Project M is a gameplay mod for Super Smash Bros. Brawl designed to make the gameplay more closely resemble that of Super Smash Bros. Melee mainly, and also Super Smash Bros. to a lesser extent. This means that the speed of gameplay has been generally increased, with many Melee mechanics being restored. The development team is partly descended from the original developers for Brawl+, now known as the PMDT, or Project M Dev Team (formerly the PMBR, or Project M Backroom). It has members from over ten countries, though as of now, only an NTSC version has been released.Project M's character roster notably includes Mewtwo and Roy (two characters that were playable only in Melee and not in Brawl) with altered graphics and movesets.
Project M is commonly featured as an event at tournaments including several national tournaments, such as the Zenith series, The Big House series, and Apex 2014. Starting around 2012-2013, Project M saw a rapid rise in its popularity as more characters became playable and the mod was featured more commonly at Smash tournaments; the number of entrants for Apex 2014's PM singles event notably surpassed the amount of entrants for the original Brawl.
Project M currently has two different versions: Full Set and Wi-Fi. The former has Stock Control and Input Assistance as new features, which allows newer players to use advanced techniques better and have a stock advantage over experienced ones. However, Replays and online play won't work properly as a result of L and R button light-presses causing online desynchronization. The Wi-Fi version allows these two things to work properly, and while it keeps the former version's battle features, these are not implemented for online play, likely because Stock Control would have caused potential griefing within matches (by the distant opponent always choosing the maximum amount of stocks). If a Project M replay is viewed in regular Brawl, it may cause malfunctions when beginning a match, possibly because of the stage replacement.
Both versions heavily alter the original Brawl gameplay to more closely resemble that of Melee, along with other changes to make the game more competitive in general, while keeping other Brawl beneficial techniques such as crawl, wall cling or DACUS.
No buffering by default, though players can turn on Input Assistance to implement a three-frame buffering window for helping newer players master advanced techniques, replacing the "Damage Gauge" option. Online matches instead have a different Buffer option that replaces handicaps, from 1 to 30, with these numbers being the respective amount of buffer frames.
Air dodging applies a directional boost and causes helplessness, making it generally riskier for midair combat, but allowing faster midair movement within short ranges and restoring the wavedash techniques vital for most characters' metagames.
L-canceling halves landing lag when a shield button is pressed 7 frames before landing, thus reinstating the SHFFL technique, bolstering characters' midair movement and allowing much better usage of combos. A brief white flash on the character is additionally displayed when an attack is correctly L-canceled.
Dash dancing's timing has been reverted, making it longer and more practical, and characters can shield during one.
Crouching cancels the running portion of the dash, allowing quicker, more varied options after dashing.
Characters retain the full momentum of their dash if they jump forward. This is especially noticable with characters with faster dashing speeds.
Double jump canceling reimplemented for characters with slow but high double jumps. For some characters, double-jump canceling can be bypassed by holding the jump button while attacking.
Ledge teching reimplemented, again giving recovering characters the possibility to survive at ludicrous damages by DIing toward a ledge and teching into it upon being attacked. Ledge-canceling is once more possible as well.
Jumps can be canceled with grabs, so regular grabs can still be effectively used after a dash, avoiding the usual ending lag of a dash grab.
Shieldstun formula reverted. Like in Melee, characters now also take longer to act out of a shield drop (almost twice as in Brawl), causing the gameplay to be less defensive-focused.
Ledges cannot be auto-sweetspotted, so they can neither be grabbed from the back, nor during the attacking portion of recovery attacks. Some moves like Raptor Boost or Bowser Bomb still use this feature, though. Additionally, characters can act out of a ledge grab sooner, and when performing any ledge recovery action (normal get-up, jump, roll or attack), other characters cannot grab it until the animation is half-finished, thus making edge hopping and edgehogging easier.
Hitstun canceling has been removed, causing overall horizontal survivability to be shorter, but giving characters more extensive combo options, which were almost nonexistent in Brawl. Air dodges are no longer usable when tumbling.
Teching can be performed even before a character is struck, making it generally easier to perform.
Grab aerials cause helplessness if they miss a ledge, but can be used after an air dodge with the shield + attack combination. They still act as tether recoveries, though they won't restore a character's midair jumps if they drop from the ledge.
If a character still in hitstun is struck again in quick succession, the new knockback either replaces the old knockback (if the gap between the attacks was 10 frames or less) or has its direction and power combined with the old knockback (after 10 frames). In Brawl, whether to replace the old knockback is based on the relative power of the two attacks, and no merging is performed.
