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Developer Notes: Episode 1: The struggle

Eddy Wang

Skarlet scientist

So what is MUGEN?
Mugen its a freeware 2D fighting game engine created by a company named elecbyte, its pretty weird but since its freeware, a lot of people have been using it over the years to tap into fighting game development potential.

When i was younger i managed to play some of these games, and used to have a lot of fun with some of those, others no so much, but what was really eager to see was a good version of my favorite fighting game of all time that i could play it for as much as i enjoyed, in this case, Mortal Kombat.

Sadly Mugen didn't really satisfied Ed Boon's formula by default, while its an engine for fighting games, its not exactly open source, since you cannot reprogram new functions into the engine and you can only use all of its functionalities previously programed by electbyte, so in order to fit a mortal kombat format, the only solution would be, to reprogram the default engine and features left there to teach you all about it.

Over the years, all Mugen Mortal Kombat games have been suffering a engine recriation from scratch in order to deal with problems or to fit a certain criteria of a certain developer, this process took years and while many versions of mortal kombat where out there for mugen, none of them really satisfying what i would look for on a classic mortal kombat game, this process kept going as new versions of mugen kept coming out and getting updated to fit more a developer agenda.

Until the day, this guy came out of no where and launched a version named MKP 4.1, his version became the most popular and kept improving over and over which each new release, i managed to play the version and see how close some things where to the orignal and ended up enjoying a lot.

He also did what most other developers couldn't, he gave his version free and open, and left a bunch of notes to those who which to make new characters compatible with his version, this same version, its what its standard today by the eyes of many, and many other versions deviates from this one, not only because it feels complete, but its a good starting point or a good format to whoever wants to make a mortal kombat game without doing all the programing presets from scratch and reverse things that were programed for a back to block game by default.


So by the time i took the version to start coding, i remember i used to be a mugen enthusiastic back in the day, and when i said in past i wanted to develop for mugen some brasilian dude sent me a bunch of guides and tutorials in how to do a bunch of stuff and i never really got going because i didn't knew exactly where should i start, so kept downloading a bunch of characters back the and experiment them and see how they work, but i wasn't really capable of starting anything on my own because the beginning was too hard, too confusing.

There wasn't a starting point, there was nothing, i didn't even knew how mugen structural rules were so i quit, but this time, i started by simply trying different effects and reactions, physics and so on, and the game started to shape little by little.

This is where i found my first problems, i remembered before MKX came out there is an hacked version o UMK3 out there which is TYM territory, i downloaded that version and tried, i enjoyed, tried to make my buddies play that version, setup a meet and invite them over into a friends house and ask them to test the game.

They Enjoyed, but there was a few issues with that version, Angola plays Trilogy(PC version) and not UMK3, there for, the lacks of characters felt a bit lackluster, other issue which everyone touched, it was the pace, the speed of the game, generally the game was too slow, compared to what they were so used on the PC version of Trilogy, it made them discard the idea of playing that version.

So immediatly the first thing i did to make them at least play this mugen version, was to make sure all trilogy characters were accounted for and of course i increased the game speed to the point i could feel it was just as fast as Trilogy from PC, my knowledge in mugen was still thin, it took me a lot of time to edit a bunch of thing but managed to do it whenever i could, altering the juggle physics was the first one and trying to resemble the most to MK trilogy from PC

Me and my buddy playtested most of the game and after a good number of tryouts, i decided to give them a call to playtest once more.

Though i expected a lot of good feedbacks, everything i got from it was nothing i was hoped for, instead i got a lot of complains regarding some of the things on the game, like the ammount of pressure was too high, character took longer to respond after put into block, characters are nearly defenseless once knocked down, characters don't turn when a jump kick or a jump punch is performed.

All these things made me go back into the drawing board and take another look at the game, i didn't considered them unreasonable, in fact i though all of them were good advices which was indeed a good oportunity to help make a much more responsive game.

Note: Most of this issues are already fixed in the game