Hands and Execution

In this article I will explain what I did to get a better execution and go through some related issues.

As I said in my first post, I had a very lousy execution at the beginning, never was a “Natural”.

You must understand that it was a time with no Internet and no one I knew that cared really about this. So I had to figure out by myself.

First steps: Pencil training!

Yes as odd as it can be a very important step in arcade stick training is to DRAW:

– The letters e, l and u.
– Circles

These will allow you to train a little your left hand which shouldn’t be used to do these kind of movements, unless you’re a lefty of course.

It will also allow you to get a little more endurance in this hand. Once your circles are beautiful and your hand isn’t all stressed while doing them, you can get your stick out of the box!

Precision training:

Fighting games have a lot of shortcuts, your inputs can get messy pretty quickly and if you want to be really precise in what you do you will need to play other games. The games I played to get a better perfidious were the following (all with an arcade stick):

– PacMan! (and other 4 ways only games).

It is important to get the basics of moving in a secluded area. You have to press the good direction at the optimum moment to maximize your current action output (sounds familiar no?)

– Old school shmups like viewpoint / last resort / 194X

These games will make you use your stick constantly and GENTLY in order to avoid enemies attacks. The softer you manage to move the better you get at motion execution.

– Puzzle Games like Tetris / Puzzle Bobble / Arkanoid.

You will learn Speed x Precision the very hard way with these 3 games. Your hands need to become a tool as quick as your eyes and brain to beat your opponent. Master these games and you’ll be precise and fast! (not fart you damn autocorrect!)

Mastering your tools:

In order to get a really good execution I did what I only knew and saw in old fighting movies: train until you pass out.

My method is fairly simple but proved efficient, you need to do 10 reps of a motion. If you fail ONCE, start back at the very beginning. Do this on your weak side before doing it on your strong side.

This method allows to reach a level of pressure close to what you can have in a freeplay session. When you reach 8th or 9th rep you WILL fail (or it’s just me and I’m a total scrub hehe).
Starting back from zero creates a frustration, if you can overcome it I believe it will give you more mental strength.

Once you finish your 10th rep x 2,you should have enough confidence in your hands to try your attacks / combos / situational actions in real matches.

This is where arcade mode comes in, take your char in hardest difficulty and try what you seem to have mastered in training. Succeeding in pulling it off at least once will be enough.

Silent Training :

I also had another training methodthat was more accidental than anything else, the silent training.

You are playing in your room at 2AM and don’t want to get caught?

You have to play VERY quietly, hitting the buttons and microswitches of the stick very smoothly.

I discovered this “training method” will help you do only what is really needed to make a movement.

This covers up all my execution training I during my early years. If something sounds weird or silly, please do not hesitate to trash me in the comments section!

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How Do I Train

For this entry I first wanted to make a « how to train by Wael » (use gym teacher voice).

While trying to put something up I encountered several bottlenecks so I thought, why not first describe how I used to train when I was deep in the competition?

I managed to break this up in a 10 parts article, covering different sides of training, from why I started training to tournament training.

Here are the 10 parts I will go through during my next blog entries:

–          Why did I start training?

–          Hands and execution

–          Reflexes

–          Visual Memory

–          Understanding the engine

–          Finding a gamestyle

–          Combo Search

–          Learning Match Ups

–          Learning to adapt

–          Training for a tournament and doing a proper aftermath

I have spoken with different people in the fighting game community and there is a desire to get a better understanding of the game and not only for top gamers but for the players who usually have a very hard time getting out of pools.

I don’t think this piece should be seen as a guide but more as a testimony of a method that worked for a while, at least for me.

Maybe it will evolve into something else after, we’ll cross that bridge when we’ll reach it.

Why did I start training?

This piece is the first part of my 10 parts article on how I train, I will describe the elements which pushed me to start training from my early years as a gamer until the moment I started playing in tournaments.

Shoryuwhat? (Why I started practicing in the first place)

I started playing videos games in 1987 when I was 3 and first started playing fighting games when I was 7.

I played SF2 on snes with a pad at that time but it just didn’t “click”, I didn’t understand what I was doing with the pad at all and it really hurt my thumbs.

A bit later the same year I got a Neo Geo with Art Of Fighting, so I had the opportunity to start playing with an arcade stick very early which felt a lot more natural to me. I used to play against my older brother (he is 6 years older than me).

