How to even start learning this game?

Ok this is pretty damn embarassing and I’m anticipating a lot of hate but I have no idea what to do.

I play SF4 on the PC at the moment, I have to use the keyboard because I cant afford a huge tournament stick ($300+), but I am looking into buying a fightpad. Anyways, I seem to really suck at SF4. I’ve never played any of the previous games, just this.

I really wanna get better at this game, but theres no opportunity to do so. When I play arcade its too easy, computers are not a challenge. Challenge mode however, I usually get stuck on the 4-5th normal trials and give up. When I play online I either fight the worst players ever, who literally just stand and spam a skill untill they drop connection or I fight amazing pros who are doing hardout combos.

I read up on combos, watch youtubes etc and can never seem to copy those combos, I feel like I need to get down a few more basic moves but in an actual fight I seem to have no time to actually execute them, I’m too busy concentrating on these combos to actually play, which gets me beaten. Its so frustrating im almost about to give up!

Well, if you want a fight stick man, get one. You’re getting ripped off if someone wants to charge you $300 (assuming you’re talking US dollars). They’re $150, max. I think the MSRP is $130, and you can occasionally find the older models (“round 1”) for around $100 - or get a standard edition - “SE” - for $60-$80. (yea, it’ll crap out on you eventually, but fixing it is easy, and when all is said and done you’ll have a stick the quality of a TE for a few bucks cheaper).

But to take your game up from “nothing” to the next level, you don’t really need one. What you need are some fundamentals.
Watch these and read this.

No need to be embarassed. Everyone started at the bottom.

This game isn’t all combos, although combos are always nice. For now, the only combos you should try to learn are the most basic of basic shit. i.e. Ryu crouching MK -> HP or EX hadoken. Maybe add in a jumping HK before that.

Instead focus on learning your character’s most important basics. Notice I didn’t say most important combos. Find out what makes your character so good, important normals, important specials, and learn how to use them. If you’re using a shoto, focus on fireballing/uppercutting jumps and using your pokes (cr. MK mostly).

You should ONLY play online. Arcade mode and challenge mode are not important. Training mode is somewhat important. Try to schedule games with the people here in the Computer and Handheld Matchmaking forum. You want to play long sets with people who are slightly better than you and you’ll start to pick things up.

And dude, I’m gonna tell you something that people told me just as soon as I got here - awesome advice: take Mariodoods advice.

The problem is that I am from New Zealand, and so I can’t actually play with very many people without TERRIBLE lag. And also that $300 was New Zealand price, they are around about that price here :(.

Also, those videos are for Street Fighter 2, do they still apply for SF4? I don’t want to learn something that I won’t use :P. Anyways watching this stuff now, I have a friend to play with but he only plays Sagat and spams fireballs and uppercuts, which for some reason always beat out my moves.

Almost everything in those videos apply - occasionally he will talk about specific moves that have been altered (in the first video he says Zangief’s crouching roundhouse is “very fast,” and it’s been slowed way down). The ideas all apply. All of them. It’s still a 2d fighter and it’s still all about controlling space.

Also, tough break on the pricing in New Zealand. I’d recommend buying a Standard Edition stick and modding it. There’s plenty of info on that in the Tech Talk section of the forum.

Sagat is massively powerful in this game - he’s supposedly being nerfed (means made weaker) in the next game, but he’ll probably still be dangerous. That doesn’t mean he’s unbeatable or “cheap.” But it does make your life difficult as a beginner - there are ways around everything Sagat has, you just have to find them.

Also, now that I think about it, reading Playing To Win can probably wait, unless you just happen to have some time on your hands where you can’t be practicing the game. It’s good reading, but you need to be spending time in the game more than reading on being competitive.

Going to attempt to break apart your OP to give you a hand. Wall o’ text incoming.

Never anticipate hate here. You did the right thing by posting in the Newbie forum, which already shows a good start. Just don’t get stupid with topics and you’ll find a pleasant home in SRK.

