doing Tai Chi Quan. You don't block in Tai Chi Quan, you more or less lead your opponent's "energy" in a different direction. When someone punches, you more or less, point your stomach at the opponent, grab their arm while they're moving their punch forward, (You must focus your eyes on the opponent too) move your body and arms to where you'd like to throw him, and release. Anyhow, I'm sure you get the picture from this...
Sounds similar to a parry system in SF III or Pai Chan from Virtua Fighter.
How about this? Since the character doesn't Punch or Kick (much, as you put it), why not have the hard/light Kick and hard/light punch abilities act as something completely different? For example;
Tai Chi Quan
Tap the appropriate punch/kick button just as an enemy's attack connects to negate the damage by half or turn the attack against the enemy (100% damage reflection).
Hard Kick: Negates 50% damage from Light Kicks, counters Hard Kicks.
Light Kick: Negates 50% damage from Hard Kicks, counters Light Kicks.
Hard Punch: Negates 50% damage from Light Punches, counters Hard Punches.
Light Punch: Negates 50% damage from Hard Punches, counters Light Punches.
Of course, that leaves zero offensive capability, but... maybe this is something you can adapt (maybe Light blows are still offensive, and Hard blows are counters?).
What happens if both players choose Tai Chi Quan?
I didn't say it was a flawless idea, just something to work with.
I think you may be making your life harder by thinking of the medicinal form of Tai Chi practiced by most people today rather than going far enough in history to draw on the actual origin of Tai Chi as a fighting art. Being a practitioner of Tai Chi does not preclude one from striking, just as being a practitioner of Aikido does not prevent the aikidoka from striking an opponent in combat.
Here's a little info that could help you out of your bind (from http://www.shenwu.com/taichi.htm)
"Complete Tai ji Quan arts include basic exercises, stance keeping (Zhan Zhuang), repetitive single movement training, linked form training, power training (exercises which train the ability to issue energy in a ballistic pulse), weapons training (which includes straight sword, broadsword, staff and spear), technique training and various two person exercises and drills (including "pushhands" sensitivity drills). A hallmark of most styles of Tai Ji Quan is that the movements in the forms are done quite slowly, with one posture flowing into the next without interruption. Some forms (the old Chen forms for example) alternate between slow motion and explosive movements. Other styles divide the training into forms which are done slowly at an even tempo and separate forms which are performed at a more vigorous pace. The goal of moving slowly is to insure correct attention is paid to proper body mechanics and the maintenance of the prerequisite relaxation. Training exercises can be divided into two broad categories: solo exercises, and drills which require a partner.
The ability to "stick, adhere, continue and follow (zhan, nian, lian, sui)" is vital to the application of Tai Ji Quan combat techniques, the majority of which are grappling oriented. Techniques that include pushing, pulling, wrapping, bumping, sweeping, locking, knocking down and throwing (grappling arts) far outnumber striking and kicking techniques. Solo forms training is designed to develop the ability to control oneself; paired practice trains the practitioner to apply the power developed during solo training to another in the most efficient manner.
Modified forms of Tai Ji Quan for health have become popular worldwide in recent times because the benefits of training have been found to be very conducive to calming the mind, relaxing the body, relieving stress, and improving one's health in general. However, it is important to realize that all traditional systems of Tai Ji Quan were originally created for a single purpose, training the practitioner to fight.
Chen Wang Ting's original form of Chen style Tai Ji Quan is often referred to as the "Old Frame" (Lao Jia) and its second form as "Cannon Fist" (Pao Chui). In the latter part of the Eighteenth century, a fifth generation descendant of Chen Wang Ting, Chen You Ben simplified the original forms into sets which have come to be known as the "New Style" (Xin Jia). Chen You Ben's nephew, Chen Ching Ping, created a variation of the New Style which is known as the "Small Frame" (Xiao Jia) or "Zhao Bao" form. All of these styles have survived to the present.
Smooth flowing movements punctuated by explosive strikes and kicks characterize the Old Frame. There are many vigorous movements that involve jumping, spinning while in the air, stamping the feet, and dropping the body low to the ground. Technically, in addition to the explosive strikes and throws, the Chen style contains a great number of Chin Na (joint locking and leverage) techniques. These techniques are a remnant of the original weapons disarms popular on the ancient battlefields, and reflect the warrior background of Chen Wang Ting, creator of the style."
There's much more info on the site. What this suggests is that you can use the concepts proposed by Retro while including a selection of offensive techniques without going against character's the Tai Chi Quan background.
In fact, it could add to your character's backstory. He/she could have spent years tracking down one of the true practitioners of the old style and (let imagination run free here!)
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