Are fight boards (aka Hit Boxes) cheating? (Experiments and Guide)


#1

Apparently, during the Wednesday Night Fights stream, Hit Box developer and enthusiast Husser_Brian came under fire because he, shock horror, won matches using a fight board controller. Stream monsters, looking for something to troll and be salty about, immediately called out accusations of “cheat box.”

While I don’t enjoy giving validity to stream monster trolls, for some people these accusations are rooted in legitimate concerns. I want to address these concerns as soon as possible for the upcoming tournament season. Especially as a fight board user myself.

Tonight, I will dedicate myself to fighting game science, and come up with an answer I hope that tournament organizers, players, and spectators, will be happy with.
**
Here is my scientific method thus far, if anyone has any complaints, please feel free to voice them.**

Please note my use of the term “fight board.” This term will be used to describe custom built or modified controllers made to emulate the ergonomics of playing a video game using only a keyboard. The Hit Box is a specific product built by the Husser brothers using a specific layout also developed by the Husser brothers. However, the accusations and concerns facing the Hit Box are not at all unique to the Hit Box layout and product, they are issues that all fight board controllers face. My personal controller is not a Hit Box, or uses the true Hit Box layout, but is a modification of the Mad Catz Fight Stick: Tournament Edition, using a derivative of the Hit Box layout.

I will:

[list][]Attempt to devise a method by which a conclusion can be reached regarding universal pros/cons of fight boards over arcade-style sticks and traditional home console gamepads. This will be the toughest part of the entire process, as the vast majority of these will be entirely subjective, and not based in anything that can be proven by real science.
[
]Devise a method by which to test the way a game, console, and controller PCB reacts to having opposing cardinal directions pressed silumtaneously–easily the biggest advantage of a fight board controller–on a case-by-case basis.
[]Test these methods with current materials (games, consoles, and controllers) available, and record results.
[
]Based on results, derive criteria for whether tournaments should issue bans to fight board controllers based on games and consoles tested. As of right now, I will be using David Sirlin’s criteria threshold of “Enforceable, Discrete, and Warranted” as defined in his book “Playing to Win”.
[]Compare results of experiments to banning criteria, if results meet ban criteria, record. Submit results to EVO organizers, and/or otherwise find ways to distribute results to other tournament organizers.
[
]Publish testing method such that games, consoles, and controllers that are unavailable for testing at the moment (I do not own them, or they have not yet been released) may be tested optimally.
[*]Devise “optimal solution” for game software interpretation of simultaneous opposing cardinal directions such that game developers might be able to better prepare their game for fight board controllers and, as such, fight board controllers would not have to be banned from competitive play featuring their game.[/list]

For anyone who believes I am throwing the term “science” around lightly, please be aware I am a published chemist and currently studying to be an electrical engineer. As such I am more willing to defend the integrity of science and experimentation itself rather than my preference to use fight board style controllers. I would prefer for fight board style controllers to be able to fall well under good ban criteria and never have to face a ban in a tournament setting. However, science is used to become correct, not to prove that you are already correct.

Also be aware that in any case situation I find that fight board controllers meet sufficient criteria to warrant a ban, I, personally will push for tournaments to ban fight board controllers, and, if they are not banned, will not use them. I don’t like using stick anymore, but hell, if it’s ban-worthy, even if it’s not actually banned, I’d feel bad using it.

I want this shit settled, there’s a tournament on Saturday I want to go to, and I don’t want whatever wins I receive to be tainted by label that I was cheating, by real criteria, not by motherfuckers being salty.