Keyboard is going to be a big downfall because it really makes a lot of techniques harder. In fact, throughout the majority of your post it looks like this could be your major problem.

Links: Hori stick / SFIV Fight Stick - These are two examples of Xbox 360 fight sticks for around $50. I don’t know where you’re getting $300 from, but even the most top of the line Tourney Edition sticks are not gonna cost much more than $150. And the joy of the 360 sticks is, as long as you’re using a Windows OS, they’re fully compatible with your PC. Hook up to USB port, download drivers, WIN. Of course, these sticks are not quite the quality of the Tourney Ed., but they’ll give you a great place to start, and the SFIV stick is fully (and easily) upgradeable with better parts if you get a bit more serious. The fight pad isn’t bad either, but for serious fighter fans you wanna go with the stick.

Edit: this post took me over 9000 hours to write so I didn’t see the bit you wrote about New Zealand. Regardless, the standard edition sticks shouldn’t be more than $100? (guesstimation)

Don’t think you have to have had previous experience to get better at SFIV. The creators’ of the game admit that SFIV is a good starting point for newcomers and you may become interested in older, more technical titles after mastering this one.

Practice, practice, practice. As annoying as it is to hear, really you need to practice. Get in training mode, practice your normals - learn their ranges, situational advantages, speed, priority - all good things to know. Practice specials - learn differences from normal and EX specials, learn application, learn combos to use them in. Practice combos - target combos, FADC combos, your most damaging combo, your most circumstantially useful combo. You need to learn all these things to become a master of your character. It may sound daunting at first, but stick with it and you can really improve your game.

Arcade mode in SFIV is bad. The AI is predictable, and aside from tossing psychic Ultras there’s really little reason to ever be scared of it, even on higher difficulties. Challenge mode is a, well, challenge. A lot of the more advanced techniques it teaches you require extremely precise timing, such as the normal normal links. You can faceroll / Turbo a button to try to cheat it through, but it’s much better to practice the timing as it can help in a pinch and add to combos. Keep working at it.

Online is kind of a joke as well, but can be a useful tool from time to time. During those fights with the “scrubs,” practice new things. Watch their techniques and learn what -not- to do. As for the amazing players, use the time to really practice. SFIV is nice in the fact that it’s relatively balanced - while there are certainly tiers and character match-up advantages + disadvantages, it should never be “impossible” for you to win. Watch their strategies, learn from them, learn how to avoid them.

I’ve been reading Sirlin’s “Playing to Win” (for the first time, lol I’m a nub too) and he has an interesting point - he suggests you play against people who are better than you more often than playing against those who are worse. If you play against worse players too often you can fall into bad habits that trick those bad players that would never work against pro players. I had this problem with my Bison on the 360 - I got so used to being able to dominate with Head Stomp spam that I relied too heavily on it. When I started facing higher leveled opponents, however, I was getting creamed like no one’s business. I had to relearn and retrain myself to not rely so much on such a simple tactic. Improvement through playing tougher opponents.

Well, first off don’t get too frustrated. You’re at a common plateau with new fighter enthusiasts - it’s a bit of an “information overload.” While it’s certainly good to watch videos, read forums, etc., too much information being piled into your brain at once can overwhelm you and cause you to not only not retain that knowledge but forget other simpler things. It’s like studying for a test - cram the night before and you’re likely to forget a lot of stuff simply because it’s too much info. Study over a lengthy course of time, however, and you’re more likely to retain that knowledge.

Keep practicing - learn one new “technique” at a time, play around with it in Training Mode and online until you feel you’ve got it down, then move on to the next one. Every once in a while go back and really make sure you’ve got that last technique down and haven’t forgotten it, but continue to build up your repertoire over time. Becoming a better player doesn’t happen overnight - it’ll take effort, it’ll take losses, it’ll take wounded pride or feelings of hopelessness. But trust me - keep working at it and you’ll start winning and having more fun in the process.

