The real nature of Plinking and the "imperfect Plink"

Hey everyone, I don’t post here often (almost never), but with the dawn of SSF4AE PC, I thought it’d be worth exploring and answering some questions I’ve had about the game system. I don’t have the game itself for PC, so I had a friend of mine test it with his copy. A concept we’ve all heard way too much: Plinking or the Tsuji-Style (つじ式)

I’m sure if you’re reading this, you already know what this is, but for completion, I want to just review a bit. The concept that most, if not all SF4 players, have of Plinking involves hitting a button (e.g. MP), holding it, and then the frame after, hitting a button of weaker priority (e.g. LP). As a result, the game registers this as an MP press on frame 1, and an MP+LP press on frame 2, which comes out as another MP press due to button priority. In other words, this: .

(The program I use to display the frames can be found here )

Something I’ve encountered when reading about Plinking is that in a situation where you press and hold MP on frame 1, do nothing on frame 2, then hit LP on frame 3 (as a result of sloppy execution or laziness), the SF4 input display would display them as two completely separate inputs (an MP followed by an LP by itself). This would let you know that if you dropped a combo link, you either mistimed it entirely or missed the link somewhere within the MP and LP input (such as that one frame).

However, that does not seem to be the case, as seen here:
This shows that you can, in fact, have a 1f gap between the normal input and the “plink input,” but the SF4 input display would show it as the ‘perfect’ plink. You’d have no reason to doubt it otherwise. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on the situation. In a case where you’re doing a 2f link (let’s use letters: ABCDEF), if the link window is on frames C and D and you get “perfect plink” on frames A and B, you will drop your combo. However, if you get the “imperfect plink” on frames A and C, you’ll still land the combo. I don’t know about you, but I’d have trouble even double tapping to get this effect. This also means that for 1f links (ABC where B is the link window), if you do the imperfect plink on frame A, you’ll get the desired input on frames A and C, but not on frame B. The input display would still show it as the plink, so one might think that they just timed their input 3f too slow or even 1f too fast, for example. But as we can see, this isn’t true, and the input display for AE is deceptive in this way.

The Plink window does not seem to extend beyond two frames, however, as shown here:

I don’t claim this to be completely 100% correct, as there are a number of potential explanations for this phenomenon of the “imperfect plink”, including the PC version of AE being different somehow, controller malfunction (I doubt this, this was tested several times), program error (maybe?). What I want is some good discussion and for you guys to try this out too to either confirm or even refute this. It stems from me feeling like I get Plinks way more than I should when I practice the game on PS3.

Thanks for reading.

Edit: Hm, since this post pertains to Arcade Edition, I’m sure it’d do better in the Arcade Edition subforum. Could a mod move it for me?

It’s not so much program error as program error margin. External software isn’t really in synch with the game, so it doesn’t provide consistent frame precision.

As far as “plinking” is concerned, it’s just the one frame with no gaps. Which makes sense, seeing how it’s supposed to make simult. inputs easier.