(warning, long post incoming! that’s what the “game feedback” section is for, right?)
Hi team! On the previous forums I made a long post about improvements I’d like to see implemented to the game’s training mode to make KI’s training room the best around, and seeing as how those forums are gone for now, I’d like to bring up a few of those points again in this new venue. I’m sure the team always has a mile long list of things they would like to get in the game if they had the time or money, but I’m hopeful that there might be room in the budget for a few of these to make the final cut of features for Season 3. I think that these features would go a long way to helping players get better, and the cost to implement vs. value for players ratio is pretty strong.
I’m also gonna throw in a few random “other” improvements that aren’t involved with characters or balancing or any of that stuff (I could make another whole post about that, but I’m sure the team is working through that internally right now).
Training Mode Suggestions
Give an option to turn off enders in Combo Breaker Training
Adding the Combo Breaker Training mode was one of my main suggestions in my previous post. I’m sure you guys had planned for that well before I brought it up, but I was really glad to see it implemented! However, the one thing that prevents me from wanting to use the mode right now is the fact that the AI constantly uses an ender in the combos, sometimes even after just one chance to break. Then there’s a 5+ second lull in the action while the knockdown happens and the AI sets itself back up again, so I really can’t get “in the flow” of trying to learn how animations compare with each other. In fact, sadly, I’d say the AI constantly performing enders almost makes the entire mode unusable.
I think this problem would be largely solved if there was a checkbox to simply turn off enders (in fact, simply removing enders entirely from the mode might be the easiest and best option). The AI would then perform a combo that matches your criteria until the combo’s KV blows out and then start over. It’s especially tough if we’re trying to train ourselves to recognize the difference between, say… medium and heavy linkers. Often the AI will just perform one of them before ending the combo, and sometimes it might take 5 or 6 combos before the AI performs a different option. It’s just really hard to learn when you can’t see the options back-to-back rapidly over and over again.
Set the Training Mode AI to reversal with any move or movement option
One of the most important aspects in any fighting game is learning what setups and strings are air-tight, and what options are punishable from what ranges (ranges is key here; frame data is not enough all the time). As such, it would be absolutely immeasurably helpful to be able to set the AI to reversal with any button or joystick sequence in any situation where reversals apply (leaving hit/block stun or rising from knockdown). This would include reversal normal attacks (ie, a frame perfect “mash jab”), reversal specials, throws, and reversal movement options (backdash, forward dash, “hold up”, etc). I’ve been really disappointed with modern fighting games not giving you this option, but MKX now gives you some of it, and it looks like SFV’s beta had some training mode menus greyed out which suggest they will do this, so I would love to see KI follow suit.
Now, the interface for selecting this is a little challenging. MKX does it by giving you a list of a subset of special moves, but I think this is not enough for KI; limiting to just special moves is too restrictive for testing purposes, and listing every normal in the game is too much. My suggestion for the interface would be to detect the inputs similar to how Skullgirls asks you to set an assist move for your characters. You pop up a little screen that asks you to input something, and then it reads your inputs for 1.5 seconds and then spits back a text string confirming the option. It could be “crouching LP”, or “shadow Wind Kick”, or “backdash”, or “jump backwards”, for example. If the opponent is happy, he confirms, or else he re-records (or hits the select button to cancel the reversal). Then, you simply play this option with reversal timing when applicable. I can’t stress enough how important it is for this mode to accept more than just special moves; we need to be able to test normals, throws, and jumping/dashing as well.
The benefits for doing it are too many to name. We can test whether certain setups are safe at certain ranges, we can test whether mash jab really does beat our meaty setup or not without wondering if our inputs are frame perfect, and we can set up dynamic situations without a rigid recording which does not play nicely.
Allow a recording in training mode to be played back with frame step
I love a lot about your replay viewer. Being able to slow down, pause and step through frames is incredibly helpful, so it absolutely kills me that we can’t do this in training mode. In order for me to verify the hitbox on a move, for example (because I can’t pause the game reliably in a 1 frame window after having just input a special move), I have to go play a local versus match against uncooperative AI, try to set up the situation, then complete the match, go select the replay (and go through all the loading screens), then watch the entire match to that point. And if I miss the key moment, I have to restart the whole replay.