Longer combos are good when you can use them. I wish that the AI was up a notch on some fighting games for the reasons you’ve outlined. I don’t really think it’s embarassing, you’re just being honest. Sometimes it helps to set the CPU difficulty all the way up. The only other thing that you can do is get your combos and moves down in your motor memory well enough to execute them without even trying, so execution in a match is more effortless.

Motor memory is a lot more important than you would expect. This is, in my opinion, probably the biggest reason why people use a joystick. Aside from folks cutting teeth on them, the stick is simply the easiest thing to memorize without visual aid. Your keyboard is a good example. If you type without looking at the keys, your memory associates words with a combination of moves, rather than individual letters.

I’ve found that I have to re-learn characters that I was good at before on another controller. If you want to get better at this game, you’re going to have to lose the keyboard. I might be able to hold my own on a keyboard in a fighting game, but I would likely do terrible in the begining.

ganadara makes a lot of good points. things that have made me waaaay better, and things i’ve learned from the best in texas:
-practice. at least 30 min. before you play actual matches. just to get you warmed up. try and see if you can come up with things on your own
-play against people. true, playing people better than you is what you should aim for, but nonetheless, play people. try and see if you can use what you practiced in actual gameplay.
-practice another 30 min. after the matches to call it a day. try and see if you can remember what you did wrong in the matches, i.e. if you weren’t connecting things, and try to recreate them and see what you did wrong and why
-watch vids of good players. not necessarily of players who pick the same character as you, just great people. try to add their strats and ideas into your own gameplay.

you’ll notice yourself get way better after just a few weeks of doing these things i mentioned. i personally don’t play sf4, but i still study the game from time to time. but this advice works for every game.
and you said your friend always throws fireballs and uppercuts. try doing something that annoys him back. such as fa to absorb a hit and try and dash in to create pressure. the vids talked about spacing, if you’re playing someone with long reach in the air, you can always try to jump in on sagat and try to trade hits when he uppercuts. start off with things like that.

if you found any of this useful and want more advice, you can pm me. i’ll try to keep looking back at this thread from time to time to help you out more

Ok cheers for the posts, I really apperciate it :>.

Just a few questions here

A) Should I even bother getting a controller? I was looking into a USB controller but maybe I should just jump to an arcadestick? The problem with Arcade stick is this:

If you look at the prices there, they are insane. I don’t really mind paying $50-100 for it, but I’m not going to pay $300-400 for it when Im not even any good at the game.

B) What is piano keys? The video tutorial tried to explain it, but I have no idea what he was trying to say rather than mash keys.

C) Is there any point trying to learn a low stamina character? I like the way Cammy plays, but everytime I try her I get absolutely dominated, if I miss a block or anything I lose 20% of my life bar. Playing a character like Blanka seems far easier as he has much more stamina.

D) Should I just hold off trying to play until I get a new controller/arcade stick? I have a PS2 USB controller but it’s pretty terrible to play on, I find keyboard easier than it, but I don’t want to learn to play on a keyboard if it’s really this crippling.

E) How balanced is this game? Like for instance, according to Tier charts Sagat beats guile in 7/10 games, do you really need to start counterpicking and such to actually win, meaning you have to learn to play multiple characters well or can you just focus on one character?

Everyone that is totally new on these forums is either in a far away country with bad internet or plays on the 360. I wish I could play some of you for a few low level fights, it would be fun.

I can definitely say that watching videos of good fights can reallly help. As soon as you’re able to tell what people in the videos are doing right and wrong it’ll allow you to see that in your own fights. This is one thing that helped me out. It let me see how the game is suppose to be played and what the goals of each fighter are. Before that I was just trying to beat up my opponent, I had no strategy or game plan.

Edited because you posted while I was:

Don’t worry about counterpicking or picking the wrong character. The game is pretty balanced. Just play who you like.

