Royal Flush was a great event. A lot of subjects are touched on and explored in the vlog so I'd recommend giving that a viewing.
Here's a quick rundown of what was touched on:
Currently, the game is getting more and more polished every day, friends that come playtest the game from week to week report enourmous changes in game feel and fluidity and this is expected to continue as we move along. Very minor details add up to large changes in feel and Melee Masters is quickly approaching an extremely good area from a gameplay point of view. We currently have an audio designer working on Sound FX and a professional animator to likely come on board to really help the game evolve into it's true potential and bring it up to the quality both I and you would like. As for the game itself, a number of issues brought up by others have been addressed, namely, out of shield options and shielding in general is a LOT less clunky, and you can not act immediately after landing from an airdodge or just from a normal jump. Previously, people had reported a delay in action here, I was unaware of an unintended change that adid cause there to be about a 10 frame section where you could not attack after landing that has been nullified.
While balance is still very tentative, after reading comments and playtesting internally, I'd like to share some of the balance thoughts to both get your opinion and help you understand my approach. Currently, Light characters are a bit too strong, they fly too f ar for most characters to combo properly. So to balance this, there are two major options that I see. First would be to reverse the manner in which hitstun is applied based on character weight. currently, the heavier the character -> the longer the hitstun. The other method would be to change the hit-stun weight of the character. each character has a modified weight when flying from an attack. for lighter characters we could simply adjust this so that they don't float as far above when stunned. I'm leaning towards option one because it gives both the attacking player and the player being attacked more options. the player attacking has longer to respond but still has to contend with the distance. and t he player being attacked has more control as the DI will feel more impactful when you are flying further/longer. More on balance will come but this is just a brief overview of my approach.
Plans are pretty tentative as a lot of this relies on general support to achieve the quality of the product I'd like to create. However here is a rough outline: -Demo : end of may/early june -Alpha: Summer -Beta: Winter -Release: Early 2018 The demo will not be highly promoted, and it will be free of charge, however It will lack online functionality. The reasoning for this is that if you are interested in getting involved in the development process, gettting a head start on the game and providing valuable feedback to me, you can grab it and get used to it, see if you want to support me in the future. The reason for lack of online is because that functionality is still in the works. Online play does work, however in it's current state it is far too buggy/shaky to be part of something I'd like to present, and I wouldn't want people jumping to the conclusion that online play wouldn't be viable for this game. The alpha will include online play, however the demo is really for people who are skeptical about the game, or are interested in getting involved. The beta and release are very tentative and contingient upon the levels of support once the crowdfunding is restarted (likely around the same time as the alpha). These will feature more characters and more features up until the eventual release. After release there will be constant character updates/additions, content patches and feature additions.
Following the showing of the game at PAX East, there was a bit of a realization as I posted the initial trailer i had been working on. Namely, based on the feedback from the event in combination with the feedback online, I realized really all the game had going for it at the moment was gameplay. From those who actually played the game at PAX, the response was in general very optimistic and many players enjoyed it to the point they came back multiple days to play. There were of course general criticisms, from character design to general feel of the game and those will be taken into consideration moving forward in development, but again it was the gameplay, not really the animations themselves or the character's art particularly. So, using that as the base I'd like to show as much quality gameplay as possible and as soon as possible get an alpha build into your hands so you can get a hands on impression of the game in order to well "kick-start" the general support for the game.
Taking into consideration the feedback initially given on the game, there have been some animation passes to improve the animations and make them feel a lot snappier, add visual indicators and center of body hitboxes for moves that look like they should hit. This all leading up so you can get an idea of how the game will look in it's initial alpha/beta state. The reason I haven't posted anything yet is mainly due to being the sole developer. In order to record quality gameplay I could simply just have me playing against the AI I programmed and showing off cool combos, but that really doesn't give you the full impression of the defensive options in the game nor the strengths of the character being combo'd. Not to mention, since I programmed the behavior I can pretty much predict what the bot will do at any given moment, making for extremely one sided fights. So this weekend I'm having a playtest session with some colleges who are about the same skill as I was (in SSBM). And that will give you a clearer picture on how exactly character will play at a medium level. So that will likely be coming this weekend and I look forward to showing off some intense gameplay.
I've always liked the idea of alternate weather effects on maps in game. Usually when most triple A games come out now, there are always requests in the community for "wouldn't this be awesome if [___] had a night map?" Followed by a mock-up or piece of artwork for that map some of the time. So as an option (to not hurt competitive integrity) you will be able to select alternative weather modes for each map where appropriate. So the Colosseum for example will have it's default day mode, a night mode and a thunderstorm/overcast mode. Steps will of course be taken to optimize these options such that there is no noticeable FPS issues when switching between map versions. To see how some will look, check out the "Stages" tab over in the learn more section.
As always thank you for your support and I look forward to sharing more about the game in the near future, keep an eye out!
The very first blog post, we'll try to use these for more official announcements, if you'd like to keep up to date with daily changes and improvements to the game, follow the twitter @MeleeMasters. There you will see posts relating to the day to day improvements such as character implementations, features fixed or finished, ect.
Gameplay videos should be coming soon, along with more details on mechanics, stages filled in, keep an eye out!