Monday, January 28, 2008

Balancing Puzzle Fighter

This is a bit old, but it's just fascinating. I always think people happen upon excellence by accident -- that innate talent tends to take care of the little details that can mean the difference between success and failure. Maybe that's true sometimes, but more often it seems that dedication and persistence are the most potent fertiziler for the fecund mind. So it was interesting to read about the design decisions that went into the Super Puzzle Fighter II remake for Xbox Live Arcade, not least because I wouldn't have thought the original needed any improvement.

Most of the Puzzle Fighter re-balancing involved each character's drop patterns. The funny thing is that we all played as Donovan back in the day without having an inkling of the advanced strategy this piece describes. Specifically: "Because you know the pattern of colors that the opponent is capable of dropping on your side, it’s possible to build your side so that enemy attacks sometimes help you. If all characters sent random patterns of blocks, it would be very difficult to build up large Power Gems on your side without having them covered up all the time."

Who knew? Not me. Nor was I aware of the "Diamond Trick." Maybe it's a good thing I haven't downloaded the XBLA version, because people would probably be wiping the floor with me.

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