Nerf This! A Mega-Fighters Update

When it comes to balanced games, chances are you’re not thinking of fighting games. Chances are even better, that you cringe at the idea of a fighting game being ‘Balanced’. For the average person catching a high level eSport or watching a competitive fighter, it’s essentially a blur of movement, rapid framerates, endless combos and an audience/broadcaster commentary track using what is effectively an alien language.

To an extent, these things are part of the experience- The ‘Alien’ language of a fighting game commentary is part of the community, and the endless combos with an obsessive counting of framerates is what separates contenders from pretenders. However, when designing our own fighting card game (with a digital expansion in mind) it became plainly obvious that many of these things can be entry barriers for new players, or, in our case, players in a new game.

As a bit of background, our card game (currently in early development) is a mixed martial arts fighting card game sitting the line somewhere between the Street Fighter series and the EA Sports UFC franchise. Using punch and kick cards, as well as submission and wrestling cards, you’ll also need a solid gameplan to reduce your opponent’s HP to 0.

This is what the team looks like when designing games.

One of the advantages to a paper-prototype is that it inherently strips away frame rates by slowing the game down. For future fighting game developers, I would strongly recommend breaking down your game down into a card game for the sake of understanding how fighting commands (and their interactions with each other) work. In doing so, we’ve discovered what moves could be considered over powered and what needs a little extra heat behind it to keep its usage up.

As a personal note, when it comes to balancing the game out, I’ve always erred on the side of nerfing, as opposed to buffing attacks (in both fighting and card games) so as not to provide any potential game-breaking strategies. This however, has changed over the course of balancing the games as buffing cards increases the game’s pace and overall excitement. When trying to emulate the chaotic feel of an MMA fight, it should always feel like any fighter could win at any moment, conversely, it should also go without saying that the more skilled combatant should win more often than not. Essentially, what we’re going for is the feeling of a potential upset victory but reward those putting the time in to learn the game’s intricacies and strategies. It’s definitely been eye-opening going from player to designer, but overall it’s easy to say I’ve gained an entire mountain of respect for everyone in the testing department.

We’ve actually just printed out a new set of cards to expand our original 16 card lineup, and we can’t wait to test them. This game is going to be awesome.

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What’s the story, morning glory?

Our approach to crafting the tale behind VERSUS is a simple one. Build the world, fit the tone of said world, and above all else, be fun.

As I was brought on a little later in the project (it’s been in development for over a year), there was already quite a bit of narrative headway made. Effectively, most of the gameplay mechanics, main story beats and character designs had been carved out, but needed a few extra pieces to tie things together. So, what did we end up doing? Using the loose story bits, I mapped out the placements of characters on our large colour maps. From there it was a matter of charting the movement of the main characters’ large armies (or factions, if you will) into a place it made sense for them to run into each other, facilitating the conflicts and ultimately, the game itself.

This, of course, came after a huge development of the worlds’ back story, complete with huge time gaps and characters you’ll never meet. Now that the movement of the large groups of characters is accounted for, it was time to build the individuals. The character ticks, mannerisms and speech patterns have gone through a myriad of changes, and to chart them all would take forever- but we decided to go for a more caricature oriented character lineup, and it’s pretty obvious we made the right choice. With each one of our main factions assigned an identifiable personality trait(s), we can now get down to the brass tacks.

From there we took the main characters, and we decided to give them all light, silly back stories. Using a variant of the heroes journey (that splits considerably from the formula at the end), we’ve given each character a neat little 3 act story arc that promises to be enjoyable and suit the game well. We’ve also made it a note to give each character their own sense of humour, which hopefully adds to the personas you’ll meet in the land of ‘Charloggia’. Sorry to have been so vague, I’ve yet to get clearance to reveal the final details, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it once I do.

At any rate, enjoy your weekend (in our case, a long weekend!).

-Charlie Ze Newbie

Can’t wait to get you another update! Don’t forget to follow us on social media!


Wish you were here!

Some of you may have noticed our social media accounts occasionally post updated pieces of art (or at least you should have because you’re following them, right? …Right?).

In keeping with our new snowball of enthusiasm and commitment to getting more games out in 2017, we’re full swing into designing the user interface aspect of our tower defense title, VERSUS. Several members of our team have committed to themselves to a full time overhaul, which sees many new designs and art assets arrive on the scene. Not only that, we’ve separated a larger chunk of the team into developing the animation effects for characters as well as promotional art (we love our interns, and they do some amazing work on their own free time- check some of it out here

At any rate, we’re at warp speed for getting this game out very soon! In case you’re in need of a visual update, take a peek at one of our promotional posters soon to be released on our campaign here:

Alright, so we’re a bit of a weird bunch, but let me explain some of what’s going on in here (there’s a lot, I know, but at least let me dispel some of the BDSM undertones).

Our game features playable factions who battle with each other for dominance over all the land. You may have guessed that certain factions (like, I don’t know… The ‘Circus Folk’) don’t always get along with everyone. They also may need to cross certain terrain and occasionally butt heads with the other factions when doing so. VERSUS Players will get the chance to vent their anger at other factions in silly and gratuitous ways; Not quite what you’re seeing here (in-game at least), but you get the idea.

We hope the art gets you psyched for the feel we’re going for. Silly, fun, and just a little cute. If this picture reminds you of a vacation postcard, you’ll see why once we’re in a full marketing swing! But that’s another story.

Charlie Ze Newbie

If you’d like to see more of our art, follow us on the social media!




Greetings, ZeMind Game fans!

Alright, alright. I know you’ve been waiting on them, so take a peek at some of the new stuff we’re throwing into VERSUS!

Some of our early drafts of the menu for our next big release, VERSUS!

We’ve asked a few friends to join us and add a little extra art muscle around the studio. Everything from the characters to the level select menu is getting a fresh coat of paint, a little lip-gloss and their eyebrows on fleek looking very nice.

But seriously though, we’re adding a few extra features. It’s pretty cool seeing everything come together this quickly now that we’ve got a few extra hands on things. Right now we’re looking for an easy method of adding the game’s lighthearted story via text boxes (think the standard JRPG styled talking heads) into the pre-fight banter. There’s also quite a bit of evolution in terms of character design, with many playable and non-playable characters becoming more expressive in their faces and gestures. While the game will keep its cartoonish charm, we’ve amped up some of the tonal details and made sure some characters look more menacing than others.

Our preliminary draft for the character select screen in VERSUS!

We’ve also enlisted our interns (who are very talented) in bringing our art to life. They’ve begun to add key frames and effects to our more demanding animations, and everything is going smoothly. Don’t worry folks, VERSUS is high on the priority list and we’re pretty excited to show you what’s happening.

This game already includes over 3 different comics, as well as over 20 different levels for you to play in. While you may have noticed we often release smaller, pet project games from our interns/co-ops, rest assured that our next big release, VERSUS, is going to knock your socks off.

Charlie Ze Newbie

If you’d like to see what we get up to on a daily basis, follow us on social media! We promise you won’t be disappointed: