Posted by: katapultarr | May 28, 2012

First Impression

Movesets-wise, that is. What I mean by this is the opening, or very first thing you see when reading a moveset – this doesn’t actually have any real importance on the movesets themselves or how they fare, but it’s a topic I’ve always wanted to see be explored none the less for what it’s worth and for that I’m going to talk about it here: how YOU can build up some sweet suspense for your sets even if it’s probably one of the most pointless things to think about sets. That is, unless you’re making the set for a character you really like.

Most sets these days open with the character’s name followed by a picture of that character, description of them and so on. There’s nothing wrong with this, but remember the old days back in Make Your Move 4 and 5 where movesets actually had a quote or that fabled “Warning: Challenger Approaching!” sign at the top? Look at just about any of those sets and you’ll see what I mean – it’s a pretty good way to get your readers hyped for the set. Things have changed however, but that can’t be helped when reading into the actual meat of the set and taking from it constitutes for much more than first impressions…

That’s not to say this practice has become completely extinct, however. You all remember Dr. Facilier from MYM11? While probably if not completely irrelevant to the set’s success, it possessed an actual tag-line at the start of the set of which was arguably more than enough to constitute it’s placing if all one did was just look at that – seriously, just go look at that tag-line and you’ll understand. It’s witty, plays on elements present ongoing at the time of its posting (via the cleverly made lines that poked fun at the Duck Twacy gangsters) but best of builds up some suspense to a climactic start with some pictures that really draws out Facilier’s character, or at least you’ll get the full grasp of it in that context. The material of which you’d have to work with your character were you to emulate such an opening would vary, however, and can be made to be of its own appeal depending on who the set is being made for. With that you’ll know what to expect from your character, and all that’s left to do is keep everything within the standards. There are plenty of other examples of sets with great openings of which you can feel free to put in via the replies.

——–

The above points alone would make this article pretty irrelevant to anything were I only suggesting an approach few would be inclined to take when it possesses little rewarding value of its own…which is why I’m going to bring up another point on “First Impressions” that is far more important and actually has some relevance on what readers are to expect from your movesets: the description given directly after the character in question has been introduced.

There are many ways to introduce a character. You may want to use a quote or two, but if you’re like me and dislike reading through source materials more than once you’ll probably just want to word everything. You can tell the readers as much as you think they’d need to know, or however much you want them to know about the character you’re making the set for: the power is in your hands, if it wasn’t already obvious. This was actually discussed in the chat via Junahu and Smash Daddy a few days ago about character bias and how in assuming your readers do not know about the character you’re making the set for they’ll only know what you’ve told them unless they go research it via other source materials if said character intrigues them enough – somebody like a main character or villain would suffice.

But the point here is not to worry about how much truth your spoken words hold when communicating them to your readers, for no MYMer would foolishly assume a decent cohort to lie about their chosen character. The point here rather, is the flow of relevant information and it connects with the rest of the moveset and what readers are to expect from there on. It’s okay to add trivial bits of information about the character’s personality or so, which is sometimes recommended as done right it can work in with the actual moveset to come and be deemed “in-character”. What you want to avoid however, is stating vital bits of a character’s backstory or what not and not playing on it. For example, let’s say that I have a moveset for a cruel emperor who wants to spread suffering around the world, disregarding the manner in how he does so. What would you expect? Surely you’d expect this guy to have a playstyle formed out of weakening the foe’s shield, damage-racking, grabs or however you’d interpret “sadism”, making sure what wherever they go they’ll have to suffer a different consequence. But if I made this emperor character have a playstyle that say, revolves around self-focused set-ups and beating the foe down in a few strikes, do you think your first impressions would have been satisfied by the set’s main content? It really depends on how you interpret things – sure, empowering oneself would eventually lead you to “making the world” suffer via going around and beating the enemies to dust, and KO’ing them is akin to their suffering, but really. I honestly could have given a certain recent moveset as an example of core concepts and mechanics that betrayed the expectations I got from reading the introduction, though I’d probably lose a few friends by imprinting those contents on this page.

In the end, the introduction in which you give to a reader is merely an appetizer of sorts and barely ever plays a part in the set’s overall reception, but it’s still an important note thing to keep in mind when how people interpret a character as the rest of the set will play off it unless you decide to go and introduce various aspects of your character in the main set. Also, even if you think everyone knows your character, be sure to assume they don’t, even if it’s for a painstakingly obvious one…characters from Smash could probably be excused though, but not somebody like Dr. House.

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Responses

  1. >mentioning great opening lines
    >not mentioning vlad

    • That was totally the second thing that came to mind, actually.

  2. Did you really just one star it for not having Vlad’s opening line David (ROLLEYES)

    • That was not me onestarring it.

    • Okay, you caught me. Not mentioning Vlad’s opening line is the Unforgivable Sin. So as you might imagine, I onestar a hell of a lot of articles.

  3. You rotten person you.


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