Rebuilding our knowledge base
Info Thread: Rules, FAQs and Tutorials Inside. (READ THIS BEFORE HITTING THAT NEW THREAD BUTTON!)
Skullgirls~
#2

Experimentation

As of right now, experiments for each game include the following tests:
[list]
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; ****
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked
[]Hold Down, Press Up
[
]Hold Up, Press Down
[]Attempt to perform a charge move without “releasing” charge direction
[]1P Side: Attempt to perform an X-Axis charge move while walking forward**
[
]2P Side: Attempt to perform an X-Axis charge move while walking forward**
[/list]

*“Success” will be posted if it is possible to perform a charge move without releasing the charge direction (eg. SSF4, where you must only hold back, and tap forward quickly to get Guile’s Sonic Boom), “Fail” will be posted in the event that the charge direction must be released.
**Will only be tested if any X-Axis SOCD test results in walking forward.

If anyone else can think of a situation that they would like tested and can not be derived from current methods, please let me know.

Here I will list the exact results, as well as summaries for all games that have been tested.

Console: Xbox 360
Game: Super SF2 Turbo: HD Remix Both HDR & Classic ST Rules

Summary: XSOCD Movement favors walking to the right regardless of position on screen. YSOCD favors crouching. Blocking is still possible while walking forward, therefore the “brainless crossup defense” is theoretically possible, but untested. “Walk-forward” charge moves are possible, but only from 1P side.
[list]
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; Walk Forward
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested; Walk Forward
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; Walk Backward
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested; Walk Backward
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked; Walk Forward,Attack Blocked
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked; Walk Forward,Attack Blocked
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked; Walk Backward,Attack Blocked
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked; Walk Backward,Attack Blocked
[]Hold Down, Press Up; Keep crouching
[
]Hold Up, Press Down; Stop jumping, begin crouching
[*]Attempt to perform a charge move without “releasing” charge direction; Fail (you must let go of the charge direction before pressing the “offensive” direction to succeed in launching a charge special move)
[/list]

Console: Xbox 360
Game: Marvel vs. Capcom 2

Summary: XSOCD Movement favors moving right regardless of position on screen, however double-tapping the opposing direction results in dashing that direction. Blocking while walking forward is possible, thus the brainless crossup defense is theoretically possible, but untested. YSOCD favors holding up. “Walk-forward” charge moves are not possible.

[list]
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; Walk Forward, but Backdash still possible
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested; Walk Forward
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; Walk Backward
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested; Walk Backward, but forward dashes still accessible
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked; Walk Forward,Attack Blocked
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked; Walk Forward,Attack Blocked
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked; Walk Backward,Attack Blocked
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked; Walk Backward,Attack Blocked
[]Hold Down, Press Up; Begin (Normal) Jumping
[
]Hold Up, Press Down; Remain Jumping
[]Attempt to perform a charge move without “releasing” charge direction; Fail
[
]1P Side: Attempt to perform an X-Axis charge move while walking forward; Fail, not possible
[*]2P Side: Attempt to perform an X-Axis charge move while walking forward; Fail
[/list]

Console: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Game: BlazBlue: Continuum Shift
*Xbox 360 experiments conducted by Amp, PlayStation 3 experiments conducted by samaytg1. Experiments provided identical results.

Summary: Left direction will always completely override in XSOCD’s. Right direction does not register at all. YSOCD’s completely favor down directional input. The brainless crossup defense has been tested and is not possible.

[list]
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; Walk Backward
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested; Walk Backward, forward dashes not possible
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; Walk Forward, backdashes not possible
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested; Walk Forward
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked; Walk Backward, Attack Blocked
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked; Walk Backward, Attack Blocked
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked; Walk Forward, Attack Hits
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked; Walk Backward, Attack Hits
[]Hold Down, Press Up; Keep Crouching
[
]Hold Up, Press Down; Stop Jumping, Begin Crouching
[]Attempt to perform a charge move without “releasing” charge direction; n/a
[
]1P Side: Attempt to perform an X-Axis charge move while walking forward; n/a
[*]2P Side: Attempt to perform an X-Axis charge move while walking forward; n/a
[/list]
*If memory serves, there are no charge moves in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, if you can remind me of a character who does have charge moves, please inform me.

