Improving in fighting games

There have been many people asking how to improve in fighting games. The most common responses have been: practice more, watch videos, and find people to fight against.

I’m no advanced fighter participating in tournaments around the US by any means. In fact, I am quite the opposite; struggling trying my best to beat someone without relying on a lucky rabbit’s foot. But I do have one idea that I am trying out.

I am thinking about keeping some sort of notebook to keep track of my progress. I am writing things like new techniques/combos I learn and things I need to work on. I only have one entry since I started the day before my trip in which I return on Wednesday, but it’s something that I would like to see grow.

I thought of this for 2 reasons: 1) I recall things better when they are written down and 2) It’s what some martial artists do so I felt that it would be good to translate that stuff to this. I know for a fact that it’s nothing new, but it’s something that I haven’s seen the most dedicated people suggest. I would like to know what some of you masters and beginners think about this.

Practice practice practice.

Execution is my main focus. Everything else comes naturally with time and experience. I hate missing vital shit so I make sure I know what I’m doing and I can do it at least 8/10 times before I start trying it in real matches.

Execution is the motherfucking watchword. It is the very foundation that your game is built on, so you have to start small. If you still biff your special moves and basic combos 10% of the time (or even less), your foundation is weak and your house will collapse–meaning that your game falls apart because of all the simple mistakes you’re making.

It’s like trying to learn to play Eddie Van Halen stuff on the guitar. You need to go slow and start with the basics (chords, blues progressions, simple solos) before you can graduate to the fast, crazy shit.

I realize it’s been said a million times here, but it can’t be stressed enough. And I can’t tell you how many otherwise knowledgable players I’ve shut down because they simply played a little too sloppy, and basically handed me the match because of it.

Execution is definately a problem for me. I can do the moves, but retaining information and just doing them are pretty difficult.

This is where the notebook thing comes into play. I write thing in there like combos I learned and small nuiances that I learned about the system. Things will seem a bit dry for now since I haven’t found people to fight against just yet, but hopefully I will get into deeper stuff to help lay the groundwork for my playstyle. If I can keep doing this, it would be nice to look back after several years and see how far I came.

On the other hand, David Sirlin once said his, and many top player’s execution is poor, and I’ve been told the Valle A3 Ryu VC was developed because he dropped normal VCs.

Not saying execution isn’t amazingly important, but a strong gameplan and good reactions might be able to make up for it.

Above all…dedication and being able to take the best out of losses…take a loss and turn it into your best friend…learn all you can from it…

I think above all dedication and constant motivation…keep searching for new things even when nothing can be found…and above all

PATIENCE…these things dont happen overnight…

How do people like Wong play many games at a high level? They started with one and got it down real good…getting down the fundamentals etc…making it easy to transfer from one game to the next…you follow?

One of the best ways to improve I think is to experiment! Trial and error! I’ve learned quite a bit in the last few months in RBFF2 and Garou:MOTW mostly through trial and error that has helped me improve my play.

Excellent that is something I forgot that most people forget in this cookie cutter era…

fuck execution. execution is important but being mentally liquid is far more important. what I mean by this is:

  • not falling for the same shit over and over again
  • remembering every situation and how your opponent behaved in it, punish accordingly
  • learning your opponents style and using it against him
  • changing and adapting quickly

I don’t care how big a combo you can do if you fall for the same trap over and over again, it’s not gonna matter.

This is why Jwong is so fucking good. If you watch him play he never falls for the same shit twice. What worked once, worked once and that’s it.

If someone is reversing your tick throws, bait him and punish.

I’m no expert, but being aware of yourself and where you’re at is key. What sucks in your game at the moment. Execution? Spend time on it. Reaction time? Get on it. The hard part is you’re going to have to also accept that for sucking in those things and trying to address them, you’re going to have to lose a lot. For an egomaniac like me… that’s a hard thing to do.

As for notes, that could be good to be aware of what needs work. It’s a little too structured for me, who enjoys being masochistic and just fucking up a LOT before I get to improving a certain something.

Learn how to block. The most basic skill in fighting games no matter how good your execution is or how incredible your mind games are, if you can’t block right you’ll get your ass handed to you sooner or later.

And from that classic SF Video Guide: TDR - Timing, Distance and Reactions. :looney:

Like I said everything else comes naturally with time and experience. Theres no way you can practice being phychic. For example, You can study tapes and take notes of how to beat a skilled Makoto all you want, but your never gonna beat a good Mokoto without experience.

It’s all character and game specific I guess. So lets say someone is a 3s Chun player. Then I guess execution really wouldnt matter that much. It would all be about reaction.

I’ve lost too many matches to count because of messing up simple things. It sucks when at the end of the match you have to say “damn I woulda won that whole match if I had better execution”. That can happen in any game, buts it’s easy to work on. Imagine someone making a big comeback on someone just because there opponent missed out on massive damage. If you wanna play your 100% best then you have be able to do everything you want to do. It’s rare that you see Bas fuck up a CC. It’s rare that you see KO mess up a Genei-jin. It’s rare that you see RX miss a charge buffer or a charge partition. It’s rare to see a magneto mess up a vital combo that could have set up and easy win. In any fighting game one mistake is big punishment, but if your oponent knows you have no execution then he isnt gonna be as scared of you. Reaction is a good substitute as well because your gonna be scared of a Chun who can take off half of your life with a simple xx super.

