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I think you guys are doing God's work with this and I wish you the world.

I only hope that eventually the physics based gameplay and combat become so optimized that people can play faster and plan ahead more easily. I think that should be the current goal for games like these.

Hey there!

Thanks for the encouraging feedback, it means a lot to us :)

We shipped a lot of performance optimizations in the last update, so things should be running a lot smoother. Combat speed is a tricky thing to balance. We're convinced it needs to be a bit slower than in real life to offset the reaction penalty you have because of the additional input layer (think keyboard & mouse input.) Another thing to consider is that movement has 'weight' in our game, so it's not possible to cancel an attack and immediately blocked. As you said, planning ahead is an important aspect there. However, this poses another difficulty by itself, because with physics, there's very emergent and dynamic gameplay which is even very hard for us as developers to predict and plan ahead for.

All in all, these are things we want to balance based on feedback in the community. We are also in the middle of setting up infrastructure that allows modding, so people can also directly change some of the physics and weapon stats by themselves to see what they like best.

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Thanks for replying. I was incredibly surprised by the array of options available and they made me feel much more comfortable immediately. Best I could suggest for it is an in-game keybind menu. Was blown away by the FPS but still a little confused as to why it still felt choppy.

You said you're working on the weapons right now? Shouldn't the footwork get more attention first? Or you doing both?

And you say that but that was some of the fastest and most realistic fist blocking I've seen in any FPS besides maybe COD. We're approaching those speeds. How do you balance fast, close and dirty combat in the heat of the moment?  Is it balanced in real life? The only plans made in those moments are usually instinctual.

By the way, could you give a tutorial on the attack system and explain it? The UI looks angle based but there only seem to be four moves... And if I only move the dot a quarter outwards, the punch either looks like I extended my hand a little or it juts out away from the reticle.

If there're only four moves and they need to charge or whatever, why not just use MB Warband's attack system?

And have you considered adding eye/headtracking support if you want angled attacks? The camera locking up really shouldn't stay.

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Thanks for the elaborate feedback! It's super helpful and actually the main reason we are making the game available at such an early stage.

That feeling of 'hm, something doesn't add up quite right' yet about the flow of things is something we want to balance out with feedback from the community. As you mentioned some issues with the input system - maybe that could be the 'missing part' that kinda puts you 'out of the flow'? You're also right that there's not a lot in the way of tutorials or introductions - this is something we want to tackle soon. We have not done so, however, because we haven't settled on a control scheme yet. This is a topic we've put a lot of consideration into - one of the things we've decided was that unarmed and armed controls are going to be different. This also ties in with your observation that there only seem to be ~four moves: This is actually due to the fact that there are only really three types of different boxing attacks - straights, upper cuts and hooks. They may target different body targets and be executed with either hand, and their angle may also change slightly. But they are generally limited to pretty narrow angle ranges that also do not really transition very fluidly. This is of course because we for now take grappling, throws, choking, clinching and elbows out of the equation.
Contrast this with weapons combat, where swings can transition fluidly in the upper 240° - which you can actually do with our armed combat. That is one part of the question why we do not adopt the same attack scheme like M&B. Another is - we do not like essentially just 'watching' attacks unfold after the 'charge' was 'released' in M&B. It creates a disconnect between what is happening on the screen and what you actually do/control as the player.  Another issue is that it causes a delay to attacks. We instead work with a 'guard' system - think about the 'charged' state in M&B, e. g. a raised arm, ready to strike. Actors would mostly be in a 'guard' state that allows for very quick strikes from that position, but also telegraphs the angle. Strikes from vastly different angles take longer in contrast. It's all very early, but there's been great progress. You can see a gif of it in action here:

By the way, have you explored the different attack control schemes (e. g. drag & release etc.) yet? Any thoughts on that?

Regarding footwork - Do you mean general combat movement or how footwork aligns with attacks? The former is actually because we currently do not have proper animations for combat locomotion. You'd be surprised, but the majority of combat locomotion uses crossed feet... Which can be especially fatal with physics based combat and tripping ;) It's very high on our list of graphics-related things we want to get replaced, though!

As for speed - that's a good question and may even be up to personal taste in games.  As you said, reactions in real-life are very instinctual - trying to put up one's hands to protect the face is a super important instinct. But also reactions like 'uh oh, I should probably duck now and avoid that hook' are very instict-based - which is not an issue in real-life because that very easily and naturally translates to movement of the body. But with games, it has to go the route of remapping that to a game control scheme and clicking buttons. There's certainly going to be a noticeable delay and it's something we need to keep in mind.

Again, thanks for the elaborate feedback and we're super happy to have discussions like that! But for the sake of posterity & overview, we'd love to bundle discussions like these over on our forums. So it'd be great if we could carry on there :)

EDIT: Woops, just saw you've already signed up and posted there :)

You are almost a god to me at this moment with your willingness to submit this even longer reply. Why don't we just add each other on discord and chat like buddies?

We've been considering a discord channel, but we've noticed that our communications are spread out a lot already. We'd like to be able to respond quickly & as in depth as necessary, so we decided that narrowing things down on our forums will likely work best for us for now. If at some point a lot of people ask for an official discord channel, we'll certainly reconsider, though :)