Pummels reverted to all having the same standarized speed and dealing 3% damage per use, with only a few exceptions.
Grab physics reverted: characters can grab opponents behind them, though they cannot be grabbed by the lower legs or arms.
Characters hit when lying on the floor will bounce a short distance and then get up automatically upon landing, or will assume their falling animation if they bounce too high or away from the platform, removing locks, but allowing opponents to perform jab resets.
Though a barely noticeable change, smash attacks can now be charged for 59 frames as opposed to 60, and a fully charged smash deals x1.3671 of the uncharged amount.
Melee's rare Phantom hits return, dealing half the damage a move would have normally done, although Brawl's somewhat more common "glancing blows" are still present, dealing no damage at all and "ticking" an opponent; when either situation occurs, no hitstun or knockback is sustained by the character hit. Both can also be SDI'd into the actual hitbox, but the total damage sustained is solely from the hitbox alone.
Stale-move negation now uses Melee's reduction factor. The freshness bonus from Brawl is also removed.
Aside from Melee restorations, the following techniques and mechanics from Brawl have also been changed:
Footstool jumps are still present, but are now done with a taunt input to avoid unintentional footstool jumping with the jump button.
Dashing is easier to perform than in Melee; dashing only requires a moderately strong input on the control stick to perform.
Brawl's modest B-reversing window for all neutral special moves is retained. Certain special moves have also been given the option to be pivoted, such as Captain Falcon's Falcon Kick.
It is now possible to pivot grab during any portion of the dash like in Brawl.
Ability to use to the C-stick to dash attack and up smash retained, making it easier to perform sliding up smashes and DACUSes for the characters that have it available to them.
Tether recoveries now ignore edge-hoggers; characters will still grab the ledge without affecting them, and when pulled up they will perform an automatic jump get-up. This gives characters reliant on this technique a much better and safer recovery, and makes them harder to punish.
Random tripping has been removed. Forced tripping is kept, but only for attacks that always cause it. Tripping can additionally be teched, so punishing a tripped character is more tech chase-orientated.
Meteor canceling revamped: after being struck, all characters must wait for 16 frames before meteor canceling. Attempting to do this earlier results in the character not being able to meteor cancel during the entire hitstun of the attack (except if a jump input isn't used).
The grab release glitch is now an intentional feature used as a balancing tool for select characters. It has been altered to also remove the victim's ability to air dodge in addition to their up special move, though it also restores all their double jumps.
A glide toss can be done in midair with an air dodge. Additionally, air dodges still auto-grab items during the first frames of execution as in Brawl, so that item-based attacks are easier to counter.
Gliding is no longer performed by tapping and holding the jump button; the three characters that can glide have special moves that allow them to glide instead.
Infinite launch resistance is now only reserved for Ike's fully charged Eruption and for grabs and special grabs when a character collides with a strike hitbox while successfully grabbing an opponent, like in Brawl. Launch resistance for other moves that have it is given a range from light armor to heavy armor. Some characters feature color overlays to indicate such armor, with more opaque overlays generally indicating stronger armor. If an attack's knockback is lower than the specified amount of an armor, no knockback is inflicted, but if it is higher, knockback will be regularly inflicted as usual. One exception to this rule is Yoshi's double jump; it has knockback reduction frames rather than standard armor frames. Therefore, overcoming its armor will result in Yoshi receiving the difference in knockback instead of the full knockback from the move that hit him out of it.
Special Brawl's "Curry Mode" is replaced with "Turbo Mode", in which all moves can cancel into any other move or action on hit or on shield. Superspicy Curry is replaced with a "Turbo" item that causes characters to act like in Turbo Mode for a short period.
Stock Control added, replacing handicaps. Players can now control the amount of stocks each player starts with before battle, from 1 to 30 stocks for each individual character. A Crew mode has been added in which the game keeps track of stocks retained after battles.
Stage selection menu modified to include built-in stage striking control (Full Set version).
Project M has no light shields; a light press will activate the shield, but a full press is required to wavedash or to powershield.
New Melee-like designs for the menu and character selection screens, with altered writing.
The game in general takes less time to load modes, characters and scenes, and things such as Records can be scrolled through quicker.
Brawl mode is now labeled as "Fight!", and all other modes and sections containing "Brawl" are replaced with "Smash" (such as Multi-Man Brawl being named Multi-Man Smash).
Default match type is 4 stock with an 8-minute timer, and Team Attack is turned on by default, similar to the settings of usual competitive Melee matches.
The timer during matches is placed at the top center of the screen rather than at the top right.
