Akatsuki Notes 2

Just some bread and butters.

Damage-wise, Akatsuki gets about as much as other characters midscreen. Meanwhile, his damage output in the corner is significantly better than most (not all) characters. And his combos are quite simple, in contrast to Sai's which require very tight links.

Depth and Exploration

What actually makes a game "deep" and interesting.

Let us first look at Rock Paper Scissors. It is a simple guessing game where you pick from three options and you're either right or wrong. There really isn't much to learn, as long as you understand those rules you're set for life. Despite that, some people can have a lot of fun playing RPS. Is it really deep? Probably not, no, but that isn't to say it's not fun given the right situation.

What about chess? Chess is technically a "solved" game in the sense that a computer programmed with the absolute optimal plays should win every time. But most of us are not computers, so the game is interesting to us because we have to learn these optimal plays, memorize them, and then exercise our ability to remember. As in my last post, when the brain fails to remember it's human nature to guess in order to "fill in the blank" and hope for a correct answer, which can also be interesting to us.

When a game is complicated enough that humans can not fully master it you can say that the game is "deep" because we are always in pursuit of those optimal plays -- but achieving 100% optimal is just not humanly possible in some games. Just like how chess is "fun and deep" even though it's technically solved, because humans can't play at that capacity.

Adding RPS elements to a game doesn't actually add depth though. All it really does is give the illusion to weaker players that they could possibly win if they get lucky, and aggravates skilled players when they are unlucky. In the end, RPS may look like depth, but it isn't.

Fighting games have the issue of entertaining both elements marginally. When you speak to the old veteran players they often talk highly about exploring the game in order to discover the optimal plays. The "glory days" of fighting games are often when a player discovers a strategy that is seemingly not possible to counter, then some one revolutionizes the situation by coming up with a counter-strategy. Just like with chess, they are seeking to solve the game.

You could argue that fighting games are significantly less deep than chess because it doesn't take us nearly as long to solve a fighting game as it did with chess. Plus, even once fighters/chess become solved there are drastically fewer people who can play on an optimal level in chess by comparison to how many players can play optimally in fighting games. A great example of this is to just look and see how many Yun, Chun, and Ken players all play exactly the same (optimally). What separates them is not their mental ability to remember optimal plays or decision making, it has more to do with reaction speed, guessing/luck, and execution: physical abilities.

Compare for a moment a tool assisted play of both chess and a fighting game. Both players are playing at totally optimal levels in both games. The object for the spectators would then be to try and recall what the best possible options for each situation is as the games progress turn-based style. Most of us would probably choose an incorrect answer in chess fairly easily, but that might not be the case in the fighting game..

So why do people keep playing them once they are solved? Once a fighting game's optimal plays are solved it reverts back to a question of reaction speed, execution, and guessing. In other words; after a certain number of years it's more of an exercise of our physical abilities rather than our mental ones, and RPS/luck becomes more emphasized. But just like with RPS they can be fun in certain situations.

After all, we still highly enjoy most mainstream sports, even though the difference between most players is physical ability and not mental ability. Surely there isn't much to learn for a game like baseball, but we tend to idolize good baseball players purely on their physical ability.

So, the counter argument is that depth is in itself the game's capacity to test our ability to play at optimal level, be it mentally or physically (or both). It's fair to say that you shouldn't add RPS elements to a game because it's neither a test of physical or mental ability, it is only an exercise of luck which both players and spectators generally find unappealing.

With fighting games (and RTS) I think veterans appreciated the mechanics of the game more. And in the end the audience appreciates physical ability more. The suboptimal "flashy" eccentric plays they will win you the audience, but not always win you the game.

Got the Read

With human reaction speed comes the dynamic of abusing it to your advantage. Players create intentional guessing games. If we had a dice game where the object was to guess the number rolled as quickly as possible, this game would be entirely reaction based. When this is placed in a competitive environment the person with the best reaction doesn't always win because humans have a tendency to guess as well. So, even though you could rely entirely on your reaction speed, a little bit of guessing can come into play, which means luck plays a part in it (guessing right and wrong is luck).

This is where a lot of the guessing games comes into play for just about any real-time sport or game. Anything turn-based wouldn't need reaction speed at all. You have all the time in the world to take your turn and therefor it's a matter of decision making. When this is placed in a competitive environment a couple things can happen depending on the nature of the game.

With a turn based game like Poker there is quite a lot of guessing involved because the cards you get are randomly given to the players.

With Chess the absolute best play can be determined at any given turn from the first turn to the last turn. But most humans are not capable of memorizing every single correct play for every single possible occurrence on the board. Once again, humans have a tendency to guess in order to compensate for the lack of knowledge.

So even without reaction speed there's marginal amounts of guessing. But the difference between these types of guessing games is; with turns the guesses are entirely education based guesses. With reaction speed type games is comes down to simple RPS (Rock Paper Scissors).

There's also a significant difference between guessing and mind-reading, similar to above -- though many people tend to confuse the two. With guessing you are simply guessing at random or pseudo-randomly. With mind reading you are taking into account things like: risk and reward, security, probability.

Mind reading therefor isn't the simple act of guessing, but highly educated guessing. It is intentionally doing specific actions to create a situation in your favor, then performing your next action based on what you anticipate your opponent will do. In an controlled environment you know what to expect, and so you've read the opponent's mind.

For example, let's say you can put your opponent at a disadvantage with a move that puts you next to them, appropriate for a tick throw. However, the throw doesn't have a whiff animation, instead you attack if the opponent can not be thrown. Thus, if the opponent attempts to jump in order to avoid the throw they will be hit instead. This is forcing your opponent to make a decision, not a guess.

The "correct" option is to take the hit because it does less damage than the throw and gives the aggressor less mixup options after the hit. It's very little risk for the aggressor so there's hardly any reason not to use this option. And you don't need to react to what your opponent did because you've read the situation well enough to know your opponent will choose that option: the path of least pain.

This is only one example of many possible examples. There's countless ways for you to lead your opponent into a situation where they are forced to take damage, and knowing all their options they will choose the option that is going to hurt them the least. And because of the risks, the odds of countering, and the probability that both players are likely to follow that path, you can know in advance what your opponent will do. A predictable action that gets countered.

However, many players experience the "why would you do that?" moment when we fight a "bad" opponent that does not consider risk/reward and such. This happens when a player uses an option with ridiculously high risk and poor reward, such as a dragon punch or other punishable such move. When this happens, the player doing the dragon punch has risked being punished for huge amounts of damage, whereas if they had taken the safer option they would be hurt quite a lot less. The reward is also not particularly good; minor damage and a knockdown with limited mixup options at midscreen. And the security is usually rather poor, if they fail they'll probably be in the corner, whereas if they succeed they will probably only get the opponent at roughly mid-screen.

And that's why the aggressor needs to take into consideration probability. You need to be aware when the opponent is likely to be willing to bank on a huge risk. It's often when they are in trouble, but not always. There's also player personality and habits and such that you can familiarize yourself with.

In the end, simple random guessing would always lose to mind-reads (educated guessing) because the risks and rewards are not balanced. Mind reads are also less prone to failure. Rather, a true mind read isn't prone to failure at all. Instead your forcing your opponent into a situation where you can only succeed, and are therefor forcing your opponent to decide which option they want to get hit by. The trick is getting your opponent into the trap in the first place.

Reason not to Play

Something interesting has been occurring in a few small communities that I've been following. Mostly they are the "underground" or unpopular games that people try to promote. Something that inevitably comes up during promotion is the question "why?". Either we ask "why should I bother playing the game", or on the flip side "why not play the game?".

What's interesting to me is all the responses we get. And, it's also interesting how difficult it is to tell whether the reason is actually objective or subjective opinion.

With a game like Big Bang Beat it's pretty obvious that a lot of reasons why people don't want to play it are objective. The game is just poorly made and plays really poorly, so there isn't much reason for people to want to play it.

But on the other hand, some games get a lot of response reasons that really don't have any foundation at all, while some just blatantly do not make sense. But this is where subjective opinion comes in. They may not be totally bullshitting, they may genuinely dislike the game. But sometimes they don't actually need a valid reason to dislike the game, they just don't like it.

Unfortunately it's just human nature to question it and try to debate it. Sometimes these debates get rather fierce and cause a lot of emotional drama on both sides. But there really is no debating subjective opinion. Even if you battle it logically and win, the person isn't likely to just magically change their preferences.

Personally I look at it like mushrooms, spiders, and music. I really don't like mushrooms. A lot of people do, but talking about mushrooms logically won't make me taste them any differently. All the talking in the world isn't going to make me like them. With spiders there's no reason to fear them, but arachnophobia is defined as an "irrational" fear of spiders. So, fearing them may not make sense but then trying to rationalize it isn't going to change it; it's irrational.

That's pretty much how I look at a lot of games, too. Certainly there's no reason not to try something out, but people are not so active that they'll go and seek things out on their own. You have to hand it to them and tell them it's good before they'll give it a test. Like with food, a person isn't going to go running out to try something just because you said it was good, you have to really encourage it or even just hand it to them.

On the flip side, when you like a game and some one else does not, it's kind of a waste of time to bother asking why. A person who doesn't like cheesecake or chocolate might seem pretty batshit insane to me, but then I can't really argue the point since I probably seem pretty weird for not liking mushrooms and I understand it's subjective and possibly irrational.

Music is a little different from food or insects. With music there's actually quite a huge variation in quality within a genre. But, if a person hates a genre then it doesn't matter how good or bad the song is; they hate the genre.

There's no reason, it's just the way it is.

Akatsuki Anti-Airs

Akatsuki: close 5B, far 5C
Fritz: 4B
Marilyn: 4B
Wei: 2B
E.Soldat: close 5C, far 5C
Adler: close 5C

Now, there are of course other anti-airs in the game. Particularly specials and supers. However, the above listed normal moves are "special" in that they have attack boxes that extend vertically higher than the hittable box. Most other characters like Mycale and Kanae only have moves where the attack-box will overlap the hitbox, not extend above it.

The significance of this is that there are no air normal moves with attack boxes that extend vertically lower than their hittable boxes. At best they overlap. What this means is trades. For example; an anti-air with overlapping hit/attack-boxes (like Kanae's 2B) against a jump-in with overlapping hit/attack-boxes: the two moves would trade hits. Because both attack boxes are hitting both hittable boxes at the same time (hitting each other).

However, the anti-airs in the list above will have their attack box hitting the opponent's hittable box first, before they can be hit. So those anti-airs will beat the jump-ins, not trade.

Only exceptions would be Anonym's bullets and B.Tank's cannon. Oddly though, there's a few jumping attacks that extend horizontally past their hittable box and a bit lower vertically than their extended hittable box. Marilyn's j.C is somewhat like this, but more notably Wei's j.C and Anonym's j.4A have that kind of attack box. Thus, if spaced properly, these moves could beat normal anti-airs (like Mycale 5B). And possibly even beat the exceptional anti-airs too.

But again, this is discounting specials and supers.

RE: Netplay Suggestions

[mauve] so will this match me up with frenchmen still
[mauve] i'm pretty sure that capcom has absolutely no comprehension of what the american player base actually needs though.
[mauve] everything would be 800x better if you could just specify a general location so it stops matching you up with lower bogoslovia
[Edible] Like "east coast US" "central US" "west coast US" "france"
[mauve] Yes.
[Edible] That would be helpful. ... But I'd still prefer a goddamn simple replay save option
[mauve] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASzEzPbwkb8 pink gen is pink

Stop Doing This Shit

MvC2- "Stop Doing this Shit in Combo Videos" video (audio commentary) by TS (who is not me)

I love this video. Personally I think the commentated version is even better than the original version. It basically embodies everything wrong with common poorly edited videos and showcases it in a highly amusing way. Some traits of which I am rather guilty of myself.

TS has said in the commentary what he knows he could have added to make it even better (rain clouds!), but I think it gets the point across rather nicely just as it is. Especially the taunting after every single combo. I did the excessive taunting thing when I released my first video and I am so very glad some one corrected my ass quickly enough for me to re-release the video sans the taunting.

Sometimes it takes a really good satire to wake people up. And the great thing is that it's entertaining, too.

One thing that still really bugs me about common "ghetto combo videos" that I think may or may not have gotten lost in TS' video is invalid combos. TS did show quite a lot of resets in his video, but to be fair some of them aren't as ghetto as they seem (while others clearly are blatantly ghetto). Though, I think Marvel gives me mixed feelings about it.

Again, I too am guilty of showing a couple invalid combos in videos I've released, but the point is I really try not to have invalids. Things like resets that lead to mixups are great for character-specific exhibitions, especially if the character relies on mixups more heavily than other characters, but resets are not okay for all-character exhibitions IMO. And, invalids are simply NOT okay unless they show a legitimate tech trap or a really good mixup.

To me, the exception would be Marvel, since a lot of resets are specifically designed to be mixups and are even used in high level play. Plus, many modern games we have "invalid" and "black beat" and such that shows up on the screen when the combo could have been escaped, so it's not so much of a problem with these games.

But a lot of older games didn't have any such HUD warning. SFA3 and even SF3:3S are prone to having videos showcasing combos that could actually be escaped, misleading viewers into thinking these would actually work against a human opponent.

And yes, it really pisses me off when I see invalids in videos that don't show them as invalid or show any tech trap or mixup off of them. Probably more than bad editing.

SFA3 Invulnerability Glitches

This video is actually quite old by now. So, it's not really of much importance.

But anyway, there's a glitch in SFA3 that causes a character to go into an invulnerability state if: You air recover and then air block in the corner, then you can land and perform an action and that action will be invulnerable. It's really quite obscure, and it's only triggered by that condition AFAIK (airblocking after air-teching in the corner).

But since the properties of this glitch cause the entire move to be invulnerable you can retain the invulnerability state by bypassing neutral states. Exactly like how you use crouch canceling and walk-canceling to bypass neutral states in order to prevent your opponent from air teching.

It really really is obscure though. It's not exactly something that would happen particularly often. But it's not something you can't plan for either, because if the opponent somehow manages to screw up a tech-trap then you're probably going to be airblocking in the corner, so then all you need to remember is that when you land you have the opportunity to abuse this.

At any rate, in the video you can see the player land and use a walk cancel to bypass neutral and retain invulnerability as Rolento, who gets thrown. Next part, Akuma also meets the condition and then uses rapid-fire jabs to keep himself out of neutral. In his case, Sakura can't even approach him in order to throw him due to the jabs, so her own invulnerability was necessary to grab him.

The next couple clips show another "glitch" regarding invulnerability. As said in my previous post about SFA3 there's specific characters whose air activations are fully invulnerable until attacking or landing: Adon, Akuma, Cammy, Charlie, Dhalsim, Guy, Juli, Juni, Rose, and Sakura.

The video shows Dhalsim using it. And then it shows Guy using a "Kattobi cancel", which is actually just a kara-cancel into VC activation. But since the move Guy kara cancels from is his down+toward+HK (backflip) move, it leaves him suspended indefinitely in the air. And since he's invulnerable until landing, well he's invulnerable indefinitely as well.

The air activation glitch isn't like the corner glitch in the sense that the corner one is only melee invulnerable and not throw invulnerable. The VC one, being throw invulnerable, makes Guy literally impossible to hit until round over.

While neither glitch would necessarily need to be banned in tournaments, usage of Guy's "kattobi" to run the clock would definitely be banned in tournaments.

Of course, these aren't the only glitches in the game.

There's a thread on SRK named All Dip Switch Settings Revealed!!! which shows all the dip switch toggles for all the SFA games on the SFAA disc. Just skimming through the list you can see all the glitches that existed in the arcade board that were either removed or modified in the console versions.

Fortunately though, with the SFAA disc you're able to select a preset that automatically sets all the dipswitch toggles so that it mirrors the 980904 arcade board perfectly, with the exception of star 2-15 which has to be unlit manually after selecting the preset.

In other words: selecting the 00/11/20ver preset then unfilling start 2-15 will make the SFA3 that's on SFAA run arcade-perfect.


Pew pew.

Knowledge Bases

The topic of knowledge bases has always been rather interesting to me. I don't think any sort of formal experiment or survey has ever taken place in regards to fighting games, so all I have to go on is my own personal experiences with gaming in general.

First, I'd like to say that for me personally; a knowledge base can be both incredibly useful or incredibly obsolete, depending on the game. I always enjoy contributing to knowledge bases when I can (if that wasn't obvious), but I have to be honest; sometimes I'm really bias or partial for various reasons.

Personally, I believe that learning the game by yourself can be half the fun of a game in the first place. Normally I enjoy picking apart a game on a very technical level. On the other hand, there are some games where I know I wouldn't have made progress at all and eventually would have quit playing without the presence of some form of knowledge base. Some games can be significantly more fun when shared information enlightens you to the possibilities and potential within the game, but I think the opposite can be true for other games. I assume it's pretty much the same for everyone. The intuitiveness of a game and the interest level per each user will presumably determine the need for a knowledge base, in theory.

That said, I also think it's interesting that there are so many different kinds of knowledge bases and how each one can influence another quite dramatically.

There's individual pools of knowledge that circulate within the community around arcades or other meeting places, instant messaging, IRC, FAQ sites, web forums, videos sites, wiki sites, and specialization sites.

With individual arcades the knowledge rarely ever circulates outside of just those people who are involved. Word of mouth can indeed travel, but there's a limit to it. An extreme example of this would be to examine how Japan learned the usage for V-ism in SFA3, and America was left so far behind. Back then, no one really knew the potential of V-ism in the US because everyone was so focused on A-ism and X-ism, and it wasn't until Japan visited the states that we learned just how much better V-ism actually was.

However, you could say that without other available knowledge bases the same thing can occur on a smaller scale, and is probably very common. On the other hand, you could say that with the existence of other knowledge bases they begin to influence each other, often in both positive and negative ways.

A great example of this is IRC and private chats. Just like with offline knowledge, information gets shared and passed through word of mouth within the direct community. But, a lot of things get lost because not everyone can be around 24/7. Lord knows if I log off IRC to go to bed on the day of a new game's release I might miss a whole fuckton of information, because everyone is talking about the game on that very day. People also don't like repeating themselves, players with the knowledge might get sick of saying the same thing over and over, and stop repeating it entirely.

Wiki sites may get neglected by users who actively use IRC and web forums. When knew knowledge is discovered it's passed around IRC and discussed, but eventually people get tired of "old news" and the knowledge is kept there, the information doesn't make it's way onto forums or wiki's or FAQs because they are already tired of it. Even when it makes it's way onto forums, there's a chance that it could stagnate there, being lost in a sea of other posts. Sometimes no one is really willing to go through it all to collect and transcribe it. I've been guilty of this many times in the past myself, where after having learned something new and discussed it, I became disinterested in it and never posted about it or felt like transcribing it after the hype died.

There's also misinformation, speculation, and theory.

Video sites tend to influence other knowledge bases quite a lot, because video data can be interpreted and misinterpreted in many different ways. Maybe a combo wasn't actually valid, maybe the player did a misinput, maybe the player didn't know they had a better option available, maybe "this"/maybe "that" and so on. Certainly, it's also extremely rare that a video tutorial would ever get updated after it's initial premiere, so old footage may become outdated. We also tend to rely on individual analysis of match footage, it's rare that the community discusses every aspect of what happens during a spectated match and why. Discussion threads regarding matches are generally a bunch of people praising the players and critiquing it based on how entertaining it was.

FAQs are also often not updated years after their initial publication, even if new knowledge has been discovered and the gameplay has been reinvented as we know it. Many people simply leave it as-is, and others don't bother writing their own update versions because only marginal amounts of information has changed while the core has not.

Web forums tend to have new posts to correct old outdated information, but old posts tend to linger and never get corrected, sometimes even without any correct followup posts. Or worse, there are those who adamantly defend incorrect, situational, or subjective information based on limited experience, even when the community is disagreeing.

It's also been my experience that a lot of the top players are unable to verbalize what it is they do and how they do it. Sometimes there's also heavy disagreements on technical information between top players as well.

Knowing all this, it's easy to see how incorrect or incomplete information can be passed off on various mediums and never really thoroughly examined, and how there can be a lack of information on a game.

That's not to say there aren't good resources out there. Certainly, there are. But it's extremely rare that you could find an absolutely complete and comprehensive one.

Honestly, I can't really think of a solution though. At least, not a practical one that is even remotely likely to happen in the near future.

