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[WIP] Knowledge compendium : preparation

Slhoka

Smash Lord
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I. Context

About 10 years after its release, Melee has become a very competitive game, with a gameplay so rich that we are still discovering it today. While it is a fantastic asset in the development of the competitive scene, il also generated a major drawback over the years : nowadays, the basic amount of knowledge required to perform -even only decently- against a skilled opponent has become so high that is really hard to enter the tournament scene. So har that many players will actually give up instead of trying to improve.

The last tournament and the current activité of the scene are quite reassuring regarding the lifespan of Melee as a competitive game, yet it is a shame to lose a flow of possibly new players.

For this reason, and in order to facilitate the beginnings of new or low level players, we decided during a MBR leaders meeting that we should try to gather as much knowledge as possible regarding the practice of SSBM in competition.
Regardless of the new players’ needs, this knowledge compendium will allow everyone to find easily the material necessary to their improvement. This is a huge project, and I do not expect to finish it before 2012. However, the impact of such an information database on the smash community would be phenomenal and very rewarding.

II. Objectives
  • Gather every bit of knowledge related to SSBM as a competitive game
  • Improve, correct and complete this knowledge.
  • Make it easy to read and understand by every player, regardless of his/her familiarity with the game

III. Content

To be discussed

Current propositions :
  • Game mechanics
    • Technical Melee
      • Hitbox system (the different types and how they work)
      • Knockback system (why you go in this far in this direction when you take that hit at that percentage)
      • Version differences(NTSC 1.0/1.1/1.2/PAL)
    • Movements (common to every characters)
      • Basic movements and game physics exploits(dashes, grab, etc)
      • Advanced movement and game physics exploits (L-cancel, CC, etc...)
  • Characters
    • Overview
    • Moves
      • Frame and % data
      • Hitboxes
      • Uses
    • Guides
      • General guide
      • Matchups guides

  • Stages
    • Description
      • Respawn spots
    • Legality according to the region (and why it's banned!)
    • Strategies
      • Specific movement options
    • Guides
      • General guide
      • Matchups guides
    • Glossary
    • Tiers Lists
    • Doubles specific information

IV. Document formating

To be discussed

We have many possibilities for this, we could format the compendium so it could be posted in a regular thread, we could do a wiki, or a .pdf document... However, a good thing would be to include video, gifs or even better, step by step animations to make things easier to understand.

Additionally, giving a visual identity to the document would be a plus, so, graphic designers are welcome.

V. Content guidelines

Two main guidelines (and possibily more) :
  • Content must be objective : we will give facts, and if we don't, we'll mention that it isn't a fact.
  • The writing style must be simple, concise and easy to understand, regardless of the reader's knowledge.

VI. Project schedule

It isn't possible to define a precise schedule right now, but at some point, it will be necessary. The project is gonna last a long time, though.

Here's a VERY basic outline of the various tasks to do :

  1. Project goals and content definition
  2. Requirement definition (current phase)
  3. Available content inventory
  4. Content creation/modification
  5. Content integration
  6. Testing and validation
  7. Release

VII. Misc

  • A very significant part of the content we need is already available, on the boards, or on the wiki for instance. To save a lot of time, we need to gather it and make sure it's valid (in this case, it means correct and up-to-date).
  • We'll need more people to help, so once we're done with the preparation, you may want to ask the people you know who might be interested if they want to join the MBR, or at least the project.

At the moment, we need to plan the whole thing in order to gain as much time as we can during its creation. So make sure to give your ideas.

I have to leave for the weekend in a place where I can't connect so I can't give much more information until monday, but I know Hyuga has some things to say about the project, and I hope many of you will contribute to its preparation.
 

HyugaRicdeau

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DRZ#283
Cool, this looks like a good outline. A lot of the hitbox/frame data is readily available at SDM's site (and M2K's if it's still up), what I'd like to work on is the game mechanics section, and create some kind of encyclopedia/glossary of all the mechanics we know about.

My main question before proceeding in this direction is:
How we should organize it? Is our goal to make this something for new people to learn what's most important quickly, so that we should divide this into 'basic'/'intermediate'/'advanced'? Or should we categorize some other way? Should we make this an all-inclusive glossary of terms used in the metagame and include basic strategic concepts, or should we restrict this to mechanics, but have an in-depth description of them and have a separate, more succinct but expansive glossary elsewhere? For example, obviously we include L-cancelling and WDing in here, but do we also talk about pillaring, or the wall of pain, or SHFFLing, or more obscure tricks?

