Just an Idea I Had Today

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

So we're mostly moved in here in beautiful northern California, and my new job is going well, thanks for asking. Today, on the drive into the office, I was listening to J.B. Blake's awesome soundtrack he made for DC vs Marvel, and I thought (as I often do when I listen to his awesome album) about how I wish we could actually, y'know, finish the game.

(Trolls, start your engines...)

Yeah, I know. I wish we'd gotten it done a long time ago too, back when the fire and the enthusiasm (and the spare time!) were flowing freely. I can't help that now; what's past is water under the bridge. What I can do, though, is try and find a way forward, and another old idea came back to me:

DC Super Heroes

I'm not sure if I've ever publicly talked about this, or if it was always just a topic of private conversation among my fellow Scruffy Dragons. The idea was this: "Marvel Versus Capcom 3" didn't just spring, fully formed, from Capcom's skunkworks. In fact, even the first MvC was the culmination of many years' effort, and many games: X-Men: Children of the Atom, Marvel Super Heroes, X-Men vs Street Fighter, and Marvel vs Street Fighter. Not to mention the Capcom fighters! Yes, there were a few new characters and new mechanics introduced in MvC, but a lot of the content was carried over from previous games. So my thought went, why not do the same with our project? DC vs Marvel was always an audacious plan, and history has proven it to be more elusive than Duke Nukem Forever (a game that I never thought I'd mention on this blog, but there you go) -- why not start smaller? Especially given all of the DC-focused work that myself, my fellow Dragons, and others in the MUGEN community have produced over the years, it's actually pretty surprising that nobody's done this yet.

The original Marvel Super Heroes (hereafter MSH) had 10 playable characters (6 heroes and 4 villains), a sub-boss (Dr. Doom), and a main boss (Thanos). If anyone wanted to do this (I'm not sure anyone ever did), you could re-create that game by:

  1. creating a screenpack
  2. creating (or getting permission to use other creators' versions) the 12 characters
  3. creating 12 stages (one per character)
  4. making 10 simple game ending animations (one per playable character)
  5. modifying the 12 characters to add support for the Infinity Gems mechanic that's unique to the game

Okay, not exactly the work of a lazy Saturday afternoon, but for some reason, that feels a little more doable to me. A DC analogue might look something like this:

storyline loosely based on JLA: Rock of Ages
Playable characters (heroes):
Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, & Plastic Man
Playable characters (villains):
Parasite, Etrigan, Lobo, Mongul
Lex Luthor and Darkseid

What's interesting about this roster is that it's almost all done already. The Flash and Plastic Man betas need to be finished, and Parasite needs to be cleaned up (the version for a closed-roster game like this would naturally only include power sets for the other 11 characters on the roster). That just leaves coming up with a good unifying game mechanic to bring these 12 characters together, making a screenpack, then making sure the characters all have stages & logical endings that fit in with the overarching storyline of the game (Grant Morrison's JLA comic had some good world-shattering story arcs that could work. I like Rock of Ages, and it has the benefit of having the bad guys that already exist for MUGEN: Luthor and Darkseid.

Also -- I remember now -- we actually did talk about this as a team a while ago, and DNGR made a screenpack for us and everything. We even had a video showing it off as part of Scruffyversary that year, and had grand plans. Unfortunately, the team was already kind of semi-retiring at the time, so that never went anywhere.

So am I actually going to do this now? What's different this time?

I don't know. I'd need to get buy-in from the creators of the characters that I didn't make (Magus, Alucard, Loganir, Mambojambo, and Wucash), not all of whom are still around anymore, and not all of whom even seem to like each other much anymore. -_- Plus, I'd need to either make my own screenpack, or use DNGR's. Still seems like a lot of work...

But maybe it's a small enough project that it could be done by one person with a vision.

We'll see.

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Nothing new to say because we're in the middle of executing a 3000-mile move from the U.S. East Coast to the West Coast. Should have plenty to say next week, if I get the down time I'm expecting.


You'll never see him coming.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The eagle-eyed among my readers may have noticed that I created new projects this week on my Github page for Mandarin and Sinestro. The even more watchful may have noticed in a feed reader that I just created 19 issues on the Mandarin project.

Yes, that means I'm working on him.

Mandarin freezing Parasite with a cold ray
Freezing Ray special

I felt like it was his turn.


Getting tired of Parasite posts?

Friday, June 07, 2013

One more post on Parasite, then I think I can move on and start talking about something else again. Promise.

This week I've been looking around the community, downloading a ton of Marvel/DC characters, and trying to figure out which, if any, to support in Parasite's power system. I've got a long text file with all of my notes, but I haven't made any long-term plans yet, because really, there's plenty still do with with the half-finished power sets he's already got. <_<

I am starting to get comfortable with the idea of certain classes of power sets -- for example, right now he has separate power sets for Plastic Man and Mr. Fantastic, who basically have exactly the same powers, and there are places all over the code base that have to change if I ever add a third "stretchy character" power set, since it affects all of his basic attacks. Right now he only has one super-speedster power set, for Flash, and adding support for new speedsters like Quicksilver and Jay Garrick should be as simple as adding their names to the state controller that grants that one.

