Game Update: November 2016

A new build of Fantasy Strike is available to our patrons on Patreon.

EDIT: now version 6963. (Was version 6956. See note at the end.)

In this build, we have a lot of new animations for Geiger, a lot more progress on Midori’s Dojo stage, a wider variety of sound effects, and more hitstop on almost every move to make the hits feel stronger. But the biggest advancement by far in this build is performance / framerate improvements.


When making performance improvements, there’s often a tradeoff of lowering graphics quality. Not this time! We focused on optimizations that have zero effect on how graphics look. So nothing looks worse, or even different, yet you’ll see a big boost in framerate. You don’t have to care about any of the details about how we did this, but here’s a few items of interest if you’re curious.

--Character shadows. Character shadows drawn on the ground do have a performance cost. We changed the way we draw these shadows (with no visual difference!) in such a way that it improves framerate by as much as 4 - 6 fps with this change alone.

--Blob shadows. When graphics quality is set to “lowest,” we used to show no character shadows at all, and that looks really bad. We now show “blob shadows” (kind of like in SF2, but a bit more advanced) and it has virtually zero performance cost. So it looks better and is no slower—actually much faster because of all the other unrelated performance improvements. Furthermore, when graphics quality is set to “low”, we now use blob shadows rather than full character shadows. This is the only case anywhere that we reduced graphics fidelity (and only on the “low” setting), but we believe that if you’re setting graphics to low, you’d probably rather have the increased framerate from blob shadows rather than even our newly-optimizied real shadows.

--Character lighting. We changed the way we use lights in the stage to light up our characters during gameplay. We were able to use one fewer light than before. Although this has no visual change at all (remaining lights now do exactly what the deleted light used to do anyway), this one change improved framerate by a staggering 9 - 12 fps on most machines.

--Character meshes. We changed the way we split up our character models into various mesh pieces for rendering. This does not change the way they look at all, but it gave us significant performance improvements. The amount of framerate improvement varies by character, and Jaina saw by far the most improvement. This is totally mind-blowing even to us, but this optimization improved framerates by *20* fps when she’s on screen. Yes, really. 20fps in our tests.

--Other optimizations. We did a few more optimizations too. The bottom line is that all characters on all stages and at all graphics quality settings should run faster than before. We hope you reach 60fps!

We’d also like to remind you about the vsync option. It’s in options -> debug options for now. Ideally, you set that to “on.” Setting it to off makes the game (and any video game with this setting) slightly more jittery with some screen tearing. But if you set it to “on,” framerates that are just below 60fps can round all the way down to 30fps, which is horrible. Try “on” and see if you get 60fps. If yes, then great. If no, then try “off”. Try to avoid playing at 30fps as it will feel bad.

--Hit stop increased by 3 frames on almost all moves. Hit stop is the short game-wide pause whenever a hit happens, and is separate from hitstun, which is the time that a victim is stunned from a hit. Hit stop makes hits feel more powerful.
--Lots of new sound effects for almost all characters. This includes lots of sounds for whiffs and whooshes that were silent before, as well as more variation on hits. Most hits sound more powerful now. These are still placeholder sounds.
--When you do a combo, the text message on-screen now says how much damage it did, in addition to how many hits.
--Mapping directions in button config is now done in this order: up, down, left, right
--Fixed a bug that allowed hits to work at the very beginning of throws, when they should not. For example, Geiger could time his delayed gear to hit at almost the same moment he did a throw and they would somehow combo, but shouldn’t.

--New pose/animations when he blocks attacks
--The hit spark when you hit with his sword attack now correctly renders in front of the victim.

--Flame arrows have new visual effects. These effects now work better in 3D if we ever need her to shoot an arrow from a non-side view angle, such as (eventually) on the character select screen.
--Magical bow string made of fire now appears when she shoots an arrow.
--New pose/animations when she blocks attacks.

--New pose/animations when he blocks attacks.
--C throw is now highlighted blue for super armor, rather than white for strike invuln. No functional change, but the highlight implying strike invulnerability was incorrect before.
--The hitspark when you hit with thunderclap and the hits of his ground super now correctly render in front of the victim.
--Ground super’s camera behavior has been revised to be smoother and much less jarring.

--New pose/animations when she blocks attacks.
--Yomi counter replaced with a new concept. Now paints a red “X”.

--Slight polish on her animation when she lands from doing moves that have a ground recovery pose.
--Ground super updated. Now has blue trails, is much faster, and has animation tweaks to Setsuki and the victim.
--Air super updated. Makes more sense what’s happening now, but it’s still not complete.
--Polished turn around animation (when she turns from side to side, for example if someone jumps over her)
--New pose/animations when she blocks attacks.
--Fixed a bug with her hold-B special throw against a cornered opponent that could cause her to face the wrong way and whiff the throw when initiating it from point-blank range.

--A huge number of new animations for Geiger including: air super, jump forward, jump back, jump up, walk b, yomi counter, turn around, knockdown, getup, A (punch), f+A (backfist), and air B (adjusted pose). 
--Ground super and yomi counter now stop the game’s clock when they stop time.
--Jump A kick has smoother motion; it no longer sucks Geiger downward in the air when he does it.
--New pose/animations when he blocks attacks.

--Enhanced the physics of his cape (no gameplay effect).

--Fixed a bug where Midori’s parry would make his costume colors change to green, even when you were playing a different color Midori.

--New character model for the dragon (it’s a higher resolution version of the previous model). The rendering style of the model is still not finished.
--Fixed a bug that made him appear mirrored incorrectly (left/right) after some reactions. (There could be other cases still in the game where he becomes incorrectly mirrored though.

--Snow stage. Minor lighting adjustments.
--Tavern stage. Technical cleanup resulting in slightly better framerate with no visual difference.
--Dojo stage. We did a lot of work on this stage. Numerous improvements, much more built out than before. Waterfall, grass, rocks, dirt, lighting, and more have been improved. The lighting is overall slightly brighter, to convey that it’s a sunny happy day. Here's a pic of the dojo stage so far:


We have done an emergency from version 6956 to 6963. The purpose of the update is to fix a bug that made it impossible to map the d-pad/joystick for some controllers. Please download new builds at the patreon link at the top of this post.

Though the d-pad fix is the reason for the update, there also happen to be these changes too:

-- Adjusted Setsuki ground super to feel slightly slower (more hit pause on 1st/2nd hits), delayed final hit 1f, and also brought blue clones closer to her. We're still working on this.

-- Geiger's step kick (back+A) now causes hit reactions for getting hit lower on the body, so it makes more sense.

-- Fixed a bug where combo damage was still counted after hitting and armored move (e.g.: hit Rook during B special move, then after that move just combo him.)

-- Jaina's throw. Removed fire effects.

-- Dojo stage. More detailed modeling on the dojo's roof.