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Combat Still Isn't Great.

by Blackout Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:07 am



New video^
Introduction:

It's getting better, but just adding some a[/youtube]ttacks to have more ways to fight your enemies is not what made combat great in any of the previous games where the combat is actually great. However, everything said here is all my own opinion, from experience, and all gathered from observation.

Also, I'm sorry if the title is a bit harsh, but I want to be brutally honest here, and in my opinion(evidently along with numerous others' as well), it is the truth. I'm not saying the combat mechanics are awful or even bad, but I am saying it falls short of what has been accomplished in the past.

So while I'm being completely honest, I've always wanted to make clear that I believe Culmination wouldn't be half as good of a game as it is without that "D" attack. Why? Because it's so fun to use!

It's no secret that quite a few players out there have vocally expressed that they are less than satisfied with Rearmed's approach to combat. In addition to this, a handful of long time fans of the series have expressed that they would have liked to see an AwW2 like combat system implemented in Rearmed. There may be various reasons as to why this is, but I'm very confident that there is one fundamental reason behind each.

Combat is a HUGE, if not, the most important aspect of AwW to me(even more so than the art style if you can believe that). Having said that, I believe I have come to the conclusion of why combat in past games(namely AwW2 and Culmination) is more enjoyable and satisfying than in the current version of Rearmed.

It's really no secret I've been keeping; I've posted "the reason" why in another thread previously, but I don't believe that Rearmed's "Combat Problem" has been/is being adequately addressed since that reply had been posted. What I'm trying to do with this post is to bring more attention to the shortcomings of Rearmed's combat before its current mechanics are set in stone.

So back to the topic; what is it? What makes combat so lacking in Rearmed? What is it that AwW2 and Culmination have in common that Rearmed does not? What is it that needs to change about combat that can bring Rearmed to the next level(and maybe several others at once)? What is the problem with combat in Rearmed?

The Problem:
Simply put, the problem with combat in Rearmed is that you do not hit hard enough.

In Armed with Wings 2, with every one of the basic attacks(and even with some of the special attacks), you could feel every single blow u dealt to an enemy(even more so with the 3rd/final blow). The satisfaction of every punch, every kick, and every lash of your sword, you could feel it hurting them. You didn't just simply use an attack; you experienced the blow; You felt it.

Then Culmination came along and took this concept to a whole new level. The 'A' and 'S' attacks were not much (for me) to get excited over, but that 'D' attack: like I said above, I believe this nearly single handedly made Culmination the beloved game it is to many. How strong, how powerful, and how satisfying it is to use that 'D' attack to utterly annihilate your enemies with! The 'D' attacks on the ground are great, but what really made this attack 'hit hard' is the down blow you're able to use while in the air. You are smacking your enemies straight into the ground, in the most explosive, powerful, intense, and most satisfactory way possible. The mid-air 'D' attack can be defined as follows: intense, powerful, strong, fast, loud, explosive, utterly destructive, and most importantly, more than completely and entirely satisfying. You, as the player, feel that power and sheer destruction when using that attack. Rearmed has almost no such mechanic.

The problem with combat in Rearmed is that the attacks do not feel powerful enough; that you do not feel the power of the attacks in a way that meets or exceeds the expectation everyone has in order for it to be satisfactorily fun for the player to use. The problem in Rearmed is that combat just feels more "generic" or "bland" than it does powerful and destructive. The attacks need to feel and hit harder.

The Solution:
Well, that's easy; just make the attacks hit harder. The more challenging question, though, is how?

I've been thinking about starting this thread awhile before I actually got to making it. What sparked motivation in me to actually do this are these two GIFs I saw on the AwW website:
Image

Image

Combat looks really awesome and fun in those GIFs, even more so than it really actually is currently in the game in my opinion. So why is that? Why do I prefer one over the other if the combat in the GIFs is the same combat in Rearmed?! Well, simply because they are not the same.

I. SFX:
The sound effect an attack and each attack as it makes contact with an enemy is an incredibly important aspect of making each blow hit harder. Each previous AwW game(with the exception of Red Moon) has applied this to some extent, enhancing the combat. AwW1 had nothing remarkable, but the sound effects when hitting your opponent were enough to make the game's basic combat system hit "hard". The regular combat SFX in AwW2 might have been a little over the top, but it definitely more than got the job done. No one who has played through AwW2 can deny that each of Vandheer's standard blows felt destructive and hit hard. Red Moon's combat has the "weakest" combat of any AwW game yet, so you might be thinking I rank this spin-off near or at the bottom of my top 6 favorite AwW games, but you would be wrong. I actually very much enjoy Red Moon's combat because Red Moon's "weak" combat system enhances the light weight and acrobatic appeal of the game. AwW 3: I don't have much to say about the combat in the story mode, but in Survival? I easily give AwW3's survival mode 9/10. Why? When a large amount of enemies spawn in the later waves, the Godsword(idk what it's supposed to be called)'s sound effect when it hits them becomes so loud and explosive, etc... that you really feel it hurting the enemies. There're more reasons for this, but the amplified sound effect of that sword upon contact is definitely what made AwW3 survival the best survival mode I've ever played in any game ever (so far). Culmination. Do I really need to say anything other then that the sound effect that accompanies the (mid-air) "D" attack enhances the force of the attack that much more?

