This is More than Mashing, a column on amazing demonstrations of skill in video games where I try to collect and showcase the best the net has to offer in skilled game playing and break it down so anyone can understand. This week I have LegendKiller : 2 on the chopping block. I’ve seen a lot of Gunz videos, and this one doesn’t show the most tricks, but I love its production values and choice of music.
Gunz: The Duel is a Korean online shooting game, where players pick out some guns and swords and duke it out. In this game players are capable of running up or along walls, jumping off them, blocking bullets with their sword, and dashing through the air. Over the course of the game’s life, Korean players discovered that the sword’s slashing animation interrupted a lot of other animations and reset counters like the one checking the cooldown time between dashes or whether you’ve walljumped already. They also found that this slashing animation could be canceled by the blocking animation, so you could cancel nearly anything with slash and block. This was called the Butterfly cancel and it allows you to slash a lot faster than normal and block about half the time. From this simple exploit they discovered many different possible applications which was solidified into a style of play termed K-Style or Korean-Style.
The first thing you’ll probably noticed about this video is the way that Legendkiller fires the shotgun and keeps switching off to make some weird motions with the sword before firing the shotgun again. This is one of the fundamental techniques of K-Style, the slashshot. The shotgun normally has a refire rate preventing you from firing it too quickly, but this can be circumvented by switching off to the sword, slashing, blocking and switching back to the shotgun. Most K-style players prefer shotguns to other weapons because their burst fire pattern allows the player to keep performing the butterfly cancel, which also aids their movement patterns. Weapons with repeating fire, like the rifles, had to be kept out to be used, so one had to choose between having the sword out, or having the gun out. Shotguns obviously don’t have this problem with their burst fire. Additionally, the slash shot technique could be used to speed up the reloading animation on shotguns to instantaneous, so shotguns in conjunction with K-Style were practically semi-automatic. Most K-Style experts carry 2 shotguns to get the most out of slashshotting.
In Gunz there are two types of airdashes, the one on the sword and the one on the gun (these can be done on the ground too). When you have a gun out and double tap a movement direction, you’ll do a roll to the side. When you have a sword or dagger out, you’ll do a quick dash that leaves a blue streak behind you. Generally the sword dash is faster, although I suspect that the gun roll might be a bit harder to aim at, not that there is much of a difference. The big difference between the two is that the sword dash can be butterfly canceled and the gun roll can’t. By canceling the sword dash, you can sword dash again a lot faster. Additionally you can butterfly up to 3 times in the same dash, doing 3 slashes in one dash. This enables masters of the butterfly to soar across the skies and glide for extended periods of time, because you don’t fall while you are sword dashing.
Now here is where things get crazy. Gunz originally had a very robust movement system, but with the introduction of the butterfly it became possible to run up walls or jump off them, and cancel the jumping animation, then immediately airdash back at the wall and jump off it again. Players could essentially use the butterfly cancel to fly up walls and glide through the air. Where before players were generally limited to areas they could wallrun up to, and not straying off the ground too far, K-style opened up every map in the game to combat across every scalable surface, with battles commencing over sheer chasms.
Also interesting to note is that most great K-style players tended to play female avatars. Female characters didn’t have any different hitboxes or anything like that, but they had different animations that made learning K-style techniques a bit simpler. Here we can see LegendKiller rocking a few different sets of outfits on female characters.
Here’s some footage of a person demonstrating some K-style movements on their keyboard. It’s a bit hard to see exactly what they’re pressing but it should get across some of how the game was played.
As you can probably expect, the keyboard and mouse inputs for K Style got absolutely crazy. Airdashing meant double tapping a movement key, blocking was a button on the keyboard, slashing and shooting was both done with M1, switching weapons was done with the number keys, and jumps were on spacebar. So to ascend a wall while shooting you’d have to jump off the wall, shoot, switch to sword, slash, block, double tap to dash, switch back to shotgun and jump again. Between all of this you were constantly outputting shotgun blasts and sword slash damage, which easily makes K-style more effective than most alternatives.
Like most other great skill based movement schemes in games, Gunz’s K-Style has lead to the development of a number of skill maps intended for players to hone their abilities at wall climbing and airdashing. This is very reminiscent of the bunny hopping maps in Natural Selection, Quake 3’s Defrag mod, and the surf maps in TF2 and Counter Strike Source. The main features here are a number of walls to climb and jump between and small platforms to cross. Maps like this help players both learn to use the K-Style tricks, as they are impassable without them, and help them get consistent with them.
Do you have a video of someone doing something amazing in a video game? Send it my way in the comments and I’ll add it to my youtube playlists (Here, here, and here), and maybe break it down in the future. I love seeing things unlike what I have already, so if you have something unique please share it.
May we duel again!