Dashing or Grazing and HighJumps can be done in two ways, for example. You can hold the D button and push a direction to get a dash. Or you can input forwards or backwards twice for a forward and backward dash, or input down and then up for a highjump. This can be pretty important for graze attacking and movement in general. The preferred method for most movements is to use the D button and a single direction. For example, after landing Hong Meirin's AAAB string, it's ideal to use to hold 3 (down+toward), then immediately tap D as soon as she recovers from the B kick, and then immediately tap A as soon as you begin to dash, and that should allow you to juggle with her palm thrust move. The method of inputting D3A (D+down+toward+A) should be significantly easier than inputting 663A (toward, toward, down+toward+A). The example given for Hong Meirin can be seen below:
Another simple trick involves using Bombs as stated in my previous post. Rather than inputting 22 (down, down) you can instead input 11 (down+back, down+back). The main advantage of doing it this was is that you'll be inputting a block command instead of neutral down, which means while you're trying to input the bomb inputs you'll be blocking oncoming attacks that may have potential gaps in them. If, for example, you attempt to bomb using 22 in between Alice 5A 6A, you may be hit because there's a small gap in there just large enough for your guard to drop. If you input a bomb with 11 instead then odds are you'll continue to block until the bomb begins, so you should not be hit.
And another shortcut involves HighJumping backwards. When highjumping backwards (HJ7) it can be difficult to use the D button in order to move the way you want. Often, when using D7 you'll accidentally get either a backdash or a vertical highjump instead of a diagonal highjump. To avoid this it can actually be better to manually input the highjump motion with 27 or ideally with 17 (down+back, up+back). The advantage to this is that you'll first block low, and then transition into a diagonal highjump backwards without the risk of accidentally backdashing or vertical highjumping. Although this is much easier to do with a Stick controller or Pad controller than it is on a keyboard. But regardless of the controller, backwards highjumps should be easier with manual inputs than with D7. However, for vertical highjumps and forward highjumps, ideally you would use D8 and D9 (or D69) respectively since it's faster and easier.
Controllers have been the subject of some debate for with competitive Fighting game fans. However, the majority of competitive Fighting game players who attend major tournaments and compete at high levels of competition prefer to use custom-built Arcade Sticks for Fighting games. A nice thread regarding arcade sticks can be found on Shoryuken.com forums. Most serious hardcode Fighting game fans agree that Sticks are the way to go.
Game Pad controllers have often been rather taboo when associated with Fighting games because the majority of people who play on pads tend to use their thumbs for attack inputs instead of their finger tips. This is not really ideal because of the difference between using thumbs and finger tips. If we examine the difference, we can clearly see that finger tips are able to rapidly tap buttons much faster than thumbs. Finger tips also allow you to input any kind of two or three button combinations much better than with thumbs. While thumbs can put two buttons that are vertically aligned with one another, it's difficult to input diagonally aligned or horizontally aligned buttons, as seen below:
There's also several other techniques which finger tips allow you to do that are difficult to perform with thumbs, such as: Tapping, Drumming, Pianoing, Sliding (kara/RC), and - as previously mentioned - simultaneous inputs.
These techniques may not seem to apply to IaMP, but some of them actually do. The ability to hold the D button and input another attack such as A or B while dashing or highjumping is the same as a duel-input, which is significantly easier with finger tips than thumbs. This applies to things like Meirin's AAAB D3A (seen above) and lots of characters j.A and j.B loops that require you to to dash or highjump during them (such as Sakuya, Marisa, Remilia, Yukari, etc). Additionally, having one finger over a specific button like D, and another finger over a specific button like C, allows you to quickly highjump cancel or airdash cancel without having to move your thumb from one input button to another. Since your fingers are already in-place, you need only press the buttons without having to move any fingers. And lastly, drumming and tapping can assist with timing for reversals such as a 623 (dp) uppercut move in between hits or while getting up off the ground (example: Marisa 623 in between Yuyuko 6A 22B).
The good news is that IaMP only has four input buttons, so even if your controller is limited to four input buttons on the pad's face, you'll still be able to use finger tips for playing IaMP instead of thumbs. The downside is that many players feel that using thumbs for directional inputs is still not ideal in comparison to using a stick (since with a stick you'll be using finger tips and wrist for directionals).
Popular gamepads of choice are: Japanese Sega Saturn pad (AKA. satapad). Japanese PS2-Sega Saturn pad (Saturn pad built for the PS2). The Saitek USB-pad series (ideally P220 -- P220 > P2500 > P990). And the default PS2 pad.
Using a Keyboard is a bit of a gray area. In theory, since you'll be using finger tips for both attack inputs and directional inputs, it would be acceptable. However, many keyboards are limited in how many inputs it can process simultaneously. Additionally, keyboards are rather bulky and blocky, so it can be difficult to input motion/directional inputs such a 214 (qcb) or 421 (rpd). The good news is that you'll most certainly not have difficulty inputing commands from the left or right side, which is something that many Fighting game players have an issue with on Sticks and Pads. For the sake of IaMP you can probably get away with using a keyboard, provided you're able to perform simple special and super movements.
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