How to hit links online in SF4 (variable input lag)?


I play Rose, whose bnb combo is a 1f link (cr.lp,, xx ex spiral). I can hit it in training mode, but I usually miss it in actual games. I always assumed that was because I sucked and was getting flustered by my opponent or cracking under pressure or whatever. That could still be the case, but playing with the input lag option in the training room was enlightening for me. If I changed the # of frames input lag option, I would start missing my combos, the same way I would online.

Is playing a person online similar to selecting a random value (between 0-3, say, for a good connection) for input lag in the training room?

If so, I’m not surprised anymore that I can’t hit my combos, I’m surprised anyone else can hit theirs! I’ve seen people in videos hitting their combos online, so that means it’s possible to do consistently? Or is that just because 1) they had a really good connection (0 frames lag), or 2) they only upload the videos where they make all their combos. Does anyone have suggestions on how to hit links consistently online?

I had two thoughts:
[] Practice recognizing different levels of input lag. In theory, based on ordinary moves someone could recognize how many frames of input lag they were playing with, and adjust their timing accordingly. This would be especially hard if the lag changed during a single match.
] Forget what’s on the screen (in fact learn to block out all light and sound) and get the timing in your fingers, so the level of input lag is irrelevant. This would give the entire combo though 1f tolerance—for instance before there used to be some leeway because cr.lp chains to If you’re not looking at the screen then you only have 1 frame tolerance for the So all combos would get much harder.

Really both of these ways seem too hard for me, is there any other way? If not I think I will just stop trying to use 1f combos online.

BTW I live in the US and have a good (by US standards) connection, about 10-15ms ping.
BTW2 I know people will tell me to play offline, but I also want to play online.


Just play online, some connections are just betetr than others, too much hassle to “practice”. Lag has a bigger impact on reacting to things than completing combos as the muscle memory will still get the proper timing of hitting 1 button after another most of the time. Not saying it doesn’t have an impact but not nearly as big as reacting. Also don’t play yellow bars.

I practice everything in offline training without any BS lag settings. If i play online i’m going to do what i practiced regardless. I if i need to do a one framer…i will.


Just play green bar connections



Lag is variable. You’re usually not dealing with a set amount of input delay, or otherwise you would just adjust to it (like playing offline on a different TV) and move on.
Lag spikes and instability I have not seen simulated in a training mode in a fighting game.

  1. Plink.
  2. Stop using 1-frame combos.
  3. Stop using characters with 1-frame combos.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, "Why are there so many Cody players out today?"
it’s because cr. LP, cr. LK xx CU is a hella easy 3-frame link. 4, if you plink it.

Same goes for Balrog (Boxer) and Ken.

Hopefully Capcom’s next game has respectable netcode.


2 frames is 2/60th of a second = 33ms. By contrast, my reactions suck, they are about 250ms according to this test. For actually making a decision it would probably take me 300+ms. So in other words, online lag because of ping times (with a good connection) is probably about 2+ frames, while actually reacting to something takes me about 20 frames. It definitely noticeable, but I think the bigger impact may be on dropping combos.

Plus the problem with doing it by pure muscle memory is that it turns easy combos into hard ones. Like take for example Rose’s cr.lp cr.lp xx spiral. The only link here is -> because the first three hits chain (and the can be plinked). But if you’re online trying to do it from muscle memory, then every single one of those hits needs to have 1 frame accuracy. For example, suppose you are 2 frames early on the second cr.lp. It will go through, but then the rest of your hits will be 2 frames early, including the which then won’t combo. If you’re doing it offline, it’s easy because you can just look to see when your lands, and time the accordingly—you can adjust to any variation in the beginning of the combo.

Not every green connection is created equal though… Would be nice if you could tell ahead of time what lag you’re likely to get.

Thanks, these are all good suggestions. I already plink, but 2f links can also be double-tapped, giving you almost 4 frames leeway. According to this page, ping times between New York and Los Angeles are about 60ms = 3.6 frames. So in general, a double-tapped 2 frame link should be wide enough to hit online, as long as you’re both in the same country and on decent connections.

Of course, as you implied, better (rollback?) netcode would fix this regardless. It’s pretty ridiculous now that I think about it, Capcom puts out a game with variable input lag requiring 1frame links, knowing that most people play online. Think off all the millions of hours gamers have spent trying to hit those links online… lol epic trolling by Capcom.


Online play is usually an afterthought- especially for the Japanese and Asia/SEA, who have broadband tubes the size of firehoses and internet coming out their refrigerators.

It’s not that they were trolling, it just wasn’t important to them.


SFIV with it’s design is extremely unfriendly when playing online. I’d say it’s pretty much a waste of time, but sometimes it’s the best thing available, so it’s unfortunately all about adapting. I just stopped even trying one, two frame link combos online. Sticking it to the basics instead of getting frustrated that more advanced stuff doesn’t work (and it isn’t even my fault!.. entirely) helps me to keep focused. This is the reason I started playing Vega. Sure, his links are pretty awesome, but a little bit of thought leads to simple combos with satisfying damage. The best you can do is to practice plinking and train with the new input lag simulation feature turned on.

We need a next gen SF game with netcode as good as the new KI has. Make it happen, dammit!


Overcome the lag… Watch “Ultra Street Fighter IV battle: Ken vs Rolento” on YouTube