Is linking attacks in combos random?


Just for fun I tried making combo macros using AutoHotkey on SF4 PC. Basically what Autohotkey can do is play a sequence of key combinations and you can set the delay between each keypress, how long you hold each key, etc.

So I typed in a few combos and tried them in training mode and I noticed that for some combos sometimes they will link all the way through and other times they won’t, even though everything constant: the distance at which I start, the character i’m hitting,… I’m pretty sure the program is accurate in its timing, more so than I am when I’m doing it manually anyway and the game runs pretty smoothly on my PC.

Even simple combos like cammy’s c.hp> or c.lp>>spiral arrow will only link at random even when I do them at closest distance. What’s the deal? Is the timing for some combos so strict that even a computer program cannot perform them consistently?


Yes the timing for 1 frame link combos is so strict that even a machine cannot achieve 100% reliability.

To put things clearly, a frame is 16.6667 ms normaly, so technically if you want to link a move after that you add (startup-1 + actives + impact freeze + recovery) x 16.666666 and have it input that much time after the launcher input you should always get a link. right

Assuming the first hit registered during the exact middle of a frame you’d get 8ms of leeway in both direction and 8ms is nice leeway.

now in reality,

1 - autohotkey works discretely and its timing isn’t that accurate.
2 - you have no way to synchronise autohotkey and the game engine so you may get 0.001 ms of leeway, -> failure soon or late during the string,
3 - the game engine doesn’t always work at the ideal exact 60 fps. so 1 ftrame is sometime more than 16.666 ms again fucks up the timing.

What you can do is tune the pauses between inputs in such a way that the links works with the highest probability. the links pauses should be alternated to higher then lower and so on, so that the shift doesn’t always happen in the same direction in time and hence it doesn’t add up too fast.

when your macro has been fine tuned long enough you ll have to run it several time until you finally have it start with a good enbough sync’ and it will combo.

So if you want, "no 1 frame links are not ‘random’ " but it requires so much accuracy that they are impossible to pull reliably unless you
1 - Hack in the game engine to synchronise your macro with it,
2 - Use a macro system than can issue inputs (electronic MCU) or emulate (driver level program, keyboard hook) with a polling rate with ideally 0.5 ms accuracy or better, autohotkey is nowhere close to that value.

A trick I though of , to work around game synchronization issue is to press the combo launcher manually then to link the macro by hand.

Also you may also want to use what we call ‘P-link’ to extend the leeway on one frame links, witha dequate use of P-link short combos (4-5 links) should become very much more manageable even with something like autohotkey.

The best qualified to give you useful tips is MAJ from he 's been programming combos for years, I can see noone nearly as qualified as him besides the guys at capcom who programmed the input system of SFIV.

You could start by reading all his articles on macro editing and combo recording. I am pretty sure you ll learn a truckload.