One-Dimensional Mechanics in Fighting Games (And How to Fix Them) | Video Essay -

One-Dimensional Mechanics in Fighting Games (And How to Fix Them) | Video Essay

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This video essay discusses certain fighting game mechanics that struggle in terms of depth, and how they could be improved (or if they should be removed).
Thanks to everyone in the discord server for discussing and providing Ideas for discussion points in this video, and thank you especially to UmbraRuby for addressing me to the the topic of L cancelling, and thank you to Derfla for providing the Smash bros. Melee footage!
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Twitter: @NecropolisMemer
Eddventure’s Biweekly Brawl Tournament Series Discord:


  1. It really feels like arguments to keep L-cancelling as extra complex only exist to stroke medium tier players' egos (as it gives them a substantial advantage over beginners). In a high level of play, simplifying the mechanic has no real impact as high level players have close to a 99% hit rate with using it. As people have said, the time taken to master L-cencelling would just go into a different mechanic.

    Also, do people seriously think L-cancelling and parrying are similar dimensional mechanics? Because the SEVERAL differences were IMMEDIATELY obvious to me.

  2. L canceling sucks, but its not toootally one dimensional, it does add some depth. It adds a new layer of interaction between the two players, defenders can mix up their positioning to throw off L cancel timing. This buffs shield tilting, powershielding, late dash, etc

  3. Blazblue Centralfictions Overdrive Super is hot garbage. There have been rounds where i just get executed for free because i got 4 buttons pressed on me twice.

  4. DBFighterz is a good example of a 1-dimensional mechanic in a way that is covered well by the Granblue Versus example.
    It requires a lot of setup, holding onto 7 bars for some stupid reason, and landing a basic autocombo. While it adds hype to casual games between two newbies, it's so hard to even think of achieving that it's better to just ignore the mechanic outright.

  5. Is L-Cancelling even an actual mechanic or just one of those things thats in melee because it was overlooked

  6. Project+ did not add the auto L-Cancel system. That was actually a Project M thing. I think it did introduce the ability to show a character flash white if you did the l-cancel input with the right timing while still retaining the automated system, just to let you know that you got the timing right for a manual l-cancel.

    Project+ is effectively a spiritual successor to Project M, so it definitely builds upon what Project M started.

  7. There actually are times you don't want to L cancel. Only when you're edge cancelling aerials because you don't want to accidentally air dodge, that's it. Iwould be pretty happy if L cancelling was automatic though. It's part of the reason I unironically like Slap City. My friends are closer to my skill level because they don't need to remember to L cancel

  8. I wish I'd seen this before I bought the game. I got lured into a subpar fighting game by pretty graphics. And If Id just waited for their RPG I could have the pretty graphics without the subpar fighting game

  9. 7:01 do keep in mind that L canceling is a glitch, not an intended mechanic. While the point is valid I really can't figure out how the developers were supposed to account for a mechanic that they didn't even know existed.

  10. Now if he had talked about the clutch button from Slap City as an example of a good mechanic

    we'd be here all day because it's a great addition to a plataform fighter

  11. For GG Strive if they still want a system like Danger Time for hype they i reckon they could make it so when two moves clash, there is a chance there will be a clash battle between the two characters (like in the end of the REV 2 opening) and a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors starts. The winner winning the clash battle with some damage and meter. Everyone knows how to play Rock, Paper, Scissors and with the visuals of Strive it could really good for spectators too!

  12. Mythra's foresight is a bad mechanic in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

  13. The breakaway and armor break mechanic in MK11 is not necessarily one-dimentional, but it is quite a bad mechanic. The fact that you can just deny your opponent's combo and even sometimes whiff punishing your opponent just for trying combo you because you wake up so fast is insane. It is good that they gave you the option to armor break and punish opponent for breaking away but some characters have unusable armor breaks while some have godlike ones, which largely affects some characters.

  14. When I first started playing fighting games, it was with SF4. I really hated the ultra system in it at the time, but with hindsight I can now see that it's leagues better than Granblue Versus meter system. Ultras could also be cheesy invincible reversal moves that just took a chunk off your life bar, but they had so many more applications than that. Which ultra do you take? Do you go ultra W because you really want the options? Do you spend the meter to improve your combo's damage even though it'll scale hard, or save it so you can use it raw as a solution to one of your opponents tools?

    It's a shame, but I don't think GBVS's meter system will be changing. I play the mobile game and it's pretty clear to me they made the meter system as limiting as it was in VS to make it a more… "authentic" experience.

