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[DONE] Ability to grab enemies

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Re: UN-CANCELED: Ability to grab enemies

Post by Shark » Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:27 am

Hey Hjarpe update this topic ;D
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Post by Evilsack » Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:53 pm

Damn was Hjarpe right.
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Post by Lunatic » Tue Dec 27, 2016 1:33 am

Hjarpe wrote:Won't it be fun when we add grabbing and it turns out to be shit! :D
Evilsack wrote:Damn was Hjarpe right.
I still look at this quote from Hjarpe as a joke, though opinion-wise, I can't help but feel how accurate it is. I was hoping to see more changes for the move, as it functions as less than it's intended purpose, though it seems the move is fine it's first iteration in eyes of the devs. It hasn't seen any changes other than an input change, and a couple of bugfixes. Why?

I think by pushing for grabs, we went for a particular route of block breaker and less a direct "this move beats blocks". Grabs definitely beat blocks but they're too slow to use properly. As grabs are now, changing just the speed would indeed mess up the delicate balance of the move. However, as they are now, no matter what you do, they'll always be imbalanced, giving a melee an instakill move dependent on positioning. I'm all for taking advantage of positioning, but considering the power it has, it really messes with melee and combat as a whole. I've made a handful of posts concerning the matter but I'd like to go over it again, hopefully raising some new points or shedding light on some areas that I believe really need improvement.

As odd as this might sound, I recommend that the ability to throw living players be removed. No matter how you look at it, the distance that players can be thrown makes the move too convenient. Being able to toss someone that far makes positioning less important since players can be thrown far enough to take advantage of map elements more times than not. The only safe place to be grabbed is basically on a flat surface at the bottom of the map, near basically nothing, or in an area equivalent. However, we then have the power punch, that will deal 17 damage. 17 damage is pretty high, considering we have 100 health (6 grabs = 1 kill from full health, 5 grabs if you do a kick to combo into each grab). 17 is also how much damage a revolver shot does. The damage makes sense since you're trading the ridiculous potential of a throw, but it's still such a massive number.

Between throws and punches, it makes sense that grabs are so slow - they're incredibly powerful tools capable of ending someone very quickly. The problems come when you look at a handful of outside factors: Knockdowns can combo into grabs for free, with the victim being unable to do anything to escape. They can't jump, attack, or drop through a platform to get out of a grab once the knockdown has happened. They could tech backwards, which only works if there's open space near them, though it's difficult to pull off and the timing is narrow. I can respect this but it's still very easy to combo into a grab using a knockdown. Falling off an object and kicking/punching, or shotgun blast -> sheathe -> grab are fast and effective ways of scoring a very safe grab, which ruins the risk/reward of the slow startup and high damage potential. This alone makes grabs very imbalanced, but that's not the root of the problem - at least in my eyes.

The big problem is that grabs were meant to be a block breaker. They're too slow to start and use to effectively fulfill this function, and have a handful of arbitrary cooldowns (that still make sense given their power) that stop them from being effective at their original purpose. By making them faster (melee speed or even slightly slower) and weaker (lower power punch to 10 damage, remove throws on living players, add knee (will describe below)) they can be used more for their original purpose while toning down their powerful attributes, make the combos less overpowered, and also make them more useful for defensive reasons (counter-grabbing to play defensive). Allowing players to throw dead bodies allows unarmed players to disarm mines and position bodies on the map for use as meatshields later.

As for the knee, I was thinking that they could be added specifically to get a one-hit combo after the knee. The knee itself could do 1 damage, drop the victim on the spot, and leave just enough of an opening for the attacker to get one swing in before the opponent can block again. This move would get stronger depending on what weapon the attacker is wielding, but it would also remove the opportunity to push someone off a cliff with the power-punch. It still leaves a max damage of 16 (katana) when using a melee weapon, with fists dealing less damage than the power punch when used in conjunction with the knee. It would add strategic depth to your grab followup, while still not reaching all the way over to what grabs do now with one power punch. It's also a way to make up for the removal of throwing living players.

Alpha is the best time to be testing these experimental changes, while the game is still in testing and there's a large userbase playing the game to find exploits and give feedback for how it all interacts with each other.

EDIT: I really feel like I'm still not explaining it right. In the most basic form, I'm trying to say that grabs are too slow to come out to properly beat a block mid-combat. It can definitely happen, but it's much less likely to happen compared to other elements of melee. With their massive cooldown and slow startup, they're incredibly difficult to land, and this makes them less effective at actually beating blocks - even when you know someone is going to block. Being able to roll out of a block, and then jump out of a roll, gives players the mobility required to escape a grab with good reflexes. I support these actions, but as a whole it makes grabs ineffectual as a result. Speeding up grabs and toning them down as described above will benefit the move while bringing it more in balance with other factors of the game, while allowing them to be used more often for more reasons to new effect.

As a side note, I think another interesting idea for balancing grabs might be shortening their charge distance or changing their movement speed.
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Originally posted by Gurt
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Post by Hjarpe » Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:15 pm

@Lunatic:

We haven't kept iterating on the grab because, believe it or not, it turned out almost exactly like we wanted.

When we called the grab a "block breaker", I guess some of you had a very specific idea in mind based on existing fighting games: a move that is very quick and flows into a melee battle much like a punch, block or kick does. That was not our intention. Our main goal was to discourage block-spamming. Blocking was nearly always the safest bet, which led to incredibly boring-to-watch slapfests.

With grabs, that is no longer the case - for now at least, I don't see one strategy being dominant. I see people using jump attacks, trying to get behind each other and punching in the back, luring each other into grabs, counter-grabbing, and using the environment a lot more. This doesn't seem like an "imbalanced" system, though I confess I don't know what you mean by that. Surely there is no imbalance when everyone has the same tools - and since it's not clear whether you think the grab is over- or underpowered, I think you just expected something different and are having trouble adjusting.