At this time he was of course a lot better than but he had a terrible execution. I thought I should try to do these special moves that were done by the CPU. I started trying motions based on the quarter circle everyone knew about. One evening I managed to understand how to do consistently the Shoryuken motion (Forward, Down, Down-Forward + Punch): The stick had to BLOCK on the diagonal, it was not just “move forward and do a fireball motion”.

Understanding this movement alone helped me having an edge on my brother for the very first time. I saw that even if he was outsmarting me I could beat him with my execution and combos.

Please don’t think I was a combo master by the age of 7/8 because I WAS A SCRUB.

I did not get why people used light and medium attacks to be honest.

 

It’s The King Of Fighters! Please Select Your Character! (Why I started working on combos and studying the game engine)

Fast forwarding to the KOF 98 era.

We were stuck at our low level of game knowledge and execution but tried to be vicious in the way we used our limited tools.

Talking about tools, this is the moment where I accidentally discovered “advanced” gameplay elements.

The CPU once started doing this combo; St. C, Fw+A, Fireball with Takuma; it was a shock.

This single combo triggered so many possibilities that it became an urge to explore them all. This exploration envy grew bigger in KOF 99, exploring the possibilities of the engine (possible bugs, infinites and whatnot).

At this period I became a combo machine but I was a DUMBFxCK.

I started playing 3rd Strike and thought I was good, really good; I managed to parry Ryu’s SA 1 few times and considered I was good enough to compete against people at the arcades at this game.

How wrong I was…

How did I get double perfected?! (Why I started mental training)

Me, my coins and my pride went all three of us to the arcades and got double perfected by a player who kept doing a very basic parry / SA2 tactic with Ken.

I went back home raging against him. I told what happened to my brother, his answer was rather straight forward (as usual): “You are so dumb it looks like you’re blind”.

So I started doing mental practice and making gaming patterns analysis. I did not limit this to fighting games, but also to other games, very deeply. This became a very important thing to do for me, even more than school.

I worked on fighting patterns and game / data analysis during my school time.

After this training I had even forgotten about the DP (it’s easier to carry on this way I think hehe) but it didn’t matter to me.

I became smarter and wiser, trying to understand what my opponent can or cannot do.

The tournament starts in 10 minutes! (Why I am still training)

At that time 3rd Strike was getting a bit popular (around 2000 / 2001) and a tournament was organized by a game store named Hobby One, the very first one I ever attempted. I made it to the final but lost to a Ken. I was happy but I couldn’t stop thinking about one thing.

How can I beat the guy I just lost to? What do I have to do to beat him the next time I see him?

This is when I really started training and developing some methods I will talk about in the 9 remaining parts of this article.

I think it was important to go back in time so you can understand my focus on some gaming elements more than others.

Thank you for reading this first part, next one will cover the execution part, do you have to train identically to learn to do a Shoryuken and charge partitions?

We will see that in my next blog entry!

Stay Tuned!

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Playing Against MOV

I don’t know yet if this bit falls into a technical section or what I live section, we’ll see.

Anyway playing against MOV @vsdojo was a very special experience.

It’s not the first time I play against a top Japanese player, but it has been a WHILE.

It’s also the first time since I started thinking about “the game” in a more intelligent way (at least more than in 2003).

DEEP SPACING

What struck me the most in MOV’s gaming skills was his spacing, he managed to reach the perfect spot to have the most possible available for him, while reducing mine to the minimum (I played Necro).

I constantly had to work around his kara throws / cr MK at perfect distance.

One thing is that I managed to hit him during his zonning attacks. I even managed to punish his whiff back+HP with and SA3 on reaction.

He managed to punish a HITTING standing mk though, poor Necro with crappy frame advantage.

COME INTO MY WORLD

I am not a player who does much spacing / zonning, I am more of a pressing / mixup kind of player.

And yet, MOV managed to MAKE ME play this way, he brought me to his ground and beat me to death in it. It was very pleasant because I felt that I was being taught a lesson.

I it a rare moment and didn’t feel like he was turtling at all, this was amazing.

I only focused on the spacing and trying to play very safely, when I tried this, MOV started playing a bit more erratically. And as expected I just couldn’t change my rhythm that fast.

AT THE END OF THE ROAD HE IS JUST STRONGER

Beside the points I just mentioned, MOV has many more tools to beat almost anyone:

– GREAT Parry Skills / Faster reaction times / Match Up knowledge…

This was enlighting and playing 3rd Strike against someone with this level even though I have plenty of players that are way better than me in France already.

