This update to Fantasy Strike is available on Steam right now.
This update is especially exciting for expert fighting game players. The highlights are:
We’re unveiling our ranked mode.
We’re unveiling a new feature never before seen in a fighting game: visual effects on every hit that tell you who will recover first and by how much.
Our practice mode has always had dynamic frame data and frame step, but now it’s presented in a prettier, more clear way. Also the frame step mode can now be used by game controllers, and it can be accessed instantly, without even going into the menus.
Our ranked mode is unusual in that it uses a tournament structure, and the gameplay itself uses our team battle mode, which doesn’t work like team battle modes in other games. Here’s a video from our lead developer about the ranked mode.
Ranked play takes place in automated 8-person tournaments. The brackets are built on-the-fly so that it doesn’t slow down matchmaking. The matchmaking is not the usual “try to give you a 50-50 win rate” style. Instead, it’s like a tournament: you’re matched with a random player in your league, and if you win, you’re matched with someone else who won. If you win three times in row, you win that tournament. Each of those opponents is likely to be harder than the last, so there is an exciting texture to your opponents being more skilled as you, until you lose and reset to a new tournament.
The gameplay uses our team battle format. You pick a team of three characters and play a best 3 out of 5 series of games with your opponent. Each game, play a new randomly chosen matchup. You'll go through all your characters before repeating. Must win with all 3 of your characters to win the match!
The way this mode works ensures there’s a lot of variety. You'll play an even spread of many matchups, rather than playing only the most unfair matchups, which is how it would work a standard counter-pick system. In our team battle though, it’s not about counterpicks. You’re best off picking your three best characters and enjoying the wide variety of matchups you’ll play with them.
Our point system is as simple as our lifebars: you get 1, 2, or 3 stars for winning, depending on if that win was the first, second, or third round of the tournament. You lose a star when you lose a match, unless you’re in bronze league. And once you reach diamond league, you no longer get a star for winning the first round of a tournament (but you still lose one for losing), which makes it very difficult to rank up through diamond. If you do, you reach a special master league that ditches the star system entirely and just straight up shows your actual ranking amongst all other master league players.
Visual Effects for Frame Advantage
Hold onto your hats because this is something that has never been in any fighting game before, ever. Really. Visual effects on every hit that show you if you recover first, or if your opponent does, and an idea of the magnitude too, based on how big the effect is. This is a very important concept in fighting games, but it's always been invisible until now.
You're likely to learn a lot by playing with these new effects. Try Setsuki's slide from far, medium, and close ranges. It's very safe / slightly safe / minus frames at those different distances. Valerie's B can be plus or minus frames depending on how you hit with it too. DeGrey's B -> A is very safe! His B -> B is really unsafe and his B -> C is unsafe too, but less-so. Now you can actually see all this all the time.
Here’s a few other examples of the frame advantage effects in action:
Practice Mode Improvements
Here’s the new display of frame data in practice mode:
Remember this dynamic frame data, meaning it’s computing the frame advantage on the fly, depending on exactly how you hit. The frame advantage numbers take into account if you hit early in your jump or late, if you hit with the very first active frames of an attack or the tail end, etc.
Also new in practice mode is a new UI for frame step mode that now allows controllers to use it. Just press L2 while in practice mode and the game will pause and turn frame step on. From here, you can press R2 to advance one frame, hold R2 to advance many frames continuously, and you can also hold various attack buttons, then press R2 in order to perfectly execute moves as you frame step. You can also do all this with keyboard, and default controls are listed at the top of the screen. You can change these buttons to anything else you want in button config, just switch to the “other controls” tab there to do it.
--Grave fireballs no longer go through the opponent when done from too close.
--Grave hold B fireball is no longer invulnerable at the end for no reason.
--Grave air super and ground super have real hitboxes now. This allows the ground super to occasionally armor break Midori’s Dragon’s C throw, rather than never. This situation won’t be fully fixed until Midori is upgraded to our new hitbox system.
--When Grave throws the opponent, his animation no longer slightly floats downward at the end.
--Grave has a new animation for throwing Rook specifically. Rook is extra heavy, so as a bit of polish, Grave struggles a little more when throwing him.
--Jaina’s head hitbox is now marked as “high” rather than “mid” in all frames of all her ground moves. This is to make block/hit effects look correct. For example, when she blocks Rook’s thunderclap, the spark now appears correctly near her head rather than incorrectly by her knees.
--Jaina has a new animation for throwing Rook specifically. Rook is extra heavy, so as a bit of polish, Jaina struggles a little more when throwing him.
--Jump forward/back A has a smaller vulnerable box on his feet, more how it used to be, so that he doesn’t have such a hard time jumping over projectiles.
--Air C has 14f more recovery when it doesn’t touch the opponent directly. This is because before, doing it over and over so quickly felt out of character for a big rock guy. If it knocks them down, the victim’s knockdown time is now 14f longer, so that the resulting situation is the same as before. (But if they jump to avoid the knockdown, Rook is more punishable now.)
--Thunderclap (back+A) now sucks in the victim a little bit, even from fullscreen. This changes quite a bit and especially helps him vs projectile characters. Also, there are new visual effects to convey this new property.
--Fixed a hitbox bug with the recovery of her ground super. She has some invulnerable frames there that are correctly marked with a white highlight, but she could have additional invulnerable frames for no reason in some cases. This fix makes it possible for DeGrey to block her super and hit back with his back+A ground punch, for example.