On the other hand... there may be times when otherwise-similar characters have a signature move (Hulk and Thing are very similar, for example, but Thing doesn't ever do the Thunder Clap that's such a common Hulk visual), or a particular passive (Ice can wall-jump, for example, but Iceman can't), and if we lump all "Hulking characters" and "Ice characters" into single power sets, we lose those distinctions. I don't know, maybe that's okay.

Needless to say, I'm still of two minds about the long-term plan. The short term plan is the same, though -- 30 power sets for DC, 30 for Marvel, all with finished, non-buggy moves. That'll keep me plenty busy for a while.

Of course, I also just added a Cable power set, because I thought it would be pretty easy to code (and it was):

Parasite and Cable fighting in the dark

On another topic...

I've been using Github for several years now to host my open-source code (mostly web stuff), and a few years ago, I stuffed a couple of my MUGEN projects in a single Github project (which, in retrospect, was a pretty dumb idea), but never really used it. These days, I'm on different machines all the time -- my Windows7 laptop at home, my MacBook at work, and my Windows PC when I need to use a mouse (it's slower than the laptop, but better for sprite editing and that kind of thing). I've been using Dropbox to keep my MUGEN projects in sync across all those devices, and it works well enough, but is kind of a pain for other reasons: most of the time when I'm working on a character on my laptop, it's code-only, and the code of a character takes up a LOT less space than the entirety of one of my WIP folders (which are full of sprite rips, half-finished edits, sound rips, reference videos, etc), so putting everything in Dropbox is a bit of a waste, and a drain on performance when all that stuff has to get synced across all my devices, even though I never actually need it on most. So, long story short, I've come back around to the idea of hosting my MUGEN work on Github. I put Parasite up there a few days ago, and plan to do the same with my other unfinished characters like Sinestro and Mandarin. So expect more on that soon.


There are HOW many Capcom-original Marvel characters?!?

Friday, May 31, 2013

So last week, in talking about the long-term plan for Parasite's stolen-power moves, I said I was planning to support:

… a plurality of DC and Marvel heavy-hitters, hopefully all Capcom-produced Marvel characters and all the great MUGEN-only ones. Then I'll do like TwinImage suggested, and implement a handful of generic power sets for all other characters he might encounter, including things like strength, speed, super-armor, etc.

Seems reasonable, right?

Earlier this week I actually sat down and compiled the rosters of all the Capcom-produced fighting games with Marvel characters, and guess what I learned?

All Capcom Marvel characters (to eventually support...? Eeek!)

X-Men:Children of the Atom
Cyclops, Psylocke, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Iceman, Omega Red, Sentinel, Spiral, Silver Samurai, Juggernaut, Magneto
Marvel Super Heroes
Hulk, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Psylocke, Magneto, Shuma-Gorath, Blackheart, Juggernaut, Dr. Doom, Thanos
X-Men vs Street Fighter
Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Gambit, Storm, Sabretooth, Juggernaut, Magneto, Apocalypse
Marvel Superheroes vs Street Fighter
Cyclops, Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Hulk, Shuma-Gorath, Blackheart, Omega Red, Apocalypse
Marvel vs Capcom
Captain America, Gambit, Hulk, Spider-Man, Venom, War Machine, Wolverine, Onslaught
Marvel vs Capcom 2
Cyclops, Doctor Doom, Sentinel, Blackheart, Captain America, Gambit, Hulk, Iceman, Iron Man, Juggernaut, Magneto, Silver Samurai, Omega Red, War Machine, Rogue, Sabretooth, Colossus, Shuma-Gorath, Wolverine, Cable, Storm, Thanos, Psylocke, Spider-Man, Marrow, Wolverine (Bone Claws), Spiral, Venom
Marvel vs Capcom 3
Deadpool, Doctor Strange, Dormammu, Galactus, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, MODOK, Nova, Phoenix, Rocket Raccoon, She-Hulk, Super-Skrull, Taskmaster, Thor, X-23


So then I filtered through all of that and got a single list of all Capcom-created Marvel characters:

  1. !Apocalypse
  2. *Blackheart
  3. *Cable
  4. #Captain America
  5. *Colossus
  6. #Cyclops
  7. #Deadpool
  8. Doctor Strange
  9. Dormammu
  10. #Dr. Doom
  11. !Galactus
  12. *Gambit
  13. #Ghost Rider
  14. Hawkeye
  15. #Hulk
  16. #Iceman
  17. Iron Fist
  18. #Iron Man
  19. #Juggernaut
  20. MODOK
  21. *Magneto
  22. #Marrow
  23. Nova
  24. #Omega Red
  25. !Onslaught
  26. *Phoenix
  27. *Psylocke
  28. Rocket Raccoon
  29. @Rogue
  30. Sabretooth
  31. *Sentinel
  32. *She-Hulk
  33. *Shuma-Gorath
  34. *Silver Samurai
  35. #Spider-Man
  36. #Spiral
  37. #Storm
  38. $Super-Skrull
  39. Taskmaster
  40. #Thanos
  41. #Thor
  42. #Venom
  43. %War Machine
  44. #Wolverine
  45. ^X-23

That's a big list!

