Nostalgia break: SFA3 promo video

While looking on YouTube for old video game commercials, I stumbled across this. Please to enjoy.

If you watch closely, you can spot a few differences between the beta version of A3 from the video, and the final version(s).

acho 113th Ranking battle video

HIRO’s a-cho channel has updated with tournament videos for a ton of games, as per usual, including some A3 matches.

Players are DARK (A-Gen), Harashou (V-Ken), Kisaku (V-Zangief), HIRO (X-Sakura) Raaku (?) (V-Sakura, and a mystery V-Gen player who is either Shishi(?) or Mui(?), or neither, because I don’t know if either of those names are correct. A-Zangief player I would assume to be Kisaku, but I can’t make out the name.

V-Gen player doesn’t always do great, but over the course of his matches he displays more and more of the character’s potential.

Evolution 2011: Thoughts on Skullgirls and Street Fighter x Tekken


Howdy, elite fraternity of readers. It’s been a while. I went to Evo last week (an international tournament for fighting games), and had a good time, as I always do.

I got a chance to play a few matches of SFxTekken and Skullgirls.

Skullgirls is kind of hard to explain in a few sentences, but basically: it’s a fighting game with an all-female cast (at least, thus far; the game is incomplete), and the characters and animation have a sense of whimsy to them.

Comparisons:
People have been comparing it to BlazBlue, Arcana Heart, Melty Blood, the Guilty Gear games, etc. I don’t play any of those aside from some Guilty Gear X matches I’ve had, mostly against the CPU. But the game I would actually compare it the most to is Capcom’s Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, only with a more traditional Street Fighter layout for the button scheme (three punch buttons on top, three kicks for the bottom row). There are long combos and some characters have projectiles which they can use to fill the screen and keep opponents out. There aren’t “Stands” like in JJBA, but each character has a familiar of some sort, often related to some item they have: A hat with big burly arms, hair which turns into a monster, an umbrella that shoots projectiles, etc.

Experience:
I didn’t get much quality time with the game, but I did get in a handful of matches. Unfortunately, the people I played had been learning the game all weekend (I didn’t play until Sunday), Evo started Friday morning, and so I was no match for any of the better players. I did get a pretty fair sense of the game, however. I played Peacock and Parasoul, the two most recent characters announced, as of this writing. Both characters were fun, though not the easiest characters to pick up and play.

Verdict:
Anyway, the verdict: the game is really interesting. It has a ratio system like the Capcom vs SNK games (selectable like CvS2), and a tag/assist system like Capcom’s Marvel games (teammate assists come in and do a move of your choice, but can be hurt in the process if you don’t protect them). The character variety is good, and the game looks good so far. On top of that, the game will be using GGPO’s netcode, so the online play should be better than most fighting games. And while the pricing hasn’t been announced, the rumor is that the game will only be in the $15-20 price range because it’s a downloadable game and won’t be on discs.

    TL;DR-

If you’ve played any of Capcom’s Marvel games or JJBA, you should be pretty familiar with Skullgirls, and it will be mostly a matter of learning a few new moves and features. There aren’t the same launchers and air combos as in Marvel, but the air dashes will feel pretty familiar, and combat mid-air is somewhat similar to how it is on the ground. To hear the developers (including noted Marvel vs Capcom 2 player and combo video maker Mike Z) talk about the game in-depth, click here.

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Street Fighter x Tekken is pretty much self-explanatory. A bunch of Street Fighter characters vs a bunch of Tekken characters, this time in a legit fighting game- Namco x Capcom looked fun, but it was a different thing.


System:
Control scheme is 6-button just like standard Street Fighter, and the Tekken characters have had attacks fleshed out to compensate. Their attack strings remain the same button presses in most cases, however. At least, this is how I understand it- I haven’t played Tekken in years, and didn’t try any Tekken characters when I played SFxT.

It’s a 2-vs-2 tag system, with no assists. Tag is both medium attacks, but IIRC you can’t tag while holding down/back to block or else you just get a medium attack. Tagging has both startup time and recovery time, unlike say Marvel vs Capcom 2 where your 1st character instantly tags out, but the new character you just tagged in has some recovery time. You lose the round when either of your characters gets KO’d.

Combo system is based on chains, seems like light-medium-heavy attack as opposed to the zigzag chains that the old Marvel games allowed for some characters. I didn’t see any dizzies/stuns.

Special moves (for SF characters at least) are generally the same- although Chun for example now does lightning legs as half-circle forward+kick (IIRC) instead of rapidly pressing a kick button. Special move motion with two buttons does an EX attack, like in the SF4 and SF3 games. Special move motion with 3 buttons does a super move like in the Marvel VS games, but it has to be all 3 punches or all 3 kicks, depending on the move.

There are alpha counters of a sort, but I didn’t see if they were any good.

