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Dev Blog Post #1 - Aesthetics 
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First update by Geno, enjoy!!

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Hey guys, Geno here with SSF2's first ever dev blog update. Dev blogs are essentially developers giving you the inside scoop of what's happening for 0.8! There will be only five, one on each Sunday of this month. The first four being from developers from myself, and the final update, being from Cleod9 himself.

I bet you’re all wondering what today will be updated with? Well, I can proudly tell you that my main concern for v0.8 was, and still are the overall aesthetics of the game. If you don’t know what aesthetics are, allow me to break it down for you. Aesthetics are basically the overall look to the game, and how pleasing to the eye something is. It’s a department that SSF2 has been lacking in for quite some time now, but is finally being touched on for this demo. There are several things that fall under the ‘aesthetic’ category. They can range from Hit-Effects, to Smash Charge effects, Black Hole Bomb to PSI Magnet, and even stage moving backgrounds. I’m sure you get the idea by now, so let’s move into some actual changes, and some previews of what to expect.

General Aesthetics


So, you know those little flashes and blasts that show up when you land an attack on an opponent? Those are called ‘Hit-Effects’, and until now they’ve been sprited. Well, I’m proud to announce that for v0.8 and onwards, these sprited effects will be swapped for Flash generated, smooth and crisp effects. Being flash generated, their resolution is practically infinite, and you have many more customization options, such as glow, and opacity.

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Tid and I are trying our hardest to have all of the older Hit-Effects replaced for the newer ones before v0.8 is released, but it’s still uncertain if we’ll meet the deadline. Worst-case scenario would be v0.8 having a mix of both, which isn’t so bad. Effects like knockback dust, shields and smash balls are also taking on a different look for demo v0.8.

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There are plenty of other universal changes, but I’ll give you the pleasure of figuring those out as you play v0.8.


Character Aesthetics


Some characters have special Hit-Effects, like Sora, for example. These effects are no exception, and are getting Flash generated effects as well, to replace them. Whenever Sora slashes with his keyblade, a signature star-like Hit-Effect pops up. That was redone, and brought up to SSF2's Hit-Effect standard.

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Lloyd, and other SSF2 crew members have special Hit-Effects as well, so be on the lookout for those upgrades when you crack open SSF2, v0.8.

While we’re on the topic of Flash generated effects, I would like to let you all know that they aren’t limited to Hit-Effects. Characters like Ness, for example, who has flashy PK moves will also be touched on, visually.

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I feel like these additions to the characters make them feel less like they’re sprites slapped into the game, and more like a real character. Another thing I added to all characters, which was painstaking and done by hand, was a simple but useful addition I like to call ‘Emphasis Stretching’. When used properly, it can make a move feel much more powerful, and make moves easier to connect with, thus easier to combo into. There isn't an easy way to show a screenshot of what I mean, so you’ll just have to see for yourself.


Stage Aesthetics


Characters aren’t the only things that got upgraded via Flash, though. Stages now feel alive, as if you were indeed playing a smash brothers game. A lot of the stages new to SSF2 are great examples of that, but since they can’t be shown here for obvious reasons, let’s brush on a stage that has been lacking ever since it’s inclusion in demo v0.1a. Battlefield. Our brilliant stage designer Tid, inspired by the recent Flash activity, decided to take the opportunity to give battlefield a time change mechanic, as you may have noticed from the aesthetic screenshots above. What was already a beautiful stage is now perfected.

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It truly completes the stage, and paired with new aesthetics, really gives the feel of a smash game. While we’re on the subject of stages, I feel it only fitting to also tell you about the revamp of stage hazards, and making stages in general have a more overall complete feeling. Moving backgrounds are unsubstantial, but making the stage feel active is something that is important to the dev base. Hazards need to be hazardous, hence the name. So for example, upon arrival of the Tower of Salvation stage, you also became acquainted with the Yggdrassil hazard, who would float onto the stage occasionally, doing one of four moves. It was nothing to fear though, because the moves weren’t all intimidating, and were hard to be hit by. For v0.8, I made sure to take care of that.