So what does Rearmed have; or actually a better question, what do the GIFs have that Rearmed does not? What the GIFs have are great combat SFX. Huh?? But GIFs don't even have sound!? Exactly. Similar to my argument for less detail, the reason why the (lack of) SFX is better in the GIFs than the SFX currently in Rearmed is because since the GIFs provide no sound effect for an attack's damaging blow, we subconsciously use our imagination to come up with a "sound" to make the visual we see into what we want the attack to feel like with the accompanying sound effect. Besides the power-strike(which is covered below) and the new mid-air special borrowed from culmination(while although implemented in Rearmed rather well in a way that does't feel like it's just been copied over, it still lacks the same usefulness and flexibility and therefore the fun it has in culmination(though this is all fine because it is not one of the core attacks the player will use often)), Rearmed just has the "weak" standard part of the combat system and SFX borrowed over from Culmination(the least engaging part of the game's combat imo). No, I am not suggesting doing away with SFX altogether in Rearmed, or even getting rid of it at all, as our imaginations can only go so far making a nonexistent sound effect be better than a really awesome actual sound effect.

I am suggesting, however, that harder hitting, more destructive and more explosive SFX should be used to increase the blunt of the blow when your attacks make contact with an enemy, especially when multiple enemies are being struck by the same blow(as I described it as in AwW3 above).

Also, I just want to touch on the force of an attack just striking through the air without hitting anything. While making that sound effect louder(Culmination, Rearmed) might make your character feel stronger, it could compromise the the feel of the power(or the hitting harder) of your attack against an enemy, because if the player has a feel of how hard your character can slash through air, a higher the expectation of your character to hit an enemy that much harder is set, making it more difficult to have attacks satisfy the now heightened expectation. However, if the strike through the air feels not so strong compared to an attack that actually makes contact(every other AwW game), the attacks that land the blows will feel more powerful since the weaker air strike will magnify the "power" of a hit.

Also, the sound of an enemy taking damage matters a bit too. The more "loud" it sounds in terms of hurting the enemy, the better(within reason).

II. VFX:(not the toggle)
Is it just me, or do most GIFs always seem just ever so slightly faster than than actual speed of the actual game-play(or whatever else) it was taken from? Maybe it is just me and the GIFs above only appear that way because the action taking place is fast-paced. Either way, at least to me, everything happening in the GIFs seems to be happening faster than in the actual game. In fact, this is the aspect I noticed about the GIFs that really inspired me to begin this topic altogether. Am I suggesting that simply speeding up the rate at which you attack will make everything better? No, or else I'd be happy just destroying everything with the Master sword for hours and be complaining about the survival score bugs and abuses instead. What I am saying is the effects of the attack need to be quicker.

A. Attack Effects
For example, let's take the Falcon Punch from smash bros. It is an unquestionably a slow attack, but the effects of the attack(if landed) are extremely quick(the speed of the knock back of the falcon punch), which emphasizes the power behind the blow, making the attack feel like it's hitting harder(especially when the person getting falcon punched has a high percentage). The quicker the effects of an attack are, the more powerful and intense the attack will feel. This is part of why the falcon punch is such a fun attack to use. So how do we apply this concept to the standard attacks in Rearmed?

This is another area where Rearmed can take a page from AwW2. Each of the standard attacks in AwW2 has an accompanying visual affect after each blow. Here are a couple of screenshots of examples to show what I'm talking about:
Image

Image

These effects are extremely quick, beginning and ending almost as instantaneously as the blow of the attack itself. They enhance the attack by adding a visual animation that makes the attack feel more powerful by their short duration/quick appearance(as well as the visual effect itself). The visual effects resulting in an attack's blow in Rearmed are often in contradiction to this principle. Instead, the VFX of Rearmed's standard attacks tend to linger and, as a result, "slow things down", resulting in combat being less powerful and intense. These lingering effects that detract from Rearmed's combat I call "Clutter".

i. "Clutter"
More specifically, for the sake of this post, "Clutter" is any common visual effect that appears during/after an attack has been ordered(whether having made contact with a foe or not) that serves purely as "eye candy" which "lingers" on the screen for more than half a second that, as a result, deters from the satisfaction(power, feel, etc) of the actual combat of the game. You might guess what I'm talking about when looking at this screenshot taken from the official AwW website:
Image
If you couldn't tell, I'm referring to, the "Combat Lines" and the crescent-like circle of energy(or w/e it is) that has a smaller circle hole in it towards the bottom right of the circle of energy. I'll admit, they look really great in a still screenshot like the one above, but when it comes to their affect on combat in the actual game, they're anything but great.

Since we are in the "Clutter" section, let me reiterate and expand upon something extremely important I brought up before; in fact, I'm just going to copy and paste it here again: The VFX of Rearmed's standard attacks tend to linger and, as a result, "slow things down", resulting in combat being less powerful and intense. Why do I say this again? Well 1. It's really important to understand because I really hate "clutter" and how it weakens the combat, and 2. I want to make this point clear that just as the quicker the effects of the attack are make the attack feel stronger and powerful, the less quick/instantaneous the results/effects of an attack are, the weaker an attack feels.

This has less to do with combat, but I still want to go on about how I hate "clutter" simply because I see it as, well, clutter. It serves no purpose except as "eye candy" that in actuality only serves to diminish the experience of the game, as well as distracts from/gets in the way of what is actually going on/what the player is doing in the game(which also detracts from the experience). I can tolerate those circles of energy, but those "Combat Lines" need to go. In fact, I would recommend just getting rid of both of those VFX altogether and replacing them something similar to AwW2 where the VFX are quick and over with and, as a result effective in what they aim to accomplish. They just distract from/get in the way of the combat and the combat's animations. If you absolutely must have those energy circle things, I'd recommend at least speeding up their duration to get them off the screen a lot quicker so they don't linger nearly as long as they do currently, as well as do anything else to get them out of the way even more. Concerning the "combat lines", unless you can find a way to have them be ultra transparent and have them disappear immediately while still having the effect look nice(and I'm speaking directly to D-Sun here), then please just get rid of them. I can't even express how much these these absolutely ruin combat. Again, great for a game like Red Moon, where weak combat enhances the acrobatic feel of the game, but horrible in any other AwW game where the combat is supposed to make the game fun. Also, to quote from that other thread I linked to previously about the "Combat Lines",
I vastly preferred using karate(or whatever the best hand-to-hand combat style was) instead of the sword attack because you could still feel the powerful blows of each hit, however, its effectiveness seriously lacks in comparison to using the sword attack.
simply because of those dreaded combat lines, which single-handedly ruined the sword attack style for me. Just please, I beg you to remove these things so I can be happy once again :cry: .