Netplay Followup

To clarify/follow up something I posted earlier regarding netplay:

Netplay is a bonus, not a miracle. Netplay did not revive a scene for old fighting games that were actually already good. I can name several good titles that had scenes that are dead now even with netplay support. It also didn't create a scene for the PC games that came equipped with it. Again, I can name several titles that are PC games with netplay that are now dead. The majority of popular games played at tournaments either don't have netplay or didn't until very recently. All netplay really does is let people play casuals when either: they live out in the middle of nowhere, or the scene is dead except for a handful of hardcore diehard fans, or allows people to play during the week when no local events are happening.

The real issue is indeed availability. Regardless of how good a game is; if it's not available as a console standard it isn't going to thrive outside of Japan. These days, especially with Evolution being a console tournament now, if a game thrived without a console release it'd be a miracle.

Between a console release versus a PC release, if the game didn't get a console release it would be as good as dead in terms of major tournaments, there's really hardly any question of that. It might still get played as a side event, but even that would be pushing it. On the flipside, if it did get a console release but didn't get a PC release then all you'd lose is just a handful players.

But, the community is really fickle. Even with arcade perfect ports some games just don't make it in the long run, so getting a console port isn't any sort of guarantee either.

It's also obvious that netplay can't be the core to a community either. It isn't an acceptable medium for serious tournaments, though you can have fun little "mock" tournaments online. Potential cheating/abuse like autofire and macros is enough reason in itself, but lag is also not acceptable for tournaments.

I still think there's a lot of power in netplay though. In my own experience there's been quite a few games that I never would have even tried if not for netplay, and I know I'm not the only one. Plus, the number of rounds and the number of different players I've played over netplay is significantly higher than the number I've played offline. I've learned things that I know I would have otherwise not learned. And I've even got to play some players from Japan. I am assuming these sorts of things are similar with other people.

I also still think it can "assist" in building a scene, though I don't think it'd be the deciding factor that could otherwise make or break a scene.


Blip sent me this link: Crazy As Me

It's an English translation of many segments of the autobiography of Lim Yo-Hwan (AKA. SlayerS_`BoxeR`). The autobiography titled "Crazy As Me" was released in Korea by BookRoad Publishers in 2004.

And yes, it is an amazing read.

SFA3 Traps

A followup post to my old SFA3 Misc post. The video shows a bunch of different concepts like unblockables, tech traps, escaping unblockables, escaping tech traps, and a guard crush VC example, among other things.

High+Low Unblockables:
With V-ism custom combos the shadows that follow you retain all of the move properties that the shadow copies. VC1 (activated with light attacks) makes the shadow follow you very closely. So, a jumping attack followed by a low attack creates an unblockable situation. As seen in the video with Chun-Li the j.LK can be blocked, and her c.LK can be blocked, but the shadow of the j.LK must be blocked high and it connects at around the same time as the real c.LK which hits low. So c.LK low + shadowed j.LK high = high+low = unblockable, since you can't block both high and low at the same time.

These are fairly difficult to avoid, especially ones that involve a crossup, because most Alpha Counters and reversals won't even stop them.

But, they are not inescapable. Everyone in V-ism can activate a VC and use the activation invulnerability to escape/counter the unblockable. In A-ism there are a number of characters that have particular moves that can get out of these unblockables, which are typically teleport moves, as seen in the video.

Throw Unblockables:
Not seen in the video. But, these are actually even more evil than high+low unblockables. During a VC, a command throw will break all normal throw rules, allowing the command throw to grab opponents during: hitstun, blockstun, and jump start-up. So, after performing a crossup you can then activate the VC and immediately command throw.

The reason this is even more evil is that they are even harder to escape, and there is a lot less risk involved because you can confirm them off the crossup. In other words, if the crossup whiffs you know the opponent escaped, so you don't activate your VC and do nothing. If the crossup hits or gets blocked; you can activate the VC and then command throw them. So, while you can escape these with teleports and activations, the one doing the unblockable doesn't waste their meter even if you do manage to escape.

And, there is basically no way to escape after you've blocked the crossup except with Juni and V-Dan's character-specific push-block moves. Most Alpha Counters fail to prevent from getting grabbed.

Tech Traps:
In SFA3 the way air teching works is you can technically air recover at any time that the opponent is in a state that is called "neutral". What this generally means is the last few frames of recovery from a move or an uncanceled landing from a jump. In other words it has little to do with what state you're in, rahter; you're allowed the tech when the opponent is finishing a move.