Altered camera that behaves similarly to in Melee's Camera Mode, as well as being capable of zooming out indefinitely and rotating around the entire stage, allowing to unrestrictedly take snapshots.
Stage selection screen revamped: stages are now ordered at the bottom in a rectangular shape, with the selected stage being displayed at the top. Stages are now also ordered in Pages 1 and 2, and the top background displays Project M.
Victory screen for VS. battles altered to be entirely black like in Melee.
Independent character icons for Zelda/Sheik and Samus/Zero Suit Samus.
Characters now grunt instantly when hit by a strong attack, as in Melee and 64, while in Brawl they did a second afterwards. There are also medium-damage and high-damage groans as well, with most characters using unused voice samples from the Sound Test. Characters now also use voice samples for sidesteps and air dodges, and variable voices for smash attacks.
Smash Taunts were introduced to more characters, such as Ness and Link, though these are less involved and can be done on any stage.
Many additional costumes are added for each character, and are shown on the characters profiles as "Colors". There are now also "Special" costumes for some characters, such as Dr. Mario for Mario, Shadow Queen Peach for Peach, and Armored Mewtwo for Mewtwo, some of which get team colors and changed aesthetics.
Due to issues with slow motion, Timers are removed and replaced with ordinary stickers, even for Training mode. Poké Ball Pokémon are also changed slightly: Latios and Latias deal half their usual damage, and Weavile no longer stuns opponents, instead sending them on a weak upwards trajectory. Other items remain unchanged, though, aside from a few Final Smashes.
CPU players have a much more advanced AI, with higher technical skill, though they are extremely prone to air dodge self-destructs and running into extremely slow attacks, such as Falcon Punch. It is also possible to manipulate certain characters to do absolutely nothing or hold their shield repeatedly even after it breaks.
In addition to the many universal changes, each character received several individual adjustments in order to properly balance the game. The roster was largely buffed overall, creating a broad collection of viable characters with varying play-styles, strengths and weaknesses. However, certain moves were nerfed to further flesh out some fighters and break their dependence on repeated use of a single move or small set of moves. Some Project M characters are based on their appearances in Melee (such as Captain Falcon and Jigglypuff) while others are modified from their Brawl versions or a mixture of their iterations from both games.
The sourcing of previous versions of a character depends largely on previous attendance and performance, with high tier Melee characters being mostly reverted to their past formats (with some adjustments to add more balance for the other characters). This includes both normal and special moves, properties such as gravity, weight, run-speed and air mobility, but does not include sound effects, textures, or vertexes.
Some characters, due to having poor attributes and movesets in both Melee and Brawl (such as Bowser, Kirby or Zelda), had their positive attributes from each game merged and were given entirely new buffs. Characters that were introduced in Brawl however, such as Sonic and Snake, were given completely original buffs, nerfs and even entirely new moves in order to increase their variability and versatility.
Replaces Luigi's Mansion. A large stage based on Dracula's Castle in Castlevania that takes place on the roof of a medieval style castle with three platforms. The platforms move around during play, taking on various configurations and sometimes disappearing altogether. The stage is set at night with a view of the castle in the background, and there are walls down to the lower blast line that can be used for walljumping when returning. Note that this stage does not play any Castlevania music.
Not to be confused with Brawl's Distant Planet, this stage was originally an arena from SSE: Jungle, but was redone with a Pikmin theme. It consists of a large base and four platforms, the outermost of which are slightly raised leaves that hang over the main platform's edges and will droop when stood on.
Redone entirely. It is now a medium sized stage with a proper bottom blast line and no hazards or breakable sections. There is a single moving platform which rotates around a central point above the main platform.
Large stage with checkered surfaces, a wall at the left and a pit at the right, designed with a lot of open area for practicing. Features a sandbag that respawns in the middle when knocked out. Replaces Online Practice Stage.
As of version 3.0, the Curry effect is replaced with a new one - Turbo. In Turbo mode, players are able to cancel any successful attack, upon hit or shield, into any other action except the same attack, and all aerial attacks auto cancel when landing, if they hit. Certain moves, such as Farore's Wind, consist of multiple actions and can be canceled into themselves. Turbo Mode has been compared to the Marvel vs. Capcom series, because it enables skilled players to perform extensive combos.
Numerous alternate costumes for several characters added, including Dr. Mario.
Shedding of "Demo" title, now an official mod.