Just to comment quickly here, I do not regard the tornado-like effect produced by the down power-strike at full power as "clutter" because the down power-strike is more of a special attack and functions quite different from a standard one, meaning the enhancements to the VFX are quite different from those of the standard attacks, which I go into in the "Down Power-Strike" section later on.

ii. Camera Shake
This is probably my favorite addition to combat in Rearmed so far. This mechanic is a near perfect embodiment of a feature that can make the game's combat hit harder. However, it still has a lot of hidden potential that has yet to be seen. In my opinion, there are only two simple aspects of this mechanic that need to be re-calibrated in order to bring it out to the fullest: 1. Have the "camera shake" shake be stronger in the forward direction, and 2. Speed up the actual shaking of the camera. This will make the shake effect much more quick and instantaneous, and as a result, more powerful and intense. In other words, the "shake" becomes more of a "jolt". Just as a suggestion, maybe start off by multiplying both equations by 3x and work from there if it needs improvement?

EDIT: Coming back two years later to insert this. The reason the attack seems to hit harder in the gifs than in the game, I believe, is due to the frame rate. The game is more smooth in it's shake whereas the gif is more cutting, which is caused by frame loss, but it helps. Making the shake more "choppy" might be a better than either of the two suggestions above.

III. Down Power-Strike:
Before this section of this post was written, D-Sun had commented below saying that he feels that the down power-strike is still lacking the "oomph" it should have; something I also agree with. This section will address what is "wrong" with the power-strike in its current state and what can be done to improve it.

So I just did a quick comparison test of the power-strike between the two games and it was immediately obvious why Rearmed's power-strike lacks even in comparison to AwW1's. If you couldn't guess, it's because of the differences between the VFX and SFX of the two.
"But Blackout, the power-strike in Rearmed has 1,000,000x better VFX than in AwW1! You even said earlier that the visual tornado effect was at least not a bad thing just two sections ago! What do you mean by the VFX is 'lacking'!??" might be the question your asking(or at least the question you're probably wondering the answer to now), so I'll start out with the VFX problem first this time. First off, I actually do really like the tornado-like animation effect that occurs after a fully charged power-strike makes a successful blow. Secondly, VFX can either refer to the actual visuals of the game OR the game's camera being effected as a result of an attack(ie. the "Camera Shake"), which can arguably be a stretch of the term VFX, but technically camera shaking still falls under the def.. why am I even going on about this? VFX, for the sake of this article, is what I say it is :evil: . Anyway, the latter definition is what I am referring to when it comes to the down power-strike.

i. VFX
Click each of these links to see the difference between the power-strike of AwW1 and Rearmed respectively:
AwW1: https://youtu.be/z7IwsuYZg5M?t=2m17s
Rearmed: https://youtu.be/l1Qwcy1t0gQ?t=50s
If the difference I'm trying to point out isn't apparent, In AwW1, there is a quick jolt of the camera towards the direction the enemy was blown back to, while in Rearmed, the only movement of the camera is that of all of the other attacks, much too weak for such a strong attack to be enhanced with. The quick jolt of the camera gives the down power-strike in AwW1 that extra "oomph" that's sorely needed in Rearmed. It's just one of those quick/instantaneous attack effects that adds that extra power behind the blow that the player is expecting which makes the attack fully satisfying to use; it makes the attack feel more powerful/hit harder. The question should now be, "how can we use this camera jolting effect to make the down power-strike feel even more powerful than when used in AwW1?".

i. SFX
As with the VFX, it is just one difference about the SFX of the attack in both games that set each's power-strike at a different level of enjoyment. Simply put, The sound effect of the blow of the down power-strike in AwW1 is more explosive than the sound effect is for the same attack in Rearmed. I'm not going to go through the hassle of uploading a sound bite between the two sound effects(you'll have to do that on your own if you're curious enough), so take my word for it. As for a specific solution, simply borrowing the sound effect from AwW1 would at least be adequate for the time being, if not, good enough(or maybe even perfect). An effect even more explosive than that of AwW1(but not too over the top) would be best if one can be found.

Just changing these two little things will make the down power-strike a lot more of a powerful and satisfying attack to use.

Conclusion:
Everything stated above can be summarized into two points: the sound effects of each blow of an attack need to be hard hitting/powerful/(and/or somewhat) explosive, and the immediate (visual) effects of each attack need to be quick(er)/more instantaneous to give each attack that extra "oomph". The lack of Rearmed's observance of these principles is what is fundamentally lacking in Rearmed's current combat system. Applying all of this to Rearmed will almost definitely give players the ability to feel every blow they land, just as a player feels the power behind each blow of a Falcon Punch. All I am suggesting are ways to make AwW's attacks feel more powerful.

Lastly, I'm not trying to be antagonistically overcritical; just (brutally) honest, so maybe a smiley will lighten the tone :D!
Last edited by Blackout on Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:52 pm, edited 34 times in total.
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Re: Combat Still isn't Great.

by Daniel Sun Fri Jul 03, 2015 10:57 am

Brute honesty is always the best :) I'll see what I can do to address the Combat, to make it feel more Powerful. I think the problem is with the Down+PowerStrike - it's kinda crap. I'd like it too feel more like a Falcon Punch - but chargeable.
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Re: Combat Still Isn't Great.

by Blackout Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:42 pm

Finally finished :D !

