Category Archives: Design

Ushah Development

Now that Julia is mostly finished, we’ve started development on Ushah. We had already decided on most of his moveset set, had created some artwork and had written down a rudimentary background story, but now we have truly commenced to give him form both visually and gameplay-wise.

In terms of appearance the biggest obstacle we have to tackle is the mechanical arm. We have to figure out the shape of the arm, the position of the moving parts and how to convert it into a proper scale for the sprites. Here is a small part of the recent concept art.

One of the earlier development sketches of Ushah’s arm that Bob Sagat has created.

The design of the mechanical arm has gone through some revisions and developments. This more solid armor-like version of the arm, is the direction we are moving towards at the moment. The ‘wrist’ portion widens outwards like a cannon muzzle. The steam gun in Ushah’s arm can release its steam shot around the hand this way.

A study of the new arm design in motion. It looks solid from different angles.

We’ve started to make a mock-up version of Ushah. Right now it is just his standing and crouching moves, with the framedata implemented as originally designed. This way we are able to quickly see what feels off, what should be adjusted and how. We’ve made a compilation of some of his moves and move properties in the video below.

The first clip shows: cr.LK xx cr.LP xx st.LK, Julia tries to retaliate with st.HP, but Ushah presses his st.HP, and the armor on hit st.HP blocks Julia’s attack and hits her.

The next clip shows: cr.LP, cr.HP, a basic link combo, followed by cr.LK, cr.HK, showing that Ushah’s cr.HK knocks down on hit.

We are exploring some unique super mechanics for Ushah. As a grappler, Ushah tries to limit his opponent’s movement to get in and grab them. His super lays down screens of steam with his mechanical arm/steam gun. This steam will impede the movement speed of the opponent, making it easier for Ushah to get in close and really hurt his opponent.

We’d like to put a call out for any concept artists that would be interested in helping along with Shattered. Some of the characters are already fairly fleshed out, other characters still have a long way to go.

Many fighting games have rather typical anime-look. We really want to distinguish the look and feel of Shattered by giving it more of along the lines of American and European comic book style, rather than the Japanese look so many fighting games have.

Do you think your artwork would fit the style we’re aiming for and are you looking for a chance to help along with the development of the game, please contact us at djono [at]

The development of Shattered is currently purely a labour of love, and all development is done in our free time, extra help would be really appreciated.

Julia’s Specials and Supers

This post will conclude our presentation of Julia’s hitboxes. We will discuss her command normals, shatter attack, specials and super. Normals often have subtle hitboxes that have specific applications, specials moves generally have a lot bigger and dominant hitboxes.


sweepThis is Julia’s only command normal, it is a low hitting move that knocks down on hit and has slightly better range and a better hitbox than the cr.HK. To balance it out against the cr.HK, the move has a slower startup and a hefty recovery. The move can be cancelled into a fireball to make it safe on block. One should be careful not to whiff it, as this sets you up for great punishment.


Shatter Attack (HP+HK)
shatterThe Shatter Attack is still very much a work in progress move. Right now it reuses the sprite of the j.HK, however with different hitboxes. Notice that during her attack she is lower body invincible and she is considered airborne. The invincibility allows her to dodge low attacks and hit it as a devastating counterattacks.

Because the move is airborne, the move is also unthrowable. You can therefore decide to throw it out when you anticipate a throw.

While this move beats two very common tactics (low attack and throw), it is very unsafe on block, and one needs to be very careful to throw it out.

Projectile (qcf+P)
fbJulia’s projectile is quite high up vertically, which makes it a little difficult to jump over. Because of this same fact some characters will have options to go under it (as Julia does herself with cr.HK). As you can see, the hitbox of the projectile extends a little further down than you might expect from the sprite. This is to make it so that the fireball doesn’t whiff over crouchers normally.

Both versions of the projectile have the same hitboxes. The hard punch fireball is quicker but the recovery of the move is slightly longer.

Dragonpunch (dp+P)



Hard punch version








Julia’s dragonpunch is an excellent anti-air and has incredible priority to beat other moves out. The recovery is huge, which sets you up for brutal punishment if you whiff it. Both the light and heavy versions can be supercancelled.