  15. Danger time I don’t have a problem with for the same reason as you actually. I dislike danger time for an entirely different reason than randomness. I think randomness is ok as a concept, but I don’t like the specific way that danger time is implemented. I think it’s a mechanic designed to increase rewards of interactions that simultaneously severely decreases both players’ incentives to interact by making the punishment for getting hit so severe without giving either player the tools to do much with the opening. Most of the time in top or high level play I see both players camp as soon as DT starts, so I feel like it doesn’t achieve its goals.

  16. Nah you got it wrong, pro smash players aren't getting hand pain because of L-cancelling. They're getting hand pains because they're using those garbage outdated piece of trash gamecube controllers that literally have no advantage over newer controllers other than an octagonal gate for the joysticks. Those controllers have the worst triggers I've ever had the displeasure of using. They nearly gave me carpel tunnel, and I had to go to the doctor to get it checked out. That argument is so illogical, just think about any other game played on a controller, stick, or keyboard and mouse, there are so many games that have the same APM as melee, yet it's so rare to find players that suffered from carpel tunnel syndrome from playing those games.

    The issue is 100% in those garbage controllers and have nothing to do with L-cancelling.

  17. A common argument for L-cancelling I hear is that the defender can tilt their shield up or down to offset the offenders L-cancel timing and get better frame advantage. In this way, L-cancelling is more like a 1.5 dimensional mechanic, and even then, shield tilting is the mechanic doing the interesting part of the interaction.

  18. I understand what you're saying about L-canceling and I don't disagree about it's one dimensionality in gameplay.

    But when you say it detracts from the overall game experience, ultimately that's just your opinion. What I like about Melee is that it's arbitrarily hard, that I get to press so many buttons and have to if I want to excel at the game.

    It reminds me of the argument around Starcraft 1 and Starcraft 2 and the difference in your ability and the difficulty involved in controlling your army (only being able to select up to 12 units at a time vs being able to select as many units as you have produced).

  19. Why not get rid of meters and have a limit to how many times you could use a super. I know it sounds dumb but if you have skills, you can work around it while the lesser players can learn to get good overtime.

    I don't know if there's a player who never used supers in a competitive game but it could be a beautiful start of non reliance

  20. Under Night has one of the most interesting and fun system mechanics in fighting games. Managing your meter AND your GRD bar is super rewarding. You can spend meter to try and snatch the cycle at the last second, but it also leaves you vulnerable. Winning the cycle gives you a damage buff (Vorpal) and access to Chain Shift, sort of like an RC that also converts your current GRD back into meter. It also lets you dead angle or veil off (like a burst) without breaking your GRD, but it forces you out of Vorpal. You can also gain GRD by Shielding moves instead of blocking – but if your opponent hits you while shielding you get your GRD broken and lose the cycle + access to your D button uses. It creates this really fun back and forth between players and it's honestly a huge reason why the game stuck with me

  21. finally somebody talks about how stupid l-cancelling is

  22. L-cancel in the context of Melee's meta (and by extension, Project M, since the more execution-heavy characters are more or less the same there) works as a mechanic because it's a physical limit on what even extremely high level players are able to do with spacies. Sure, it's not a very fun mechanic to learn and i don't think any new platform fighters should include it as is, but Fox's pressure would get even more batshit insane if he didn't have to do an arbitrary, somewhat controllable skill check every time he hit the ground (which he does, a lot)

  23. I agree with your points on L-canceling. It’s an arbitrary mechanic that artificially inflates melee’s difficulty and murders hands. Rip Hax$ hands.

  24. Fighting game documentary lovers see Eddventure:
    "We will watch your career with great interest"

  25. I’m a fighting game baby, but this is intriguing!

  26. Given enough time l canceling just becomes muscle memory and the effects on the players hands arent exclusively caused by l canceling, while I do see where youre coming from about l canceling being annoying, its an integral part of what makes melee melee. Not to mention if hand pains are a problem, theres solutions like the boxx and other tourney legal controller options to pick from

  27. Iirc Slap city and added their own fix to L-cancelling. Originally it existed, but then they just halved all landing lag and made it so that L-cancelling affected your landing momentum conservation instead. Granted last I watched it was still the best decision 90% of the time.

  28. L cancelling has a risk, if you miss input it your fucked

  29. But I mean, Lca celling is an exploit right ? Not a designed thing

  30. Look homie I’m no smash player, however why is removing a mechanic that makes the game faster through execution a good thing? Korean back dash is also a mechanic that makes the game quicker, is much better than any form of backwards movement, and “has no downsides”. It’s hard to do, but once you unlock it the game is much more interesting for it, and like L canceling, if I’m not mistaken it’s an unintended exploit as well. Any way my question is would you advocate for the removal of KBD from tekken or plink dashing from marvel?

