Project M Intro & Overview

A friend of mine said that Project M isn’t very good because most characters are up there on Fox level and because of that they don’t have any match ups which tends to be a bad game (such as Squirtle gimping out players). I don’t know much about fighting games, what do you think?

Alright. Lemme explain a little. Basically, in Melee, Fox was the undisputed best character. There’s a lot of reasons for this, he’s fast, can combo people really hard, can run away and shoot lasers at them forcing them to approach, has really easy setups to kill people, has a great recovery and several different ways to recover. If you want the full lowdown, you can check a lot of different guides.

Project M originally aimed to make Brawl more similar to Melee. To be Melee 2.0. To that end they recreated a ton of extremely subtle melee mechanics. Things so small most people feel them, but don’t realize they’re ever there.

They elected to try to make the old best melee characters play exactly how they did before. However they also wanted to bring all the new characters into the fold and to make all these characters just as good as each other. People don’t like it when you make the best characters weaker, so they decided to make Fox exactly like he was in Melee and try to make all the other characters more powerful to compensate. Don’t bring fox down to the level of the other characters, bring the other characters up to the level of fox. This way people could enjoy playing Fox the way they always have, and now we have a bunch of new characters too, that in theory are just as good as Fox.

That didn’t exactly work out. Project M 3.02 was the big shot version of the game, the first version to have all the characters in place. In theory every character was as strong as fox, had abilities as strong as Fox’s Shine (a move that comes out instantly, is invincible the frame it comes out, and can be quickly canceled so it can be followed up with other moves or more shines), but what ended up happening was a bunch of characters, all the characters with projectiles, now had this amazing ability to zone other characters out. They could spam projectiles all day, or sit on the ledge invincible, and not play the more conventional neutral game for a whole match. Some characters like Squirtle had a strong ability to use certain moves to limit the game, like squirtle’s side B has armor that can only be broken by very powerful moves, and he can move back and forth with it all the time, and use it to knock you down and keep knocking you down over and over again instead of needing to dash dance (a more conventional form of movement).

Project M 3.5 toned all of this down. A ton of characters got nerfs, and the overarching trend is that characters needed to now play more of the conventional melee-style neutral game. Fox even got nerfed a little, as much as they could get away with. Most characters aren’t on Fox’s level anymore. Fox is currently considered the best character in the game, because he’s still the all-arounder with terrific damage and kill potential.

Follow up with two more questions (sorry for this string of questions). There was also a mention that killthrows from all these characters are not very good either, I’m not sure how exactly that is bad (if it even is). Also what exactly are matchups?

A matchup is basically when you mentally think about which character would win against which in a fight. Basically, look at say game and watch versus link. Who wins? A bunch of people get together and they think it over, they review matches between game and watch players and link players, and determine which character they think has the advantage. So a character who has a lot of good matchups theoretically beats a lot of other characters. If your character has a lot of good matchups, then they’re considered to be a very good character.

Here’s a matchup chart for Project M. A positive number means that character has a good matchup, a negative one means they have a bad matchup. You can see fox has good matchups versus every character except Metaknight and ROB.

What your friend was probably saying about matchups was that every character has good matchups like fox, which if that were true would be a really good thing, it would mean the game is balanced. Your friend probably wasn’t actually saying that. I can’t tell what he meant from the way you worded your question, you left out a bit too much information.

However saying that squirtle gimping people is bad, that’s just silly. Squirtle isn’t very good at gimping in the first place. He’s alright, maybe as good as link or a bit better, but there’s better characters at gimping in Project M.

Kill Throws are rare in PM, and they tend to only work above 120%, which is when you’re basically dead anyways. Squirtle has one, but it’s not one of the better ones, and can be survived past 120% depending on stage position with good DI. Other kill throws are Mewtwo, Ness, Zelda, ROB, Charizard, Snake (at 160-180%), and Lucas. So, not that many across the cast. 8 out of 41 characters. Kill throws just mean you shouldn’t get grabbed above 120% or so. There were kill throws in Melee too, on Ness and Zelda, and a lot of other characters had kill confirm throws, like Fox at 70%.

I mean, far as objections to PM go, these aren’t really substantial, but you’re probably summarizing your friend’s points incorrectly.

Also, he said he’s glad Project M is gone from tournaments because of some controversy about death threats about the community was being toxic and therefore had to be punished.

People send death threats about loads of things. The majority of the Project M community did not send death threats. Alex Strife received a bunch of death threats over dumb shit he said about APEX, and for molesting some underaged girl. Not to mention that a ton of people hate Project M, especially people on 4chan. It’s entirely likely that a bunch of those death threats were sent by people who disliked Project M and were trying to rile things up.

The actual community isn’t any more toxic than any other. Bad shit happens because there’s always a couple bad people out there no matter what. So death threats were sent when PM was removed from APEX, so death threats were sent when PM was discontinued.

The community by and large isn’t toxic. Maybe a couple people on the peripheries

Project M is gone from larger tournaments because of Nintendo’s increasing involvement with the scene, Project M’s ban from Twitch, and the discontinued development. Project M’s scene still runs a large number of tournaments which see great attendance.

I mean shit, the game and the community do not deserve all the shit that is constantly heaped on them.

Final follow up question (I promise): What makes Project M so fun?

It’s like Melee except you can pick whatever character you want and still be able to do alright. It’s like Melee, but there’s a few more tricks, and some of the basics are slightly easier in ways that don’t impact their function at all.

