Across the years, Super Smash Flash 2 has been worked on by an ever-growing and ever-changing team. It is my great pleasure to introduce some of the members who contributed to the project in this series.
Today I will introduce you to Tid. Tid was a long-time member of the Smash Flash 2 team, but has recently struck out to start developing original games of his own!
What was your role on the SSF2 team?
Several! Most importantly I was the lead developer in charge of stages, meaning I designed many of the stage concepts new to SSF2, finding the best location from a game world, figuring out the layout of terrain & platforms, any special mechanics or hazards and so on. Then I put together pixelart required and program and develop the stage. I was also in charge of maintaining the final list of stages that would go into the game to keep a good ratio of casual and competitive stages, as well as a fair representation of many different game franchises.
I was also one of the developers in charge of moveset and balance design for characters, again designing, programming and testing many of the movesets that were new to SSF2.
Something great about the team was also that any developer was free to make efforts towards any part of the game, so I also spent lots of time dabbling in creating visual effects and programming ancillary features like items and Assist Trophies.
You were part of the team for quite some time. What was your favourite project to work on?
Very hard to say, I did a lot of work I was very proud of. I hope I’m allowed to pick a project from a few different categories. Meteo Voyage is one of my favourite stages in concept because I thought it was a very clever evolution of the Venom stage idea from Melee using another, lesser known ship from the Starfox franchise. Clock Town is also a favourite of mine because of how long it took to make all the moving parts work together, and because I did a lot of the pixel art on a touchpad while my mouse was broken!
In terms of characters, I’m most proud of Ichigo and Naruto’s design, which is funny to think back on, because I was originally very opposed to having anime characters added to the roster. I made it my mission though that if we were to keep them, they’d have to be really really interesting and well designed. I cut out a lot of the gimmicks and rebuilt Naruto around shadow clones and Ichigo around the Flash Step, and I think I managed to put together really interesting unique characters that Sakurai would have been proud of!
Finally, for a miscellaneous project: right before I left the team I grabbed as many Pokemon Black/White animated sprites as I could and spent about a week just programming loads of them into the game as fun Poke Ball designs. They were really easy to put together and the Black/White sprites looked great. I’m not sure how many of them ever made it into a released version of SSF2, but it was a ton of fun anyway.
What is your favourite title in the Super Smash Bros. series?
I’m a competitive Melee player, so that would be the obvious answer. However, I actually have a lot of love deep in my soul for Brawl (about as far from Melee as you can get!). I think the content added in that game was so much more interesting than just new characters and stages – It added a lot of new mechanics, there were even more trophies (as well as now stickers and CDs to collect!), My Music was amazing, and it can’t be overstated how exciting Adventure Mode was and how much of an upgrade it was over Melee’s adventure mode. There were boss battles, all kinds of fun silly features, a stage builder, assist trophies… It just goes on and on. The daily updates on the Dojo were so incredibly exciting too, it felt like anything could be revealed at any moment. Maybe I was just at just the right age, but I don’t think the Smashbros series has ever felt as ambitious and grand and big as Brawl made it feel.
What is your favourite memory from your time on the team?
It would be too hard to pick… I had a lot of love for the team even though we didn’t always agree on things. So many hundreds of hours were spent in Skype calls just discussing plans and laughing and joking around, it was a really great vibe. I think if I really had to narrow it down, I’d pick out our first international trip to APEX, in 2013. It was just so incredible meeting the other developers and getting to spend time together in person, working on the game. I couldn’t believe how similar everyone was to their online persona in every way. The night before we showcased 0.9a, we realised we still had a tonne of work to do on Kirby’s copy ability, and some of the copy powers were working so comically poorly that we were just about in tears laughing at some of the bugs.
I remember as well in.. I wanna say 2015? Void, Ramsey and I spent nearly 2 weeks straight hanging out in a nearby McDonalds because they were open all hours and had free wifi, whereas our motel didn’t. I think at one stage in particular I was awake for almost 30 hours. Some of the best and most creative additions to the game came from that McDonalds, including our original Battlefield and Final Destination designs, Sandball Soccer, Sora’s updated moveset, and it was also where we developed and recorded (in my opinion) the best video we ever put out, which was the SSF2 Direct about SSF2 Beta’s launch.
What is some of your other work you’re known for in other communities?
I’m the developer and director of TidFriction games. Most recently we released a puzzle game called Limiter! on Steam and Itch. It’s an atmospheric and mysterious story about an AI who sees the world in puzzles, and is working to bring something known as the ARCANE system back online. It has a really incredible soundtrack too, developed by a friend of mine named Luke. I wanted to make a game that feels like learning makes me feel, and even though it didn’t have a huge release, I’m really proud of how it all came together.
While I was working on SSF2 I was also developing a game called Deep, a big metroidvania about a robot lost on an alien planet with no ‘objective data’, on a mission to figure out why they were sent here. The game had randomly generated terrain that lasted your entire playthrough, so everyone’s save file was a little different, and your robot could be customised with different equipment you found throughout the world. It had great boss fights and a really neat combat system. It was quite far along in development and I’m looking forward to returning to it to complete it one day, when I have a little more time.
We really want to see more of your work in the future! Can you tell us what you’re currently working on?
At the moment I’m actually working on a handful of small game projects. Mostly one called Bug Bytes, which is a fast paced block-busting game of similar genre to Tetris, but with RPG elements and… A kind of… ‘combat’, you could call it, against a mischevous horde of Bug-like robots called ELF. Clearing blocks and making big combos stuns the ELF you’re battling, and earning a big score rewards you with more experience points which you can use to upgrade various things. It’s a ways off still but I hope people are excited for it. I’m also working on a few personal projects I’m not ready to share more on, and another game that I can’t really talk about yet because another developer is involved.
In addition, I’m trying to get better at working on writing and talking about games, because I really enjoy thinking about the psychology of game design and how little choices in games make a big difference to the player experience.
IF ANY OF THIS SOUNDS INTERESTING TO YOU: I’d absolutely love it if you followed me on Twitter at @AlexTid where I regularly post about my work and all kinds of other stuff, or @TidFriction if you only want to see games related content.
All of my writing, a lot of my art, and previews of the stuff I’m working on (including Bug Bytes!) is also available at tidfriction.com and I hope you’ll check that out too!