I'd encourage everyone interested who has read any part of this post previously before it was completed to re-read each of the sections you might have read before as I have made many small but important modifications to each section(with the exception of the Introduction).

Also, to any moderator or admin, could someone please move this topic over to the Suggestions part of the Rearmed Early Access forum? This was originally intended to be a much smaller post with the impressions of Rearmed's combat on me with some general tips, but this post clearly became much more than that, but such an important issue with the game needs to be addressed thoroughly.
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Re: Combat Still Isn't Great.

by VandheerLorde Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:38 am

Now THAT is a wall of text in my own liking. And I got to say. It's About Damn Time! Been waiting for the full version of this since FOREVER! And I actually have to say that I find some of the things said to be a bit outdated by now.

Blackout wrote:It's no secret that quite a few players out there have vocally expressed that they are less than satisfied with Rearmed's approach to combat.
...
...combat in past games(namely AwW2 and Culmination) is more enjoyable and satisfying than in the current version of Rearmed.

"..current version of Rearmed." To be honest, I don't even quite remember when this was first posted, but a lot of good updates to the combat have come in the meantime and I don't think as many players still express dissatisfaction with Rearmed's approach to combat anymore.

Doesn't Mean I am one of those people though. While Dissatisfaction might be an inaccurate choice of word, I always firmly believe that the game can be improved upon. And This thread does a great job provoking many good questions to light.

However this is WAY to much to answer in one post, so I'll be dividing my perspective on these topics into several posts.

Overall I can say right now that I to some aspect agree with many of the points brought, but I also have to disagree with many other points brought up, and that this is far from a generally universal opinion about the combat in Rearmed.

That being said, I'll dedicate a few followup posts dividing up what I agree with and what I don't, shedding some light on this topic from an other perspective.
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Re: Combat Still Isn't Great

by VandheerLorde Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:47 pm

Blackout wrote:I. SFX:

The sound effect an attack and each attack as it makes contact with an enemy is an incredibly important aspect of making each blow hit harder. Each previous AwW game(with the exception of Red Moon) has applied this to some extent, enhancing the combat. AwW1 had nothing remarkable, but the sound effects when hitting your opponent were enough to make the game's basic combat system hit "hard". The regular combat SFX in AwW2 might have been a little over the top, but it definitely more than got the job done. No one who has played through AwW2 can deny that each of Vandheer's standard blows felt destructive and hit hard. Red Moon's combat has the "weakest" combat of any AwW game yet, so you might be thinking I rank this spin-off near or at the bottom of my top 6 favorite AwW games, but you would be wrong. I actually very much enjoy Red Moon's combat because Red Moon's "weak" combat system enhances the light weight and acrobatic appeal of the game. AwW 3: I don't have much to say about the combat in the story mode, but in Survival? I easily give AwW3's survival mode 9/10. Why? When a large amount of enemies spawn in the later waves, the Godsword(idk what it's supposed to be called)'s sound effect when it hits them becomes so loud and explosive, etc... that you really feel it hurting the enemies. There're more reasons for this, but the amplified sound effect of that sword upon contact is definitely what made AwW3 survival the best survival mode I've ever played in any game ever (so far). Culmination. Do I really need to say anything other then that the sound effect that accompanies the (mid-air) "D" attack enhances the force of the attack that much more?

So what does Rearmed have; or actually a better question, what do the GIFs have that Rearmed does not? What the GIF have are great combat SFX. Huh?? But GIFs even have sound!? Exactly. Similar to my argument for less detail(but not totally the same), the reason why the (lack of) SFX is better in the GIFs than the SFX currently in Rearmed is because since the GIFs provide no sound effect for an attack's damaging blow, we are forced to subconsciously use our imagination to come up with a "sound" to make the visual we see into what we want the attack to feel like with the accompanying sound effect. Besides the power-strike(which is covered below) and the new mid-air special borrowed from culmination(while although implemented in Rearmed rather well in a way that does't feel like it's just been copied over, it still lacks the same usefulness and flexibility and therefore the fun it has in culmination(though this is all fine because it is not one of the core attacks the player will use often)), Rearmed just has the "weak" standard part of the combat system and SFX borrowed over from Culmination(the least engaging part of the game's combat imo). No, I am not suggesting doing away with SFX altogether in Rearmed, or even getting rid of it at all, as our imaginations can only go so far making a nonexistent sound effect be better than a really awesome actual sound effect.

I am suggesting, however, that harder hitting, more destructive and more explosive SFX should be used to increase the blunt of the blow when your attacks make contact with an enemy, especially multiple enemies are being struck by the same blow(as I described it as in AwW3 above).

Also, I just want to touch on the force of an attack just striking through the air without hitting anything. While making that sound effect louder(Culmination, Rearmed) might make your character feel stronger, it could compromise the the feel of the power(or the hitting harder) of your attack against an enemy, because if the player has a feel of how hard your character can slash through air, a higher the expectation of your character to hit the opponents that much harder is set, making it more difficult to have attacks satisfy the now heightened expectation. However, if the strike through the air feels not so strong compared to an attack that actually makes contact(every other AwW game), the attacks that land the blows will feel more powerful since the weaker air strike will magnify the "power" of a hit.

Also, the sound of an enemy taking damage matters a bit too. The more "loud" it sounds in terms of hurting the enemy, the better.


So, in short, the above quote describes not the combat itself mechanically, but the experience how it feels attacking.

