Author: Trevor Murray
Normal attacks are your bread and butter offensive moves in Rhythmcaster. Normal attacks either deal damage or give you a temporary advantage, assuming some of the notes hit the opponent without being blocked. Before we talk about normal attacks in greater detail, let’s talk briefly about how to play notes.
Playing a note is the simplest action you can perform in Rhythmcaster. To play a note you simply hit the button corresponding to the note you want to play (red, green or blue) in time with the beat. Beats are spaced at regular intervals (0.75s). There are a couple of cues that will let you judge when the next beat will be:
- A sound will play in time with each beat.
- Beat lines will pass over both players’ Play Zone in time with the beat.
- All beat lines pulse white in time with the beat.
If you pay attention to one or all of these cues you will get used to the timing of the beats and be able to play notes at the correct time. Keep in mind your timing doesn’t have to be perfect, just try to hit the note as close to the right time as possible. As long as you’re close enough, the game will adjust the timing of the note so that it is perfectly in time with the beat.
What happens after I play a note?
Once you play a note it will shoot out towards your opponent. After exactly two beats of travel time, the note will enter your opponent’s Play Zone. If it passes all the way through your opponent’s Play Zone, it will hit them and deal damage. This is the simplest way to defeat an opponent: send notes until you deal enough damage to defeat them. The amount of damage each note deals depends on a number of factors including note colour, character-specific abilities, and the status effects of both characters. Don’t worry about all this for now though, we’ll cover it in more detail in future articles.
Playing Normal Attacks
Normal attacks are one of two types of riffs you can play. Riffs are a specific sequence of coloured notes with a specific rhythmic pattern. Riffs may include one, two or three different colours of notes.
Before we learn how to play normal attacks, let’s have a look at the layout of three different normal attacks¹. As you read from left to right, time increases from 0, the time of the first note.
You’ll notice that each normal attack has it’s own unique pattern of notes. Once completed, each normal attack also applies a unique effect, these are known as Spell Effects. Each riff is designed to be distinct from all other riffs, and, furthermore, the value of each riff varies based upon the state of the game, character-specific abilities, and the future actions of your opponent.
Now that we have seen a couple of different riffs, let’s look at how we would play Exploding Flameshards, a straightforward normal attack that is useful in most situations. Just like playing a single note, you’ll want to play the first note of the riff in time with the beat. The first note of Exploding Flameshards is red, so we press the Red Note Button in time with the beat.
Only the first note of a riff needs to be played in time with the beat. After the first note, the rest of the notes in a riff follow a unique order and timing. Each riff defines its own note timing which, although related to the timing of the beats, is not always in time with any of those beats. For Exploding Flameshards the 2nd note is ¼ (one quarter) beat after the first note, so we press the red note button again ¼ beat after the first note (~0.1875s). Then we just keep playing the notes in the timing defined by the riff. Once we get the hang of this riff, it will sound something like Hit-Hit-Hit-Pause Hit-Hit-Hit-Pause Hit-Hit-Hit-Pause Hit.
A few things to keep in mind when playing normal attacks
To play a riff you have to hit every note of the correct colour at the correct time. However, if you do make a mistake it’s not a complete loss. The notes you entered correctly up until your mistake will still be sent at your opponent, however, you won’t trigger any spell effects for the riff (eg., you miss out on any bonus damage for the note hits of Exploding Flameshards).
Also you want to pick the right normal attack for the situation. If your opponent is fumbling, go for a very high damage riff like Raging Pyre. If they’re blocking most of your notes, a more simple riff like Exploding Flameshards will be more effective. If you fear a counter-attack, you might sacrifice some damage to make their counter-attacks less effective by hitting them with a Caustic Blast.
While most riffs deal their bonus damage once the final note passes the opponent’s play zone, there are some exceptions. Caustic Blast, for instance, deals small amounts of damage after a short delay and over a couple of beats. Understanding the time at which your riffs deal damage can be the difference between a narrow loss and a narrow victory.
Next article : Blocking and Special Attacks
In the next design article, I will talk about blocking and special attacks. Blocking can reduce the amount of damage taken from single notes and normal attacks to almost zero. Special attacks, however, deal damage even when your opponent blocks every note.
¹Please note these are only example riffs and will not be featured in the final game. It is still very early in Development, so things are far from being finalised. Also, these example riffs currently have a design flaw, which means they could not be used in combos.