Experience comes with dedication and shows later on. Experience is the MOST important thing, but you cant become the player you wanna be when your fucking up basic shit and alot your style revolves around a 50/50 “I can only do it sometimes”.

On the contrary, CMAN is right. I’ve practice execution on 3s for years, one of the only other players I know near me doesn’t. Now, he beats me on a regular basis, probably 50/50. How is this? Because he concentrates on his game. Sure execution is important, but it doesn’t mean you can’t win without it.

When I go to London I get absolutely battered because I have no outside experience, something practising execution doesn’t give you. Once you learn the basic fundamentals of the game, the main thing you want to focus on is being able to defeat your oponent… Not being able to do 100 different types of infinites and resets etc.

Here’s my opinion on execution: saying that it’s okay to not practice it because certain players get along fine without it is kind of risky.

To use an analogy: Jimmy Page has always been a sloppy player onstage, and he’s definitely a guitar hero. But that doesn’t mean that novice guitar players everywhere shouldn’t practice playing things cleanly and clearly. There is one Jimmy Page, and chances are, you’re not him. Likewise, a guy like Valle might not have brilliant execution, but he definitely has a lot of other factors as a player that most people don’t have, or at least don’t have as strongly. In the event that you don’t develop into a deity like him, it is best to practice your basic shit and become a well-rounded, precise player instead. If you’re looking for an edge, this is a good way to cultivate it.

Just my two yen.

improving your execution increases your possibilities and gives you more options in more situations, not having any execution essentially means you can’t do shit

many top players don’t have “bad” execution, they just don’t have perfect execution, rather, they have enough execution so that they’re versatile enough to get out of most dire situations

once you get basic execution stuff down like antiairing, basic punish combos, spacing and poking, you gotta start to develope a gameplan and know what other characters can do

as said, that means if you get smacked for doing something once, you don’t do it again, hit them without letting them hit you back for it, and when they make a mistake and leave themself open you gotta punish them for it

then you should improve your execution a little more so you can do tricks and stuff to create openings yourself (instead of waiting for their mistake), punish mistakes and openings your opponent creates should be second nature at this point

after that, it’ll be down to whoever has the better gameplan, characters/matchup, better tricks, reflexes, and just general refinement and control (like, the difference between being able to karacancel 95% or 99%)

for the record, I never practiced, and there was a time where I actually kicked some serious ass and gave nigh-top players a hard time (even beating a few), but bad execution and perfect tactic only goes so far, so yeah, it possible to be really good with horrendous execution, but you won’t ever improve to top level play without it

tiers of importance

  1. entire movelist of your character
  • without this, you don’t have a character. you have bits of them. even if the move isn’t used frequently, there’s still the idea of knowing what the move is… example, most matches, you will never see a magneto player use force field… but there is the case when something is so blatently obvious that you can use it to have an easy ROM set up.
  1. BnB combos with your character
  • ok, so you get the hit… now what? you want to know how to get a good combo off with your character consistantly, end of story. if you don’t know storm’s air combo to LA xx LS, you’re done, don’t use her.
  1. strategies and reset setups
  • ok, so you got your execution for the basics down. now, learn to get the hit. that’s all that’s about. learn to force it and play pressure games.
  1. reaction time and learning how to utilize your character in good and bad matchups
    this can only be achieved in actual play. remember, just because your dhalsim can beat 10000x zangiefs, doesn’t mean he can take down a chun li… or your cable can rock 90% of the world’s sentinels… but still sucks if you lose to 90% of the world’s storms. beating scrubs is not something to brag about.
  2. all that tricky shit you see in videos. ok, so you can pull off meikyosisui shit… is it worth anything though?

If you can devise a way to pull it off during gameplay, it certainly is. Working “trickshot” stuff into actual gameplay is more of a Japanese thing than a U.S. thing, but hell, if it works, it works.

I’m hoping to write something about this stuff one day. not a book or anything, just a little site. Experience is important, but the absolute most important thing is something EVERYONE (this means regardless of intelligence, level of skill in the game, level of skill in general) can use to better themselves is to learn from pain

execution is something you really want to be 95% and up with. thats just a part of gaming though, but that part you definitely want to have down. especially in games like tekken, where you might be a little off axis or whatever. you definitely want your situational combos down and you want them to be executed with perfection. execution execution execution is definitely a plus. if you punish, you want to punish hard. not half ass, and work on the rest of the stuff too. im to drunk right now to think about the other stuff you want to have down


Everything said so far is true…pretty much. I think you have to look at just which “street fighter” are you trying to become better at. I mean Mvc2 is a very different game than 3rd Strike.

But probably the most important thing is knowledge of the game engine. I cant tell you how many people I see who are supposed to be top players trying to do specials or supers in situations that the game engine would not even allow. Take a good ken player who has good execution but no experience fighting against Makoto and see who has an advantage. If you are not familiar with the game engine and different character match ups all the execution in the world wont help.