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Beat'em up game design tips

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by joaobsneto, Mar 17, 2019.

  1. joaobsneto

    joaobsneto

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    What do you think would be nice to see in a modern approach in classic beat'em up games?
     
  2. Resin

    Resin

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    Classic beat'em up as in 'vs. fighting games' or as in co-op walk and fight? Either way, I think more environmental factors in fights would be cool, such as fighting on stairwells or in a foot of water. Armed vs. Un-armed fighting with disarming opponent as a possible, if difficult, action. Choke-outs that attack an enemy breath capacity instead of a health bar would be interesting.
     
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  3. joaobsneto

    joaobsneto

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    I'm working on a co-op walk and fight style, but where are thinking of a bonus stage with vs. mode. These are cool ideias, thanks!!
     
  4. kdgalla

    kdgalla

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    It's a cool idea to try to modernize side-scrolling beat-em-ups because I think that the genre is mostly dead now. Most people who make such a game now-a-days are doing so just for nostalgia.

    If you want to modernize fighting games, you could start with classics like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage, but also take influence from more modern games that are similar play-style but not considered the same genre, like Devil May Cry or Dynasty Warriors.
     
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  5. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    I don't think beat'm are dead, the last popular one was Batman arkham, it's just woven in modern game design ... though I would like more game that takes you from Power stone environement interaction, or bit like sliding on cross of a table to deliver a kick or a grab like in movie. Bring spectacle back.
     
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  6. kdgalla

    kdgalla

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    Oh yeah, I forgot about those. :)
     
  7. Resin

    Resin

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    I really liked the Bushido Blade stance system, I haven't seen that emulated too often.
     
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  8. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    haven't played a beat em up in ages, but there is a top down dungeon crawler action rpg I played recently with very interesting and fun mechanics. Exanima -- it's an EA game on steam. Physics based combat that takes like 10 hours of practice before you really get it but once you do it's extremely satisfying. Has a nice balance in which you can kind of count on winning most of the time but it always takes work and has a degree of chaos you can never fully control. Probably the best game mechanic I've played in some years.

    I think the recipe that really works is a mix of timing and distance management. If you go more complex than that it's impossible to do with a controller (Kingdome Come)-- if you simplify it becomes kind of mindless (God of War style games). Dark Souls was also all about timing and distance management, though more simple compared to Exanima.
     
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  9. joaobsneto

    joaobsneto

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    That's nice to hear. Seams like the genre evolved to 3D. I'm working on a 2D game. When we add some environment interaction, the game became much better. I think we have to add more elements of environment interaction.
     
  10. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    well the same principles can be applied to 2d. enemy attacks, defends, brief moments when guard is down and if you are at the right distance at the right time, you score a hit. Different attacks take different amount of time to deliver. Not 3d specific.

    But yeah, goodies in the environment so you can concoct a trap is always fun as well.
     
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  11. Antony-Blackett

    Antony-Blackett

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    A lot of co-op oriented gameplay. I'd love for the game to have moves that can only be accomplished with multiple people. Like putting dude on your shoulders and having your partner fly kick them off for extra damage, or throwing someone into a roundhouse kick of your partner, that kind of thing.

    I'd also love to see a little more depth in the fighting than most. I find games like castle crashers a bit lame as you can basically just mash buttons endlessly to win without really thinking about why or what you're doing.

    Also, a lot of environmental additions as well. kick people into trash cans, flaming cars, or whatever fits your theme/level.

    Weapons and throwing random things, that'd be fun. You could also add a friendly fire mode/mechanics. Look at Hell Divers for reference.

    But most of all, if you're making it co-op, focus on the co-op elements! Team mate revives. Enemies that grab you and let go if your teammate hits them. Enemies that do splash damage so that you need to think about you teammate locations during battle. etc.

    Don't make it too hard so that I can play with friends that don't usually play games. If you want to make it so that players of all skill still have fun, add some risk/reward mechanics like combo streaks with your guard down or kills without healing or something like that, so you can play 'better' and be rewarded for it somehow but lesser skilled players can still have fun and make it to the end.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
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  12. BrandyStarbrite

    BrandyStarbrite

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    @joaobsneto Maybe you could take a look at Gaunlet Legends, for the N64, gamecube, playstation and dreamcast, for some cool ideas and inspiration.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
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  13. joaobsneto

    joaobsneto

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    Nice, thanks! What do you like about this game?
     
  14. BrandyStarbrite

    BrandyStarbrite

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    I will admit, I was not a big fan of the Gaunlet games, but when I played it on
    nintendo gamecube, with a group of aquaintances, who helped run, an
    internet cafe/arcade, it was then that I realised, how much fun the game really is.