Formerly, an April Fools' video announced that 3.0 would contain a gameplay change where all moves would cancel into any other move/ action on hit. While the change being universal was a joke, it finally became available as a new "Turbo Mode" for Special Brawl, replacing the "Curry" option. Project M 3.0 also marks the first version to contain the entire Brawl roster, along with Roy and Mewtwo, and features many new alt costumes, such as Dr. Mario as an alternate skin for Mario, akin to Wario's biker and original skins. Other skins are: Melee Fox, Shadow Queen Peach, Ocarina of Time Link, Dry Bowser, Party Hat and Pirate Hat Pikachu, Crown and Fairy Jigglypuff, Armored Mewtwo, Mr. L, Virtual Boy R.O.B., Outset Toon Link, Classic Wolf, Boxer Donkey Kong, Pajama Ness, Masked Man Lucas, Fire Peach, additional Yoshi colors, Melee Falco, and Concept Art Meta Knight.
A new launcher is released with the following features:
Support for SDHC cards larger than 2GB (Hackless method still limited to 2GB, unless Letterbomb is used.)
A news ticker will display current news for Project M which will update if the Wii is connected to the Internet.
The ability to update and patch both the Launcher and the version of Project M. If 3.0 is installed on the SD card, the Launcher can automatically download and update to version 3.01.
Faster and more reliable file loading.
Fixed the lag from the imported models such as Roy, Mewtwo and the alternative costumes.
Salty Runbacks implemented. Holding L+R+Y at the end of a match, or L+R+A+Y+Start at the pause screen, will cause the match to restart instantly. This feature is not available on Pokémon Stadium 1, Lylat Cruise, or Castle Siege. Similarly, it's possible to abort a stage loading by holding L+R+A, as in Melee, but faster loading times make this more difficult to perform.
Various bug fixes, including (but not limited to) the following:
Roy's Final Smash is reworked, and no longer causes game-breaking glitches.
The PMDT has claimed that Project M will receive future revisions and additions, though such revisions are to focus primarily on gameplay modes and cosmetic effects in the game rather than gameplay. In the single-player department, the PMDT has intended to create an "All-Star Versus Mode" as a replacement for the buggy fixed camera mode in Special Brawl; the mode allows players to change their characters for each of their stocks. As to assist those interested in learning more about Project M's inner workings, a Debug Menu, similar to those featured in Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee, is intended to be introduced to a future revision of the mod; this is a particularly notable development, as Brawl natively does not feature such a mode.
In addition to these gameplay additions, the PMDT will continue to add numerous new costumes to various characters. Among these include adding team colours for some of the more unique costumes (such as Toon Link's Outset Island outfit and Donkey Kong's Punch-Out!! outfit), as well as unique outfits for more characters (such as Meta Knight receiving an outfit resembling Dark Meta Knight and Ike receiving an outfit resembling Hector).
Despite having numerous updates over time, Project M currently experiences some minor errors outside the regular Versus modes, due to the mod's focus on the competitive aspect of the game over single-player aspects.
For the same reason that a Wi-Fi-safe version of the mod exists (with fewer features to prevent online desynchronization), replays often become corrupted or fail to work properly.
Fixed-camera mode is completely dysfunctional on numerous stages, often by being off-center, such as on Yoshi's Story or Hyrule Castle; on some stages, the player can even see the transition from hitting the upper blast line to a Star KO.
Slow motion is notoriously buggy due to Project M's new frame speeds. The effects are only brought on when the Timer is used; Special Brawl and Training modes do not have the physics abnormalities that the Timer brings on. Among the flaws include giving ludicrously high momentum to players during ordinary moves, frames of certain movements being reduced to one frame, or attacks failing to produce any hitboxes. In later versions of Project M, Timers do not appear, and are instead replaced by stickers.
Because the single-player Roy and Mewtwo assets are incomplete, completing Classic or All-Star will show a trophy of Mario, with the FMV after the Character Roll Call being that of the Subspace Emissary introduction.
Because of flaws involving Roy and Mewtwo's assets, as well as those of new alternate costumes, the mod does not allow players to access either Tournament Mode mode or the Subspace Emissary; both instead send the player to, respectively, Rotation or Training.
Though the Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon will still have records saved for him, they cannot be viewed unless Brawl itself is booted.
In events that allow choosing any character, choosing Mewtwo or Roy will make the game think that Lucario or Marth, respectively, have been chosen in terms of deciding whether to apply an alternate costume to an opponent.
In Co-Op Event 2, one of the opponents's Ivysaur will freeze in one frame and not move. Attacking it will cause the game to freeze.
Because Sheik, Zelda, Samus, and Zero Suit Samus have individual character slots, this can give two players the same palette swap if the corresponding characters transform into each other.