Super meter is segregated into 3 bars like in the Alphas or CvS games (Capcom/C-groove or A-ISM in Alpha 3). EX moves take one meter, super moves take two meters. There’s a crossover mode like the duos in Marvel vs Capcom 1 that allows you to have both members of your team on screen at once, but I never actually did it, so I don’t know how it’s done or what the limitations are. It doesn’t seem to require all 3 super meters, but unlike MvC1, you have to toggle between which character you control, and aren’t controlling both simultaneously. See here.

Super motions are specific to the moves they represent- for example instead of qcf or qcb + 3 kicks with Sagat to get his super (Tiger Genocide aka Tiger Destruction), I found out it was a DP motion + 3 kicks, because the super move is based on the Tiger Knee.

Each character seems to have a special move that they can charge. With Ryu if you do a fireball but hold the attack button down, he’ll charge it up (think Gouken in SF4 or his Denjin animation in the SF3 games). If you charge it long enough it will become an EX move- but wont’ require the super meter. So essentially every character has a free EX move, with the downside being that they take a long time to charge. If you hold the button down as long as possible, it becomes a super move, and again, IIRC, it doesn’t cost any meter. But you have to hold it down forever, making yourself vulnerable to attack.

Pressing Fierce + Roundhouse cancels into a tag move, and because the game has a chain combo system, it’s pretty easy for everyone to do something like crouching light attack, crouching medium attack, standing hard attack into tag attack. The new character comes in and still has time to combo afterwards, as you can see in the videos embedded above. The downside being that this tag move has significant recovery time if it misses or is blocked.

There is a feature that allows you to tag in your partner while doing special moves, sort of like an Focus Attack Dash cancel in the SF4 games- you’re in the middle of doing an attack, and as you cancel it into a tag, you finish up your attack while the new character comes in, allowing them to continue a combo, or do a move that hits low while your old character attacks high, etc. I believe this takes one bar of super meter, like an EX move.

Juggle system is unlimited, from what I understand- there is no limit to the amount of times you can juggle an opponent, in theory. However, there seems to be a mechanic in place that makes the juggled character fall faster/further the more times they’re hit.

Verdict, Experience & Comparisons:
I liked it more than I was expecting to. Luckily I got to play about a half-dozen games, and unlike Skullgirls, I ended up playing with a group of other scrubs, so we were all learning the game instead of just getting owned mercilessly. I played Sagat/Ryu as my team, because I felt pretty comfortable with those characters, but eventually moved on to Sagat/Poison and Sagat/Dhalsim.

Dhalsim now does his far attacks by pressing toward and an attack button, by the way. His default attacks are the short-range close normals from older games, or back+normal attack moves from the more recent ones. He also doesn’t chain attacks as freely as some of the other characters.

The game feels a bit like Alpha 3, actually, only without the guard meter, different super system etc. The throws have an exceptionally shortt range, so the game is based less on mixup like 3rd Strike or the throw games in SF4, and more based around pokes- at least at this stage, so early in the game’s life. Couldn’t get an idea of what characters were good, though I saw a Marduk player (a native Tekken player learning to adjust to the new game, I think) who did some good combos. Seems to be a pretty aggressive game, and I think corner pressure and combos are going to be a big part of it.

Also, air-to-air is going to be a big deal for a few characters, like the crouch-cancel juggle opportunities in Alpha 3; after an attack that bounces the opponent high enough, or an air counter hit etc, you can keep doing attacks until you’re either out of range or your opponent hits the ground. So if you have a high-priority air attack and hit the opponent out of the air with it (let’s say you’re using Chun’s jumping Short as a hypothetical), you get the chance to follow that up with as many attacks as you can.

    TL;DR-

SFxT looks good. Though it’s a little less SF4 and a little more SFA3.

To hear some Capcom staff members talking in detail about the game see here, under the SFxTekken panel heading (the last set of videos in the blog post). See the 3rd of those videos, especially.

A3 videos roundup, and a note of clarification


Middlekick has uploaded the most recent Chiba Ranking Battle videos to his YouTube page. Matches feature V-Ryu, Akuma, Karin and Sakura*. If you like Ryu, you should definitely see these matches, Sarada is even beastier than usual.

Chiba Ranking Battle #128

*Players are Sarada, Imakichi, Yousei and Amamiya.

He’d also dutifully uploaded some casual matches in the weeks before, see his channel for links, and check out the SRK Alphas videos thread for older updates.

click for link to match

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Zero3Japan is one of a-cho.com’s YouTube channels, and they constantly update with match/tournament videos for a wide variety of games. Recently they’ve uploaded an A3 ranking battle, and here it is:

a-cho 112th Ranking Battle

Characters played are V-Ryu, V-Sakura, V-Zangief, A-Gen, X-Zangief and X-Sakura. We get to see more of HIRO’s X-Sak than usual in this video. Don’t know the other player names here, but if I had to guess I’d say the purple Gen is Morimomo and the light blue one is DARK, as per usual.