Also a question for the project in general: how can we easily incorporate the contributions of several people into one document? Maybe some kind of online google-docs type of text document? Anyone know much about setting that up? I sort of like the idea of a wiki, but I also don't want to have to click and jump around to 123986 different pages with only a paragraph each. What would be nice is if there were just like a 8-10 or so large documents that cross-reference one another where necessary.
 

Slhoka

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Cool, this looks like a good outline. A lot of the hitbox/frame data is readily available at SDM's site (and M2K's if it's still up), what I'd like to work on is the game mechanics section, and create some kind of encyclopedia/glossary of all the mechanics we know about.
Seanson's hitbox system can also help a lot in order to illustrate this.
Also, at Genesis, Strong_Bad told me he'd like to create some sort of Smash Lab for Melee, in order to develop the knowledge of the game. He's on this with Magus, and I thought that we might want to ask for their help.

My main question before proceeding in this direction is:
How we should organize it? Is our goal to make this something for new people to learn what's most important quickly, so that we should divide this into 'basic'/'intermediate'/'advanced'? Or should we categorize some other way? Should we make this an all-inclusive glossary of terms used in the metagame and include basic strategic concepts, or should we restrict this to mechanics, but have an in-depth description of them and have a separate, more succinct but expansive glossary elsewhere? For example, obviously we include L-cancelling and WDing in here, but do we also talk about pillaring, or the wall of pain, or SHFFLing, or more obscure tricks?
Organizing it will be a pain, and I don't really know what to chose yet.
However, I think we have to include everything relevant to the metagame, even the most obscure tricks as long as they are used in competitive play.
I really want this to be the ultimate guide to competitive Melee : for instance, for the Jigglypuff entry of each character's matchups guide, I want to have the best way to punish a missed rest. I want to see this kind of strategy which would actually benefit many players.
I'd also want to see tier lists in there (the most recent list would be posted in the guide every time we make a new one), as well as strategies for doubles (and if possible a teams tier list).
Basically, any single bit of (fairly) objective knowledge which could help a player to improve should be there. That's A LOT to do, but it would be amazing for the smash community.

Also a question for the project in general: how can we easily incorporate the contributions of several people into one document? Maybe some kind of online google-docs type of text document? Anyone know much about setting that up? I sort of like the idea of a wiki, but I also don't want to have to click and jump around to 123986 different pages with only a paragraph each. What would be nice is if there were just like a 8-10 or so large documents that cross-reference one another where necessary.
Good point, I didn't think about that.
I'm familiar with google docs, and I think it's a pretty good solution. If we define some sort of basic layout for every move or technique, we can easily get a fairly organized workspace.
A wiki is a really bad idea, for the reason you gave. It's a lot of work for something that isn't easy to browse, and I merely mentioned it for the sake of giving ideas.
 

Fortress | Sveet

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If someone were to make an outline for this, I could start filling in data and including pictures or gifs as needed.
 

HyugaRicdeau

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DRZ#283
Seanson's hitbox system can also help a lot in order to illustrate this.
Also, at Genesis, Strong_Bad told me he'd like to create some sort of Smash Lab for Melee, in order to develop the knowledge of the game. He's on this with Magus, and I thought that we might want to ask for their help.
I think that's a good idea, it may be useful to have SB in here if such a project can get started.
Organizing it will be a pain, and I don't really know what to chose yet.
However, I think we have to include everything relevant to the metagame, even the most obscure tricks as long as they are used in competitive play.
I really want this to be the ultimate guide to competitive Melee : for instance, for the Jigglypuff entry of each character's matchups guide, I want to have the best way to punish a missed rest. I want to see this kind of strategy which would actually benefit many players.
I'd also want to see tier lists in there (the most recent list would be posted in the guide every time we make a new one), as well as strategies for doubles (and if possible a teams tier list).
Basically, any single bit of (fairly) objective knowledge which could help a player to improve should be there. That's A LOT to do, but it would be amazing for the smash community.
OK, in that case, this is going to be a bigger project than I thought, and some of the sub-sections are projects unto themselves, so we will have to be good about outlining and delegating responsibility for the various sections; we should have clear theory and application parts, but it should be easy for a reader to move between theory and application of the same concept.

Let's look at an example where this issue would come into play. One idea I had for a section of the compendium that I'd be willing to write is something I call the "Anatomy of a move," where all the properties of moves in Smash are explained. Very straightforward concept, but how should we tie this to the application side? Where do we talk about spacing/timing of aerials on shields, for example?

My feeling is that maybe what we should do first is, since we have a working outline to go from, write up some basic content for some of the sections, and then discuss the best way to put them together. So, what I'd like to see is people volunteering to write some stuff for the section they are interested in. I will of course volunteer to put together the "anatomy of a move" thing I talked about earlier, which might also cover the hitbox/knockback stuff.
 