The light version is invincible during the entire startup, but can be hit at the feet during its first active frames. As a result it will trade with a meaty attack if you reversal with it. This is not necessarily disadvantageous for Julia, as the dragonpunch juggles and it is possible to follow up with attacks after a trade. Unlike the hard version, the light version only hits once.

The hard version is completely invincible during the first hit, which means it will beat out meaties clean, but it has slightly longer startup.

The hitbox of the rising part of the dragonpunch is identical for both the light and the heavy versions. While this part of the move is not invincible, the priority is still very good, and covers a good amount of vertical space, making this section of the move also a potent anti-air.

Flying kicks (qcb+K)

qcb+HK (1st hit)

qcb+HK (1st hit)

qcb+LK (1st hit), qcb+HK (2nd hit)

qcb+LK (1st hit), qcb+HK (2nd hit)


qcb+LK/HK (final hit)






The two versions of the flying kicks in terms of hitboxes are very similar, but the framedata and hit effects differ considerably. These moves are the most damaging special moves in Julia’s arsenal and are very unsafe on block. It is mostly as a tool for dealing damage, but can also be used to quickly cross some screen distance.

The light version can combo off light attacks, does two hits and does not knock down on hit. After it is hit both players recover at the same time, which allows Julia to press her advantage.

The hard version does not combo off light attacks, does three hits and does knock down.

While both these moves are important combo tools, it should be noted that they will whiff on most crouching characters, and therefore you will only be able to maximize the damage with these moves if you catch your opponent standing.

Super Projectile (2xqcf+P)

superfbClearly this move has not been completely drawn yet and we are still using placeholder art. As a result many of the hitboxes are still subject to change. There are several properties which will certainly remain the same. There are two versions, the light version is a slower projectile, while the hard version is a faster projectile. The hitbox will be both vertically and horizontally bigger than the normal projectile.

The move will hit five consecutive times, and will deal a massive amount of damage, it does not knock down. If you want a combo into super to do a knockdown, you will have to supercancel the Light punch dragonpunch into the fireball.

So that’s it! Those are the moves of Julia. We hope you’ve found these showcases interesting and that you have gotten some insight into our technical design decisions of the game.

Julia’s Jump Normals

Jump normals are always a challenge to get right in fighting games. Because movement is so much more limited by a jump, a lot of factors like range, start-up and active frames become less important than the are on the ground game. This often leaves characters with a plethora of jump normals that are hardly ever used.

We have decided that we want every single jump normal to have a specific function, so that every single button can plausibly be used in high level play. Julia is a good example of this design decision. Every single one of her jump normals has a specific function, and you will have to make specific decisions on what button to press with every jump you do.


Jumping Light Punch

jlpJulia’s jumping light punch hits fairly high up, and will whiff on most crouching opponents. Its main use is therefore air-to-airing opponents. While its hitboxes are not amazing, the long active period (12 frames) of the attacks, allows Julia to cover a large part of the jump arc with an attack box. This makes it a low damage, low range, but easy to use air-to-air normal.



Jumping Light Kick

jlkTogether with the jumping hard punch, this move is one of Julia’s main jump-in attacks. The damage and blockstun that this move does are lower than that of the jump hard punch, but it makes up for this because of its cross-up potential. As you can see the attack box extends behinds Julia, this allows for her to jump over the opponent and still hit them.


Jumping Hard Punch

jhpThis damaging, and very deep hitting jump attack is Julia’s main jump-in tool. It easily hits crouchers and does a lot of blockstun. The attack box is somewhat smaller than that of other moves, making this move specifically geared towards jump-in attacks, and not particularly useful as an air-to-air.



Jump Hard Kick


The excellent upward angle on this move and the formidable damage, make this attack Julia’s scariest air-to-air normal. Different from the jumping light punch, this move has shorter active frames, forcing the player to be more specific about when to press it. But when it connects, it hurts.

Because Julia pulls her legs up during this move, she is able to dodge some incoming fireballs. This is once again an example of an emergent property inspired by the animations Bob Sagat has drawn.

That concludes our discussion of Julia’s basic normals. Next post we’ll discuss Julia’s single command normal, specials and super.