When you air tech you are temporarily invulnerable and unable to perform normal actions for a while. However, the invulnerability wears off before you're able to do anything, including block (airblock). So, if the opponent hits you with something right as the invulnerability ends you will be hit because you won't be able to do defend.

Thus, players learned to create tech-traps wherein they are able to hit you right as your invulnerability from a tech is ending, or hit you even if you don't air recover.

As a quick note, I feel I should point out that the unblockables and tech traps in the video were not performed incorrectly. If the opponent had not attempted the escape at the proper time, each setup would have had guaranteed success.

I believe escaping unblockables is pretty self explanatory. Actually, I explained that above and in the video, so read up and/or watch the video.

Tech trap escapes: Technically even though you are unable to perform normal actions when air recovering, you are actually able to perform special moves and supers, which will immediately cancel the invulnerability as well. In addition to specials/supers, V-ism activations are considered supers, so they can also be done immediately after teching while you're still invulnerable, as seen in the video.

Once again, A-ism is limited in this department. There aren't many characters with air-based special moves that are actually useful for getting out of tech traps, and there are even fewer characters with air supers. Actually, Gen and Akuma are the only ones with air supers for that matter. Some are pretty interesting though, Dhalsim has his air teleport which has invulnerable startup, and R.Mika has her air command throw which has zero startup at all (it's instant, AFAIK). And there may be others. Sadly (or perhaps fortunately?) wall-jumps and command normals don't count, so those won't cancel your recovery state.

Specific Air Activation Glitch
Specific characters in V-ism are blessed with a special "glitch". The characters are: Adon, Akuma, Cammy, Charlie, Dhalsim, Guy, Juli, Juni, Rose, and Sakura.

When these characters activate a VC in the air they will remain completely invulnerable until they either attack or land. There's one frame of vulnerability between the transition from air to ground. In other words, one frame where they are still in the air and vulnerable, and unable to perform a ground attack. That prevents them from transitioning from air invulnerability to a ground invulnerability seamlessly. They also become vulnerable if they attack after the "normal" invulnerability duration has ended.

What this means for tech trapping is that these characters can activate their VC immediately when air teching and they will remain invulnerable until landing. So even if the tech trap was really good and hits all over the place (like Sagat's) they are safe from being hit until they either attack or land. This can be seen in the clip with Cammy, normally Sakura's shadow should have hit Cammy, but the prolonged invulnerability duration glitch made it possible for Cammy to land then anti-air combo Sakura.

Damage Reduction:
To further decrease the effectiveness of unblockables and tech traps, you also have a couple of options for making them weaker.

Not teching is one. Because if you're unable to escape then you're better off letting it hit you. The reason is because damage scales very steeply with the number of hits in a combo, and by the time most characters get you into their tech trap they are only going to be doing about 1-pixel of damage per hit, which isn't a whole lot. They may choose to do an infinite on you and kill you one pixel at a time, but it depends on the character. A lot of characters don't even have infinites, such as Akuma and Sakura, who really only tech-trap you in order to rebuild their meter after their VC has ended. In other words, you never ever want to air tech a trap against Akuma and Sakura (or anyone without an infinite) unless you're absolutely positive that you can punish them for it. If you tech and get hit by the trap, all you'll be doing is resetting the combo count and resetting the damage scaling, increasing the damage you take by a lot.

Mashing buttons is another. In SFA3 you can reduce both actual damage and guard bar damage by pressing an input. This includes both directionals and attack inputs. Amusingly (or perhaps unfortunately?) this reduction is a flat 50%. So if you mash every hit of a combo you literally reduce the damage by half.

Chip damage is always only 1 pixel per hit, but damage reducing on block will also lower the amount of guard bar damage you take by 50%.

The Special Four
Normally when you transition from a ground combo into a jump attack you must enter a neutral state, which is why tech-trapping is necessary (because the opponent can tech when you jump).

Pretty much everyone can start a crouch cancel series if they first take place air-to-air (both characters in the air). Though this requires a counter-hit to put the opponent in a juggle state, or an air special move that will put them in the juggle state.

