Questions about button input, frame data, and links

Hi all,

I have spent some time over the past few weeks watching/reading all of the guides in the Newbie Dojo, but I came away with some unanswered questions about exactly when startup frames start, when input is registered in the game, and then how that pertains to links.

I understand the idea of startup frames, active frames, recovery, being +/-, all that stuff. What I don’t understand is exactly how the game responds to my inputs when I press a button.

  1. If I press a button on frame 0, does the first startup frame begin on frame 1? If so, does this imply that there is a 1/60 second window where I can theoretically press the button but the startup frames will begin at the EXACT same time?

  2. Does there need to be any sort of frame gap between links? In the tutorial videos I watched, Balrog was shown to come back to Neutral before beginning the 2nd move in the link- is this all how links must be done? To try and clarify, I am asking if there must be any gap between the recovery frames of move A and the startup frames of move B- can I go straight from recovery into startup?

I would prefer to ignore stuff about execution and plinking, I am more just interested in how the engine itself responds to input to better my understanding of all this frame stuff. Thanks in advance for any help.

From the moment you press a button, start-up frames begin (frame 0 as you put it). So if a move you have has 6 frame start-up and you press the button corresponding to that move, 6 frames later, you will be in the move’s active frames. If a move is +4 on hit, that means that at the first frame AFTER that move has gone through its recovery, you can perform any move that has 4 frame start-up or less, and with the correct timing it will link. Any links where the start-up of one move matches the frame advantage on hit of another move is a one frame link (like the example I gave above), or you have a 1/60th of a second window to properly link those moves.

Say for instance you are playing Gouken and you land a standing close medium punch. This move is +7 on hit, meaning the first frame after its recovery is over you can attack with any move in range that starts up in 7 frames or less with the correct timing and it will link, such as crouching fierce punch (6 frame start-up, 2/60th of a second window), crouching light punch (4 frame start-up, 3/60th of a second window), etc.

At the same time, if you have a move that starts-up fast enough so that your opponent has no more than a 2 frame gap in-between your moves, you can use these moves one after the other as what is called a frame trap. The reason they call it this is because if your opponent presses a button trying to attack you, they will get counter-hit, which gives your move more frame advantage and more damage, and you will be able to continue your combo, as well as link moves that normally would not link.

For instance, let’s say you are playing Gouken again, and someone blocks your close standing medium punch, at this point you are +4 after the recovery is over. But, crouching medium punch starts up in 5 frames, which only leaves your opponent with a 1 frame gap between your moves. The fastest start-up for an attacking reversal (shoryuken) is 3 frames, so your crouching medium punch will beat anything they throw out during their move’s start-up for a counter-hit, and it will also combo into hadoken if you cancel into one, when normally cr. mp xx lp hadoken will not combo with Gouken, which allows you to FADC and set up a nasty combo from what normally does not even work as a combo. The only thing that could catch that cr. mp is Gouken’s parry, because it starts up in 1 frame, and is the fastest reversal in the game.

Thanks, that cleared everything up for me.

I have a question. Do frames start up decrease if the move is canceled? Example being if Juri cancels her S.Forward into Fuhajin does the move start up on the 7th frame instead of the 9th?

It’s worth noting that the game has 4f of input lag. If you press a button, then the move will only come out 4f later under perfect conditions.

The move starts up as soon as the active frames on her S. Forward are over, as cancelling into Fuhajin just cancels the recovery frames of S. Forward. Similar to the way Gouken’s lp palm starts up in 9 frames and there are 9 frames of recovery on his cr. jab. Cancelling from cr. jab to lp palm combos due to that.