Personally I experience the combat mostly mechanically, and make a much bigger deal out of the combat feeling smooth, responsive and balanced, so I've never made a huge concern out of details such as the attacks sound-effects. It's an opinion based perspective and it varies from person to person.

However it brings up a very accurate point: The attack sound-effect volume ration between when attacking mid-air and when attack and hitting an enemy are closer together to each other in Rearmed than in earlier titles.

Personally I've never had a big issue with this, however I'll have to add (and use this opportunity to give some props to) that I have found myself greatly enjoying the SFX when you're killing an enemy. The SFX's are much louder slashing sounds which does a good job indicating that you've delivered a killing blow. So It needs to be taken into consideration that there's not two but three levels of audible attack satisfaction that needs to be balanced: When attacking mid-air, when attack and hitting an enemy, and when delivering a killing blow.

That being said I am interested to see if it would have a noticeable impact to slightly lower the "swish-through-air" SFX and slightly increase the "slice-on-enemy" SFX.

However I am uncertain about the "extra loud SFX when hitting multiple enemies" part. I've always considered that to be a bit of a bug playing multiple of the same SFX stacked on top of each other, and can be quite unpleasant for headphone users in instances where the stacking sound effects combine really loudly. If the audible combat experience is going to be designed around the intent to increase the SFX volume based on number of enemies struck, make sure to add a ceiling value so it never becomes Too loud.
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Re: Combat Still Isn't Great.

by VandheerLorde Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:30 pm

Blackout wrote:II. VFX:(not the toggle)
Is it just me, or do most GIFs always seem just ever so slightly faster than than actual speed of the video footage it was recorded from? Maybe it is just me and the GIFs above only appear that way because the action taking place is fast-paced having almost no frame of rest. Either way, at least to me, everything happening in the GIFs seems to be happening faster than in the actual game. In fact, this is the aspect I noticed about the GIFs that really inspired me to begin this topic altogether. Am I suggesting that simply speeding up the rate at which you attack will make everything better? No, or else I'd be happy just destroying everything with the Master sword for hours and be complaining about the survival score bugs and abuses instead. What I am saying is the effects of the attack need to be quicker.

A. Attack Effects
For example, let's take the Falcon Punch from smash bros. It is an unquestionably a slow attack, but the effects of the attack(if landed) are extremely quick(the speed of the knock back of the falcon punch), which emphasizes the power behind the blow, making the attack feel like it's hitting harder(especially when the person getting falcon punched has a high percentage). The quicker the effects of an attack are, the more powerful and intense the attack will feel. This is part of why the falcon punch is such a fun attack to use. So how do we apply this concept to the standard attacks in Rearmed?

This is another area where Rearmed can take a page from AwW2. Each of the standard attacks in AwW2 has an accompanying visual affect after each blow. Here are a couple of screenshots of examples to show what I'm talking about:
Image

Image

These effects are extremely quick, beginning and ending almost as instantaneously as the blow of the attack itself. They enhance the attack by adding a visual animation that makes the attack feel more powerful by their short duration/quick appearance(as well as the visual effect itself). The visual effects resulting in an attack's blow in Rearmed are often in contradiction to this principle. Instead the VFX of Rearmed's standard attacks tend to linger and as a result, "slow things down", resulting in combat being less powerful and intense. These lingering effects that detract from Rearmed's combat I call "Clutter".

i. "Clutter"
More specifically, for the sake of this post, "Clutter" is any common visual effect that appears during/after an attack has been ordered(whether having made contact with a foe or not) that serves purely as "eye candy" which "lingers" on the screen for more than half a second that, as a result, deters from the satisfaction(power, feel, etc) of the actual combat of the game. You might guess what I'm talking about when looking at this screenshot taken from the official AwW website:
Image
If you couldn't tell, I'm referring to, the "Combat Lines"(link to another thread) and the crescent-like circle of energy(or w/e it is) that has a smaller circle hole in it towards the bottom right of the circle of energy. I'll admit, they look really great in a still screenshot like the one above, but when it comes to their affect on combat in the actual game, they're anything but great.

Since we are in the "Clutter" section, let me reiterate and expand upon something extremely important I brought up before; in fact, I'm just going to copy and paste it here again: The VFX of Rearmed's standard attacks tend to linger and as a result, "slow things down", resulting in combat being less powerful and intense. Why do I say this again? Well 1. It's really important to understand because I really hate "clutter" and how it weakens the combat, and 2. I want to make this point clear that just as the quicker the effects of the attack are make the attack feel stronger and powerful, the less quick/instantaneous the results/effects of an attack are, the weaker it feels.

This has less to do with combat, but I still want to go on about how I hate "clutter" simply because I see it as, well, clutter. It serves no purpose except as "eye candy" that in actuality only serves to diminish the experience of the game, as well as distracts from/gets in the way of what is actually going on/what the player is doing in the game(which also detracts from the experience). I can tolerate those circles of energy, but those "Combat Lines" need to go. In fact, I would recommend just getting rid of both of those VFX altogether and replacing them something similar to AwW2 where the VFX are quick and over-with but effective. They just distract from/get in the way of the combat and the combat's animations. If you absolutely must have those energy circle things, I'd recommend at least speeding up their duration to get them off the screen a lot quicker so they don't linger nearly as long as they do currently, as well as do anything else to get them out of the way even more. Concerning the "combat lines", unless you can find a way to have them be ultra transparent and have them disappear immediately while still having the effect look nice(and I'm speaking directly to D-Sun here), then just please get rid of them. I can't even express how much these these absolutely ruin combat by drastically diminishing the power behind each blow they are accompanied with. Again, great for a game like Red Moon, where weak combat enhances the acrobatic feel of the game, but horrible in any other AwW game where the combat is supposed to make the game fun. Also, to quote from that other thread I linked to previously about the "Combat Lines",
Quote:
I vastly preferred using karate(or whatever the best hand-to-hand combat style was) instead of the sword attack because you could still feel the powerful blows of each hit, however, its effectiveness seriously lacks in comparison to using the sword attack.
simply because of those dreaded combat lines, which single-handedly ruined[/b] the sword attack style for me. Just please, I beg you to remove these things so I can be happy once again :cry: .

