Some personal experience questions, along with some musing

Ok. I guess I’ll start with the Arcade Stick questions. I recently got one, I only had about 10 hours clocked with a pad before I decided to just go ahead and buy a stick (I had read that very little carries over from pad to stick), I watched videos and studied while I waited for the stick to show up.

  1. So, what’re your opinions on macros? I.E. Using the fourth buttons of each row for “lp, mp, hp” and “lk, mk, hk”. I’ve heard this is tournament legal, but do you think it helps a player or simply leads to bad practices?
  2. How long did it take you to be proficient with a stick? I’ve only on occasion ever used one before (at arcades, even then, I wasn’t a fighting game player). I feel like I’m kind’ve getting the hang of it, but it’s still a bit challenging.
  3. How long would you guess you practiced before you felt like you weren’t a sprout? I’ve only practiced a little, and while I can tell that I’ve improved I feel like I could still easily get beaten by someone who has literally never played FGs before.

Now some musing and one more question: I Was thinking about what it must’ve been like before consoles, when anyone who wanted to be good at an arcade game basically had to spend a ton of money to get even decent, and how that might’ve curbed some people’s enthusiasm about fighting games. I know that arcades are still going super strong in Japan, so it makes me wonder how many of them got good simply through playing via the arcade. It just seems like a brutal way to learn. No difficulty settings, and if you lose you have to give up some more cash (this is assuming that you didn’t somehow own an arcade cabinet/arcade). Did any of you learn like this? How was it?

Welcome! I guess I’ll just answer your questions in order:

  1. I tried to not get in the habit of using them. If you ever want to get into other fighting games, they might now have macros set but will require hitting multiple buttons as once, so it just forms a bad habit IMO.

  2. I honestly felt proficient with a stick with a couple of days, but I’d already played for a while before getting one, and had a little practice on friend’s sticks. Most people I talk to seem to say it took them about a month to transition.

  3. I’m terrible at fighting games lol, but I feel like it took me about 8 months to get SSFIV under my belt and actually feel comfortable all the time playing the game (nailing off combos when I wanted to, know what to do in each situation, ect). A big part of that for me, though, was finding the character that fit me. For a lot of the time before I feel I leveled up I’d played Juri, Guile, ect. before I found I really liked Bison and picked him up. Finding a character that works for you might take time and experimentation, but I feel it really helps you improve at a much faster rate.

As for your last question, I will admit the arcade era was before my time (I’m only just in college now).

Hope this helped, and don’t give up! Fighting games are super rewarding, and once you get into the flow it’s one of the most fun things you can do.

Thanks for the response.

I feel OK with the stick, but not as much so as the pad just yet. Hopefully having very little muscle memory from the pad will help speed up my stick transition (or that was my intent at least). A month isn’t too bad, even if it does take me that long, I need to work on everything anyway. At least I know it’s POSSIBLE to have the stick feel good (giggity) within a short amount of time now.

Did you mostly do training mode during that 8 months or did you have people to play with in person or online? I’m facing the problem ATM of none of my friends are willing to learn a FG with me, and I live about 1.5 - 2 hours away from the nearest tournament location that I could find. (I live in WA, across the water from Seattle, if you happen to know anyone in the area.)

I’ve experimented with some characters, but it’s hard to get a feel for them when you can’t even really pull off their special moves reliably. So far I’m looking at Adon, Guile and E. Ryu/Akuma (Gonna learn Ryu and then transition to one of those if I go this route). I like Adon the most so far, simply because I like his personality and I’ve always loved Muai Thai. His style is a bit weird, but I kind’ve like it, so I’m going to roll with him for a bit. I tried out Guile, but I simply couldn’t get the hang of him. Something just felt off to me when I played him. shrugs

I’m hoping to stick with it! I really want to be part of the community, and take part in events/casual play in person.

Well, first thing I’d say is go into the lab, and work on getting your specials to come out when you want them to. Don’t worry about combos, that will come later; you gotta take it one step at a time. Once you can get your specials to come out when you want to, maybe try some basic combos (cr. mk xx fireball).

One thing that might help your execution is to go into the trials mode and just run through as many as you can on each character (the first 10 or so should be fairly simple for most characters). That way you learn a bit about each character’s moves while also just working on your execution for various moves (srk’s, charges, half-circles, ect.) That’s what I did at least, and I always had fun challenging myself with those.

And don’t be afraid to go online! :slight_smile: You’ll get bodied, sure, but you’ll get better. I got bodied a lot when I started; everyone did. I spent most of my time playing against friends irl (but they knew what they were doing; they’re pretty good) for the first year or so of my playing SFIV, since I didn’t have a console of my own until then. But once I went online, my game improved a whole lot more.