--Her neutral A doesn’t knock air opponents as high anymore. For a long time, she could hit air opponents with air A,A, then land and do neutral A, then threaten to cross-up or not with yellow (B). Then we fixed a bug with gravity on juggle hits a while ago that made this technique not work for her anymore. We’ve now specifically adjusted neutral A’s force against air opponents so the technique works again.
--Delayed Time Spiral (hold B) now has 7f more startup. While this is a nerf, the power level isn’t exactly the point. It’s more that in some matches, Geiger was better off doing the delayed version almost all the time, when it’s really supposed to be “sometimes”. Also, when his opponent guessed that he’d do the delayed version, it was a little too hard for some characters to actually hit him.
--When Geiger throws the opponent, he no longer slightly floats downward at the end.
--Geiger has a new animation for throwing Rook specifically. Rook is extra heavy, so as a bit of polish, Geiger struggles a little more when throwing him.
--All Setsuki’s moves have been updated to our new hitbox system. You might not notice, but this makes things subtly work better in various edge cases. Also, while we’re at it, priority is a lower on ground B’s first hit, and a little bit lower on divekicks and Flying Fox (air C).
--Super refill is now 11 seconds rather than about 9.25 seconds. This will slightly reduce how often she can do her standard 4-damage combo in an effort to at least barely bring down her power level.
--Air super’s invisibility now last much longer, 3.5 seconds -> 10 seconds. This helps the air super be useful enough that you’ll consider using it a little more, and also make it more realistic to sometimes parry a fullscreen projectile with it, specifically to activate the invisibility.
--Air B (kunai), the projectile itself can now be hit by strike attacks to destroy it. Keep in mind that trying to hit it will often not work because an attack’s vulnerable boxes might get hit before its attack boxes happen to overlap the kunai, but it is now at least possible to hit the kunai out of the air.
--The first of her B attack (when she’s invisible) no longer crosses up. It was never intentional that this move crossed up from close, and it was just too hard to reasonably block because of how fast it is and that she’s invisible during it.
--Fixed a bug where sometimes Setsuki’s upward trajectory Flying Move (the one you get when pressing C on the ground then C again) would sometimes wrongly come out while jumping.
--DeGrey’s clothes now move with cloth physics again. They used to do that, but an update to Unity ruined how it worked, then a later update to Unity has allowed us to add it back in, this time with a little better motion than before.
--When DeGrey successfully parries with his ground super, instead of instantly cutting to the cinematic where he hits you back, it now pauses with him highlighted green, so you can more clearly see the move he parried. This is how Grave and Setsuki's super parries work, so this change is just to make DeGrey's feel consistent with those (and it doesn't affect gameplay).
--Smoother animation transition when Midori goes from parrying an attack to his “I’m going to throw you” stance.
--Fixed a typo in the text that appears when you pick up Lum’s cake. Now says “+50% SUPER” rather than “+50 SUPER”.
--Using the B+C macro to pop the super bubble is now just as good as using the S button. Before, when coming out of the bubble summon animation you could instantly pop the bubble with S and also block, but if you used B+C in that situation you’d instantly pop the bubble but NOT block. Now, B+C to pop has two fixes that make blocking possible:
1) if you press B and C on almost but not exactly the same frame, whichever move you got one frame of will cancel, allowing you to block, and
2) if you press B+C and happen to hold the B (even just slightly), it will no longer cause the B fish to come out, ruining your block. Holding B usually makes a fish projectile come out at the earliest opportunity, but if the reason you’re holding B is specifically from a B+C super bubble pop, then it will not spit out a fish. (Release B and press or hold it again to spit a fish.)
--When your super meter fills up, there’s now a purple flash from your character’s eye to help you realize it happened.
--All characters now have footstep sounds. This is especially helpful for blind gamers, as the footsteps work with stereo sound.
--In survival mode, the “cruel 10” metal bosses now all have metal sound effects when you hit them, and it’s great.
--In the move list, the character name in the upper left is no longer way too huge accidentally.
--Going from "Solo" to the "Survival" submenu shows the screen fading in instead of instantly showing the new buttons.
--In survival mode, if you win a round by time out, you now get healed as usual.
--The survival VS screen (the one that has silhouettes on the right side) no longer accidentally shows particles of a character that isn’t even there, such as floating fire from Jaina or floating paint particles from Valerie.
--After manually quitting survival mode, you will no longer wrongly "resume" it after an online match.
--If you quit the tutorial when launching the game for the very first time since installing it, the main menu no longer fails to show a character.
--If you’re playing local versus mode, then you get an online match, the vs screen no longer sometimes wrongly shows characters from your local match as if they are the ones in the upcoming online match.
--When characters perform their win poses, they now do so from the center of the stage, rather than from wherever they were when they won. This prevents win pose animations from occasionally showing glitchy objects in front of characters when they were too near the edges of the stage when they won.
--When playing an online casual match, the versus screen now shows platform icons for each player (Steam is currently the only platform though).
--The armor break effect no longer makes hitpause shorter than usual on the victim (this was pretty noticeable for DeGrey’s B->B Tyrant Crusher.)
--Normal throw attempts no longer auto-correct their facing for no reason when you cross them up.
--Fixed a bug where the victim of a counterhit would be hit-paused for 1f longer than the attacker would be. Before, the frame data in practice mode didn’t match reality about who recovered first. The fix wasn’t to change the displayed frame data there though, it was effectively to make counterhit victims really recover 1f sooner (relative to the attacker) than before.
--AI characters are now a little better at jumping out of special throws.