Monday, June 25, 2007

Release SPDs

I was practicing yesterday on my ST machine after my gathering on Saturday, and I figured I'd try a little bit of DeeJay to see how he played. I looked for some videos on youtube, and found several ones that look pretty useful:

Jump forward, low jab x 2, upkicks (6 hits)
Jump forward, low fierce, RH Sabot (4 hits)
Crossover jump forward, low jab x 2, stand strong, RH Sabot (6 hits)

I experienced an "a-ha" moment after playing around with those. Up until now, when I was playing a character or trying a combo, I would try to just do the move without really thinking about exactly where the joystick position was at any given time. In other words, the game was moving so fast that I'd just kind of "try it", rather than explicitly knowing what I was doing at every frame.

Well, playing yesterday, there was a point where the game just started to slow down. It's no so much that the game slowed down per se, but more like all of a sudden it was slow enough that I could really play attention to what I was doing. The moment came when I was doing low jab x 2 into stand strong. I had been just kind of mashing the standing strong and sometimes getting a low strong, when all of a sudden the game slowed down, and I could very easily just move the joystick into the back position, and press the strong button. Voila, it worked!

Excited by this new way of seeing how the game works, I thought I should try my hand at a combo I've always seen, but thought nigh-impossible. Stand strong into upkicks. This kind of combo has always seemed really advanced, because you need to press strong when the joystick is in the neutral position, on the way from crouch to up. So the motion is

Joystick in down/back position for two seconds
Joystick in neutral position, press strong
Joystick in up position, press forward

I was able to do it on the first try! And I had no problem getting it four more times in a row. It just felt like the game was slower, and I had all the time in the world to make a careful move into neutral while hitting strong, and then up with roundhouse. It didn't feel rushed or complicated at all.

So with this victory under my belt, I thought I should try my holy grail -- the release SPD tick. This is a core part of the monster T Hawk strategy I am trying to develop. The idea is, you base your whole game on the safe jump / release spd tick. It starts with a knockdown (DP for example). Then

Safe jump jab on your opponent.
Joystick to defensive crouch, pressing and holding jab.
Immediately after the jab, press and hold strong and fierce.
After pressing fierce, do a circular motion on the stick to back, up, forward, and back to defensive crouch. It's important to go in that order, so that you maximize the number of joystick positions on the ground near the end of the input.
As your stick reaches defensive crouch again, release fierce.
Release strong.
Release jab.

The end result is a fairly standard jump jab, low jab, SPD. The magic here is that your SPD comes out safely. If your opponent did a reversal DP, you just sit there in defensive crouch. If your opponent didn't, you SPD him.

I've been trying to get this tick down for the last several days, but it's always felt hurried and rushed. When I play against the computer, I always find myself doing a low jab and then jumping back with fierce, or doing a standing fierce, or something else that makes it obvious that I'm not doing the inputs right.

If I'm really doing the inputs right, then even if I screw up, the worst thing that should happen is that I end up in defensive crouch. I went back to T Hawk, and played against the computer, and found that this is exactly what was now happening. Now, I'd do jump jab, low jab, and then either an SPD would come out, or I'd be blocking. No more flailing on the stick, no more randomly jumping back with punches coming out. I was carefully hitting each of the 4 corners on the stick too, no more wild spinning and hoping something comes out.

This is the first gestalt moment like that I've had for a long time in this game. I'm definitely looking forward to coming home and seeing if this feeling still persists!


Christopher said...

You are indeed The One. I'm playing more Marvel than anything these days and the funny thing is you could slow down time with that game and it will still be too fast. Anyway, you should try CvS2. It's pretty combo and footsie based like ST but much deeper. I wish Seattle players enjoyed it since it's a lot of fun and it feels like you can never learn everything in that game.

a God born in a time of war said...

nice read