The only other way most characters can bypass a neutral state is by using a dizzy and having a delayed shadow hit the opponent when the real body has already gone into the air. For example: dizzy, activate, whiff an uppercut, jump, let the shadow hit the opponent into the air, continue with air attack and crouch cancel series.

However, there are two characters in the game that can transition from a ground combo to an air combo seamlessly, and two that have pseudo-airtight setups. They are: Guy, Rolento, Chun-Li, and Sodom.

In Guy's case, both his oc.HK (down+toward+HK backflip) and the last hit of his Bushin Chain (LP-MP-HP-HK target combo) put the opponent in a forced back-roll state in which they are unable to air tech from even if Guy enters neutral. Therefor, if Guy can hit with either of these moves on the ground he can then jump and attack without worry of the opponent air recovering.

Rolento is more simple, he has a super jump which technically counts as a special move, and therefor during a VC he can cancel his normals and specials into this super jump, transitioning from ground to air seamlessly.

Chun-Li and Sodom have pseudo-airtight setups. Technically they are airtight in the arcade version because their setup hits the opponent at the exact same frame they are leaving the ground. Thus, the opponent is locked in hitstop and unable to airtech while Chun/Sodom are technically transitioning from neutral.

Some combos are designed to chip away at your life and guard bar regardless if you block or not. Some of the more popular ones are the "hadou-rave" and Yoga Fire customs, in which you throw a bunch of fireballs in the opponents face very rapidly. There's also others like Vega's Claw Roll and Cody's Criminal Upper loops which rip through your lifebar and guardbar.

The wonderful (or fucked up) thing about these is that apart from Juni and V-Dan, most characters are forced to Alpha Counter in order to avoid these. However, Alpha Countering not only costs meter but also permanently costs a portion of your guard bar. So whether you Alpha Counter or not, you're losing a section of your guard bar for the rest of the round.

This means that X-ism is basically screwed. You're also kind of screwed if you happen to be meterless at the time of eating one of these. Blocking fills your super bar, so you'll eventually be able to AC once you have enough meter, but by then you'll have taken enough damage that the result is basically the same whether you AC or not. And, if the person happens to be really good at taking chunks of your guard bar away, you're going to find yourself eating Guard Crushes over and over throughout the round, each GC or AC lowering your maximum guardbar by a full segment making it easier to GC you.


Just following up a thought on my previous post to clarify something.

Regarding ridiculous execution requirements. Personally, I don't feel that I should have the same APM or micromanagement execution as a top RTS player. Nor do I feel that I should have the same aim efficiency or movement efficiency as a top FPS player. And, I also feel there should be a rather large gap in execution levels between a top player and an average player in a Fighting game, just like with any other game or sport.

When you have a game with ridiculous execution requirements it lets the players with talent really shine, and also showcases their hard work and training. This also applies to sports, obviously.

Of course, when a player isn't able to execute like the top players it makes them feel inadequate and put out. But, why would we want to reward laziness and inexperience? Rather, why would we want a game where even average players can pick up a controller and do all the same things a top player does mechanically without any effort?

In my opinion, when you have a game that doesn't have a lot of absurd execution boundaries then that's just one less thing that can make a player special. It also doesn't really incite a player's natural abilities or test their limits or potential.

A game that has low execution requirements would be good training wheels into the genre for newcomers, and probably make it a better casual game than one that does not. But it isn't going to really allow talented players to thrive and push themselves to become much better through hard work and dedication, since the execution requirements for such a game would be far beneath their potential level or limit.

Sure, it makes the gap between newcomers and higher level players less wide, which makes it more fun for newcomers. But it also makes the gap between high level players, top level players, and the absolute best player just that much less as well. Which in the end, I don't think is a good thing at all.

To use the sports analogy; lowering execution in things like basketball and football would make the star players less special. And personally I don't think a person like me should be able to just walk onto the field and be able to manipulate the ball like they do without drilling any sort of execution practice. And, I feel the same way about games.

So yeah, it sucks and feels crappy when you try to execute something and fail it. But, I much rather have limitless execution potential with no boundaries so players could test the height of human ability.

After all, one of the bigger, more well-known events in the Fighting game community was Daigo's parry against Wong's Chun SA.2. It's not something just anybody could have done, and that is why we were cheering so hard.