GDC 2008: Meeting Masahiro Sakurai

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anubis_realm

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Proof? First, why would I lie about it? Second, there were at least 30 people taking pictures, and I suspect that myself or the controllers and LCD monitor are in at least a couple of them, where ever they are... Third, Sakurai did a live demo with Sonic, Pit, and Snake during the presentation; he was the only person on stage, and there were only three wired gamecube controllers. Unless he had hidden midget slaves playing the game under the stage, it was obviously him.
This is the internet, your word is meaningless unless you got prove.
 

Kirby M.D.

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I'm not entirely sure how up with the times you are on good fighting games, but these days they're lacking in quality. I could understand your nonchalant shrug upon TC's perspectives had this been the norm for fighting games, but the sad fact remains; It is not.
Well a good fighting game has to have some quality right? I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that; please explain.

Also, sign me up on the Sakurai D-riding train, not only is he the Crown Prince of Trolls, his dedication to this game is above and beyond my expectations.
 

Kokichi

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Hey Thinkaman, were you a first year CA? I've been going for 5 years, though I wasn't a CA this year due to midterms and such. I did attend the Sakurai meeting, though, and hung out with my CA friends the rest of the day.

Though, you know, I kind of have a different take on Sakurai having done most of the stuff himself. I don't think that's amazing. In fact, it worries me tremendously. I'd much rather have a bunch of people who know the game design it than one person work on it, otherwise you get biased results.

Edit: I don't know why some people are asking for "proof", but I was there as well. I even asked him afterwards about DLC and got a "No, there's no HD in the Wii" answer. And yes, he did have 3 GCN controllers up on stage, but it's not like he was pulling a ChuDat and actually playing well with them. He'd move at the same time, and for a second I thought there was someone else, but then I realized that usually when the characters moved they'd be running in the same direction or whathaveyou. I did learn, though, that if you stand next to someone and plant C4 with Snake you plant it on them (I don't get the butterfly shaped C4, though, despite having played the game), and that you can pick up Snake's taunt box.
 

Santini

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That's very informative. It really does give me a new perspective, especially about choosing characters. I know I couldn't do it right anyway.
 

billywill

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WTF I was the guy with the Kirby doll.
:chuckle::laugh::chuckle:...wow

Aside from that this thread is amazing, I had no idea that Sakurai personally balanced everyone. I used to think of Saukrai as a God now he is more...he is...the earth itself (lol)
 

Thinkaman

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Why the hell were you in California?
Working at GDC, why not? I am working to be a game designer after all.

Hey Thinkaman, were you a first year CA? I've been going for 5 years, though I wasn't a CA this year due to midterms and such. I did attend the Sakurai meeting, though, and hung out with my CA friends the rest of the day.
Yeah, first year. It's an incredibly awesome program; are you in the industry now? I mean, you sort of have to be to have been there... >_>

Though, you know, I kind of have a different take on Sakurai having done most of the stuff himself. I don't think that's amazing. In fact, it worries me tremendously. I'd much rather have a bunch of people who know the game design it than one person work on it, otherwise you get biased results.
I am going to have to disagree completely on this. Let me give my personal anecdote:

When Oblivion came out, it was one of the most unbalanced games of all time. Bethesda had to rush to get the game out, and realeased a game that contained a complex and detailed framework for putting in balancing lists and formulas for variables, but they didn't have time to actually write any lists or formulas themselves. The mod community went to town to meet Bethesda halfway and finish the job that already had the difficult half done.

...and it was a mess. Monster leveling lists would be technically compatible with another modder's global leveling formulas, but conflict from a design point of few. Another's complex hunting mod would break the herd behavior of another mod, which would both override someone else's attempts to fix animal hostility. And don't even think about two modder's tryign to put two objects into the same room, or worst, container...

It wasn't until Oscuro came in and started unifying content that Oblivion was able to realize it's potential as one of the best RPGs of all time. That's what the game needed: one designer who could manage EVERYTHING about the game and it's balance. He could put new risks and rewards anywhere in the game with proper consideration of the pre-existing risks and rewards, because he alone was fully aware of them having put them each there in the first place. The difference of going from multiple designers to one was night and day for game balance, no matter how coordinated the multiple designers tried to get.

Balance is best done by a single individual aware of EVERYTHING, who needs to collect data from as many others as possible to gain a non-biased perspective.

