A closer look into Stage Builder. - Can these stages bring a balanced, strategic, and engaging experience?

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#1
12:00 AM May 21 2011 2011
WW01
Joined: May 2011

A closer look into Stage Builder.
 It seems that the most played stages are the flat ones. By flat, I mean “fair” stages, with little to no walls and/or extreme environmental hazards. These stages seem to give players and characters a "fair" advantage against one another. But is that really the case? Many characters have normal attacks and techniques that allow them to flourish when faced against obstacles such as uneven terrain, walls and ceilings. There could be a great amount of practical strategy involved with these obstacles!
 
 I have attached two stages to this post. These stages display the potential of how engaging and strategic a Stage Builder stage can be. These stages are very different from one another. Stage A is a multilayered stage, with three main fighting areas. The upper left area, is a standard fighting area with platforms. The top right area is contains ice blocks, with a horizontal moving platform (and normal blocks) below it. The lower left area has a high ceiling, no platforms, with a wall and spiking area to the right. Stage B is a relatively single planed stage. The far left area has a tree structure w/ roots, and a drop block against the wall to prevent wall infinites. When the drop block falls, the empty space becomes a spiking area. The right area has ice blocks below, and a mushroom structure (on a platform) above. The mushroom structure can act as a hiding place, and characters can ukemi/tech off certain parts of the mushroom.

For those who want to jump right into the stages and see what I mean, here are the links to the download page:
http://allisbrawl.com/stages/stage.aspx?id=5881
http://allisbrawl.com/stages/stage.aspx?id=5879

Here's a visual description of both stages:


 


I believe that the issue of character imbalance can be amended with stages from Stage Builder. The regular stages either: aren’t engaging enough for characters to interact with, or are unfair because stage hazards. Both of these issues can be resolved by creating stages in stage builder, because players are in full control of hazard placement, and stages can be created to (sort of) nerf certain attacks while boosting others. The different fighting areas with stages demand the player to use strategies according to the area. For instance, in areas with walls and/or ceilings, players will benefit by using attacks that will send opponents bouncing off of them. If all goes well (the opponent misses a tech, or doesn't tech properly) players can follow up with another attack to execute a combo. With regular stages, there are a few techniques and mechanics that are not used often and/or used to their full extent. 
 
 Wall bouncing (or careening, that‘s what it says on Smash Dojo) is a mechanic that relatively limited to the ground. Ukemi (Teching) is a technique that prevents excessive wall bouncing. Characters that miss an Ukemi/Tech can become vulnerable during a wall bounce, or while careening. As I mentioned above, it is possible to perform true combos by forcing opponents into wall bouncing or careening. But this presents a problem because walls can lead to infinites, right? The answer to that is, not entirely. A drop block prevents wall infinites from happening, but you can still chain grab on or near them.

 There is also the dilemma of balancing a stage to support such an experience without encouraging the abuse of chain grabs, jab locks, laser locks, excessive camping and stage glitches. I have compiled a list of techniques and mechanics that can occur on “fair” stage pieces. These stage pieces suppress the abuse of the above mentioned techniques, while encouraging the use of other techniques and mechanics. The idea is that the techniques (and mechanics) of each stage piece will add up with each piece that is placed on the grid, to create depth and fairness within a stage.

Floors
 - Platform
  * Shield Drop
  * Edge Slip
  * Platform Cancel 
  
 - Slanted Platform
  * Shield Drop
  * Edge Slip
  * Platform Cancel
  * Mock Waveland (Character Specific) 
 
- Mini Platform
  * Shield Drop
  * Edge Slip
  * Platform Cancel 
 
 - Ramp (small)
  *Mock Waveland (Character Specific) 

 - Block
  * Edge Guarding
  * Wall Kick
  * Wall Cling
  * Ukemi (Tech)
  * Ledge Attack Shield Cancel
 
 - Ramp (Large and Small)
  * Mock Waveland (Character Specific)
  * Ukemi (Tech)
  * Ledge Attack Shield Cancel
 
 - Stairs
  * Mock Waveland (Character Specific)
  * Ukemi (Tech)
  * Ledge Attack Shield Cancel

