Friday, May 28, 2010

Venue Change Impressions

With the continued growth of Wednesday Night Fights, there had been some talk of expanding the time slot to accommodate the increasing number of participants. When I first started hosting Fight Nights, space and time were not an issue, mainly because we rarely had more than 6-8 players at one time. However, as we've started attracting more and more players, we started to see averages of 12-16 players weekly. Unfortunately, due to the relatively small size of the venue, we could not comfortably have more than 4-5 setups going, and people were not getting to play as much as they'd like. Two hours is plenty when you have less than 10 people, but once the number hit over a dozen, it's not quite enough time.

       I attempted to negotiate more play time with the venue, and made some suggestions. Unfortunately, we were unable to come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement, and I started looking for an alternate venue. I had noticed that Hastings, a retailer in my area, had an open space in its store that used to be a cafe. It had more room, tables and seating, and enough power outlets for use. I set up a meeting with the store manager, and was pleased to find out that he was excited about having Hastings as a venue for the Fight Nights.

 Well, this past Wednesday we had our first Fight Night at the new venue, and I am pleased to report that we had a great turnout. 22 players in total, with 7 setups going at once. Feedback after the session was consistently positive, with most players appreciating the extra space and additional time. Plus hey, there was a couch to chill in! Hopefully, we can maintain the growth of the event, and we plan to start holding tourneys and ranbats in the coming months. 

So here we are, starting fresh in a new place, with some new faces, and many familiar ones. I hope that things stay positive in the new place, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the scene grows after this change. In the meantime, we'll keep playing and leveling up. Many thanks to Lycan, Sev, Squabbler, eraser, Duckie, Cylus, pJan, FlyMike, Bishop, Krit, Wootsick, Bryce, Semosh, Sunstone, Gouken dude, Matt and everyone else who was there. If I don't know or misspelled your name, I apologize. And if you happened to be a participant in any of the Fight Nights, thank you. We couldn't have done it without you.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rufus, a Study in Character Design

"FuriousJodo wrote: 

I'll never main her, but I am totally obsessed with her (Chun Li) as a character for some reason.

Hiryu02 wrote: 

I'm like this about Rufus, for some reason."

 With the release of Super, I notice that I've been playing Rufus more and more. I wasn't a big fan of his in vanilla, mainly because he was considered to be OP, given the amount of damage he was able to put out, especially in conjunction with his easy-to-combo Ultra. Now due to the across-the-board damage nerf the entire cast received in Super, Rufus went from doing ridiculously high damage to only doing somewhat-high damage. Personally, I'm thrilled. I feel that it makes playing him require more effort, and you actually have to land stuff more than twice in a round to win it. But that's a discussion for another time, I digress. 

Anyway, I'm really beginning to appreciate the design that went into his character. I will be honest, and tell you that I'm not a big fan of his default costume, but I really love his first alternate. I think it's mainly because I can't figure out what the hell he's supposed to be wearing in his default outfit. Some kind of riding suit or something? His alternate outfit has more cool touches, I think, even with the pigtails. For example, take the "Wu" kanji on the back. Wu is the Chinese symbol that stands for "martial", as in martial arts or a martial way. I feel that it strongly fits his personality, and his backstory, which describes that he taught himself Kung-Fu by watching martial arts movies and reading kung-fu books! He also supposedly traveled through China to see the different Kung-Fu styles, and reinforce what he had learned.

I also notice more and more little details, like the way he shakes his head, Bruce Lee-style, after landing a palm thrust. The way he holds his hands when he does a cr mk, or the little light-footed shuffle he does when Spectacle Romance is blocked. Or even just the way he lands from a back throw. Little things, I know, but they add so much. Rufus isn't a character that looks good in still images, one has to see him in motion to really grasp the fluidity of his movement.