Looking over this list, I had several observations:

  • # – These are the ones I support already; 18 out of 45... :-P
  • * – I've had tentative plans to support these ones in the future, and in many cases have ripped sprites / drawn (or been given) power set icons, etc
  • ! – These ones are huge boss characters; maybe I won't support them, since even though they may be playable, they're not going to be common
  • $ – Super-Skrull I can kind of punt on, and just cough up a random FF-based power set ;)
  • % – War Machine is more or less just a copy of Iron Man, so maybe I can cheat and use the same power set for both...?
  • ^ – X-23, I might be able to get away with just treating like Wolverine... #maybenot
  • @ – ... and then there's Rogue. I really have no idea how to deal with the Rogues out there, since, as a power-drainer herself, she doesn't have many original attacks. Ranked easiest to hardest, here are my options:
    1. ignore her / treat her like an unpowered opponent (i.e. just get a random health/power boost)
    2. treat her like my MarvelTemplate character, and get a random Marvel power set
    3. create a custom power set based on her few non-stolen moves
    4. try and figure out what power set she's got and copy it (ugh, HARD)

This week, I went ahead and added support for Super Skrull, giving up a random power set from one of the Fantastic Four:

Parasite fighting Super-Skrull
I love the "Elastic Slam" special from Mr. Fantastic's power set. I especially love the irony that I got the idea from Super Skrull's MvC3 move. :)

Even with all of these caveats and special-cases, that leaves me with more power sets to add than I a) have room for in my power-stealing code, and b) have time to actually implement! Plus, it completely leaves out any of the other community-created Marvel characters that I'd like to support, like Luke Cage, Scarlet Witch, Wasp, Giant Man, etc.

So I guess I'm going to have to think long & hard about this.

Meanwhile, there's plenty to fix in the power sets he already has! Guess that means it's time to get back to work!


Powerset Drain

Friday, May 24, 2013

Last week, I asked for ideas on new power sets to give to Parasite, and you guys came through, thanks!

Two commenters, one anonymous and one my friend TwinImage, pointed out that I can't keep adding power sets forever, or else Parasite will never be "done". They're both right, but I don't want to pull out all the power sets I've put in, because I've grown quite attached to some of them. I think what I'm going to end up doing is this: I'll provide complete support for a plurality of DC and Marvel heavy-hitters, hopefully all Capcom-produced Marvel characters and all the great MUGEN-only ones. Then I'll do like TwinImage suggested, and implement a handful of generic power sets for all other characters he might encounter, including things like strength, speed, super-armor, etc.

I'd hoped to have some screenshots of new stuff to show this week, but I've been working out of town, and MUGEN doesn't work on my Mac. So next week, we'll see what we see.


Parasite says, "What's new on the menu?"

Friday, May 17, 2013

Someone mentioned last week in the comments to my previous post that they're excited to see if I add support for any new DC/Marvel characters to Parasite. At first, I kind of mentally resisted the idea, thinking that I had a huge list of buggy & incomplete moves to finish before I think about anything new.

And that's true. BUT...

This isn't a promise that I'm going to actually implement any new power sets, but I'm asking you all to comment below: what's new and cool in the past few years in the DC/Marvel MUGEN world? Also, what characters have you downloaded that you think Parasite should already support, and doesn't? (for example, I'm pretty sure if I tried to power drain Verz & Loganir's new Astonishing Cyclops that I wouldn't actually get a Cyclops power set in return)

As a reminder, here's his current 60 power sets (30 DC, 30 Marvel):

Parasite power sets
Parasite's power sets
SupermanCaptain America
BatmanSavage Hulk
Wonder WomanThor
GLIron Man
Plastic ManWolverine
Lex LuthorDr. Doom
DarkseidGhost Rider
SuperboyStrong Guy
DoomsdayMr. Fantastic
Poison IvyInvisible Woman
The AtomThe Thing
Martian ManhunterHuman Torch
Shazam/Captain MarvelSilver Surfer
Red Lantern (Atrocitus)Songbird
Agent Orange (Larfleeze)Omega Red
Indigo LanternRhino
Star SapphireIceman
Black LanternStorm

I've got room for 20 more from each side (not that I'm going to tackle 40 more, sheesh), so let the suggestions fly!