And yes, he did have 3 GCN controllers up on stage, but it's not like he was pulling a ChuDat and actually playing well with them. He'd move at the same time, and for a second I thought there was someone else, but then I realized that usually when the characters moved they'd be running in the same direction or whathaveyou.
During the demo, he wasn't doing anything impressive with more than one character. However, when he was messing around onstage before hand after setting it up, he was doing much more impressive feats, even if it was still just goofing around making sure it all worked.

Thanks for the good response!
 

Masque

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Though, you know, I kind of have a different take on Sakurai having done most of the stuff himself. I don't think that's amazing. In fact, it worries me tremendously. I'd much rather have a bunch of people who know the game design it than one person work on it, otherwise you get biased results.
Biased in what way? Sakurai-san has proven himself both highly meticulous and ardently devoted to his projects. He went into Brawl with balance as of the utmost importance. Given that goal, I might only trust someone who knows the game's intricacies so well. Granted, yes, there are other people who know the game design well, but I hesitate to suggest that Sakurai should enlist their help for too much of the work because the game truly was/is HIS vision. HE assembled this game from the ground up, and I think that this scheme included knowing how each character fit into the web of combatants. In this way, it only makes sense for Sakurai to be the puppeteer that makes the marionettes dance...and program. ;)

And also, you and Thinkaman are so lucky to have the opportunity to participate in these kinds of events. I'm envious. :ohwell:
 

Fire!

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Got directed here by Yuoko. Thanks.

This is a really good read.
Same thing.


Sakurai doesn't deserve the kind of crap that we give him. He deticated his life game we play and anyone who can play with 3 controllers is a pro in my book. Now I see his reasoning why he didn't want to make Brawl competitive.

Although I'm now having second thoughts about what career I wish to pursue.(Took like 2 game design classes) I'm pretty sure I don't want to get sent to "Dojo Update Hell":laugh:
 

Royale

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Reading this only reminds me that 2/3 of the smash community are idiots when it comes to how a game is developed. That dont know jack about all the real hard work and effort put into a game.
 

Mardyke

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Holy moley, that blew my mind.

Seriously. I'd have missed out on this thread had it not been bumped. After hearing about all this makes me respect Brawl all the more. Thanks.

Royale said:
Reading this only reminds me that 2/3 of the smash community are idiots when it comes to how a game is developed. That dont know jack about all the real hard work and effort put into a game.
That's something I've been inclined to consider quite often.
 

Espy Rose

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Pretty awesome.

But I'd still find a way to make him trip. I don't care how holy he becomes, tripping was the mother of all mistakes.
 

Red Arremer

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Reading this only reminds me that 2/3 of the smash community are idiots when it comes to how a game is developed. That dont know jack about all the real hard work and effort put into a game.
This post is so amazingly true. It's sad. :(
 

Royale

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This post is so amazingly true. It's sad. :(
Being someone thats taken 3D animation courses, i know how to make a 3D polygon model. I sucked at it, but i have some experiance doing it and its not as easy as it looks.

Making things such as rings [see Pit's arm for example] are hard to do. You have to use something called a UV curving tool to make a circle, then you have to make another circle at one end and extract the polys to the other side. Even then your work isnt done because in most 3D programs they have a tendancy to distort at weird places. So then you have to go back and fix it. Then you'd have to smooth the polys to make them look not as rough. Then theres actually coloring the models, and i sucked at that too. They basicly has to export the polygon meshs out into photoshop where they can color everything then export it back into the 3D program. And if you dont export the meshs correctly your coloring wont match up on the 3D model. Other people could understand and color 3D models better than i could, its pretty diffcult if you dont get a nice smooth flat mesh of the characters body that shows you were body parts are. Thens theres lighting it too. And each and every stage in brawl has a different lighting set up. [Compare Frigate Orphen to Battlefield]

Ever looked at Falcos hand during his idle animation when hes facing screen right? There are 2 polygon faces that are not assigned to Falco's skeleton for idle animation. So you'll see these 2 faces "pop up" as he moves his hand back. This is also a common problem but Sakurai's team never caught this simple problem before the release.
 