(Also, when you settle on a character, I highly recommend reading EH’s guide on that character. They do a great job at breaking them down to their main game plan:

Ya, that’s what i’ve been working on so far, no matter which character I’m looking at. I go in and try to do their specials 10-20x each without failing once, and restart if I fail. I figured that this would give me general knowledge of characters as well as practice on the stick.

I’ve done the trials for the characters I am looking at(up to 7-8 and then I get stuck), I’ll probably go through over the next week or so and try to finish them up, or take a look at the first 1-10 of the other characters.

I went online a lot the first two days, but yesterday and today I’ve just been grinding out general knowledge and getting used to the stick. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get back online for a couple of matches here and there. I only managed to find one person that was near my skill level, and even then I only got a single game of the 3 matches, so I have definitely gotten fucked quite a few times. I’ve had fun with them all except one match with a Blanka felt like I was playing UMvC3. He kept doing this cross-up jump kick thing that I FOR THE LIFE OF ME could not block. I know how to block crossups, but I simply could not block it, and once he got one in he would simply keep doing it and kill me. sigh

Thank you for the link, I’ll have to check it out. :slight_smile:

  1. Macros on a stick should be largely unnecessary. The only thing you might want to macro is if you play UMvC3, it might be a good idea to macro L+M+H for plink dashing. You could also macro X-Factor if you use a LM/HS type layout as opposed to LMH/S or MHS/L where all of your fingers are naturally on the buttons. Same thing with ArcSys games and burst. But basically, if your fingers are able to hit all of the buttons together naturally, you shouldn’t be macroing.

  2. I don’t know about this since I grew up in arcades.

  3. Nobody ever gets good, they only get better than they were the day before. Learning fighting games is a constant journey. You’ll get back what you put into it, nothing more and nothing less.

  4. Japanese players improve almost exclusively by playing at arcades, yes. I’m sure there are some online warriors since the netplay there is amazing, but the arcade culture is ingrained in everyone. Proving yourself at a top arcade in Japan is like proving yourself at a major in the US.

Damn. I wish I had either grown up when Arcades were hitting big or in Japan. I love the atmosphere of arcades so much. That’s pretty interesting that you can prove yourself like that. Seems like it would take more, though I’m sure if you beat a pro at an arcade consistently word would spread pretty quick.

Speaking as someone who’s in the same boat I’m going to second the notion that you’ll get a lot out of just sitting down in training mode and throwing fireballs over and over again. The first day I got the game I couldn’t hardly walk across the screen without randomly jumping, so I just settled into training mode and started practicing. By the end of the night I was slightly better overall, but when I came back the next day I was loads better. Just remember that the muscle memory takes some time to develop.

I’ve only got 12 hours logged on the game so far but I’ve already passed from “ARGH ARCADE STICK IS HARD” on to “ARGH FIGHTING GAMES ARE HARD”. I crack under pressure, but in training mode I can pull off all my special moves fairly consistently.

it was not always like that. Arcades used to be much cheaper too. It was the poor man’s gaming. Computers and consoles were very expensive. you could finish an arcade game and spend 1/16th or 1/20th of the price it would cost if you bought the inferior console version.

Where I lived, till 1994 one credit was worth 8 euro cent. So you could either buy an ice cream or finish an arcade game. Now older games require 50 cent and relatively newer games 1 Euro. The amount of money you pour into the slots amounts to the game console price, if not more.

No, the arcade scene wasnt that brutal. it was actually the most relaxed gaming environment.

So far that’s about as much as I have. Pretty used to the stick so far. Some motions throw me off, but I’ve got it down a lot better now. What do you play on?

I’m trying to play a bit more online thrown in with my training mode/CPU blocking practice so that I can get used to thinking and executing specials under pressure. So far it’s working a bit. But really close games the pressure just gets me and I can’t pull off basic specials consistently. :confused:

That’s actually pretty interesting. I had never thought that the prices were probably a lot more expensive now to compensate for the smaller traffic. Everytime I go to an arcade I’m always out at least 20-40 bucks to have ANY fun whatsoever for a decent time span.

I’m on PC, thus the hours logged via Steam’s timekeeping feature.

Online definitely seems to be the way to go. With the cpu it always seems to be the same fight over and over again, but with actual players you get more variety to work with. It’s brutal though. People are good at this game man…

I’ve played for quite some time. So here is what I think:

  1. These LK+MK+HK and LP+MP+HP buttons are not that useful. When im doing a EX move I usually manually press on two attack buttons anyway, and when im doing ultra I rarely use them. But sometimes they are still useful because where are combos that are hard to link the ultra so I mash the macro button…

  2. From when I was little I always played on a Pad, but I bought a stick half a year ago and in around 2 months time I was used to it. I normally just stayed in training mode and did Hadouken Hadouken Hadouken switch sides Hadouken Hadouken Hadouken (and Shoryuken and so on… ) until I got used to it. Then I started doing the combos I already could do on a pad and it was easy as stick allows Plinking…