Console: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Game: Super Street Fighter 4
*Xbox 360 experiments conducted by Amp, PlayStation 3 experiments conducted by JohnGrimm. Experiments provided identical results.

Summary: XSOCD movement will always favor moving forward. YSOCD will always favor up. Charge moves are possible by simply tapping the offense direction while never releasing charge direction. The Brainless Crossup Defense is not possible.

[list]
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; Walk Forward
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested; Walk Forward
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; Walk Forward
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested; Walk Forward
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked; Attack Hits
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked; Attack Hits
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked; Attack Hits
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked; Attack Hits
[]Hold Down, Press Up; Jump
[
]Hold Up, Press Down; Jump
[]Attempt to perform a charge move without “releasing” charge direction; Success
[
]1P Side: Attempt to perform an X-Axis charge move while walking forward; Fail
[*]2P Side: Attempt to perform an X-Axis charge move while walking forward; Fail
[/list]

Console: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Game: Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
*Xbox 360 experiments conducted by Amp, PlayStation 3 experiments conducted by JohnGrimm. Experiments provided identical results.

Summary: During XSOCD, the game forces the character to stand still, not moving in either direction. However, during this state, the character is now blocking from all high positions. The brainless crossup defense is confirmed to work. During YSOCD, the game favors the up direction. Charge move properties become very bizarre with SOCD inputs thrown into the mix. Current results of charge more research outlined in this post. Further research on possibilities afforded for SOCD charge moves highly recommended for more advanced, skilled players, and people wanting to incorporate this into combo videos.

[list]
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; Stand Still
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested; Stand Still
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; Stand Still
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested; Stand Still
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked; Attack Blocked
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked; Attack Blocked
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked; Attack Blocked
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked; Attack Blocked
[]Hold Down, Press Up; Jump
[
]Hold Up, Press Down; Jump
[]Attempt to perform a charge move without “releasing” charge direction; Sucess
[
]1P Side: Attempt to perform an X-Axis charge move while walking forward; n/a
[*]2P Side: Attempt to perform an X-Axis charge move while walking forward; n/a
[/list]


Controller hardware & unfair executional configuration/mods
Super Turbo revival in Southern California at Super Arcade
#3

Reserved 2


#4

reserved 3


#5

Hmm, I wouldn’t pay any mind to something a stream monster said. I am interested in how you plan on testing whether or not it actually gives any actual advantages, besides the directional presses, in an actual match. I see it in the same way that a fightstick will provide more control for some people than a fightpad. It may give slight increases to certain areas of performance, but it still comes down to how much time you invest into using that controller.


#6

I personally have no issue with people using the hitbox. I don’t think it gives people anymore advantage.


#7

@Yusuka,

That’s pretty much exactly what I said in my first bulletpoint. IMO, it’s almost impossible to consider any ban criteria based on anything but simultaneous opposing cardinal directions (meaning pressing both left and right at the same time, hereafter referred to as SOCD’s). Since if you start considering these minor things, cases could be made for banning arcade sticks because of advantages over home console game pads, or even banning pads because of pros/cons opposed to sticks.

@chuu,

I appreciate the moral support, but that’s pretty much what it amounts to. I have to admit that there is a legitimate concern of fairness in certain use-cases, such as SOCD’s causing perfect crossup defense to become brainless.

EDIT: Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some dinner to eat, dishes to clean, a console to hook up, and science to conduct.


#8

Oh god, please don’t let this term catch on. It’s bad enough that most of our new members call arcade sticks “fight sticks.”

So, what was the basis of the accusation that hit boxes are cheating? That you can hit multiple directions at once?


#9

PS3 Controllers

I think the fact that MadCatz calls their products FightSticks and they are so ubiquitous that the name has caught on.

As for the Hit Boxes, there was a thread here the other day detailing what happens when you press two opposite directional buttons too quickly, let me find it.