I especially like the Snake Strike animation. He leaps, stabbing furiously with each limb, and yet manages to land like a ballerina from a triple axel. Again, now that I pay attention, I see the multiple styles blended in his own, as befits his self-taught martial way. Bajiquan, Tai Chi, Snake style, Baguazhang, and more.

Of course, his effusive, motor-mouthed personality is great too. Win quotes that are so long you can't read them before they go away. Or the hilarious gestures and movements in his Rival cutscenes. I used to hate the fat man, but now I have a strange new appreciation of his design. 

Now I'm aware that the Rufus we see today is very far from the original idea for his character. He was originally supposed to be a slender black guy with a shaved head, wearing the "pimp gi" outfit that is now Ken's first alternate costume. He was going to be called "King Cobra" and was going to use a blend of breakdancing and kung-fu as a fighting style. However, at some point during the development process, one of the art directors suggested making him fat, an idea that the main designer (Daigo Ikeno) liked. Eventually, the design changed so much it bore almost no similarity to the original work. I'll be honest, at first I was totally turned off by the character and the grotesqueness of his physique. But over time, I've come to appreciate the originality of the design. 

It took me the entire life-span of the first game to realize this, but Rufus is a damn good character. Belatedly, my hat's off to you, Capcom.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

SSFIV Hitbox Data

Hey guys, if you are always hungry to learn more about Super, you really need to head over to eventhubs and check out the links to hitbox data for all the characters.

Why is hitbox data important? Well, once you understand how to interpret the images, the data can tell you a LOT about how attacks interact with each other. For example, did you know that certain jumping punch attacks make your lower section invincible to fireballs? Which is why sometimes it looks like someone's legs should have been hit out of the air by a hadouken, yet somehow manages to avoid it.

It's something you may want to browse through, there are some surprises in there.
Links and main article are here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Six months later.

In opening, I'd like to apologize for not having updated for the past few months. Many things have happened, Super came out, tourneys went down, salt was dropped. It's been quite eventful.

Another reason I hadn't been updating was because I felt other websites like eventhubs and iplaywinner, did a much better job of posting up news bits. I didn't want to just repost content from other sites, so I stopped doing that. Not to mention, it's not like a million people browse this site, so if I didn't have something, I'm not depriving anyone of info.

In the meantime, I'm glad to report that Wednesday Night Fights has grown beyond my expectations. From a small group of 5-6 regulars, we have been pulling an average of 12-15 players at every gathering. We've had great turnouts at the tournament's we've run, and many local players who had not enjoyed vanilla SF4 are now playing a LOT of Super SF4. All in all, the scene is looking nice and healthy now.

Of course, the scene is nothing without the players. I'd like to thank the regulars that first formed the core of the Fight Nights, without whom I'm sure I'd still be spamming EX TT and other online-only shenanigans. Lycan, Sev, Squabbler, Eraser, Duckie and Cylus, thank you.

Of course I can't leave out FlyMike, whose mid-game commentary has both spectators and opponents rolling. Bishop, Shinblade, Big Majin and Lil Majin, it's always good to see you guys at gatherings and tourneys, especially now that it seems you guys are having fun with Super.

I've seen some awesome things in these six months. I saw Lil Majin and Cylus battle it out tooth and nail for the grand final at the first Fight Night tourney. The disbelief at Lil Majin getting taken out at the next tourney. The same one in which wootsick comes out from nowhere to take the top spot, beating out Cylus in a brutal throwdown. Desperation Ultras actually connecting. Mental guards being shattered. Players dominating, and in turn getting dominated. New game, new characters, new players, new matchups.

In closing, I'm happy to report that the local scene seems to have been revitalized, and it feels like it's steadily growing. Also, through the generosity of Sev, I'm actually going to EVO this year with several of the regulars. That ought be be fun to write about. Anyway, I'll try and keep this blog more relevant, and try to actually post stuff of interest. Don't be surprised if I do a retro arcade game review or something. But for now, I'm concentrating on SF4. I picked up a new main after all. There is much to learn, and a long road ahead.