I’d go for the arcade stick. It’s the “default” way to play. You’re better of going there asap. But, don’t let it stop you from playing the game. There is a lot to learn in the game that doesn’t have to do with the controls.

I did a little googling and found this out:

150.00 USD = 218.018 NZD
United States Dollars New Zealand Dollars

Try buying a fight stick on amazon or, the currency exchange should still come out less than buying something in new zeeland(depending on shipping).

As far as sticks go, have you tried Play Asia? They have a huge sale on the Tekken 6 HRAP right now, which would be great for you:

A) A controller can be an okay option if you’re short on cash. I personally use the Xbox 360 MadCatz FightPad and it works wonders for me, but many top level players swear by the stick, and it honestly is a better investment - better control, better performance, better everything. And why don’t you try checking out something like eBay? I’m sure you could find an international seller, and even if you gotta pay a bit more for shipping it’d be much more worth it than that site which appears to be way overpriced w/ little to no selection.

B) This is better answered by someone else… hehe.

C) Of course! Stamina isn’t all there is to the game - and even though Cammy is considered pretty mid-low tier she’s got a lot of options. Very high speed, great mobility, good priority on Cannon Drill, good set-ups for combos… I’ve had a lot more trouble vs. Cammy’s online than I have vs. many others.

D) By no means should you wait. I’d recommend getting on purchasing a better controller of some sort sooner rather than later, but even learning the basics on a keyboard can translate over to a pad or stick. And while the keyboard is by no means the “optimal” route, it’s still something.

E) Tier charts are only for epic high level play. And while they’re -something- to go by (yes, Sagat has a lot of advantages), it should not cripple your game by any means. In terms of overall balance, SFIV is actually one of the better titles. Unlike other games where it’s virtually impossible to win without selecting from a small pool of characters (cough MvC2 cough), in SFIV you really do stand a chance with pretty much anyone. Does this mean you’ll have an easy time beating high level Sagats with your Cammy? Not at all. But it’s much more plausible than in other titles.

Hope this stuff helps. Definitely try to shop around for a stick, though - do you not have any video game stores near where you live? I don’t know how international stores like GameStop would be, but you may be able to find a stick at a place like this. And feel free to toss me a PM if you need help with any other learning things - I’d be more than happy to assist. We’ve all been down the road you’re on, and I can guarantee you there’s definitely a pot of gold at the end of the SFIV rainbow.

/subtle Hakan reference

time to oil up and get my hand down your pants

/not so sublte hakan reference

Aye, they’re me Lucky Charms, and they’re [media=youtube]6wk4rlEJQZk[/media]

/shaming myself and my family name for generations to come.

Is that a good stick to play SF4 on? It’s designed for Tekken 6. I have no idea if this makes any difference sorry >.<;, but it looks good and cheap so I would like to buy it.

Sticks aren’t necessarily “designed” for one game or another - it’s not as though one of the buttons will only work for Tekken 6 and not for other games. You should have no problem playing SFIV with that.

However, that is a PS3 stick designed for Japanese PS3’s. You will most likely need an adapter to convert it to USB port for PC support. I really have no ideas as to more information on this subject, but I’m sure some of the more PS3 tech savvy folks would be willing to help. :smile:

It’s a standard arcade layout, though different than the Vewlix cab a lot of people have a hard on for currently. I like the HRAP layout better anyway.

But all the parts are the same. It’s all Sanwa arcade quality stuff.

Fortunately, this is not the case. Sticks for PS3 and Japanese PS3 are the same in that they don’t require converters (same for PS1/2). I use a PS3 stick on my computer all the time.

See I dont even see the point in getting one when I can’t even manage the basics. I get absolutely assraped against anyone who has some experience. I can’t seem to block anything, my moves lose out to other peoples moves, just nothing seems to work. Like you read all the guides and see all the vids but it really just doesn’t translate into the game for me

just try to have fun with the game. you’ll learn.