Buttonmashing to the Max (Updated: 11.16.11)

Posted on November 16th, 2011
by High school interns Jonathan and Justin

UPDATE (11.16.11)

Messoff’s Dog Fights game expanded to a multiplayer game so now it you can have dog fights between you and your friends, so as long as you can hook up (an) additional keyboard(s) to your computer.  The game seems to run faster and smoother. Jonathan and myself spent a good twenty minutes blowing each other up. The controls are much more fluid and less of a hassle, so performing backflips and defensive maneuvers  are much easier than before. The repair system is still in place, and additionally, slows your fall as you try to repair.

“However, if you are like Jonathan, you would chase your opponent down even though they are on fire and keep spamming the space bar and not give them a chance to recover. >_<*” -Justin

“It’s pretty cheap of your opponent when they abuse the edges of the screen, since they cut out the ammunition from appearing on the other side of the screen, much like a wall, and therefore make your opponent that much harder to kill.” -Jonathan

Hey, this is the intern duo once more and we’ve been testing another game today. This game in particular is a early design called ‘Sweet Sweet Dogfights,’ where the player controls a plane and uses it to enter ‘dogfights.’ Dogfights can happen at any time when the player reaches a high altitude level where unidentified aircraft can attack you. Your objective is to not crash and earn as many points possible.


How do the controls work?

Justin: The controls of this game were a little confusing at first because I thought one would fly by typing the words they see, but after a while I came to notice that by pressing q,w,e I can make my plane go left. It would flip left if I were to face right . To go right the player would tap ( [ ) ( ] ) and ( ). For every push the plane would move a small amount, however if you start tapping the keys like a maniac your plane would start flying pretty face depending on what you press. However if you start pressing buttons on the rows under Q, w and e like a,s,d your plane would stay horizontally flat, but if you were to press z,x or c your plane would take a dive until you change the direction again. If you know which buttons to push at which time you can make your plane do flips and loops that throw off your enemies in dogfights.

Jonathan: The controls of this game is based on the keys of which you spam. For example, mashing the Backspace and Insert keys repeatedly allows the plane to fly upwards, while mashing both ‘ and Enter keys allows a very steady and tedious rise from the floor. Movement is heavily revolved on the location of the keys, where Q, W and E can turn the plane around in a U-turn but cause a “STALLlNG!!” to appear on the screen. To escape such, one must quickly hit keys in a circular motion, depending on how the turn is performed. Turns are much harder to perform on lower altitudes in comparison to higher altitude levels.


How do you get into a stall? How do you get out of one?

Justin: One gets into a stall by making his plane go straight up and starts falling down backwards. One of the ways to stop the stalling is by holding shift. I don’t think this was intended for shift but for some reason while the plane is stalling the plane stays upside down but as soon as it lands on the ground it will flip back up and the player will be able to continue. If you get into a stall during a dog fight you better recover quickly or else you’ll stay in it meanwhile you have your plane heading towards the ground.


What do the green words do?

Justin: Your plane can only take about two hits before it starts heading towards the ground without you being able to do anything unless you type the green words above the plane which repairs it and allows the player to continue flying. However typing the green words also puts you in danger because you are pushing the plan in different directions at the time of the typing, flying rules still apply for when you are trying to heal.

Jonathan: Green words allow the player to repair any damage done to the plane by opposing planes. The words are generally short, between 4 to 5 characters long in length. You are given only two words that will repair damage per game, so it is best to use them wisely and out-manuever the hostiles.


What was your high score? How long did you play? About how many times did you restart?

Justin: My highest score so far has been 12,000 , I’ve played this game for a good 30 minutes and restarted about 20 times, at first i didn’t really know how to fly the plane so I died about 5 times until I figured out that the top row of the keyboard makes the plane go up.As soon as I got the hang of how the game worked I didn’t want to stop typing!

Jonathan: My personal high score is about 7200, since the controls were rather difficult for myself to adjust to. I can safely assume that I’ve had to reset well over 30 times to understand how the plane could move and discover ways to improve my point gainings. Overall, I spent at least an hour playing and learning the fundamentals of the game.


What are the best point earning strategies?

Justin: To obtain the most points one has to stay aflight for the whole time that their plane is fighting, trying to land while you are in a dog fight can end bad, because the enemy planes are still shooting you while your landing, therefore you’re plane would most likely stall on the way down from the shooting and will crash.

Jonathan: As the player gains points, the altitude cap rises — a low score has a short roof, while a high score allows a much longer roof. It appears as if more points are awarded the longer you fight in the air without landing. For example, your first kill in the air will be worth 50 points, but the next kill made in the air if you don’t land is 150 points, then 250, 350, 450… At the beginning, it is best to stay on low ground, destroying the hot air balloons that stay low as well as the trucks that happen to be riding along the road. Later, it becomes rather difficult to get any kills on the ground, forcing the player to elevate to find hot air balloons. From there, the player will commonly enter “dogfights” with unidentified aircraft. When the player lands, points gained on said flight will be added to the total, being saved as a high score for that game. However by doing so, the player’s bonus point accumulation is reset to 0, making the first kill only award 50 points. The mechanic allows players a choice in a “play it safe” or an ‘all or nothing’ in managing their points. Points gained in a current flight are not added to the high score until the player lands, and are worth 0 when the player’s plane crashes.


What is the best dogfighting strategy?

Justin: The best dogfighting strategy for me is to fly up and have the plane chase you and take a quick dive down and try to circle around the plane from the bottom. The Artificial Intelligence for the enemy planes are pretty good, it isn’t to easy to kill the planes but it isn’t impossible as well. There were several times when I had several different planes and plane types chase me around the air for a good minute or two until finally I was able to shoot them down using the given strategy.

Jonathan: I have only found two decent dogfighting strategies, though I generally avoid them. The first would be to stay low on the ground as the opposing aircraft flies over you, then at the right moment, rising upwards to snipe it from behind. However, the opposing plane can cause an unexpected turn of events by a simple U-turn. The second strategy would be to turn completely around at the start and hope to destroy opposing planes head on before they have a chance to react to your presence.


What does the black smoke signify?

Justin: If your plane or any other plane has black smoke it means you’re going down, for enemy planes black smoke means game over but for the player however, it just means you have to type whatever word is above your plane so you can fix it if you want to live. One needs to have quick reflexes if they plan on surviving a dogfight especially when their plane starts smoking.

Jonathan: When your plane has ‘black smoke’, it is damaged and is in need of repairs. Repairs are generally available by typing in green words, allowing instant recovery. In most cases, your plane can only take two hits before exploding. The first hit will cause you to have black smoke and in most cases (if not all) begin the “STALLING!!” effect as well.


Did you find a way to stop your plane from smoking and continue to play?

Justin: There are about 8 different words that show up above your plane, if you type the word before your plane hits the ground you’ll be safe, however just because you typed in the words it doesn’t mean your plane is safe, because if it is showing black smoke the plane is most likely stalling, therefore you have to “unstall” it.

Jonathan: Because I do not tend to enter dogfights, there haven’t been many times where I recovered from smoking and in the end, continuing to play. Most of the time I ended up crashing to the ground mere moments after I get control of my plane by repairing via green words.


All in all, this game was difficult to operate, but once figured out, it became fun. Those moments where you fail to land because your plane is angled slightly in the wrong direction, or the times that the aircraft suddenly make a U-turn and blow your plane up before you know it. This would be a game recommended to any person who prefers the concept of buttonmashing.