Julia’s crouching normals

This post we’ll talk about Julia’s crouching normals. It should be noted that the hitboxes that we present are technically still in development. And while they will not change a whole lot, small tweaks are still being made to this day. In fact, one of the boxes presented today was changed minutes before writing this post.

Crouching Light Punch

crlp_newJulia’s crouching light punch is a fairly straightforward move. It’s a quick chainable light attack that doesn’t hit low. It does beat out other attacks as easily as the crouching light kick, but it can be cancelled into specials and supers. The crouching light punch is one of Julia’s main tools for setting up combos off light attacks.

Crouching Light Kick

crlkThis crouching light kick doesn’t have any hurt box on the limb when it is active. This makes it a potent low hitting attack that can easily beat out other pokes, as the limb itself is invincible. However, there are still reasons to choose to press cr.LP over cr.LK, despite its superior hitbox.

cr.LP hits slightly higher and there are fewer moves that could easily dodge attacks that high, and you might even hit your opponent in the start of a jump where cr.LK might whiff. Moreover cr.LK cannot be cancelled into specials or supers, so you will have to chain into cr.LP if you want to combo into a special move.

Crouching Hard Punch

crhpThe move is used to beat out jump-ins with relative ease, as it only takes one button press to hit the opponent out of the air.

Because Julia stays low to the ground and the attack box is fairly wide, the cr.HP is a fairly consistent move to use as an anti-air in a variety of situations. It can beat out both crossups and normal deep jump-ins quite effectively. One has to be careful with timing it though, because the recovery is long, so you do not want to whiff it.

Because of its fast start up, it also functions as a reasonable move to use in block strings. The sequence cr.LP, cr.HP is a tight string that will beat out opponents mindlessly mashing buttons after blocking.

Crouching Hard Kick

crhkJulia’s crouching hard kick is a very potent and long range poke. Unlike other four button fighters, cr.HK in our game does not necessarily function as a sweep that knocks down. Julia’s cr.HK is one of those moves that isn’t. It’s an awesome, fast, low hitting cancellable and long ranged move, which plays an important role in the footsie game of Julia.

One might notice that Julia’s hurt box for this move is considerably lower than the other crouching attacks. Because of this, Julia is actually able to use cr.HK to dodge fireballs. This is one of the wonderful ’emergent’ results that we have gotten while working on this game. When me and Coal designed this move, we never intended for it to go under fireballs. But when I added the hitboxes that best fitted the animation that Bob Sagat drew, this was the natural result. We feel that such cases of the game ‘designing itself’ should be embraced, as it makes for natural and understandable hitboxes, as well as interesting intricacies which simply cannot be added by brute force.

Next time we’ll look at the jump attacks.


Julia’s standing normals

As promised in our previous blogpost, the coming weeks we’ll be discussing some details of Julia’s hitboxes and properties, to give some insight into our design philosophy and something to study for those who are into that sort of thing.

While the hitboxes are fairly straightforward, here are a few things you need to know to make sense of them.

  • Red: Attack box, the part that actually hits the opponent.
  • Blue: Hurt box, the part that can be hit by the opponent
  • Cyan: Collision box, this is a character’s ‘physical’  body, when an opponent walks up to you, this is what you bump up against.
  • White cross: The pivot, this is the point that decides what the ‘front’ and the ‘back’ of Julia is.

Let’s first talk about some general design philosophies. In the old days, many fighting games would have a fixed ‘limit’ of certain boxes that could be on the screen, and therefore you would have quite consistent amount of attack or hurt boxes. Some games would allow two hurt boxes and one attack box per character per frame, while other games allow, for example, three hurt boxes and two attack boxes.

In this modern age, there is of course no true physical limit to the amount of hurt boxes and attack boxes you could use. Nevertheless, we feel that it is still useful to have such limits as a rule of thumb, as we feel it makes properties of moves a bit easier to feel out intuitively. As can be seen below, our rule of thumb is to have two hurt boxes and one attack box on the screen. We can easily break this rule, and when we feel that it will be necessary, we certainly will. but for Julia, it has not yet been necessary.

Now let’s get to the actual hitboxes, this week we’ll be discussing Julia’s standing normals.

