Current Public Version: 3.02
Current Developer Version: 15878

3.5 Design Blogpost #7: Trimming the Fat

Another update for you from the Project M Development Team! We've been working hard on our next public release, and we'd like to talk with you about our design philosophy for Project M version 3.5.

As we have previously mentioned, we are aiming to tighten up the game to meet our project's design goals. In general, we are aiming to increase the depth of the game, while retaining the accessibility that the Smash Bros. series is well regarded for. At the moment, we believe our cast to possess tools that are a little too excessive in terms of flexibility, recovery prowess, punishment and more. This means that we are going through the cast and toning down tools and/or traits that may be seen as superfluous or detract from the game's complexity.

Our goal is to provide the player with enough tools to create a highly nuanced and effective playstyle, while providing opponents enough counterplay to punish mistakes to a high degree, necessitating thoughtful, challenging and engaging interactions with each other. We want to make sure that with skill, control, knowledge and creativity, a player can achieve phenomenal results and feel well rewarded as a result.

To provide you with an insight of the methodology we have been using, here is a general list of criteria that we are using in our cast-wide overview:

-Revising moves with static knockback curves and making them scale more with percentage. This is intended to create a much more dynamic combo game that requires knowledge of percentages, fall speed/weight, stage positioning etc. and allows a player to develop with more time, knowledge and experience of the game.
-Balancing cooldowns with power/start-up/duration/utility.
-Tools that mitigate positional advantage (e.g. circumventing juggles, edge guards).
-Tools that provide excessive burst movement without appropriate risk.
-Moves that hit at unintuitive angles.
-Moves with SDI/hit-lag multipliers on them that circumvent the strength of Directional Influence (barring grounded multi-hit moves).
-Recovery potency.

Note that while these are general guidelines, expect some leeway to be made while considering what makes something acceptable.

As previously mentioned with our recovery blogpost, please note that this stems from design, and not necessarily balance. Our overview of the cast is a global one, and characters will receive due consideration regardless of current perceptions of their viability. As such, it is important to consider your character's changes within the scope of our goals for version 3.5, as opposed to viewing their changes in a 3.02 vacuum.

We are pleased with how 3.5 is shaping up and are very excited for its release!

There is more for us to share soon!
-The PM Dev Team

Turbo Contest Results

Hey everyone, on the 3 month anniversary of the Official Turbo Mode Competition, we are proud to announce the winners. Thank you to all who participated and enjoy the show.

3.5 Blogpost #6: Ledge Invincibility

Hello everyone, sorry for the delay!

The Project M Dev Team has been spending a great deal of time and effort this time around touching up individual characters, and there is certainly a lot to get excited about there. Of course, there has also been a lot of work on improving the universal gameplay mechanics and engine. A number of changes have been implemented to make interactions more fluid and dynamic. This blogpost and the following one will go into detail about these mechanic changes.

As you may know, we’ve put out a few blogposts last month regarding character recovery and tether ledge mechanics. For 3.5, we’ve taken a good look at many ledge mechanics to properly balance offstage gameplay. One such mechanic is ledge invincibility. In previous Smash titles and versions of Project M, the ledge has been a controversial position, conceptually being a poor place to be, yet in some cases allowing stalling by abusing the invincibility granted upon grabbing the ledge.

Fox stays entirely invincible from attack while simultaneously protecting the ledge from would-be grabbers with hitboxes of his own.

We’ve implemented a solution meant to curb abuse of ledge invincibility for stalling purposes. After a character regrabs the ledge five times without touching the ground, that character no longer receives invulnerability for grabbing the ledge again (except for a few frames during the initial ledge snap) until he or she either lands on the stage or gets hit.

After grabbing the ledge 5 times, Fox and Ganondorf become quite vulnerable to attack.

Even with a Special that grants invincibility, Sheik leaves herself open to punishment if she fails to go onstage quickly.

Five ledge grabs is a relatively high number that should guarantee that this will only affect players looking to stall the game, so very few players will ever see this limit come into play.

We’ve done a lot of internal testing and asked high level Melee and Project M players alike what they think. Even in talking with top level players who have put a lot of time into practicing ledge tactics for the specific abuse of this mechanic, we still received positive feedback. We hope that this change will allow all of the common existing ledge interactions to remain unchanged while preventing the exploitation of the ledge purely for stalling purposes.

With this new ledge counter in place we hope to see tournament matches filled with even more action and interaction, reinforcing engaging gameplay that keeps both players and spectators on the edge of their seats... rather than on the edge of the stage.

The next blogpost will discuss a few other mechanics changes we have been cooking up for you.

Until next time,
-The PM Dev Team