Just to comment quickly here, I do not regard the tornado-like effect produced by the down power-strike at full power as "clutter" because the down power-strike is more of a special attack and functions quite different from a standard one, meaning the enhancements to the VFX are quite different from those of the standard attacks, which I go into in the "Down Power-Strike" section later on.

First off, I think the "Tornado-like" effect mentioned in the last section is a lighting bolt, drawing a parallel to LW being embowered with divine powers when he's smiting his enemies. But back to the actual topic..

In short the above quote describes the visual attacking and on-hit effects and how them lingering on screen slows down and "clutter" the experienced combat (as well as expressing quite a bit of strong dislike towards the latter).

While my personal feelings are nowhere near as strong on the matter, I am inclined to agree. I don't suffer because I experience the combat to feel slowed down, but I have found myself thinking the visual effects when attacking and hitting an enemy linger on screen for a bit unnecessarily long duration.

I remember commenting on the on-hit effects when they were added in Culmination that they looked 'Added', but that's how game graphics work when purposed with indicating information to the player, in this case that an enemy have been hit. (an other example is the anti-flinch color inversion. It doesn't look realistic, but it informs the player that the opponent didn't flinch)

I have absolutely nothing against against neither the on-hit effects or the attack lines being in the game. They both serve their purposes as eye-candy and/or indicators and I do not think either of them should be removed from the game. They could definitely be given a few toggle options if someone would want only one or the other or neither of them, but removing them completely from the game would be bad.

But as I stated earlier, I have found myself thinking the visual effect of attacking and hitting an enemy linger on screen for a longer duration than necessary. Especially when the player and/or the enemy is in motion. When performing multiple attacks in a combo, hitting and knocking enemies backwards and/or upwards, and lines from past swings still persists, often Behind your current position, and when on-hit-effect "spheres" persist long after the enemy have been knocked away from the on-hit-effects position.

In Culmination when using the 'D' attacks, it creates huge attack-effects that lingers on-screen. Those are Ok for to linger since they were something "physical", blasts of energy, that dissipated and faded after being created. And those effects doing so looked good and made sense. You performed a powerful attack and had the visual effect to show for it.

Those are reasons why the same does not work for standard attacks. They are not "physical" in the game, but merely graphics, and having normal attacks stacking graphical effects on-top of each other, overstaying their welcome, does not have the same result as when an extra powerful attacks' effect does the same.

Evidently such small graphical details can be enough to frustrate and enrage some picky players, but personally the only adjustments that I feel is necessary would not be to remove either combat-lines or the on-hit-effects, but just to reduce the duration those effects linger on screen. The on-hit-effects more so than the combat-lines, and perhaps make the spheres smaller and more subtle, similar to the sparky-effect when successfully blocking. Noticeable but subtle.

And for those really picky players a toggle options would cause no harm implementing :mrgreen: .
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Re: Combat Still Isn't Great.

by Blackout Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:31 am

Thanks for quick responses to the post Vandheer. Dan sure has a lot to catch up on if he hasn't already :lol: . I'm just going to respond to some of the more important criticisms and try to clarify a few things along the way:
VandheerLorde wrote:
Blackout wrote:It's no secret that quite a few players out there have vocally expressed that they are less than satisfied with Rearmed's approach to combat.
...
...combat in past games(namely AwW2 and Culmination) is more enjoyable and satisfying than in the current version of Rearmed.
"..current version of Rearmed." To be honest, I don't even quite remember when this was first posted, but a lot of good updates to the combat have come in the meantime and I don't think as many players still express dissatisfaction with Rearmed's approach to combat anymore.

I would agree with that, but I still stand by the subject on the topic that combat still isn't great. I remember when I first played Culmination that I couldn't stop myself until about the 30th time through because the combat (namely the "D" attack) was just soo much fun to use! I can't say that I've enjoyed Rearmed enough to have played it that many times over and over in one sitting.

While combat might have reached the point of being satisfying now, it still isn't amazing because the fundamental problem has not been corrected and that problem is that the attacks still don't feel powerful enough. Combat may not be one of the core qualities of AwW that makes the games for all of us, but it certainly is one of them for me.

Also, I guess exchanging the term "satisfying" with "more than satisfying" in the appropriate context would be more accurate to use now.
VandheerLorde wrote:So, in short, the above quote describes not the combat itself mechanically, but the experience how it feels attacking.

Nailed it.
VandheerLorde wrote:Personally I experience the combat mostly mechanically, and make a much bigger deal out of the combat feeling smooth, responsive and balanced, so I've never made a huge concern out of details such as the attacks sound-effects.

Two important points here. I don't think the smoothness, responsiveness, and balance is really an issue in Rearmed. It's just these small things that either bother me or can be changed to bring the combat experience to the next level.

Also, about SFX in general, I decided not to include in the original post that it is actually very hard (for me) to tell if a sound effect is actually "good" or not if the visual aspects of the combat are not already better. I can't say I really "know" if the SFX in Rearmed could be improved with the standard attacks, but the SFX section is still there in an effort to bring out the best in combat.
VandheerLorde wrote:However I am uncertain about the "extra loud SFX when hitting multiple enemies" part. I've always considered that to be a bit of a bug playing multiple of the same SFX stacked on top of each other, and can be quite unpleasant for headphone users in instances where the stacking sound effects combine really loudly.
..
...make sure to add a ceiling value so it never becomes Too loud.