Standing Light Punch

Julia’s standing light punch is a fairly straight forward punch. It has good advantage on hit and on block, but it will whiff over crouching characters, making it not particularly strong as a pressure tool. However,it is a good low-risk anti-air option against hops, that you can throw out pre-emptively to cover the space in front of her.


Standing Light Kick

This standing light kick is one of my favourite moves in Julia’s moveset, not because it’s so strong but because it’s so specific. The normal is a light normal with quite a bit of startup and recovery. However, it is a formidable footsies tool.  As you might notice her hurt box is very far behind her collision box. Whenever Julia does this move, her hurt box moves backward. With proper spacing, this can make long ranged low attacks whiff completely. The great range on the poke then allows her to hit the opponents move. This allows her to do this move any time she sniffs out a crouching hard kick of the opponent and hit them out of it.

This move can be super cancelled. So if you are confident about your read, you can stick out this move and buffer the super.

Standing Hard Punch

sthpJulia’s standing hard punch is her most damaging normal, and it can be special cancelled. Therefore, it is very important for maximizing damage on a punish combo.

But outside of punish situations this move has great uses too.  The move has great range, which makes it useful in footsie battles. One needs to be careful however, as the move will whiff over crouching opponents.

The standing hard punch covers much of the same space as the standing light punch, while having more range and is more likely to beat out an opponent’s attack. Combined with its high damage output, this move is a very scary anti-hop tool. However, this move is both slower to come out and longer to recovery than the standing light punch, making it a high-risk/high-reward answer to hops.

Standing Hard Kick

sthkThis standing roundhouse is the only standing normal whose attack box stick out above the hurt box. As a result it is able to hit people who come in on Julia with a normal jump. The range is good, but the start-up is fairly long. Making this a good anti-jump normal to hit people that are not necessarily jumping in to hit a combo, but rather to poke or cover some distance.


I hope this has given some insight into the design and application of Julia’s normals. Next time we’ll discuss her crouching normals.


Design decisions on Resources

We have previously discussed a large portion of the system mechanics, both in our blog posts and on our System page. But, while we set out to make a simple but engaging game system, it is only part of what makes it the game. The other half is arguably the one that will be much harder to get working properly: getting every moveset of every character balanced, while staying different enough to deliver good character diversity.

While we do not intend to make every character so different that it is as if they come from different games, we want to have wildly varied movesets.This however forced us to make some strict agreements so that it would prevent designs from going overboard.

One of the most important limitations we have set early on was that no character would have character-specific set of resources.

The basic resources in the game are:

  • Super bar
  • Health bar
  • Shatter bar
  • Time

The amount of impact these will have, differs per character and resource type. Super bar, for instance, will always play a massive role for every character, while fighters that rely on health for special mechanics will be comparatively rare.

One example where we changed the impact of the super bar would be for Roxanne, whose supers are more akin to EX moves than to actual supers. We initially planned to split her super bar up into smaller segments, but we eventually decided against that, as that would qualify as a character-specific subsystem, which is something we specifically try to avoid. Instead, her super bar will fill much faster than that of other characters, which is used to power stronger versions of her special moves, but these will obviously lack the punch of actual supers.

This gave us some issues with her shatter super, which obviously uses the same bar, possibly giving her way too many opportunities to use that super on a shattered opponent. While we could lower the damage of this super, to be more like her “EX moves”, we felt like this would reduce the excitement of landing a shatter super. Instead, we want to solve this by lowering her overall shatter damage and thus decreasing the chance of shattering her opponent.

Another example is one of our future characters, which will feature a cancel that the player can use at any moment to reset their frames to neutral, effectively resetting the character and giving the possibility to retaliate out of blockstun or to extend combos. This ability uses the super bar as its resource, just like her super moves do. Of course, this ability needs to be balanced in such a way, that her super moves do not become useless, while keeping her from becoming too strong.

The mechanics that use shatter/time/health as resource are more difficult to implement, and are definitely further down the road. The chances that we use time as a resource to power a character’s abilities are very slim. Note that utilizing a resource doesn’t mean to us that it will necessarily be consumed, it could also mean that having X amount of health/time left has a certain effect on a character.

Over the next few weeks we will do a more in-depth introduction to our 3 other alpha characters Usha, Cole and Roxanne.