Slhoka

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Good idea.
My first idea on this was to list each move's "anatomy", and then once you have all this cold, hard statistic section done, another section on how to use it. This way, people could easily refer to the stats if they need to while reading the applications.

I'll try to develop more when I'm back from Sweden.
 

HyugaRicdeau

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DRZ#283
Looking for more volunteers to work on this.

I'm going to begin outlining the 'anatomy of a move' section in a couple days, and hopefully have something of value to post by Monday.
 

Strong Badam

Super Vegeta
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sup
there are infinitely many things that only Magus and I know (relevant to MBR anyway) due to meticulous Project M research.

such as EdgeSlip mechanics:

fastfallable, aerial momentum control, and ledgegrab being possible during hitstun after transition from Air/Ground state 0 to 1.

I'll be available for this most of the time. I am moving Monday and have a wedding to attend tomorrow but after I'm settled into my new abode, I'll def start working on this. I'll ask Magus about this next time I see him on.

also I'll talk to the PMBR about making the melee character file viewer available to you guys, it'd save a lot of time double checking SDM's frame data since some of it is wrong (Gentleman's information is very wrong for example).'

I think we can make a website with this information using links and anchors and such and make it really nice. Just an idea.
 

Fortress | Sveet

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I liked my gif better cause it showed a slippery character grabbing from close range lol... it is pretty entertaining to watch fox get gimped after all that though

 

HyugaRicdeau

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DRZ#283
Turns out I have to give a presentation on my research at an international collaboration meeting next week. I don't expect to make much progress on this until early September.

I will try to make a more detailed outline of the mechanics section soon though.
 

joeplicate

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i'm really down to help out on this


i really love the idea of having a guide to every technical aspect of melee
how the game works as a cohesive system: how moves work, how characters move, how they interact with each other and how they interact with the stage. i think this is great material for the MBR to work with.

i'm wondering about "good player" material, though. what are the different categories you can focus on that will make you a fundamentally better player? stuff like spacing, reading, the rhythm of the game, tech skill or strategizing, reacting and covering options....

we might wanna keep that separate, since a lot of players have different ideas on what's important, and i don't think standardizing this body of information would be beneficial to new players. (it might even come off as too authoritative; who would want to come to the site and read something that says "this is what you need to know" ?)

anyways, i'm down to do some writing for this
 

Strong Badam

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I think an overall improvement/"how to play" deal is a subject better fit another project entirely. I really think the "Guides" section in the opening is a bit of an outlier; the rest of the project seems to be focused on game mechanics and how things work.
 

Lovage

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BUMP




holy **** lets do this

this seriously means a lot to me, having an up to date encyclopedic compendium of the game is so essential for people trying to learn. if we could publish something legit, it would be IMPORTANT im keeping melee strong for years 2 come
 

Slhoka

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The major problem is the same as always in the MBR : no motivation from most people.

I think that in order to get the thing going, a few people should do a sample, on a single character for instance. Having a concrete realization would help the others want to help.

I'm currently busy with the French smash community, so I don't think I'll be able to contribute a lot, but I'd be done to help as much as I can. How about those who are interested say it here, so that we create a skype group or something to quickly discuss basic guidelines before starting a first draft ?
 

Fortress | Sveet

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I might be able to help passively, toss out some ideas and contribute some knowledge, but I am working on another project currently and won't be able to step up as the leader.
 

Lovage

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i'm just gonna try to do the revisions myself, if i come up with anything i can start sharing in this thread so ppl can add on

i might make a thread in melee disc. for people to decide on the best names for certain things
 

Fortress | Sveet

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i think that discussion was had once on the boards before. I am definitely in favor of a the "forced wake-up" name (with a note about the "jab reset" alias)
 

HyugaRicdeau

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DRZ#283
This is something I'd really like to contribute to, but I'm trying to finish my thesis in the next 3 months. So I'll periodically pop in and see if there's anything in particular I can help with.

I would like to help though with the initial organization for how we want to present this compendium.
 

Strong Badam

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There are a million different ways we can present the compendium. We can do & release it in volumes, release it all at once, make a website/blog out of it, etc. There are several different ways we can categorize the information, with no real way to tell which way is most effective until after the fact. The important thing is that a way is come up with and we stick with it, or nothing will get done.
I'm currently working on finishing a few non-smash related projects, but in the coming month or so I believe I'll be able to head this project if that's alright with Slhoka. I'm glad to see that Lovage is interested in seeing this project completed, and I'm sure a few of the lurkers back here do too.
 
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