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Developer Vlog #8: First Eight Character Archetypes, Revealed

Characters in a fighting game can typically be categorized under different archetypes based on their playstyle. In the video, Jason reveals the first eight archetypes that will fill out the Wavedash roster, and details why we chose them as the first batch.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks to see more about each archetype, including a progress report on Ashani and our take on the iconic "space animal."

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Developer Vlog #7: Analog vs Digital Inputs, and what it means for Lightshielding

Many platform fighters have a "shielding" mechanic, which the player uses to guard against incoming attacks. Some of these shielding mechanics make use of analog inputs to give much finer control. Many modern gaming controllers, however, don't have analog inputs on the buttons used for shielding, and keyboards have no analog options at all. What does this mean for a modern platform fighter?

In this week's developer vlog, Jason shares how we're approaching shields to keep their complexity of play, but still make them compatible with modern controllers.

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A New Fighter Approaches

Wavedash Games is excited to announce that Adam "Strong Bad" Oliver is joining our team as a character designer!

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Adam is best known for his contributions to the most successful console mod of all time, and he’s joining the Wavedash team to help bring platform fighters to every street, stream and stadium. His talents as a competitor, experience as a tournament host, and engagement with the community make Adam uniquely qualified to build out a fun and competitive character roster.

At Wavedash, our mission is to support the entire community in everything it does. Adam helped redefine “developer support” for platform fighters, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to push that even further.

You can find Adam on Twitter at @Strong_Badam. Join us in welcoming him to Wavedash!

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What we learned from the first Wavedash AMA

Four months into development we have all the trappings of a platform fighter: normal attacks, specials, shields, grabs, ledges, wavedashing, and all the mechanics in between that make platform fighters the best eSport to watch. With several key design crossroads approaching, we were just missing one thing: the community's feedback.

Last Thursday we held the first-ever Wavedash AMA on /r/smashbros, and we were amazed and humbled by the response. Players shared hundreds of questions and ideas ranging from game mechanics to character design, while Jason and Matt pulled back the curtain on the game's roadmap.

The thread is packed with insight, both in our progress and what the community wants to see. We recommend reading the whole thing, but of course not everyone has time for perusing 900 replies. To help, we gathered the most popular questions below.

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Community Council, Pt. 3: The Creators

Creating is hard. Whether you’re a painter, a programmer or an eSports startup, going from zero to one requires hard work, strong vision and incredible tenacity.

This is true for any form of content: YouTube videos, stream casting, modding, and even game development. For the Community Council, we have players and builders already on our side; we knew we needed creators as well, guiding the game in its earliest stages.

To do that, we grabbed some of the most transformative figures in the Platform Fighter community.

Meet the Creators

Video Game Boot Camp (VGBC)

In order to become a spectator sport, you need spectators. Just ask Calvin “GimR” and Matthew “Aposl” Lofton, the brothers behind the #1 Platform Fighter channel: Video Game Boot Camp.

Originally conceived in 2009 as a YouTube series to help players improve, VGBC discovered there was a market for high quality gaming content. GimR and Aposl transformed VGBC into an event and media production company, founding the weekly Xanadu tournament series and packaging their streaming solution for large events. This marriage of content creation and professional production grew them to more than 30 million views on Twitch.

The Loftons and their team played a critical role in the growth of Platform Fighters, and their partnership with Wavedash is the next step in that evolution. VGBC brings their streaming and video skills, as well as deep insight into what creates a game’s most exciting moments.

Watch their work on display this week as the Pound Series makes its triumphant return.

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Taylor "Warchamp7" Giampaolo

As head admin of Smashboards, a producer and stream director for Canadian-based eSports organization ESChamp, and a respected member of the modding scene, Taylor “Warchamp7” Giampaolo has driven massive growth across the whole Platform Fighter genre.

Warchamp first came across the world of competitive gaming in 2006, and his immediate reaction was to buy a capture card to record his practice. Nearly ten years later, he now boasts experience running large scale events, livestream production, web development, video editing, and modding. He knows all the connective tissue necessary for growing a game alongside a community.

What do you think?

This isn’t the first time VGBC and Warchamp have teamed up, but it will be the biggest. They are already positively influencing our game prototype, and you can read about its progress by following us on Twitter, where we’ve begun sharing our commit messages. Swing by, watch our progress, and tweet at us – and if you see the Loftons or Taylor at an event, ask them if they Wavedash.

 

 

 

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Community Council: The Builders

When you gaze around the room in any platform fighter event, you see the pros and their throngs of fans, the casual players grinning at their first tournament, and of course setup after setup, each crammed with competitors. There are also those who you don’t see – those whose work happens between events, those who tirelessly grow the scene, and those who live behind the curtain of the main stage.

As we sought the best and brightest for our Community Council, we knew we needed those voices as well. Today we'd like you to meet Arda and Sesh, the community builders who are shaping development.

Meet the builders

Arda “Ish” Aysu
Arda is quietly everywhere. Starting in New Jersey with the release of Super Smash Bros: Brawl, he relentlessly advanced the metagame for his favorite character, Wolf, both in his local scene and through online forums. Along the way, Arda learned Brawl backwards and forwards, eventually leading ambitious community projects such as the character match-up chart.