They don't necessarily have to stack on top of each-other; just perhaps multiple the volume by 1.2x for 2 enemies, 1.4x for 3, etc...(idk I'm just making up numbers).

And yeah, definitely for that ceiling value. I just remember playing AwW3 survival and having so much fun with it because the stacked sound effect made the attack (seem to) hit harder(also, since there were numerous enemies at that points, their sprites began to overshadow the "clutter" AwW3 produced with the sword attack, which also made the later levels of survival memorably enjoyable).
VandheerLorde wrote:In short the above quote describes the visual attacking and on-hit effects and how them lingering on screen slows down and "clutter" the experienced combat (as well as expressing quite a bit of strong dislike towards the latter).

These things literally ruin everything(ik that doesn't sound like a well-thought out and professional evaluation, but I'm just a fan).
VandheerLorde wrote:In Culmination when using the 'D' attacks, it creates huge attack-effects that lingers on-screen. Those are Ok for to linger since they were something "physical", blasts of energy, that dissipated and faded after being created. And those effects doing so looked good and made sense. You performed a powerful attack and had the visual effect to show for it.

Those are reasons why the same does not work for standard attacks. They are not "physical" in the game, but merely graphics, and having normal attacks stacking graphical effects on-top of each other, overstaying their welcome, does not have the same result as when an extra powerful attacks' effect does the same.

I get exactly what your saying. This is what I was trying to say about why I'm ok with the Down Power-strike lightning animation and don't consider it clutter.
VandheerLorde wrote:Evidently such small graphical details can be enough to frustrate and enrage some picky players

Yes :cry: .
VandheerLorde wrote:...the only adjustments that I feel is necessary would not be to remove either combat-lines or the on-hit-effects, but just to reduce the duration those effects linger on screen. The on-hit-effects more so than the combat-lines, and perhaps make the spheres smaller and more subtle, similar to the sparky-effect when successfully blocking. Noticeable but subtle.

Yes, subtlety. One of the reasons why I prefer the AwW 2 effects over the later game's VFX is because they are so subtle(also because they make the attack look much more explosive without getting in the way visually of the attack animation).

Making the sphere's subtle might be possible, but it will be a lot harder convincing me that the attack had some significant strength and power behind it if the only visual effects you can give me are just a little thin line that floats in the air and a little white circle that only tells me that my strike made contact with the enemy rather than it being part of the blow itself. The regular attacks in AwW2, the "D" attack in Culmination, and the Up Power-strike and Mid-Air Power-strike in Rearmed are just fine without without those effects, let alone the combat-lines(as you can see, any opportunity I have to vent about these things, I will take).
VandheerLorde wrote:And for those really picky players a toggle options would cause no harm implementing :mrgreen: .

Please this Dan if you're reading. I might even pay if you make me :( . I'd still prefer AwW2-like attack VFX though, regardless if the "clutter" is reduced, becomes toggleable, or even scrapped altogether.
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Re: Combat Still Isn't Great.

by VandheerLorde Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:39 am

Blackout wrote:ii. Camera Shake
This is probably my favorite addition to combat in Rearmed so far. This mechanic is a near perfect embodiment of a feature that can make the game's combat hit harder. However, it still has a lot of hidden potential that has yet to be seen. In my opinion, there are only two simple aspects of this mechanic that need to be re-calibrated in order to bring it out to the fullest: 1. Have the "camera shake" shake be stronger, and 2. Speed up the actual shaking of the camera.. This will make the shake effect much more quick and instantaneous, and as a result, more powerful and intense. In other words, the "shake" becomes more of a "jolt". Just as a suggestion, maybe start off by multiplying both equations by 3x and work from there if it needs improvement?

I can't do anything but agree with the above quote. The added camera shake is a great addition to make some attacks feel a lot more satisfying. I actually quite enjoyed it in the earliest days of the early-acces (and pre-early-access) when the camera-shake were a lot more powerful than it is currently. However, the problem were that just as how graphical effects overstaying their welcomed duration can cause a cluttered feeling, the camera-shake persisted for too long, and I think were possible to stack together if powerful attacks were used in a succession, to the point were it was hard to see what was on-screen due to the camera shaking too violently. That was obviously fixes, however I think the camera-shake were reduced a bit too much, down to insignificant proportions where it only expresses a fraction of the awesomeness it potentially can.

Therefore I wholeheartedly support this suggestion/request to recalibrate the camera-shake effect to generally become stronger again, but with shorter durations, so that it will feel more like a jolt, or a burst of force, and so that it would no longer be possible to for the camera-shaking to stack and build on each other into absurd proportions.

Standard attacks don't need camera-shake much, since those attacks are supposed to be just standard. But perhaps certain normal attacks, for example the uppercuts and down-slashes (Attack+Up/down attacks) deserve some extra "oomph" in the form of a little bit stronger camera shake when hitting enemies.

But mostly the camera shake should mainly be reserved for LW's most powerful attack, which is why I had this together with the following section:

III. Down Power-Strike:
Before this section of this post was written, D-Sun had commented below saying that he feels that the down power-strike is still lacking the "oomph" it should have, something I also agree with. This section will address what is "wrong" with the power-strike in its current state and what can be done to improve it.