I propose you have a way to let us turn on a local recording during training mode. When you select the menu option (much like how we record AI actions) and unpause, everything you do is entered into a temporary “replay”. When you pause the game and go “playback”, the game simply plays back what you and the AI/human opponent did, with the replay’s existing frame step tools available to you. This lets us, for example, record a 1 second clip of Jago doing a reversal, and then we can loop this back over and over and examine the hitboxes. Or, we could accurately measure the startup of a move while we see how the character’s hurtbox changes over time. Or, we could set up some goofy hitbox interaction and play it back frame by frame. I would like to think you guys have some of the pieces in play already for this mode to be implemented (replays work and your rollback netcode requires your game to be “save stateable”), so I’m really hoping this mode isn’t too costly for you to add. I think the value to players is astronomical for this one.
Switch 1P and 2P characters in training mode
A tertiary request here; allow us to swap 1P and 2P without having to go back and reload training mode. This lets us do a bunch of AI recording testing for a particular character on both sides of a matchup (testing Jago’s pressure vs. Hisako, and Hisako’s pressure vs. Jago). This has always been a huge annoyance of mine in fighting games… sure, in the worst case, it costs us 30 seconds to go back to character select, pick our characters and reload everything, but this time surprisingly adds up if you do a lot of training mode testing. If it’s easy to implement switching (maybe with a 2-3 second load as necessary), I think it’s worth it, but it’s much lower on my personal totem pole than my above suggestions.
Display a “Reversal” message
I’m really baffled why KI does not have a message when a character performs a reversal special move. It’s really important during fights to know if you’re getting a reversal (or if your opponent is reversaling). I would really like to see this added.
Revamp how colors and accessories work
Season 2 knocked it out of the park with retros and colors, so it’s kind of unfortunate that the color system does not work overly well when these try to be combined. I’m particularly sad that some of the amazing retro costumes (like TJ’s outfits) only have one selectable color for them.
The first thing I would consider is creating colors 1-9 (or 1-6 for the retros) for each accessory in the game. Now, the cost of creating these colors is unknown to me… I would like to think they can simply be re-colors of existing textures and that creating them is not overly costly for the team. In theory, if this can be done, the colors for each accessory would be chosen to “look good” if they are equipped on a character wearing the normal outfit of that color. So, for example, color 3 for a character’s arms accessory would match the color/otherwise “look good” on a character wearing color 3. If the accessory is something whose color shouldn’t change much, like Jago’s sword (eg), each color 1-9 could be very similar to each other in these cases, maybe with just slightly lighter/darker contrasts or something as needed.
With each accessory having a color, this really helps customization of costumes. On the customization screen, you could equip accessories in one of your preloaded slots (like you do now), except you can manually choose the color for each accessory OR you let it default to the color of the outfit you pick on character select (“I want these arms in color 4 and these legs in color 7, but I want this headgear to take on the color of the costume when I pick him”). This lets us develop all sorts of unique colors for ourselves and brings a lot of diversity to the roster.
I understand this suggestion is contingent on a few things, such as the cost of creating accessory colors (which seems feasible from an outsider’s point of view, especially since some accessories already DO change color when the outfit itself changes color and you’ve already forked off several colors for some accessories as separate entities entirely, which has the unfortunate property that it heavily bloats the customization screen AND is less flexible to boot) and the cost of changing a few interface elements in the customization window, but I think this change would bring so much energy and personality to the cast that it is worth considering.
Improvements to replays
As I said above, I love your in-game replay viewer, and I would love to see the team expand its vision for replays (especially with the incoming PC release and possibly some stiff competition from SFV doing e-sports stuff with replays). Sharing/transferring replays between users would be awesome, since right now our only option to get replays out there is to stream it on twitch or capture it to youtube (not always an option for various reasons, and the quality can suffer depending on the player’s equipment). Having an in-game replay “hub” similar to what SF4 did would really help the growth of KI. Famous SF4 replay channels like YogaFlame24 and many others really kept SF4 in the FGC spotlight and brought new players to the game; these would not have been possible without a replay hub and the ability to accept replay transfers from top players who ran an exciting set and want to share it. And lastly, please fix the bug that causes your opponent’s inputs during Input Display to never display correctly. The aforementioned SF4 replay channels were most interesting when they showed both player’s inputs, and as long as the replay files are glitched like they are now, that wouldn’t be possible.
Apologies for the long post, but I had a bunch of stuff in my head that I wanted to get out. I have no special insight into your development process or time/money budget, and I’m sure you have your own exciting set of new features that you’re looking forward to showing us, but I hope some of my ideas resonate with the team and inspire you to keep improving this game!