  31. I don't think the super bar in Granblue is a bad thing in the context of the game itself. The whole game is supposed to be simple and build for those who just got into fighting games so making mechanics one dimensional fits the game very well.

    I would even argue your argument for "it passively builds in the background" is the best part of it in the game itself. For new players to the genre where you're still practicing basic executions or the concept of footsies, having a simple meter mechanics is a good thing.

    I would say the same about the argument that most of them are very similar. Granblue's mechanics are designed simple on purpose and it is executed very well.

  32. I definitely agree with you about L-cancelling, but if I remember correctly there is a niche risk vs. reward payoff that sometimes comes into effect when L-cancelling. Teching in melee, (An invaluable knockdown option) is performed by pressing L, R or Z within a few frames before hitting the ground, in order to add a skill check, the game will not check L, R, or Z presses within a certain window of each other to hit the tech, so spamming won't work for teching. These buttons used to tech are also the same as the ones used to L-cancel, and will trigger the lockout. Thus if I go for an ariel and attempt to L-cancel it, but whiff and get punished within that window, I am now locked out of teching for a set ammount of time, and an opponent who knows this can use it to get a jab-reset on me. This is a very niche micro application however, and I agree that the game would benefit with its removal.

  33. I'm no expert, but to me it seems like that Grandblue's Skybound gauge is practically identical to Super Turbo's super meter. The only real difference I can see is that ST's supers are diverse in function compared to Grandblue, even if they are basically the characters using their special moves a couple times.
    I don't really have a point with this, I just think it's kinda funny that the two mechanics are nearly identical and yet the simple lack of diversity in Grandblue turns a mechanic from Super Turbo that people like (or at least something people don't seem to complained about), into something very disliked and seems to actively detract from the game itself

  34. Dolphin Emulator also has an Auto L cancel option in the AR Codes menu

  35. L-Cancelling is dumb. I havent played a lot of fighting games in-depht (Have play skullgirls, SF, Jojos, DBZF, RoA, Smash, ect) so i cant give am example.of a mechanic thats is really BAAAAAD.
    BUT i will try.

    Smash Ult buffer system is polemic. At the start of the game it cause accidental rolls after airdogdes.
    I like the inclusion, but it would be good a reduction in the buffer.

  36. in Rivals Of Aether they replaced l canceling with Hitfalling where if you press down as soon as you hit an attack, you can cancel all endlag and fall at the max of your speed, at the downside of making it more risky to use it in the air since you can just fall to your doom if you do it offstage

  37. My favorite execution check in a game is playing as Setsuka/aPat in the Soul Series (soul blade, soul edge, souls calibur 1-6).

    In SCV, for example, Alpha Patroklos is very intentionally designed to be at the top of the tier list. BUT at the cost of git gud.

    What makes aPat the best in SCV are the various safe on block and plus on block attacks, high damage low meter combos (without the use of a wall or meter you have options to hit confirm into 50% + damage combos with attacks that are very safe on block), safe block strings and pressure to break someone’s guard, etc etc. just a LOT of ways to apply pressure and damage that theoretically there is no counter to.

    And this is all fair because of the high level of execution required to pull this off compared to someone like Nightmare (IMO the easiest character execution wise to play).

    He has several just frame attacks. And the more high damaging combos require a great deal of just frame attacks with different timings to be pulled off.

    Many of these combos become INSANELY unsafe when they’re dropped because a player didn’t do the just frame correctly.

    E.g. 2143 [aB], 2143 [aB] is a combo (and combo ended) with insanely fast start up. If you don’t input the half pretzel motion nor the aB fast enough you get the slightly slower version with less damage and reach and the combo doesn’t work. And this gives the opponent a free combo because of the massive end lag for that move.

    For the just frame to work the move needs to be done as fast as possible. So…
    Frame 1: 2
    Frame 2: 1
    Frame 3: 4
    Frame 4: 3+a
    Frame 5: B
    Then near the end of that you actually have to buffer the 214 part of the move so you’re pressing 3+a on the first frame you can act, and then B on the very next frame.

    There’s also 3:B:B:, 3:B:B: and super long combos.

    That I’m fine with because it’s specific to that character and he’s not that much higher on the tier list to make other characters unviable because of fatigue.