Structures
 [Castle Stage]
 - Pillar
  * Edge Slip
  * Wall Kick
  * Ledge Attack Shield Cancel

 [Mountain Stage]
 - Slanted rock platform
  * Ledge Attack Shield Cancel
 
 - Tree stump
  *Ukemi 

 -Tree w/ roots
  *Ukemi
  *Ledge Attack Shield Cancel 

 -Tree w/ branches
  *Ukemi
  *Ledge Attack Sheild Cancel 

 -Mushrooms
  *Ukemi
  *Edge Slip 

 [Factory Stage (Testing)]


Thanks for reading, C&C please. 
Last edited by WW01, 3:31 PM on May 21, 2011
#2
2:17 AM May 21 2011 2011
hotdogturtle
Grandmaster
Joined: Mar 2008
hotdogturtle is a moderator in the Stadium section!hotdogturtle has provided valuable testing services for the website.hotdogturtle is connected in the Six Degrees of Smash web.hotdogturtle did something funny.hotdogturtle impressed a staff member by doing something smart.hotdogturtle helped a member with a problem.hotdogturtle has referred new users to the site.hotdogturtle wrote an exemplary guide.hotdogturtle wrote a blog entry that was featured on the site!hotdogturtle keeps people entertained by hosting fun events.hotdogturtle won a Custom Texture Contest! hotdogturtle defeated the site's Pokémon League Champion in a Pokémon battle!hotdogturtle won a Screenshot of the Week Contest!hotdogturtle contributed to the Stadium community.hotdogturtle has a combined score of 100,000 feet (30,480 m) in Brawl's Home Run Contest or 60,000 feet (18,288 m) in Melee's Home Run Contest.

People try not to play on stages with permanent walls because there are too many infinite combos.

And no one is ever gonna play on a stage with a ceiling, because lolsurvivingforever.
#3
3:04 PM May 21 2011 2011
WW01
Joined: May 2011

Drop blocks prevent infinites. 

With ceilings, I know that extra low ceilings kinda prevent long stocks from happening, because they make racking up damage extra easy. Also, ukemi becomes trickier to use. If you do ukemi, your opponent can quickly follow up with a combo. If you don't ukemi, you risk flying into an unfavorable situation. In my opinion, low ceilings encourage hand to hand combat.

Extra high ceilings just get in the way. It's too easy for opponents to time an ukemi.

Mid range ceilings are what I was going for. A ceiling that is just a cut below being too high, and gives players a chance to perform combos whether or not the opponent performs an ukemi, or wall bounces. 
#4
5:54 AM Feb 14 2013 2013
nZocob
Joined: Feb 2011

I definently agree with what you said about the custom stages always being 'flat.' I kinda like that 2nd stage, btw.
#5
7:32 PM Feb 14 2013 2013
hotdogturtle
Grandmaster
Joined: Mar 2008
hotdogturtle is a moderator in the Stadium section!hotdogturtle has provided valuable testing services for the website.hotdogturtle is connected in the Six Degrees of Smash web.hotdogturtle did something funny.hotdogturtle impressed a staff member by doing something smart.hotdogturtle helped a member with a problem.hotdogturtle has referred new users to the site.hotdogturtle wrote an exemplary guide.hotdogturtle wrote a blog entry that was featured on the site!hotdogturtle keeps people entertained by hosting fun events.hotdogturtle won a Custom Texture Contest! hotdogturtle defeated the site's Pokémon League Champion in a Pokémon battle!hotdogturtle won a Screenshot of the Week Contest!hotdogturtle contributed to the Stadium community.hotdogturtle has a combined score of 100,000 feet (30,480 m) in Brawl's Home Run Contest or 60,000 feet (18,288 m) in Melee's Home Run Contest.

Hmm, I was going to comment on this, but it appears that I ninja'd myself by 2 years.

Let me just respond to this quote though:

Quote (originally posted by WW01):
I believe that the issue of character imbalance can be amended with stages from Stage Builder. 

The types of stages that you are designing only amplify character imbalance, not mitigate it.
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