Take a page from Music Games: A New Age of Tutorials


One of the consistently exclusionary factors of fighting games is combo timing. It’s what separates the men/women from the boys/girls. A few of us have had the fortunate experience of playing live with people who know what they’re doing and seeing them physically do it; some even nice enough to stop and take the time to show us how they do it.

For others, who live miles away from any arcade, who have no friends who care about fighting games… it can either be plug away for hours and hours on a single infinite, or go back to playing Call of Duty with their lame friends.

Why? Because our training modes suck…

Let me clarify: some of our training modes are good for some things. Game concepts, movelists, hints and tricks… etc. Some have been better than others (Skullgirls, VF4:E), but none even come close to helping people time combos, let alone user generated combos.

Last night I had a dream, strangely about Guitar Hero; when I woke up, it hit me like a dragon punch to the face.

People who have been playing music games forever can do 100+ move combos with perfect timing without so much as looking at their screen or the controller. So what’s the difference between a music game combo and a fighting game combo? Nothing… in fact, I’d say fighting game combos are more forgiving…

What IS different, is that music games show you the combos in a stream with timing laid out on the screen for you to follow… fighting games… well we rely on trying to watch videos and beat our heads against a wall trying to figure out why when the video does a move, and we do the exact same move, why their’s works and ours doesn’t.

The solution? SHAMELESSLY RIP OFF MUSIC GAMES. Don’t even try to make it different…

I present to you, the future of fighting game tutorial modes

Dramatic music…



Now the above mockup isn’t perfect by any means, so don’t bother with the “OMG it takes up too much screen” or “those timings aren’t real blah blah” and look at it as concept.

Think about the ability for users to record, edit, test and publish their combos to an online database sorted by character, damage, meter usage, difficulty rating, etc.

Not only would this bridge the gap between the new player and the seasoned veteran, but it will also expand and bring together the fighting game community in a way that hasn’t previously existed since the inception of fighting games.

I couldn’t decide which forum to put this in so I put it here because it is “new tech” and people here are less “assholes” than other forums.

Thank you for playing!



but i saw the picture and i think thats pretty interesting. kudos


Hahaha, that mock-up is sweet.

This idea has definitely been tossed around before and it’s a pretty neat one.

I think the absolute pinnacle would be if a training mode allowed you to do some scripting for the dummy’s actions and on-screen cues and save-states and stuff, so that you could create and save and share “training modules” to practice or teach or showcase certain things. Players could make their own combo trials, tutorials, lessons, drills, hands-on demonstrations of weird properties or glitches, etc., whatever, for themselves and for others.








Hey Parappa had the right idea. I really do think that we could bridge the gap between new players and competitive players by rethinking the way we teach and learn combos.

Having a Guitar Hero/Bemani style system to our fighting games allows for quicker memorization and timing practice of what would take people forever to learn or develop on their own.

The best part would be editing and testing out combos like the song editor from GH:WT, then you could upload them and share them with people. It would highlight the artistic aspect of fighting games and bring more people into the community overall.


As an IIDX player I would love this sort of notation. My combo-ability is lousy. Something like this would bridge the gap.


Haha, I really like the pic - it would be neat if it played out the PW theme while it was going and then if you failed the song - ‘but the turnabout never happened… ToT’

Definitely an interesting concept, the only thing is that I wouldn’t really want to teach someone a combo as a ‘rhythm’ or a ‘set’ particularly in Marvel where certain potential repeated sections, like MMHS will have faster timing later in a combo, or just be plain impossible later still. I believe its better to know how the moves interact with each other as opposed to, press assist here - it will combo. Probably. That’s the difference between music games and FGs - if you press the button in a music game it will definitely register, FGs have rules regarding how a button will hit, when and where. Not nearly as complex as that, but its the nuances which are important in extended combos.

Which leads me to the actual problem with. Capcom games really. Is that they don’t provide those details. SF4 had the links thing. wherein they didn’t tell you about them [which is also where I think this style of training would be really helpful BTW!]. It also didn’t differentiate between far and close moves which caused me a lot of pain going into it. Nor did it distinguish between IA moves and just Air moves. Going further it didn’t explain the inner rules like why something like shoryu FADC shoryu couldn’t be FADC’ed again. Marvel has even more problems with its stricter training mode and varying states that an opponent can be in. I remember I had a hell of a time with any combo involving an assist. When can I call it? Are they an OTG or am I? When I air dash down how far down do I have to go? When a combo has gone on too long, why do things that worked before no long work? Something like your idea gives me a timing, which can vary depending on how the combo started, but not the foundation of what makes a combo a ‘combo’


This idea is super complicated. I was thinking about this as a bemani vet (I’ve been playing since 5key and ddr 2nd mix) , and these games are not bemani games.
I just want something that tells me how many frames I’m off for hitting a button, for instance (SFIV) Sakura hp, 214lk, cr hp if the cr hp gets pushed too early how many frames, if it comes out and is blocked, how many frames earlier would I need to press it, if it can’t combo, note that.

This method doesn’t rely on someone else completing and uploading a canned combo, and will help players to identify problem inputs and troubleshoot them instead of feeding them a canned (and potentially) non-optimal combo. Another issue with this is that many top Pop’n/IIDX players actually play with Hidden (by the works of a towel or in game) and random/random+ because they get too comfortable with a pattern, and random will force them to read the (random) pattern.

The primary point is that fgs are not rgs. A training mode like I suggested would be pretty universal for learning a combo, a link, a cancel. A training mode like found in IIDX works for IIDX because you’re just pressing the same series of buttons every time (unless a modifier is on).


There is no reason the music game system couldn’t be used to teach timings for things like links and have frame data as well, this is simply another method of delivering that information. I agree with everything you’re saying, this system just addresses another learning style.

The same could be said for most BnB combos in games like Marvel, SF, SCV, etc.


This is a pretty sweet idea!


I don’t know about more recent games, but the input requirements in SF2 weren’t particularly transparent when I tested them.

FWIW, this sort of tool should really support sub-frame precision timining indicators - to hit a 1-frame link combo, you really want to have your timing precise to a half-frame or less.

Although programmable trial mode is a very good idea, I’m not sure that differences in combo ability have that much to do with which players succeed or fail in competition.


There are timing differences with many bnbs across many games that depend on what character they’re being performed on.

Another issue offered by this solution is that if I miss a note on an IIDX notechart, I can just hit the next one, if you miss a hit the following one simply won’t connect in most cases.
Offering the player a tool that helps them fine tune where they’re making mistakes is a brilliant idea, I just don’t see this type of training mode being honestly that useful.


You’re kind of missing the point a little. While I understand what you’re coming from, the main thing that Rhythm games have over FG’s as far as learning goes, is having the CORRECT inputs there in front of you. As of right now, even tutorials like Tekken that gives you the entire canned combo only gives you a recording and the move printed out. Even VF5:FS which gives you a playback of the canned combo with the joystick inputs and frame data showing in real time does not give you an example to follow WHILE you’re performing the combo. We need a system that can let users record, edit (to remove nonsensical extra inputs) and share combos (non-canned) that lets other players practice them in real time. The ability to have the correct input available to you in real time to see where you are dropping the combo is critical and the key missing component to tutorials in FG’s up to the current generation. However the system gets implemented, it’s this aspect that needs to be addressed. My mockup was only an idea on a WAY to do it… but the concept is still valid.

In other words:

It’s one thing to have inputs and frame data, it’s another thing to have REALTIME feedback on which movements you are not executing properly and how to correct. That’s what Rhythm Games give you and what Fighting Games need to implement.