It’s like Melee, but I get to play Snake, ROB, and Bowser, and actually beat people with them. I get a few more tricks to learn, I can introduce people easily to the game, and I can avoid playing crap like Brawl or Smash 4.

Tell your friend to remove the stick from his ass and just play it. If there’s something offputting to him, then he can damn well adapt. Almost nothing in the game is legitimately bullshit. Most of the problems people complain about in the game like auto-combos (meaning really easy combos that can’t be reliably escaped) or Gimmicks (meaning playstyles that make the whole game about one little thing), or jank (miscellaneous weirdness), have been worked out of the game with the past 2 patches. No character can wall the other character out now, every character needs to play to the fundamentals.

No character has an unbeatable strategy, everything has at least 2 counters with every other character. It’s just well made.

what are the differences between. project m and all the other brawl mods (brawl+, brawl-, brawl turbo, etc.)

Brawl+ was the first big modding effort for Brawl. It basically implemented a bunch of physics touchups and character changes, but stayed more or less true to the original spirit of the characters in their brawl incarnation. It was made before a lot of modern modding technology was developed for brawl, and the early versions didn’t even have custom character files, they adjusted and balanced characters entirely with assembly code. They didn’t fundamentally change the way any character’s moves work. Brawl+ went through a lot of increasingly rapid patching cycles, until it became patched nightly. Many people complained about the balance of the mod, and the rapid patching made it impossible to keep up with what was current, ultimately leading to a collapse in popularity.

Balanced Brawl developed alongside Brawl+ and basically aimed to be as much like brawl as possible, except balanced. I originally thought it was a minimalism mod (it mostly is), but apparently they did some big restructuring (relative to simple number buffs) of some lower tier characters too, though I’m not up on the details because I never played it. It removed infinites from the game, and increased the number of viable stages. It removed tripping, and added limits to how many times you can get invincibility from regrabbing a ledge.

Brawl- was not the third big brawl modding effort, there were some smaller and lesser known ones, typically made by one person, but it did come before Project M. Brawl- aimed to be crazy wacky fun that was simultaneously balanced. They dialed the hitstun up, gave characters silly moves, often with random functions, added sillier stages, but did a better job at balancing than Brawl or Melee did. I don’t know where balance stands in Brawl- currently, but personally I don’t like the mod very much just because many of the characters have moves that are ludicrously bullshit, like link’s ridiculous sniper arrows of differing elements that can be charged really fast and hit all the way across the stage. A lot of that was toned down over time, and I don’t know where it currently stands. Ganondorf for example once had it so his up tilt was a fullscreen quakebox, meaning if you were touching ground anywhere on the screen you would be hit. Brawl-, like Brawl+ before it, sticks to a lot of the original moves used in brawl, but came up with some newer character archetypes for various characters.

Project M had a lot more invasive rewiring of the brawl engine to produce a completely new game practically. It ignored a lot of the character archetypes from brawl and completely restructured them based on whatever they felt would be fun, for example lucas and lucario, who are totally different from their brawl incarnations. The original character designs were only used as loose inspiration for many Project M versions of characters.

I don’t honestly know about Brawl Turbo or any others.

Why does PM feel different from Melee? I want to say it’s a psychological thing resulting from the different graphics, animations, sound effects, etc., but I’m pretty sure there’s an actual difference in mechanical feel in spite of all the claims that some characters like Fox are exactly the same as in Melee. PM just feels a bit slower and maybe sluggish for lack of a better term.

I’ve gone over this in the past, there are some subtle mechanical tweaks to PM, though it should not feel more sluggish except in one way, the one frame physics delay.

Most people don’t understand what the one frame physics delay is, so I’ll try to be clear. It is NOT a frame of input lag. When you press a button, the action tied to that button occurs instantly. What the one-frame physics delay actually does is prevent air velocity from being applied to a character on the frame they enter the air. This means that if you press jump, you will go through your normal jumpsquat frames and on the frame you enter the air, you will be adjacent to the ground, rather than slightly up. You will be moved slightly up on the next frame, when the velocity is actually applied to you, and the motion will be normal from there on out.

In addition to this, there is a glitch in melee. If you attack on the exact frame that you enter the air, you will not reach as high a jump height. You will have slightly less velocity moving upwards and will reach a slightly lower maximum jump height. This is extremely slight, but effectively cuts your air time by 1 frame. This glitch does not exist in PM, so in combination with the 1 frame physics delay, PM characters stay in the air for 1 or 2 frames longer than their melee counterparts. This is the only change to actual framedata that exists in PM.

Beyond that, the sluggishness you feel might be accounted for by the fact that PM inputs are easier to do. You do not need to smash your stick as hard to perform a dash, the zone that counts as a dash on the controller has been increased in size, and the 1 frame leniency that exists on a forward dash has also been applied to the backdash (meaning dashing the opposite direction from the way you’re facing from an idle start). Another change is that the shorthop window now extends to all the frames of a jumpsquat. Melee had a glitch where the last frame of jumpsquat was excluded, meaning you needed to release the button a bit faster. This means characters like Fox, Samus, and Lucario can shorthop more easily with no change in frame data.

The 1 frame physics delay also makes it easier to wavedash, since you have 1 frame close to the ground, then another frame that is like frame 1 of a melee wavedash. This in turn makes it easier to multishine in PM, as it’s now a 2 frame window instead of a 1 frame window.

So you might find that PM feels slower just because you’re allowed to input things without smashing your stick or buttons, even though there’s little to no change in frame data. People who usually find PM slower are those coming from Smash 4 who are not used to playing without a buffer, but Melee players shouldn’t have that problem.

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