But to quote GunFight (who came in 2nd during the last big european Stunfest tournament… against MOV) :

“This guy is overpowered and playing against him is a real lesson! respect :japon:

In my next blog entry I will start talking a little bit about “learning tactics” for fighting games.

Stay Tuned!

P.S: Finals between GunFight and MOV @ Stunfest 2K11!

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Global Game Jam Wrap Up!

Hi all,

Sorry I didn’t update yesterday, my connection went dead when I tried to start making this article and I lost everything I did (yey online).

I will them summarize the list of game I really enjoyed playing and why!

Decline:

I would sum it up with this sentence : “If you don’t use a muscle, it will get weaker and unusable”. Change the word muscle by “game mechanic” and you have yourself a very smart gameplay with a big potential if allied to a challenging level design.

Follow The White Light:

Using a layer you usually find in some FPS (Reward close to Danger) this small game may have found a nice twist for survival games. What if survival was about avoiding more than killing your opponent? I will definitely keep this in mind.

GameXtinction:

This project is basically a Katamari Damacy project with another display. I would usually say “meh” but I LOVE KD (We all do according to the name of one of their project)

I also liked the other games but I found some very interesting mechanics for me, maybe not aimed to the current market, but totally mature enough to be in a AAA game for me.

WHAT’S COMING NEXT! (HAHAHAHA!)

I will be talking about my last gaming experience I just had today @ The Vs Dojo (I’ll make an article about it too), I played against M.O.V and he destroyed everyone with his Chun-li in SF3 Third Strike.

A Glimpse of the game I will be talking about.

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I’m Back!

I’m back Baby!

I’ll do this week a round up to finish the last GameJam session review all at once.

And then I’ll start posting some new posts mostly about:

– My vision of vs fighting.

– Advices to new comers, whether in the video game market or in the vs fighting scene.

– I’ll answer questions if any raises.

– QTI : Quick Timed Interviews, of some people working in the industry or that are famous in the fighting scene.

– I’m going to post some news I’ll find interesting enough to share with you.

Let’s get started MORNING’S HERE!

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Global Gaming Jam Review – Game 03 : Dark Naze

So it’s time for the 3rd and I’m already going to start complaining…

So what is it?

In a 3D top view game you are controlling a dude trying to escape some place from zombies or monsters. The game is in complete darkness and you are using your flashlight as a weapon to repulse the enemies and show the route to take.

What did I like?

Beside the idea of not having any real weapon but only a way to prevent from harming you, I didn’t find many elements to get me really enthusiastic about.

What I didn’t like?

Unfortunately the way the game is done is pretty stressful and not in a good way…

The game is buggy, the way you control the character doesn’t feel natural and I also had many crashes while playing.

Again I would suggest to focus on having something that runs flawlessly and then start adding features.

You can download the game directly here.

The next game I will review is Decline!

Stay Tuned!

P.S : If the creators of the game are little pissed about this review, feel free to contact me.

Wael3rd

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Global Gaming Jam Review – Game 02 : Colors War

It’s already time for my second GGJ review yay!

This game is called Colors War. I really hope yellow wins.

So what is it?

Control an extinguishing colored ball and try to stay alive by absorbing other balls of the same color!

This game is based on a simple yet very powerful mechanic based on color matching. It is applying the Ikaruga paradigm in a geometry war environment.

Once you are big enough you go to the next level and so on. There are few levels and you keep cycling through them over and over.

What did I like?

The fact that your objectives constantly change (aim for blue if blue, avoid blue if not blue).

The level design, some really felt like color based enigmas.

The sound effect (not the music), with a simple increase of the note the game gives you a very neat feedback you actions.

The physic, yet very simple but really efficient.

What I didn’t like?

The graphics, I know it’s a 48 hours project but some should have taken a little bit of time to draw a beautiful circle with a nice glowing effect (think puzzle bobble hd).

The game is teasing too much, the possibilities (switch between 3 colors / combo system…) here are really deep. I guess I am frustrated because I enjoyed what I played but wanted more.

THE FEEDBACK : this was frustrating and not in a good way, not knowing if you are close to finish a level is very disturbing. Just add a gauge or counter. Seeing the finishing line also adds more intensity.

You can download the game directly here.

You can find another version of the game here.

The next game I will review is Dark Naze!

Stay Tuned!

Wael3rd

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