With the release of Smash 4, Arda has shifted his attention towards encouraging new players and tournament organizers to build a lively local scene in his current region, NorCal. Arda’s extensive knowledge of the more recent platform fighters makes him a powerful complement to the more Melee-focused members of the Council.

Sesh “Sesh” Evans
As a passionate competitor and an advocate for women in the scene, Sesh works tirelessly to grow the platform fighter community for everyone. To Sesh, helping new players join the scene is the best way to create diversity, strength and solidarity within the community. She knows the game is competitive at all levels – especially high levels. But for beginners, it's more about playing rather than just winning. Everyone has to start from somewhere.

Plus, Sesh literally knows how to put on a show. A film industry veteran, she sees gaming as a media production designed to delight the viewing audience. As eSports continues to drive a collision between videogames and media production, folks like Sesh are critical to creating experiences that engage both players and spectators.

eSports Are About the Players

Companies don’t build eSports. Players do. Arda and Sesh, along with Charlie and Hugo, have spent years building their respective communities, crafting them into grassroots engines that grow all on their own. This time around, we’ll see what they can do with full developer support behind them.

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Smash 64’s Re-Emergence Means Big Things For Platform Fighters

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It’s fitting that a tournament named Genesis would set the stage so well for the next era of Platform Fighters. Much has been written about the historic tournament series, which helped revitalize competitive Smash in 2009. By all accounts, the third installment set a new bar for grassroots tournaments. This time, it also hinted at just how high that bar can go.

We went to Genesis to learn more about how a new Platform Fighter can break into the tournament scene. We wanted to know how players train, why they chose that particular game, and what drives them to attend tournaments in the first place. With the genre poised to break out in 2016, what will it take for a new title to join the giants, Melee and Smash 4?

We found one answer in a surprising place: the original Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64.

The Smash 64 Moment

At 238 entrants, Smash 64's Genesis 3 event stands alongside the largest Melee tournaments up through 2013. By comparison, in 2011 the Smash 64 tournament at Genesis 2 had just 22 players. We wanted to find out what was motivating players to turn out in spades.

We expected many of the Smash 64 players we spoke with to say they came to see Isai, and indeed many players cited the reclusive legend as what inspired them to get into competitive 64. With Genesis 3 happening on Isai’s home turf, we knew he would drive turnout. (We even designed our wristbands after his famous advice.) However, the previous Genesis was also held in the Bay Area, and didn’t see nearly the same turnout.

When we asked what prompted players to attend this tournament, the most common answer was “the community.” There is a pervasive sense that the community is just getting started, thanks to the meticulous efforts of sites like onlinessb.com. An official Genesis 3 crowdfunding campaign flew out some of the best Japanese players, and a grassroots player fund raised an additional $3,300 to bring players from Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Australia and Canada.

With their Hori controllers in hand, Smash 64 fans told us origin stories of witnessing the game, through YouTube videos or in person, played at a much higher level than they thought possible. A thriving online platform allows players to spar even if they don’t have a local partner, and online tournaments regularly break 150 entrants. 

Players cited Smash 64’s approachability, relative to Melee, alongside the feeling that the competitive scene was just starting to hit its stride. These players relished the chance to ramp up their skills and compete on a new stage.

With Smash 64 joining Melee and Smash Wii U, we witnessed three thriving, but very different, Platform Fighters celebrating their communities at Genesis. Each Smash game at Genesis was as distinct as Street Fighter from Mortal Kombat, with unique strategies and play styles that appeal to very different players.

There was a time that the Smash community believed just one game could support a competitive scene at a time. We’ve proven that to be false. Our community has grown to cherish the different nuances of each game, from the acrobatics of Melee to the daisychained finishers of Smash 64

As we look to see just how big Platform Fighters can get, the dazzling attendance numbers of Melee and Smash Wii U lead the way, but Smash 64 proves this is a long term, sustainable trend. As new entries join the fray, the audience – and the genre – will flourish.

Huge thanks to everyone who chatted with us at Genesis. We have a lot more to share.

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Community Makes The Best Games

Today we want to introduce you to a team that helps us stay true to the community. The fittingly named Community Council is a formal body of players teaming up with us to shape the game we all want to play.

The Council includes leading minds from throughout the community. We’re proud to announce two of the seven members today – two players you’ll probably see a lot of on stream this weekend. 

Announcing Our First Council Members

Hugo "HugS" Gonzalez – We were eyeing Hugo for our dream team from the moment we started the project. An active smasher since 2004, his relentless work ethic earned him a top-20 MIOM ranking in 2015, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Charles “Cactuar” Meighen – The game moves in slow motion for Charles, a.k.a. Cactuar, a.k.a. Cactus. The 10-year Melee veteran combines a deep knowledge of the game’s mechanics with detailed research in competitive psychology, which have made him one of the most respected coaches in the scene.

HugS and Cactuar help us spot the hidden nuances that drive high level tournament play, and to better understand the implications of a wide range of design decisions.

We’re excited to share the remaining Council members in coming weeks, along with content directly resulting from their involvement. Follow our trip to Genesis at @WeWavedash, and wish Cactus and HugS luck.

Time to run off to our pools!

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