Royale

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Im surprised they actually used clay models. They must of hired a clay expert to sit down with the character designers so they could make the clay models from them. Clay models are a freaking blessing from heaven. THey not only give you a nice 360 degree view of your subject, it makes it easier to draw and animate. And animating in a 3D program was always a challange for me. Never got it right, but if you dont assign the model to do something on a particular frame you can potientally mess up the entire sequence. Which is why most smarter people than me would make several back ups before they made adjustments lol
 

TheBuzzSaw

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Sakurai balanced the entire game himself? Am I the only one that sees that as a red flag?
 

infernovia

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I kinda knew Sakurai was a good gamer. Cuz he put in Lcancels, Zcancels, wavedashes, jump out of shields and all that stuff in.

But this explains why there are chaingrabs and also why metaknight is SOOO good.
 

MBlaze

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Lol I was looking at the posts and wondering why he was getting all this praise (Besides the 3 controller thing o_O Freaking ****....), and now I see this thread was back in February, before Brawl came out. xD

Yeah... Sakurai failed hard at balancing and for the slow mechanics. lol
 

Red Arremer

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Yeah... Sakurai failed hard at balancing and for the slow mechanics. lol
I hate people stating stuff like that. Sakurai probably would've balanced the game out more if there wouldn't have been so much demand and grief because he already delayed the game.

Sakurai balanced the entire game himself? Am I the only one that sees that as a red flag?
I rather see it a sign that there was too little development time: Most of the Veterans have been balanced out (except for most of the nerfed ones) and most of the Newcomers are Top- and High-Tier. Meta Knight, Snake, De³, R.O.B., Diddy...
 

Yuna

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I see someone threadcromanced this.

I'll say this: Sure, it's impressive he could play with 3 different controllers at the same time. Sure it's impressive he could control them pretty well and, apparently, do neat stuff.

But that doesn't change anything about what the game that he churned out. He's an impressive player, in that he can control 3 characters as the same time, but if he set out to balance the game foremost, then he did a terrible job.

I've often wondered why the game was so horribly balance and beta tested. Now I know why. 1 man. 1 man did it all. Of course it's gonna get shot to hell, then. The makers of the most Competitive fighting games in the world have entire teams balancing the game and then they give it to a bunch of Competitive fighting game players to beta test and then they re-balance it several times!

A single person, no matter how good, will miss a few or many things since they're just one person. The more people involved, the better you'll be able to spot mistakes and flaws.

He put down tons of hard work, props for that. He can control 3 characters at the same time, props for that. He still can't balance a fighting game for the life of him, neither Competitively or Casually (even the Casual players I know complain about the game's balance).

My views of his ability to balance a fighting game have not changed in the slightest from this.
 

Royale

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Lol I was looking at the posts and wondering why he was getting all this praise (Besides the 3 controller thing o_O Freaking ****....), and now I see this thread was back in February, before Brawl came out. xD

Yeah... Sakurai failed hard at balancing and for the slow mechanics. lol
Let me poke you with this question; Does it hurt to try something new?

entire teams balancing the game and then they give it to a bunch of Competitive fighting game players to beta test and then they re-balance it several times!
The original post might of been alittle one sideded in that he may have had a team to balance it. Now i havent read every single quote or essay on Sakurai here, so point that out if necessary. Then theres that mentality of SSB series being focused and honed as a "party game" rather than a game for competitive sport.
 

Hyrus

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The OP was made February 2nd 2008.

Blah Blah... Masahiro Sakurai.
It is well known and acknowledged that gamers hate losing control of their character in games (shooters, fighters, etc). When you look at the Paper Fan, Smash Balls, Tripping, Gordo's, intentional Chain Grabs, Stage Hazards, the f*cking dog trophy, etc, how would you justify the man being "hardcore" if he's sewn the entire game with stuff that make your inputs to the game meaningless? A game is based around inputting commands and reacting to them, not setting down the controller!

A single person, no matter how good, will miss a few or many things since they're just one person. The more people involved, the better you'll be able to spot mistakes and flaws.
Bingo.
 

Wiwiweb

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This is a really good read.
Here's another good read.

Sakurai on Victory and Defeat said:
The game I worked on, Smash Bros., is a fighting game, but keeping in mind such reasoning, I set out to make sure the game did not over-emphasize the notions of victory and defeat. I won't go into too much detail, but the game was built so that if a player is strong in combat, just doing the same thing over and over again won't guarantee they'll always win over their opponents. There is a mechanism of accidents occurring, balanced so that the game's progress and results falter easily. Whether you win or lose, you enjoy a hearty laugh, and move on to the next round. I think this makes quite a good game.
Sakurai may have worked months to direct his game where he wanted, and he succeeded.
But it's not the direction we wanted at all.
 