Edit: http://shoryuken.com/f177/hit-box-users-post-your-pcb-errors-266669/


#10

I personally dont have any problems with the hitbox epecially because people are buying them from me hahaha. The only thing i will see as a problem is if pressing left and right does indeed automatically block crossups because that is not cool and takes out a whole part of the mental game of fighters. Instead of banning there just needs to be an immediate patch where when both are pressed like that then forward is priortized. pressing both right and left at the same time is something only a hitbox/keyboard style controller can do and it should not be rewarded for not having to think.


#11

It’s the only thing I could come up with that was sufficiently descriptive, precise, and concise.

They’re not true keyboards. You don’t type with them.

You can’t use anything that uses the term “-stick”, they don’t have joysticks.

“keyboard style custom controllers” is far too verbose, IMO, even if you exclude the word “custom”.

Simply using the term “board” doesn’t really say anything.

If you’ve got a better suggestion, I’m willing to hear it.

Being able to block crossups brainlessly is actually just a symptom of a worse problem. Supposedly in certain arcade emulation software, Guilty Gear Accent Core actually allows you to create an option-select where you either walk forward or block. I can’t test this though, as my computer’s driver software doesn’t allow SOCD’s to reach the game software.

I’m also keeping an open mind as to any situation that can truly be deemed an unfair use of SOCD’s. If anyone’s got concerns or suggestions about situations SOCD’s can create, please voice them.


#12

PS360 and Madcatz PCBs will send double cardinal direction on the Xbox 360. It’s easy to replicate-just turn on input display and fiddle with the wires a little - like clipping one of the buttons to one of the directions. AFIAA, the PS3 handles arcade sticks in a way that prevents opposing cardinals being transmitted in the protocol. (Though it may still be possible with a sixaxis.)

In MvC3 (Xbox 360), hitting left and right at the same time will cause the character to stand in neutral, but be blocking. Characters will jump forward, and grounded characters can still be hit by low attacks unless they’re holding down, and overheads when they are. I haven’t tested how holding both directions interacts with charge moves.

In Super Street Fighter 4 (Xbox 360), hitting left and right at the same time always points toward the opponent. This doesn’t allow for bidirectional blocking, but it can be used for directional option select command moves - left+right, down, down+left+right is a bidirectional uppercut.

In Super Street Fighter 2 HD Remix (Xbox 360 Remixed Mode Only) holding left and right at the same time will cause P1 to move to the right, and IIRC block attacks from the left. However, it will consider the left directional command for the purposes of charge moves like the sonic boom, so walk forward sonic booms are possible from the LHS only.


#13

Software-wise, the simple solution for games is for SOCD inputs to be equivalent to neutral. If your game is written in a manner that makes that hard to fix… W(ho)TF ARE YOU HIRING THAT WRITES SUCH SUCKTASTIC CODE? I mean, really…

I bet this would get fixed quickly in all patchable games if someone with a button-based arcade stick (that one’s a little awkward) won a major tournament and then the winner was accused of cheating with it.


#14

@ZeroSumHappiness,

I’m partial to SSF4’s solution. Using X-Axis (left/right) SOCD’s results in pressing forward regardless of side, Y-Axis (down/up) SOCD’s result in up.

Console (360) is now hooked up, I’m now in the process of finding all the disc-based fighting games I own (Super, BBCS, Marvel 3), and re-downloading my download titles (HD:Remix, Marvel 2…do I own Garou or any of the SNK stuff?)

If anyone with a PS3 and a fight board is able to, once we’ve devised all the necessary tests, I would very much appreciate anyone who could perform these experiments, then record them and hit me up with results.


#15

The problem with this is it allows you to do a few things you would not be able to on a stick. Specifically, you can do a :dp: input by inputting :b::f:>:d:>::db::df: regardless of which side the opponent is on. It’s hard to imagine when it would matter, but it’s technically an unfair advantage. The only completely fair way for stickless controllers to work is to consistently input a single direction.