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Also, with regards to the special tournament matches coming out of a-cho in my last post and ones like it (6th to 8th-level matches)- according to a helpful member of the SRK forums, they’re known as a danisen.

It is danisen. You start at 1st dan and work your way up. +1 point for a win -1 point for a loss. 3 points = rank up -3 = rank down. After 9th dan you have to get 5 points to rank up.

a-cho videos: 111th Ranking Battle and more


If you like V-Cammy and V-Chun, this is your lucky day. HIRO’s/a-cho YouTube channel has updated recently with some sexy sexy A3 matches, over two hours’ worth in total.

Gen: DARK (light blue), Morimomo (purple)
V-Chun: HOT, except in the Chun vs Chun mirror match where 1P is Shin (?)
Dhalsim: X-Dhalsim is HIRO, V-Dhalsim is Takedaru
X-Sakura: also HIRO
Cammy: Harashou
Ryu: Fuchi
Dan: Unknown, mabye Harenchitatsu
Zangeif: Kisaku (in purple), and Tomeshii (? Tonishii?, in orange )

There’s an outside chance that one of the Ryu players may be Kuma, since I heard his name mentioned by the announcer, but it’s hard to tell. I can’t find any tournament results for these, so I’m finding the names by ear.

a-cho ranking battle #111

00:00 – Zangief vs Dan
01:56 – Cammy vs Gen
04:11 – Zangief vs Gen
05:42 – X-Dhalsim vs Gen
07:56 – Cammy vs Dan
10:09 – Zangief vs Cammy
12:34 – X-Sakura vs Cammy
15:24 – Ryu vs V-Chun li
18:52 – Gen vs V-Chun li
22:27 – V-Chun li (HOT) vs V-Chun li (Shin?)
24:09 – Zangief vs V-Chun li
27:33 – Gen vs Ryu
30:46 – Ryu vs V-Chunli (HOT)
33:07 – Gen (DARK) vs Gen (Morimomo)
34:36 – V-Dhalsim (Takedaru) vs V-Chun li
37:06 – Cammy vs Gen
38:27 – V-Chun li vs Zangief
40:42 – Zangief vs Gen
42:38 – Cammy vs V-Chun

What’s that? You also like V-Ken? Well, class is now in session.

Ken player is Harashou, Ryu player is Fuchi, Zangief player is Kisaku, and Gen player is DARK.

6~8th-level matches

00:00 – Ken vs Zangief
03:15 – Ken vs Zangief
05:27 – Zangief vs Gen
07:11 – Zangief vs Gen
09:45 – Zangief vs Gen
12:19 – Zangief vs Ken
15:06 – Zangief vs Gen
17:39 – Zangeif vs Ryu
20:29 – Zangief vs Gen
23:24 – Zangeif vs Ryu
25:22 – Zangief vs Gen
28:09 – Ryu vs Gen
30:18 – Ryu vs Zangief
34:00 – Zangief vs Gen
37:20 – Ryu vs Zangief
40:50 – Gen vs Zangief
42:33 – Gen vs Ryu
44:51 – Zangief vs Ryu
46:47 – Gen vs Ryu
49:08 – Zangief vs Ryu
52:23 – Gen vs Ryu
54:57 – Gen vs Ryu
57:34 – Gen vs Ryu
59:31 – Gen vs Ryu
1:03:04 – Gen vs Ryu
1:06:09 – Gen vs Ken
1:07:54 – Gen vs Ken
1:10:47 – Ryu vs Ken
1:13:52 – Gen vs Ken
1:15:47 – Gen vs Ryu
1:18:37 – Gen vs Ryu
1:21:43 – Gen vs Ryu
1:23:44 – Gen vs Ken
1:26:01 – Ryu vs Ken
1:29:32 – Gen vs Ken
1:31:09 – Ken vs Zangief
1:33:00 – Ken vs Zangief
1:35:13 – Ken vs Zangief

Lag and You: An Amuse-Bouche


With GGPO down for a few weeks, I tried Supercade, which is a great program, but its considered by some to be silver medalist to GGPO’s gold.

My experiences with the program were pretty good, but there was a noticeable increase in input delay compared to GGPO. Input delay, for the unaware, is a form of online lag in which the game plays at more or less normal speed, but there is a brief period before what you actually enter on your joystick/controller/keyboard etc actually happens on screen. This is measured in milliseconds and not fulls seconds, of course, because a full second of lag is somewhat beyond the pale when talking about these two programs.

To be fair, there have been complaints about about the new version of GGPO having more input lag than the old ones for some reason and other new problems, but I happen to be specifically discussing Supercade matches right now.

I’ve been thinking about writing something on the psychology of online/input lag, but it will have to wait.