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Clearly he’s much more of a threat this time around. Not only does it look much nicer visually, hit boxes were increased, range was increased, and it more or less covers the entire stage. This, SSF2 fans, is the standard of what a hazard is, and should be, from now on in SSF2. This is true for most other stage hazards as well for v0.8, and even some existing stages will be getting some unexpected surprises.



Item based Aesthetics


I’m also looking at Assist Trophies, and their visual effects. Assist Trophies should get the same care that characters do, and as such should get the same time put into them as the character’s effects. Things like Starfy getting his glow from brawl, or making the Death Note AT number countdown more menacing really add to the personality of each Assist Trophy.

This holds true for Pokémon as well. I wanted Pokémon to feel special, just like characters and Assist Trophies, but I also wanted them to stick out. I noticed that most, if not all Pokémon have a strong lack of pizazz, and that is something I planned on correcting. Lots of Pokémon got the v0.8 magic touch, and I hope you’ll enjoy them.


General complaints: Addressed


A common complaint about SSF2 over the years concerned the size of the sprites in relevance to the stage. The sprites always seemed small, or the stage too big. I can announce with much joy that that issue is finally resolved in demo v0.8. Characters were measured with an exact formula relative to brawl characters, and now all have fitting sizes. JUS is no longer the base of measurement, and is no longer the standard of quality for SSF2. Here is an example:

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Not only does this appeal much more, graphically, it paves the way for diverse combos. Larger characters, larger hitboxes. It makes landing a 10 hit combo feel that much better.

Remember how I said that JUS isn’t the standard of quality for SSF2 anymore? That doesn’t only apply to sizes; it counts for the sprites themselves as well. It’s not simply Ichigo from JUS, or Lloyd from Tales of the World. We are making sure to take special care in making sure that we produce the sprites ourselves. I’m sure you all remember Link’s old idle, which was no more than a pixel shift mash up? Things like that are being taken care of.

Image -> Image


That new idle you see is more or less the new standard for SSF2. Will all animations be of that caliber for v0.8? Sadly, no. Probably not even for v0.9, but we as a team will make sure to update as we see fit, and will hit the problem areas early on.

Does that mean every character is getting a sprite change? Certainly not, but what it does mean, is that those repeated animations that have plagued you fans over the years are finally being eradicated. Whether or not all of them will be removed by 0.8 is still uncertain, but I can guarantee to you, that you will see an obvious change. I just thought you would all like some food for thought.

Another qualm that has been following SSF2 since v0.1a, is finally getting attention. This area that's finally getting recognition, would be those unsightly Charge Bars. There have never been Charge Bars in any Smash Bros game, and it always just seemed to look a little silly. We recognize this now, and are taking special care to remove them completely, from SSF2. Just think, did Ike in SSBB need a Charge Bar to tell you when he was almost done? No way! You automatically knew. Well, characters in v0.8 no longer have this issue. Take a look at Lloyd’s Demon Fang, sparkled up by Tid.

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As you can see here, his Flamberge flashes white, then glows red, signaling that a Demon Fang is on it's way.

It’s a pretty good feeling, knowing that SSF2 is moving in a direction that it’s never moved before. Something you play and say “Hmm, that looks nice”, instead of “Oh, I remember those sprites from JUS”. SSF2 is slowly but surely developing it’s own style, and is becoming it’s own game. The devs are itching to get this demo out to you all, and can’t wait for reactions from the fans.

That’s it for my dev blog this time, and I hope you all enjoyed the information I’ve shared with you about the upcoming demo. I’ve been working hard to bring you what you see here today, and the special surprises you’ll see in v0.8. Next Sunday, you get to hear from TSON, who has been pouring almost all of his attention into refining SSF2's engine. See you next time!

>These screenshots are of a demo in development, and that anything you see here is subject to change<

_________________
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JUDGE ME

~Engaged to Lucina~


Void: genose goes
Dr.Geno: bye
Tid: genose you finally got a new handle
Void: *touches geno*
Void: *touches geno's nose*


Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:06 am
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