So I just did a quick comparison test of the power-strike between the two games and it was immediately obvious why Rearmed's power-strike lacks even in comparison to AwW1's. If you couldn't guess, it's because of the differences between the VFX and SFX of the two.
"But Blackout, the power-strike in Rearmed has 1,000,000x better VFX than in AwW1! You even said earlier that the visual tornado effect was at least not a bad thing just 2 sections ago! What do you mean by the VFX is 'lacking'!??" might be the question your asking(or at least the question you're probably wondering the answer to now), so I'll start out with the VFX problem first this time. First off, I actually do really like the tornado-like animation effect that occurs after a fully charged power-strike makes a successful blow. Secondly, VFX can either refer to the actual visuals of the game OR the game's camera being effected as a result of an attack(ie. the "Camera Shake"), which can arguably be a stretch of the term VFX, but technically camera shaking still falls under the def.. why am I even going on about this... VFX, for the sake of this article, is what I say it is :evil: . Anyway, the latter definition is what I am referring to when it comes to the down power-strike.

i. VFX
Click each of these links to see the difference between the power-strike of AwW1 and Rearmed respectively:
AwW1: https://youtu.be/z7IwsuYZg5M?t=2m17s
Rearmed: https://youtu.be/l1Qwcy1t0gQ?t=50s
If the difference I'm trying to point out isn't apparent, In AwW1, there is a quick jolt of the camera towards the direction the enemy was blown back to, while in Rearmed, the only movement of the camera is that of all of the other attacks, much too weak for such a strong attack to be enhanced with. The quick jolt of the camera gives the down power-strike in AwW1 that extra "oomph" that's sorely needed in Rearmed. It's just one of those quick/instantaneous attack effects that adds that extra power behind the blow that the player is expecting which makes the attack fully satisfying to use; it makes the attack feel more powerful/hit harder. The question should now be, "how can we make this camera jolting effect to make the down power-strike feel even more powerful than when used in AwW1?".

i. SFX
As with the VFX, it is just one difference about the SFX of the attack in both games that set each's power-strike at a different level of enjoyment. Simply put, The sound effect of the blow of the down power-strike in AwW1 is more explosive than the sound effect is for the same attack in Rearmed. I'm not going to go through the hassle of uploading a sound bite between the two sound effects(you'll have to do that on your own if you're curious enough), so take my word for it. As for a specific solution, simply borrowing the sound effect from AwW1 would at least be adequate for the time being, if not, good enough(or maybe even perfect). An effect even more explosive than that of AwW1(but not too over the top) would be best if one can be found.

Just changing these two little things will make the down power-strike a lot more of a powerful and satisfying attack to use.

In short the above quote compares the Power-down strike between Rearmed and the original based on how they feel to use due to their respective Visual and Audible effects.

Personally I find the power-strike's sound-effects in Rearmed to be quite impressive.

The charge-up sound is powerful and a definite improvement from the original game's, except that it goes quiet after a while if you charge for too long. I would suggest making a sound loop out of the latter-half of the charge-up sound-effect that continues for as long as you hold the attack.

As for the sound effects when you unleash the attack, I think both the fully charged and the only partially charged does justice to the attack appropriate to each versions power-level.

(Though I would like to sidetrack for a moment to express that the I find the power-down strike when released uncharged to be way too powerful for what I would call appropriate (or balanced) for when not having been allowed to build the power to justify it's strength. But that's an issue I have with the power-down strike that extends further than just it's audible and visual effects, so not entirely relevant to this discussion.)

I guess it wouldn't harm to make each version of the attack's strike sound-effect a bit more explosive right at the start of their respective audio-clip, to make them sound a bit more impactful. But for the most part I think the power-strike's sound-effects are good, could be better (can always be better, given a bit more "oomph" ;) ), but still good.

So that leaves it mainly for the Visual feeling of the attack to be improved upon, and just as with the Camera shake, I can't but agree.

The attack animations looks Amazing! The partially charged animation with a bolt of energy trailing behind the sword looks awesome. And the lighting-bolt descending from above in the fully charged version in combination with the different sound-effects makes the attack look and feel so powerful. I really love the little details like the smaller arc of energy emitting from the aftermath of the explosion. Really impressive work on that animation Dan!

And while the power wave is adopted from Culmination, it still looks sweet as well. I have however found myself thinking that the power-wave animation have less of an immediate impact than the standard fully charged strike animation. That have made wonder how it would be to instead of exchanging one for the other, they combined when having the booster equipped, having the normal animation still play, and then have the continuous power wave creep forward out of the smoke of the initial blast.

But other than that, the power-down strike is visually stunning when it comes to it's animations. So what could make the power-strike feel even more amazing and powerful would be camera work. Return some of it's crazy camera shake that it once used to have. Perhaps not to AS crazy it once used to be :lol: but now, even at fully charged it only causes a mild tremor. As long as you make the camera-shake subside fast enough to make sure it's can't be built onto each other for a crazy effect. Or if possible, give the camera-shake a roof value, so two shake-effects can't combine into a crazy level of shaking :lol:

And I got to say I am a fan of the idea of bringing back the camera pan effect from the original game's power-strike. Just a swift camera motion in the direction you're facing when releasing the attack, seeing your enemies flying through the air across the screen :twisted: . That could be applied in other situations as well, having the camera slightly motion upwards when an uppercut hits an enemy would be a nice and subtle way of empowering the feeling that you're sending your enemies flying through the air.

So in short: The Audio and Visual effects of the power strike are mostly fine. The charging-up sound could use a looping second half and the released attack itself could be a little bit more explosive sounding in the beginning of their audio clips, as well as possibly combine the fully charged animations instead of replacing to make them feel more immediate. But mostly a re-tweaking of the strikes camerawork, making the attack feel more earth-shattering, would be appreciated to help make the power-strike attack feel more visually and audibly satisfying when used. :D


That was all my feedback on this massive wall of text. I know this 3rd and final part was not as fast as my first two, but better late than never.
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