Royale

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Here's another good read.



Sakurai may have worked months to direct his game where he wanted, and he succeeded.
But it's not the direction we wanted at all.
Let me ask you this then, did the Smash community voice their opinions to Sakurai and his Team before and after the development of Brawl? The community as a whole can reach out to the director/creators of a game better than one voice can.
 

Wiwiweb

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Even though we are thousands on this forum, we only represent a small fraction of the people who play. Most of these people are just looking for fun, for a short time, so they don't care.
Plus, it was Sakurai's own choice to put Brawl in that direction. I don't think any kind of opinion would have changed his mind. Look at the article I posted.
 

TK Wolf

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I see someone threadcromanced this.

I'll say this: Sure, it's impressive he could play with 3 different controllers at the same time. Sure it's impressive he could control them pretty well and, apparently, do neat stuff.

But that doesn't change anything about what the game that he churned out. He's an impressive player, in that he can control 3 characters as the same time, but if he set out to balance the game foremost, then he did a terrible job.

I've often wondered why the game was so horribly balance and beta tested. Now I know why. 1 man. 1 man did it all. Of course it's gonna get shot to hell, then. The makers of the most Competitive fighting games in the world have entire teams balancing the game and then they give it to a bunch of Competitive fighting game players to beta test and then they re-balance it several times!

A single person, no matter how good, will miss a few or many things since they're just one person. The more people involved, the better you'll be able to spot mistakes and flaws.

He put down tons of hard work, props for that. He can control 3 characters at the same time, props for that. He still can't balance a fighting game for the life of him, neither Competitively or Casually (even the Casual players I know complain about the game's balance).

My views of his ability to balance a fighting game have not changed in the slightest from this.
I agree with 100% of this.

Sirlin did it the right way when he was in charge of balancing Street Fighter II Turbo: HD Remix. He had a whole crew of top-level players testing every single change of his, aimed to make every matchup not only balanced, but also deep, providing both characters more options. He also made the game more accessible by making some moves easier to perform.

Of those 3 (balance, depth, accessibility), Sakurai only got one right.

Reading sirlin's articles (no, not his "Playing to win" article that everyone keeps posting) about how he balanced the game was really interesting and worthwhile. He has an entire article devoted to each character and how he made them better able to handle their disadvantaged matchups, or in the case of overpowered characters, traded overpowered moves for more versatility.
 

Problem2

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*sigh* Sakurai is a super troll. He gets a hold of the most awesome development team, possibly in the world today, and then he leaves the balancing almost exclusively to himself...
 

pure_awesome

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Youko directed people here as a response to whether or not Sakurai was good at the game, not so we could have a fresh round of Sakurai-hate.

The game is what he wanted. You can't say that the game isn't balanced because it's impossible for the game to not be balanced when the outcome of a match is completely random. Set tripping to 90%, crank up the stage hazards, set items to high, drop Bob-ombs from the sky. There. Perfectly balanced game. When everyone has an equal chance of winning and losing, it's balanced.

And yet we still managed to make a competitive game out of it. So everyone gets what they want. Welcome to the new generation of fighters.
 

TK Wolf

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I'm not hating on Sakurai, but a chunk of the original post was praising him so highly for the simple reason that he went over everything by himself. I think that's unwarranted credit. Just because someone does something by themselves doesn't mean that it's done right.

And obviously no one would play a completely random game. A game needs to be both balanced and skill-oriented to be competitive. It's pretty easy to make a game that's balanced for a casual audience. But what Sakurai doesn't seem to understand (or just didn't care about) is that making a game balanced and deep for the dedicated players takes nothing away from the casual crowd and only adds to the game.

Brawl isn't this huge disaster that some people make it out to be, but there was so much lost potential, IMO.
 

TheBuzzSaw

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Yup. Casual players serve as their own balancing factors. They do what it takes to "balance" the game so everyone wins. Making a game deep and competitive does not rob that. However, it makes casual players bitter for mystical reasons. Somehow, becoming proficient at a game is a sin.
 
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