Archive for the ‘Strategy’ Category

Suggested Reading, Vol. 4

October 30th, 2010 1 comment

Well, it’s been over three months, so it’s that time again. Let’s take a look at what players have been writing around the fighting game community lately.

The Game at Xenozip’s Notes

When you see it in videos it might not be entertaining, but so what — those players aren’t there to entertain you, they are there to entertain themselves. What that “cheap tactic” is doing is helping the community by forcing everyone to level up and fight harder. It’s all about setting a bar and having your opponent beat it, or finding some one else who raised the bar even higher so that you could try and beat it.

Five Questions with Jay “Viscant” Snyder at ComboVid

There’s always somebody better out there; there’s always another challenge. To me, Street Fighter is a game you can never truly master. It’s filled with a lot of mini-goals along the way with a semi-unattainable goal at the end. You keep chasing the goal of beating so-and-so, and then once you achieve it, there’s another person to beat, another goal to achieve, another tournament to win, no matter how good you are.

7 Street Fighter Pros Share Their Secrets to Winning at Shoryuken

Give us a week, and we’ll give you the secrets to winning by seven Street Fighter pros. With the help of Street Fighter veteran and SRK advisor John Choi, we’ve picked the minds of some of the best Street Fighter pros in the scene.

Once again, if you find these articles insightful and informative, leave them a polite comment to show your appreciation or better yet ask a question to further the discussion.

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Enthusiasm vs Experience

October 23rd, 2010 4 comments

If you’ve been playing Super Street Fighter IV since spring or summer, you’ve probably run into a few oldschool players with rock-solid fundamentals, who seem to adapt very quickly. These guys are seriously tough to beat, and it may seem like an uphill battle which only gets steeper the longer you play against them.

There’s a number of obvious reasons behind their immediate and continued success. They’ve gone up against just about every play style in existence. They’ve learned to use more characters than you’ve fought against. They’ve entered more tournaments than you’ve seen. Suffice it to say, experience is a major advantage.

However, if you’re a relative newcomer to the fighting game tournament scene, you shouldn’t worry about that gap too much. That’ll be there no matter what competitive arena you walk into. The people who have been around for a long time will always have the benefit of experience, but your motivation and your enthusiasm for the game can trump that.

When you hear old-timers talk about SF4, oftentimes they can seem grumpy – like they don’t enjoy it as much as their favorite game which nobody plays anymore. But that’s natural, right?

Everyone has the game that made them fall in love with fighting games, and that’s the one they played to death. Three or four releases later, they’ll certainly have experience, but they won’t have that same desire to explore every little detail. They won’t commit the slightest surprises to memory or cherish tiny innovations they see in combo videos.

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Manipulating Proximity Blocking

October 16th, 2010 5 comments

When you try to block a fireball, have you noticed how your character starts blocking before it makes contact? This phenomenon is known as proximity blocking.

Dating all the way back to Street Fighter II, every attack has its own effective range which triggers proximity blocking. If the opponent holds Back while within that invisible range, they’ll stand still in defensive stance instead of walking backward.

Using this knowledge to your advantage is a key element of advanced footsies. The easiest offensive application is whiffing a jab while your opponent walks back and forth at mid-range. This will momentarily cause them to get stuck in place.

Now that might not seem like much of a difference-maker, but when they’re focused on the tiniest details, it’s enough to completely throw off their bearings – however briefly. Especially when their eyes are fixed on your character, they might even lose track of where exactly their own character is located. If they try to walk backward and their character remains in place, they may not realize how close they’re standing.

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RPS Perspective on Fighting Game Strategy

October 9th, 2010 15 comments

People have been drawing analogies between rock-paper-scissors and fighting games since the beginning of recorded time – mainly because it’s easy. This has become an increasingly popular trend, whether for describing move priority (throw beats blocking, DP beats throw, blocking beats DP) or matchups (giant beats pixie, pixie beats beam, beam beats giant).

Truthfully, RPS metaphors are only useful for deconstructing fighting games to illustrate the challenges presented by human competition. RPS models are great if you want to entertain people by translating your successes and failures into academic terms.

It’s much harder to go the other direction – from RPS theory fighter to developing a practical gameplan. Converting game specifics to RPS babble and back to game specifics is so much extra work that you’d be better off sticking with game specifics throughout.

However if you’re new to the competitive aspect of fighting games, it is important to grasp exactly what you’re getting into – and RPS comparisons can be useful in that regard. The rest of this article is a look at fighting game strategy from the familiar perspective of RPS tradeoffs.

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AaaA: Sirlin’s RPS in Strategy Games

October 2nd, 2010 36 comments

I remember reading this article back in the day and thinking it was really good, but then the more i thought about it, the less it made sense. The current version is a little different than the one i read (he took out the Killer Instinct 2 example), but the core concept hasn’t changed.

Rock, Paper, Scissors in Strategy Games at

A simple rock, paper, scissors (RPS) system of direct counters is a perfectly solid and legitimate basis for a strategy game provided that the rock, paper, and scissors offer unequal risk/rewards. Better still is if those rewards are unclear, meaning that players cannot easily determine the exact values of the rewards.

My issue with this assertion is that it makes pure RPS sound worthless and “crazy” while claiming that RPS with unequal payoffs is a great competitive game design methodology.

If you think that evenly balanced RPS is devoid of strategy then why would you think weighted RPS would be any better? The odds of winning the first match are exactly the same because the game is still the exact same. Without any prior information about your opponent, the only thing you can do is take a blind guess.

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