In the end, there’s already potential for cheating with homemade controllers. You could wire up a microcontroller to consistently perform difficult combos. If the double blocking issue does exist, simply enforce dominant directions and test candidate stickless controllers instead of disqualifying them. You could even have a person sitting around with the appropriate tools fixing controllers for a few dollars.


#16

Alright, initial tests are done, and first draft of situation tests are done as well:

As of right now I’m testing:
[list]
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked
[]Hold Down, Press Up
[
]Hold Up, Press Down
[*]Attempt to perform a charge move without “releasing” charge direction
[/list]

If anyone else can think of a situation that they would like tested and can not be derived from current methods, please let me know (using methods listed the “brainless crossup defense” can be guessed from results given, however I would understand need for concrete tests)

Results for: Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo: HD Remix HD Remix Gameplay Rules on the Xbox 360
[list]
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; Walk Forward
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested; Walk Forward
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; Walk Backward
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested; Walk Backward
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked; Walk Forward,Attack Blocked
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked; Walk Forward,Attack Blocked
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked; Walk Backward,Attack Blocked
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked; Walk Backward,Attack Blocked
[]Hold Down, Press Up; Keep crouching
[
]Hold Up, Press Down; Stop jumping, begin crouching
[*]Attempt to perform a charge move without “releasing” charge direction; Fail (you must let go of the charge direction before pressing the “offensive” direction to succeed in launching a charge special move)
[/list]

This isn’t good guys, since the character walks pretty fast during SOCD’s, it’s really hard to directly test the brainless crossup defense by myself, but the tests given indicate that the brainless crossup defense will be possible on HD:Remix rules for 360. If anyone would be willing to help me out to directly test this situation, contact me here or add me on XBL and we can set up a way to test it online.


#17

Do you realize how much time and resources it would take to do this? It is completely unreasonable and I would never ask any tournament organizer to do put together the resources and set aside the time necessary for it. I don’t care about best case scenarios (SOCD’s being prevented from reaching game software by either controller PCB or console driver software), I care about worst-case (SOCD’s being able to reach and be interpreted by the game software alone). Keep in mind I’m using the technical definition of Best- and Worst-Case from an analytical standpoint.

Even as a fight board user, the only reasonable answer to a fight board is to ignore best-case scenarios and base ban-worthiness on worst case scenario only, whether or not a fight board meets best or worst-case.

Results for Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo: HD Remix Classic Super Turbo Gameplay Rules on the Xbox 360
[list]
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; Walk Forward
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested; Walk Forward
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, unmolested; Walk Backward
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, unmolested; Walk Backward
[]P1 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked; Walk Forward,Attack Blocked
[
]P1 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked; Walk Forward,Attack Blocked
[]P2 Side: Hold forward, press back, reaction to being attacked; Walk Backward,Attack Blocked
[
]P2 Side: Hold back, press forward, reaction to being attacked; Walk Backward,Attack Blocked
[]Hold Down, Press Up; Remain crouching
[
]Hold Up, Press Down; Stop jumping, begin crouching
[*]Attempt to perform a charge move without “releasing” charge direction; Fail
[/list]

To summarize:
X-Axis SOCD: Favors moving to the right, but both directions are registered, allowing you to block. Brainless Crossup should be possible under these conditions, though untested
Y-Axis SOCD: Favors pressing down.


#18

The fixing service would probably be a stretch, but making the rule known beforehand and testing the controllers wouldn’t. Button config checks before matches are standard. You’d just need to hold both directions, hit from each side, and confirm that only 1 hit connected. 10 seconds max. Banning all of them will keep players out of tournaments for no good reason.
Also it would not especially hard to fix it. Take a wire from each direction, solder them to the appropriate logic component, and you’re done.


#19

I tried to coin the term, “Button Box” but then now it seems that “Hitbox” has now come to be the popular term for this.


#20

how about Button Box…I know no one is gonna like it though :slight_smile:

EDIT lol…didn’t refresh the page and see rtdzign’s post.
I’m calling them “Stickless Arcade sticks for people who don’t like sticks no homo”