Sakr 8:30-9:50 TR
14 February 2017
Title: Linked: An SSB4 Combo Video feat. Scizor (Joel Jimenez)
My motion graphics project for this class will be a highlight montage of the performance of a semi-professional gamer named Joel Jimenez. Scizor, as he goes by in tournaments, is a well-known player from the Inland Empire in Southern California. He plays Super Smash Brothers for Wii U, the most recent installment This project is inspired by an almost two-decade-long legacy of similar montages, which are called combo videos in the Super Smash Brothers community. Typically, these videos use motion graphics, music, and outside images that complement the techniques that the players in the videos use. The term is “combo video” because in fighting games, a combo is an uninterrupted series of attacks that requires the aggressor to correctly guess their opponent’s defensive decisions many times in a row.
The inspiration to make Scizor the subject of my project came when I realized that despite the hard work he has put in over the years, no combo videos for Scizor currently exist. Scizor plays Link, the same character that I use. As a fellow Link main, I understand Scizor’s struggle: Link is a difficult and technical character, and out of a total of 58 playable characters in the game he is ranked 43rd. I feel that Scizor deserves recognition for succeeding with a bad character. I also feel that the premise of this project lends itself to an interesting aesthetic that is appropriate for motion graphics. Super Smash Brothers is a series where all of the playable characters come from other Nintendo games, like Mario or Pokémon. Link is the protagonist of the Legend of Zelda series, which has existed since the 80’s. Because of the series’ longevity, there is a cornucopia of Link-related art that I can use for this project. Since all of Scizor’s opponents in-game are other Nintendo characters, I can use footage of them from their original games too.
For the introduction, I will use simple white text on a black background that says “Linked: an SSB4 combo video by Purp”, then I will put the song credits in the same font. To clarify, Purp is my gamer tag. Then, I intend to use footage from the original (eponymous) Legend of Zelda game from 1986. An old man in a cave helps Link begin his journey by giving him a sword, saying “it’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.”. This will be mixed in with the introductory countdown to some of Scizor’s streamed games. Specifically, the encounter with the old man will come first, followed by “3” in the countdown in Scizor’s game against K9SBruce. Then he will say “It’s dangerous to go alone!”, followed by the “2” in the countdown against Zenyou. Lastly, “Take this” and a zoom into the sword will be followed by “1, GO!” as the match against Meepinator begins. The combos footage will proceed based on the reverse order of foes seen in the introduction. Between some of the clips there will be footage from the home games of the opponents’ characters of said characters in defeat. For example, since Meepinator plays Ganondorf, his segment will be the first 9 seconds of his match with Scizor, followed by 5 seconds of footage of Ganondorf’s defeat from the end of the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The next opponent to suffer at Scizor’s hands is Zenyou, who plays Mario, so the combo against Mario will be followed up by the cutscene in Super Mario Sunshine that happens when Mario dies. This will be repeated with defeat footage of Sheik, Luigi, Shulk, Ludwig Koopa, Luigi again, Star Fox as Scizor vanquishes K9SBruce, Mr. Concon, Nicko, Vicegrip, Elegant, and Xzax, respectively. To wrap up the video, I will use footage from the ending of the original Legend of Zelda game, where Link is thanked by Princess Zelda for saving the kingdom of Hyrule.
Since most combo videos use a song, I intend to use a remix of Song of Storms from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time by Deon Custom. I believe that this song syncs well with the timing of Link’s moves, and it is appropriate as it is from the Legend of Zelda series.
Meta tags/keywords: Super Smash Brothers, SSB4, SSB, WiiU, Link, Legend of Zelda, Scizor, Video Games, Sword, Song of Storms, Mario, Luigi, Shulk, Ganondorf, Sheik, Ocarina of Time, Xenoblade Chronicles, Star Fox, Koopa
This piece by Eric Zimmerman outlines a process for creative design that he calls “iterative design”. This process involves starting with as minimal framework as possible and creating successive iterations of the product to continually improve upon the project as a whole. Changes are made as needed as the development process enters distinct stages. Zimmerman, a game designer, uses his own creations as examples. First up is SiSSYFiGHT, an online in-browser multiplayer strategy game. SiSSYFiGHT’s development began with Zimmerman and his team making the framework for the mechanics of the game by writing on paper. Only then was it digitized, and it underwent several iterations before becoming a full game with a UI that testers could play. LOOP is his next example, a game that involves catching bugs by drawing loops on the screen. LOOP was perfect for iterative design, because its initial UI allowed developers to efficiently switch between playing it and altering it. Like SiSSYFiGHT, the initial iterations of the game were played by the developers and a group of beta testers got to play more polished versions. Zimmerman’s final example is called LEGO Junkbot, a game that is unique because the player cannot control the main character, but rather they alter the world around him. Since the in-game world consisted of movable LEGO blocks, the first iterations of this project were physical: the team used actual LEGOs to brainstorm ideas. After switching to the digital format, the team made many more iterations in order to make the game enjoyable, adding new mechanics along the way. Zimmerman contrasts his method of design with traditional game development, in which a final project is conceptualized and developers try to recreate this conceptualization as best as they can. I understand the advantages that iterative design offers; as Zimmerman says, it is a process of research. It is flexible, and is by nature tailors its product to its user’s enjoyment. However, I would like to know what downsides, if any, Zimmerman sees to this method. After all, if this process is so perfect then why is it a minority in the game development world?