The short version being: I was not always on the losing end of lag in these matches, and also that it essentially lowers the level of execution for all players, because things you react to visually/audibly have already happened a few milliseconds earlier, as far as the game is concerned. This discourages reaction and encourages predictive actions (ie. random sweeps), and things which are dangerous (jumping attacks vs characters with otherwise-reliable anti-air) become safer because they’re harder to react to.

Please keep in mind the lag during these games wasn’t terrible by online gaming standards, but was simply not ideal. I am Player 2 in all matches.

TL;DR
Recorded some matches, because I was bored.

To avoid opening new window, click on the Play icon in the bottom corner of the video, instead of clicking on the video itself. Continue reading

GGPO Status: BACK

Website up!

Client is up! But requires new download- it is a new test-build.

You will need to copy/paste your ROMS folder into whatever folder you unzip the new GGPO files into. If you didn’t already have an earlier build of GGPO installed, then create a new folder named “roms” and put your games in it.

What the Hell is GGPO?


So some guy asks me, “what is GGPO, and why do you talk about it so much?” Well, imaginary guy who didn’t really ask that, prepare yourself.

Here is the GGPO description from the official website (which is mostly down at the moment due to DDOS attacks on the server by scrubs):

GGPO is a networking library that game developers can use to add networked gameplay support to arcade style games. GGPO’s latency hiding techniques give each player a gameplay experience that is nearly indistinguishable from playing with their friends locally, even against players around the world.

Basically, it’s a program that lets you play fighting games online, little-to-no lag. This is a good thing. But “GGPO” is also used as shorthand for the networking code that the program uses to achieve such relatively good results- so when you hear that Skullgirls or a new networked Japanese DBZ arcade game are using “GGPO,” it should be taken to mean that the same coding is being used.

GGPO as a program, however, is useful because it allows fans of a game to congregate and play each other in real time; if you live in an area where competition is scarce and/or you like to play older games like ST, or Garou: MOTW, or Vampire Savior etc, GGPO helps players find each other, no matter how far apart they might be.

The program and games are free, btw.

For more background info, there’s a recent interview with the creator over at Gamasutra (How a Fighting Game Fan Solved Internet Latency Issues), and SRK’s podcast Wakeup[,] Shoryuken featured him in a recent episode.
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Videos: Tournament Matches from a-cho

HIRO has updated his YouTube channel with a bunch of new videos over the last week+, including an hour and a half of Alpha 3 footage. Good news in particular if you’re a fan of A-ISM Gen or V-ISM Charlie, because those two characters are featured rather heavily, along with V-Zangief, Sagat, and others.

List of matches below embedded videos. The Gen players are DARK (blue) and Morimomo (purple), the Charlie player is Machi Nash, the Sagat player is Nekonohi, and the X-Sakura is HIRO, himself. I didn’t catch the names of the other players, though I assume the V-Ken player(s?) is Rokkou Ken.

110th Ranking Battle

00:00 – Charlie vs Zangief
03:16 – Gen vs Gen
05:31 – Gen vs Ken
08:26 – Zangief vs Ken
10:36 – Gen vs Charlie
12:50 – Gen vs Zangief
15:50 – Gen vs Chun
18:16 – Chun vs Zangief
21:07 – Gen vs X-ISM Sakura
23:00 – Zangief vs Gen
25:54 – Gen vs Charlie
28:00 – Gen vs Gen
29:40 – Gen vs Gen
32:00 – Charlie vs Gen
34:00 – Charlie vs Gen
36:40 – Charlie vs Gen

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Six-stage battle(?? Sorry, my Japanese is very poor)

00:00 – Charlie vs Gen
01:24 – Zangief vs Gen
03:13 – Zangeif vs Sagat
06:34 – Zangeif vs Gen
09:16 – Charlie vs Gen
11:06 – Sagat vs Gen
13:37 – Sagat vs Zangief
16:57 – Gen vs Zangief
19:16 – Charlie vs Zangief
22:20 – Charlie vs Sagat
24:47 – Charlie vs Gen
26:26 – Zangief vs Gen
30:07 – Zangief vs Sagat
31:57 – Zangief vs Charlie
34:42 – Gen vs Charlie
36:30 – Gen vs Zangief
38:23 – Charlie vs Zangief
41:38 – Charlie vs Gen
44:28 – Charlie Zangief
46:18 – Charlie vs Gen
47:19 – Zangief and Gen
50:02 – Charlie vs Gen

GGPO status update // Links bonanza

Those of you who play on GGPO may have noticed that it was down last week. This was due to a DDOS attack on the server. Things are up and running again. Also, keep an eye out for the updated version of GGPO coming out in a few months.

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I’ve also added a bunch of links to various websites, mostly pertaining to Alpha 3.

Click “links” at top of page, or click here and see below