Category Archives: Tutorial

Whiff cancel tutorial by PhoeniX

The King of Details #4: Whiff and late cancelling cancel buffering trick
By PhoeniX

Today I’ll discuss some special properties of cancels in KOF.

Whiff cancelling
Unlike in most fighting games, if a move is cancellable, it can be cancelled regardless of whether it hits or not. Therefore it is possible for K’ to do cr.D xx qcf+A with or without hitting .

This opens up several strategic possibilities that are not normally available in other fighting games. If you whiff a move that has a good hitbox, but has bad recovery, you can either shorten this recovery or cover the recovery with a safe special.

This allows you to cover several options at once during neutral game. If you whiff cancel a sweep into a special that has a more upward hitbox you are essentially covering the full space in front of you.

Late cancelling
Cancellable normals, and some character’s CD attacks, can be cancelled into command normals. If these command normals have special properties such as hard knockdown, overhead or both, these special properties are lost when you cancel into them. In return, if you cancel into these command normals, they usually become cancellable.

But there is a way to retain these special properties. You do this by cancelling into the command normal late.

Whenever a move connects, either on hit or block, both characters freeze for a short time this is called ‘hitstop or hitfreeze,’ a late cancel is done by inputting the command normal just after this hitstop, just when the opponent starts moving backwards from the knockback.

This is a useful technique, especially for overhead command normals which tend to have a very long startup, which makes them prone to counterpokes. By late cancelling into a command normal, you will at least secure part of the startup to be covered since the opponent will still be in blockstun, essentially creating a frametrap from a normal into a command normal.

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Hitstun and Blockstun miniguide

By OmegaRyuji

Introduction: Set your phasers to “stun”
When an attack makes contact with a character in a KOF game, that character will usually go into one of five states: blockstun (an attack was blocked), hitstun (an attack that does not knock down a grounded opponent), aerial reset (if the character was hit in the air with an attack that does not knock down), airborne juggleable (a special property of certain attacks that knock the opponent into the air and allow most attacks to connect afterwards), or knockdown (an attack that causes knock down hits). Each of these has certain strategic importance, but the focus of this article will be on the first two.

The “stun” part of the names blockstun and hitstun comes from the fact that these states greatly limit a character’s available options. In hitstun, a character is put through a reeling/hurt animation during which they are completely vulnerable to anything that the opponent tries to do (except normal throws and some other special cases), aside from in KOF XI, when the hit character can be switched out with a saving shift. In blockstun, the character is locked in a defensive animation during which they will continue to automatically block any further attacks that make contact, though the player still has to properly block attacks that can only be blocked standing or crouching, but has a few more options available.While in blockstun, the character can use up resources in order to guard cancel, with either a roll (GCAB), a standing CD attack (GCCD), or a tag (KOF XI only). The character can also alternate between a standing block for high or mid attacks or a crouching block for mid or low attacks.
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A Guide to Frame Data

By OmegaRyuji
Introduction: What am I getting into?
If you have been looking for information on fighting games in the past decade, chances are you have at least come across some mention of “frame data.”  However, what that actually means and how to properly use it is something that players are usually left to figure out on their own.  Hopefully, this mini-guide can help you see that working with some numbers can put you on the road to a whole new way of developing and refining your play.

Basics of Frame Data: The only frames I know about are for hanging up pictures
A “frame” is a single still image which makes up part of an animation.  As you might already know, what you see when you play KOF is actually a series of still images drawn in rapid succession to create the illusion of fluid movement (or not-so-fluid, at times).

In a nutshell, frame data is a way of representing how long animations take.  Any non-projectile attack’s animation can be broken into three general phases: startup (everything that happens before the attack can actually hit), active (the time when it is possible to do damage {the time the move connects, the damage might happened like command throws}), and recovery (all of the time after the attack can no longer deal damage before the character is able to do something else).  Projectile attacks are a bit of a special case, since the active part of the animation is (usually) completely separate from the character’s animation, so the character only actually has startup and recovery animations.  Similarly, non-attacking animations, such as jumping or rolling, also go through startup and recovery animations.  What frame data tells you is how long each of those animations is based on how many frames each of those animations requires.

Now, you might be thinking, “That’s all well and good, but why not measure the animations in terms of how long they actually take, instead of using some esoteric concept that’ll end up confusing a lot of people?”  The problem with that approach is that animations are not shown at the same speed universally.  For instance, it’s not uncommon for PS2 home ports of games to run slightly faster than the arcade versions.  Similarly, the time it takes to show 30 frames in one game isn’t necessarily the same as it will be in another, and there is also the issue of occasional slowdown while playing the game (particularly when there is a lot of stuff happening on the screen).  However, no matter how much real time it takes to show them, the game will always be animated one frame at a time, which is why that can serve as a universal measure of time.

A word of warning: there are differing conventions in exactly how to count startup frames.  Some people count only the frames before any active frames, while others also include the first active frame (the second method makes things slightly easier when frame advantage and static difference come into consideration a little later).  All examples used here will NOT include the first active frame as part of the startup time, but it is something to keep in mind in case your calculations keep ending up off by 1 frame.
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