So if it wasn't clear before, we have zero interest in rebooting the grab -- sorry. Even if we wanted to do it, such "experiments" would cost us a lot more development time and energy than you think, and we are busy with other things.
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Post by Corporal Adrian Shephard » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:19 pm

As i said hundreds time before, grabs are great. Just use it and you will like it. And i am quite happy to hear that there is no intention to reboot it.
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Post by Lunatic » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:57 am

By imbalanced, I mean grabs are imbalanced compared to the rest of the tools available to the player. Dives are risky since they're active for a long time and prepare players for an opening where they can't dodge again. Jumpkicks are risky since they have massive kneel when they land, which is especially devastating when they miss. Jumpkicks also have high potential to do, essentially, what grabs do, but worse.

Grabs can deal high damage whenever and wherever with further potential to instantly kill, with small risk after you start moving since there's no endlag. Since melee combat is so slow, it's actually harder to punish the initial startup of the move since we have nothing to effectively counter it's startup aside from just not being nearby to begin with. This leads grabbing to be imbalanced, as they offer a high reward with small risk, and the risk can be further removed by landing very easy combos. Being able to land an instant kill off a simple setup (falling attack/shotgun blast) causes the move to be incredibly powerful, leading to said imbalance. Even when the player is armed to the teeth, unless they're carrying a power weapon, chances are the tools they have don't have the kind of potential a grab has. That's where I perceive the problem.

Grabs have been available for two months now and feel rather natural to me given my experience with other games. They don't feel quite natural compared to SFD as a whole but I understand their concepts and have little trouble with them. This isn't a matter of adjustment, it's a matter of power balance. Armed with a Tommy and a bat, the damage potential these weapons have still pales to the power that a grab has, allowing the player to deal serious damage off of even somewhat bad positioning.

As a final note, I thought a part of the knee code was already finished? Gurt said that knee was left out for this update since it was able to score extra hits and that wasn't something he wanted. I also figured the rest of the changes would be simple value tweaks, since it sounds like you're more or less changing cooldown timers/values and not rewriting big chunks of code for extreme gameplay changes. Unless I'm missing details, these shouldn't be resource-intensive time-expensive changes to the game.
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Originally posted by Gurt
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Post by Gurt » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:57 pm

Positioning is a great deal in SFD. A lucky crit from a pistol when you stand near a ledge will instant kill you just like grabs (if you manage to grab someone that is) near ledges. An effective counter to a grab's startup is to keep your melee combo flowing and keep damaging your opponent or move away. Your opponent can't perform a full grab between melee hits if you chain them fast enough. You can also play it safe and avoid being near ledges or high falls but this also limits your movement on maps - but that's up to each player.

Grab+attack deal the same damage as two punches. Your DPS is potentially greater if you just keep on punching as you can chain damaging abilities faster together and dealing more damage. If we include potential fall damage then you must also consider fall damage for lucky crits, kicks, 3-combo-attacks, thrown items and everything else that can knock you down ledges. Fall damage is not unique for grabs.

A faulty timed grab can put you in great risk. Kick someone charging a grab in the back can knock that player down any nearby ledges instead.
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Post by Lunatic » Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:34 pm

I agree that positioning is probably the biggest part of tactical depth in SFD. I'm alright with that. What I was saying is that a grab can reward a player for having bad positioning (far from the ledge) since a throw will cover the gap anyways. And since, as you said, positioning is a big deal, being able to position an enemy player will often be a bigger deal than potentially better DPS, as it will open your options up to put yourself in the lead (get closer to a new item spawn, put someone near explosives/mines/fire/enemy players, or put them in an advantageous position for you to shoot without retaliation). A grab is also a lot safer since you take out opponent retaliation once it lands, so you don't have to worry about getting blocked mid-attack. Once it lands, it's guaranteed. Nothing to worry about but other players and nearby hazards.

Potential from fall damage is a lot more scary concerning grabs since grabs can directly get the result they want with little error. A lucky pistol shot is just that, lucky. You can't force that to happen. Kicks have very specific scenarios, and jumpkicks have received enough nerfs throughout the ages to be easy enough to counter. Getting hit by a 3combo attack is pretty rare, since you have so much time to just block (though figuring out if they want to attack or grab is the hard part). Thrown items are quick but they can only knock you down if you're hit in the back - a fair mechanic I'm 100% ok with, but like throws, it's something a player can directly do. They aren't locked into any specific scenarios (must be above player/get lucky with a gunshot), they aren't forced to do anything lengthy (aside from equipping the weapon, really), and they can just do it. It's half the reason I want the strong attack to be a separate attack if I'm being honest, but that's a different story.

The problem is that grabs can go straight into fall damage, which is massive more times than not. It still gives the thrower more time to move since they'll get out of the throw before the victim can stand up, allowing them to arm and cement positional dominance. If this were a different fighting game, I could honestly just say "don't get grabbed". That's something you can actually say in other games since most of the time, you have the proper tools to prevent a grab. In this game, attacks are slow and grabs can be hard to spot coming - worse still, grabs can be combo'd into for these powerful effects. I'm not against the combos but I'm against how easy it is to score such insane damage and potential. That's where this stance is coming from, that's where my proposed changes come from.

I'm not sure how you could position yourself to kick someone in the back when they go to grab, but maybe if you can jump out of the way in time? A jumpkick, basically.
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Originally posted by Gurt
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Post by Gmax » Sun Jan 01, 2017 5:30 am

It should take more stamina to throw. Think about it, first you raise the fighter over your head then lunge him/her forward. That's 100-200 pound in real life.
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I think its for the best .

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