Q: What is MUGEN ZERO?

A: MUGEN ZERO is an online game I designed to give you the freedom to design a video-game character -- from scratch -- and bring it online.

Q: Does this work with MUGEN proper from Elecbyte?

A: Nope. This is a completely different game and NOT based on the MUGEN game from Elecbyte in any way outside of the vague inspiration that it gave me to design a game where you can create your own character from scratch and use it in a game that lets you play it how you want to play it.

Q: Why is it called MUGEN ZERO if it's not based on M.U.G.E.N?

A: MUGEN roughly means "infinite" in japanese and, due to the nature of the character creation system, the number and variety of characters you could meet online borders on infinite. I chose the ZERO part mostly because it sounded cool and because the coolest character design ever happens to go by that name. ;)

Q: Is this a fighting game?

A: Sort of. This game can be played in multiple ways. As I mentioned before, it is not based on the Elecbyte M.U.G.E.N engine (nor its design) at all. Gameplay is vastly different as well. In fact, it really bears no resemblance whatsoever to a traditional fighting game like M.U.G.E.N does. The game plays with a fast pace and simple controls, accommodating up to 10 players at once in large environments that provide plenty of opportunity for strategy. On the other hand, it's possible to entirely avoid fighting altogether in the Create-an-RPG mode where players simply play around (without rules) with their personal avatars, chatting, emoting, and/or roleplaying to their hearts' content.

Q: How many people can play at once?

My goal is to get the online fluid enough to play with at least 10 other people simultaneously.

Q: How do I create a character?

A: First, select the abilities you want your new character to have. There are movement abilities, defense abilities, status abilities, projectile / strategy-based abilities, and melee based abilities. Once all of the desired abilities are selected, you have a list of all your necessary sprites. At this point, you can provide your own graphics for them, OR just export the base animations directly from the game, edit them to your heart's content in your favorite graphics editor, and then import them into the game once more. You can customize various other settings as well, such as those of the selected abilities, the sounds chosen to play during your attacks, the movement physics, or even the size / location of your physical attack boxes. You can then test and tweak your character. Once you are satisfied with it you simply save it (and the character project too if you want) and then use it in-game.

Q: Can I play as copyrighted characters?

A: Well, technically, I cannot stop you, but due to copyright issues, I cannot advocate it either. I will eventually include some original characters in the future with the game, along with all their graphics for your editing pleasure, but I would prefer you create original characters for your own sake. Who knows -- you and your character might even get famous! :)

Q: What will I need to play the game?

A: Besides a semi-modern PC, you will need at least a broadband internet connection and I'd suggest some sort of input device. I would highly recommend either a gamepad, joystick, or some variation of the two for serious online competition. If you only have a keyboard, you may likely have 'ghosting' problems when you've pressed multiple keys at once. This can happen when moving, dashing, and jumping (simultaneously) for example. This is a very hardware-specific issue, and happens with most modern keyboards (except gaming keyboards that are specifically designed to prevent 'ghosting'). If you want to see what keys your keyboard can and cannot press simultaneously, an applet is here that allows you to test your keyboard specifically: http://www.microsoft.com/appliedsciences/AntiGhostingExplained.mspx

Q: Why are you creating this game?

A: Because it's something I've always wanted to play. I've never been content with the fighting engines in other games, nor their limited character selection. I always wondered what it would be like if you could make your own character, from scratch, like game developers do, but without knowing how to program or anything, and use that character to play against characters other people made. The game M.U.G.E.N was a start to that idea, but failed in key elements. Number one, the 'game' was prone to be unbalanced; the very fact that there was so much freedom to customize nearly every aspect of gameplay was the very reason its gameplay could never be balanced. Number two, creating a character was impossibly tedious due to old DOS tools with no GUI being the standard in the creation process. Number three, even if you managed to create a character, you couldn't really play with it against others, as it was not an online game engine. In the end, character creation was for the dedicated only. I wanted to make a game that made this creation aspect much easier for those who wanted to do it, and put it in the context of a good game for those of us who just wanted a really fun and unique fighting game to play.

That, I believe, is what made Super Smash Bros for the N64 so fun to play. It was simple enough that everyone could play it but it was complex enough to require skill to win against more experienced players. The thing I did feel it lacked was the ability to let you be creative enough to move (and fight) how you wanted to. I also would have liked it to be a bit more fast-paced too (as traditional fighting games tend to be), and more in the style of a platformer. These slight 'shortcomings' made me set out to create MUGEN ZERO. ;)