  3. I practise alot in training mode to understand my character. I practise every link and combos. I then practise the combos that are useful in a real match. I then play vs the cpu, and practise my anti airs… the cpu normally start jumping in if they cant hit you from the ground, so I just practise my shoryuken that way. After that I started playing online and learned to deal with spammers and mashers… and now I would say im a medium - high level player…

  1. So, what’re your opinions on macros?

For most, they hold a stigma of scrubbyness, but they’re there to be used. Mostly used by pad players, but I’ve had a mess around with them on KOF and found them useful. I personally don’t use them but wouldn’t hold it against people that do. I just like the mechanical reinforcement of hitting every button I need, rather than relying on a macro. It’s stupid, but it’s how my brain likes it.

  1. How long did it take you to be proficient with a stick?

Like Celerity, I was an arcade baby. I’ve recommended to others learning stick, that using your stick on other games will make it feel more natural in your hands. The likes of Metal Slug, Final Fight, Streets of Rage etc are a good starting point.

  1. How long would you guess you practiced before you felt like you weren’t a sprout?

100 online games is my tipping point* per game* (even transitioning through different versions of SFIV, takes me 100 to catch up on the differences. Once you know what you’re doing, and can identify your own weaknesses, practice mode is a key tool.

  1. Arcades. Did any of you learn like this? How was it?

As much as I hate to admit it, it’s better now. I miss the local scene (my arcade is now a wine-bar) but it wasn’t anywhere near as polished. We were playing on beat-up bat-top cabs with concave buttons that would jam and miss inputs and were running hot the whole time, so every so often your favorite game was out of order and would take up to 2 months to get repaired…you head to your local fight-club these days (which in most places has replaced the arcade) with your only-used-by-you, shiny-new, sanwa-buttoned, Japanese tournament standard arcade stick and play on a machine that has 10 times the hardware needed to support a 2D fighter, and there’s more than one of them, and an accessible, schedulable community of people…and you can actually SEE how big the game your playing is by simply going online, it’s all just so much more fluent to find somebody to fight on a level playing field.

Like others have said though, I was at the arcade because I couldn’t afford a console or games. Home-consoles were hella-spensive. Also, I was lucky enough to have a friend who’s dad had a snes AND a megadrive (he must have been a king or something) and my local games-store would let you trial games either in store, or if you were a regular, you could even take them home for the weekend to decide if you were going to buy them…which we weren’t haha so there were other ways of keeping up, but the arcade was the only place you could venture outside your own circle of friends.

I’m saying this coming from a 2000 population fishing village though; if I’d grown up in LA or something maybe I’d think differently.

I haven’t played a fighting game for 8+ year. Coincidentally caught EVO 2013 on Twitch and saw the stick deal they had. Got myself a stick and a copy of PC SF4AE which was also on sale.

I spent a bit of time trying to figure out how I want to grip the stick for max comfort.

Went straight into online endless and played 2 matches to get the feel of the competition.

Afterwards, I went into training to practice performing special moves at will.

With input displayed, I keep on getting extraneous directional inputs with my left hand.

The problem is actually very easy to fix. Practice directional inputs with left hand only while only looking at input display. Start with basic, then do special moves, then work on speed while maintaining accuracy.

After input is clean, start using your right hand buttons. You will get an initial drop in accuracy but that goes away with practice. Repeat process for combos.

Took me 2 days to clean up my 2 handed inputs to 98%. As I increase my execution speed, error creep in until I get sufficient practice at that speed.

I would say for your average player, it would take ~1 month before inputs are mostly automatic.

I’m a brand new SF4 player so feel free to add me if you want to play noob vs noob endless lobby. PM me with your steam ID and I’ll add you.

I have a question about macros, and perhaps I’m dating myself here, as I don’t know contemporary tournament rules…

Is the rule on the maximum amount of buttons still in play?

What I mean is this…
Fanatiq used to use PS2 pads for MvC2. The pad has 8 buttons. MvC2 only has 6 normally used attack buttons (LP, LK, HP, HK, A1, A2)
He would use a 1-button dash, BUT he would sacrifice his A1 assist button, because the macro’s allowed, since it’s in the game, but you’re only allowed to have 6 buttons, because that’s all the game allows.

Is that rule still in effect?

I don’t think so, since at least according to the tournament rules for SF4 and anime games, you can use whatever the game allows. I don’t see why MvC3 would be different.

Who said anything about MvC3?
But thanks for the clarification.

Well, rules for every game are different. I can only speak for games I’m familiar with. If MvC2 had that rule, it’s possible that it carried over, but I’ve never heard anything about it.

Edit: Now that I think about it, I believe some players macro a 7th button to LMH to plink dash better.