  38. L canceling wasn't intentional and was removed in brawl

  39. Lucie’s Guard [8th Apostle of the Twelve] says:

    I think it’s important to look at the context l cancelling is in too
    Since it was originally supposed to be a sort of hidden feature to get a leg up on your friends twenty years ago when it was made, and the game was never actually designed to be played nearly as fast as it currently is being played

  40. One argument for L-Cancelling is you have to read whether you hit or whiff your move, since the timing differs in that case. Kind of like a hit confirm.

  41. I was really big into PM before it stopped development (and I have too many responsibilities to get back into P+ sadly), and there were always debates about L Cancelling being made automatic. I never really understood why it wasn't. There's a skill check, but it isn't like… It's hard to explain I guess but using the parry example again: L cancel is the norm in Smash Bros whereas Parry isn't. If L cancel was a rare and difficult maneuver that cost you something should you attempt and fail but give you huge rewards if you did it correctly then it would be interesting. The thing is that it's so normal that you don't even consider the possibility of somebody making a mistake at higher levels. Thinking "Maybe they will miss their L cancel" and trying to "punish" that will end with you getting punished instead like 95% of the time.

    Another angle is the fact that, unlike parry, there is nearly zero interaction between players with this mechanic. A parry is a response to a read. You, as a defender, have decided you think the OTHER PLAYER is going to hit you at this time so you parry. Imagine if you were playing Dragonball FighterZ and you had to manually press a completely different button in order to activate the "magic system" that allows you to cancel your moves into other moves. Like you press the Light punch button but then you have to quickly press some other button after in order to then press your medium button. That's basically all that L cancel is.

    The only thing I do want to say contrary to your viewpoint is that L cancelling doesn't take up even a fraction of a players mental process at all. It's literally mindless muscle memory. Like LITERALLY mindless muscle memory. In fact, when I would play both PM and RoA at the same time, I had to spend mental processing power to remind myself NOT TO L CANCEL so I would stop randomly rolling after landing from the air LOL It's such a brainless mechanic that it's basically the equivalent of breathing where you have to actively try not to breathe rather than actively needing to try to keep breathing.

  42. Another mechanic (well sub-mechanic) I do not like is the DragonBall FighterZ Auto Combo system. SPECIFICALLY the fact that you can mash auto combos despite completely whiffing, or even rely on them to turn your character around MID COMBO if you whiffed because your opponent had jumped behind you when you started mashing. Like… cmon, man. If you whiff the move you should just whiff the move. It irks me that Teen Gohan (I am a Teen Gohan main btw I love the rest of his options) can literally mash whiffed light attacks in order to fly up into the freaking air with his auto combo and assault people from off screen.

  43. Oooooh, L-Canceling isn't the only thing about Melee that destroys hands. Optimal Fox/Falco play is extremely taxing on the hands in general. Wave-shining as an example of needing to to rapid frame-perfect and angle-perfect inputs to then link into other moves. The whole of optimal melee is hash. It hurts my hands to do it, which is why I dont play melee, as much as I want to. My fingers start to cramp. I already have calloused thumbs from other fighters because I'm a "pad warrior." But I'm an artist/animator, and I'd like to save my hands for that. hahah.

    L-canceling is pointless. I completely agree. Either have landing lag…. or don't. making it a timed button press on landing, adds unnecessary mechanical input to a game that already required so much, but I also don't think they realized to what level melee would have been pushed by it's players. My GUESS was that it was actually sort of a choice to make SHIELDING on landing safer, but if it's just tapped, the character won't shield. Melee was a rushed game after all, so they really didn't have a lot of time to test the practicality of a lot of it's mechanics too.

    Thankfully, it's gone even with Ultimate being much faster paced now, they just instead reduced average landing lag across the board to allow players to just focus on the follow-up action.

  44. Focus attack dush cancel / ex focus attack

  45. I've been playing smash for upwards of 5 years now and I've dabbled in more of the "mainline" FGC(GG, SF, etc.) for about a year, and the one thing I want to see from the FGC in general is a platform fighter with meter. You could have L-cancelling back as less laggy alternative to landing aerials which requires a bit of meter to perform every time, have supers and EX moves like how smash tried to implement Final Smash meter, have pushblocking to escape shield pressure, etc. etc., it would just be really cool and I wish there was a good platform fighter with meter.

  46. I feel like BBTAGs Resonance Blaze is lurking in this list somewhere

  47. Yaaay, more reasons to tell Smash Melee fanboys they're wrong.

  48. Hey I have a question that is bothering me for quite a bit, would tekken's korean backdash be a one dimensional mechanic?

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