Can a game EVER be protected from being exploited by competitive gamers?

I’ve recently wondered this, as I’ve played many fighting games and all of them have glitches and bugs found by players. So, i wondered if a game can be too well made to have those things.

mod edit: title missing a word

There will always be things that slip past loctests and playtest teams. That’s just the way it is. People are people - we mess up, make mistakes. We ain’t perfect.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you - there are a ton of examples (the classic one being canceling in SF2) of bugs that make the game better than it otherwise would be.

The beauty of competitive games (and this applies especially to fighters) is being able to prove that things can be exploited. Ideally, the devs think everyone is balanced aside from boss and joke characters. It is up to the community to practice and hone their skill with each character’s tools to show what character has the best set of tools. If a game is already figured out from day 1, it is stagnant at launch.

I understand the beauty of finding glitches, bugs, and such. In fact, i’ve played mvc2 and learned about its broken mechanics broken by the community. I just wondered that if a game could ever made to be the point no glitches are found. U answered my question, but i still wonder what that said game would be like.

Sakurai tried with Brawl, so then the community made Project M.

I alawys thought sakurai secretly watched videos of melee back then and thought all of the tech found by the community was broken and tried to fix it.

Here’s the long run of how the game would do:
1: Game reaches retail/download, people begin playing the game against each other.
2: Nothing new really comes out, no sense of “growth”.
3: Stream monsters get bored of seeing the same thing, since there is no growth.
4: Community kind of dies, since everyone gets bored of doing the same thing every single match.
5: Game lies forgotten by the community.

But for a game to have nothing exploitable, you would have to cut anything people would actively optimize, like combos, mix ups, and so forth.

sounds ungivingly boring

balance =/= fun

It depends on what you mean by “exploited”. Competitive players will always optimize their gameplay to achieve the best results. Capcom designed Dhalsim to be good at zoning. They gave him tools to accomplish that. Arturo trained himself to be really good at using those tools. This is called “getting good at the game”.

On the other hand, the thread has mostly talked about competitive players optimizing their gameplay in ways that the developers did not anticipate. Capcom designed UMVC3 Magneto to be more of a zoner but players figured out how to turn him into a combo machine, resulting in a character that kills in one combo and at the same time also has top-notch zoning tools. This is usually called “breaking the game”, but really it is just “changing the game”. Sometimes the change makes the game more hype, sometimes it makes it more boring. It’s really a crapshoot.

Maybe not absolutely impossible, but I would say effectively impossible. Even with the best QA money can buy, there’s almost guaranteed to be some sort of application for a game state that professional testers and even those who wrote the source code never anticipated. This is true of pretty much any video game, though, not just ones with versus modes. Ideally you just want to make a game that you have to go OUT OF YOUR WAY to break (and when I say “break” I mean less “find something that’s really powerful in match play” and more LITERALLY “breaking” the game so it’s unplayable…freezes, crashes, any mechanical thing that literally renders the game unplayable or close to it), and you don’t just break it doing something that any human being of a certain mindset could be expected to try.

If anything, today’s games, both fighting and non-fighting, are better glitch-proofed than any prior era. Developers have learned so much over the years both about good game programming practices and the kinds of things players are likely to do (such as competitive applications) that it’s a lot harder for unexpected mechanical problems to creep through now than it was years ago.

Dang. But I’m glad games are pretty much guaranteed to have bugs or glitches in there. Adds creativity, and stuff. Ain’t this why mvc2 was so gud? And what about ST?

MVC2 was good by sheer accident. In the end it just kinda turned out that there were four good characters with a variety of play styles, plus a couple of good assists. I mean, let’s not forget that the game is actually unplayable unless you ban Gambit’s ability to instantly win if he has the life lead (not to mention Ruby Heart’s ability to crash the game at will).

That’s the thing with bugs and glitches. They introduce random elements into the game. By their very nature, these random elements can be good or bad. The important thing is to have the game company keep a close eye on unintended interactions and patch them out when they are bad or support them fully when they are good.

Ignoring the crashing/freezing bugs - I’ve only ever accidentally frozen the game once - you can actually beat the Gambit offscreen/superjump glitch you’re referring to (which Morrigan also has a variation of). Just want to be clear here that that asshole move can be beaten, it’s just that it has never mattered and will never matter enough to disclose how.