    It was fun playing 4 player multiplayer mode, going through scary dungeons,
    fighting, and using magic, on lots of evil monsters and creatures, and leveling up
    our characters.

    Even though, I am not a fan of the levelling up mechanic, probably because
    I like straight forward beat 'em ups, like Final Fight and the Double Dragon
    games, levelling up was fun, in Gaunlet Legends.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
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  15. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner

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    My game Mittens Adventure has a beat em up component: https://forum.unity.com/threads/mittens-adventure-top-down-shooter-multiplayer.532078/#post-3501917

    I use a top-down view and the focus is guns, but I have a sword weapon and automatic melee if you’re close so the level design would be similar.

    The true 3D environment gives me a lot of flexibility because I can bring the player into an area from above, show them multiple encounters waiting for them and they can make enforces decisions about which order to go about them in. My biggest problem with beaten ups is that the level design tends to necessitate enemies just randomly spawning at the edge of the screen.

    I’ve actually taken a lot of inspiration from John Romaro. Find some YouTube videos about his philosophy for doom level design. It’s surprising relevant largely decause doom is a top down shooter in disguise.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
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  16. joaobsneto

    joaobsneto

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    Very nice game. Do you have a link to this video?
    We are facing a problem with enemy spawn right now. It's really hard to make good encounters.
     
  17. joaobsneto

    joaobsneto

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    We started the game with level mechanics, now we are using skill tree. It breaks the rhythm of the game a little, but adds more depth and choice to the player.
     
  18. RichardKain

    RichardKain

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    Enemy spawn doesn't have to be the same thing every time. Depending on the premise, you can have enemies enter the screen in this type of game in any number of ways. It helps to make their entrance "make sense" in the context of your world. But people expect enemies to show up in this style of game, so it generally isn't that much of a reach.

    The most common enemy spawn is to have them simply walk in from off screen. This one is fairly self-explanatory. These style of games usually have the players walking down a path, and the world "stops" every so often to have a battle encounter. When the player can't move forward, it is easy to just have the enemies walk in from where the player can't go. No explanation necessary.

    There are also environmental intros. Have the enemy burst through a window. Have them pop out of a garbage can. Have them "hanging out" in the background, and just turn around to start fighting the player. This takes a little more effort, but is usually worth it, as it helps tie the enemies into the world. It's fairly common to see a few of these in any beat-em-up.

    One of the laziest intros is to have the enemy drop down from above. Since the perspective of these games usually doesn't show you the ceiling of whatever place you're in, you always have the option of just dropping enemies from above. I would try to avoid this if possible. It's a bit cheap. If you do have to use it, make sure to provide a hint that it's about to happen, like a shadow, and possibly an audio cue. The most common place to see this phenomenon is the ever-present elevator level. It's a bit more excusable in this case, as elevators don't have a lot of convenient ways to introduce enemies, and it does make sense for enemies to drop down onto a descending elevator.

    Naturally, one of the most crucial aspects of enemy spawning in a beat-em-up is the composition of the enemy forces, and how the player is able to counter this mix of elements. This speaks directly to the core gameplay, and is crucial for balancing the level of challenge. It will take some serious play-testing and tweaking of the gameplay to get this mix right.
     
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  19. BrandyStarbrite

    BrandyStarbrite

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    One thing I like, about some beat 'em up games, is when a huge wave of enemies, appear out of nowhere and rush in to attack you. Turning the whole battle, into a super frantic frenzy. Guanlet Legends is famous for that.Lol!:p
     
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  20. newjerseyrunner

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    Something you are definitely going to want to sort out early is how your spawning system works. You don’t want all your enemies to be active at once. Beat em ups tend to be densely packed with enemies so you’ll want to figure out how to trigger enemies to spawn as you move through the level as opposed to spawning them all at once.
     
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  21. Antony-Blackett

    Antony-Blackett

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    I'd also recommend a system or graphic effect that can mask an enemy popping onto the screen, a lot of level design time and issues with display aspect ratios can be avoided if enemies are allowed to just pop into existence on screen without looking bad.

    Depending on your games' theme this could be some magic effect, or enemies popping up from the ground, or falling in from the sky or jumping out of trashcans, as long as they can spawn from a spawn point when it's onscreen it will save you a lot of headaches.
     
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  22. BrandyStarbrite

    BrandyStarbrite

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    @joaobsneto How about the Phantasy Star Online treatment.;)

    Where certain enemies, we shall call them Enemy A, can call/shout,
    or whistle for backup, when they are almost defeated.
    Eg. Enemy A's health is over 80% depleted, he calls for backup up,
    and extra enemies appear, after a few seconds, to fight you.

    But, if you defeat Enemy A in time, it prevents him/them, from calling for more
    help, and those extra enemies, won't appear, to fight you.:p
     
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