What is randomness?


#1

I don’t think many people really pay attention to randomness in fighting games. And when I say random, I mean a totally random playstyle. Admittedly I’m one of the first people to throw out the word random. However I must admit, it’s hard to define.

I use to think randomness was the lack of a strategy. But there are many decent players who don’t play with any real strategy. They just tend to base everything on reactions and kind of flow with that match. I think strategy is coming up with a gameplan before the match even starts.

So that leads into my last question. Is randomness completly contextual? Meaning it depends on why something is done? For example if I play against a Ryu player and he just kind of throws a super out of nowhere, then I would probably call him random. Why? Because he seemed to have done it in a weird situation, or took a risk that wasn’t necessary. But if I wasn pressuring him and he was in an inch of his life, and probably noticed I was attacking at point blank and never blocking, then he took a calculated risk.

I hate to say, but can we really call any particular playstyle random? Part of being a top player is being hard to read. And random is technically the ability to play without having a pattern. I mean many players have said that Daigo is very hard to adapt to. And even Daigo appears to be random at times.

So in a way it’s hard to really bind people to a particular style. Like for example, a noob does silly stuff because he’s unknowledgeble about situations. The intermediate player plays really safe. The advance player does silly things to throw off his opposition. Should randomness actually be an encouraged playstyle? I mean I’ve lost to people worse than me who just totally randomed me out. There are some top players who play on this style completely. Alex Valle is considered really unorthodox and random. SoCal players also get the reputation for being unpredictable in their style of play.

So is it possible to define randomness? And should randomness actually be discouraged or encouraged?


#2

‘unpredictable’ and ‘random’ are not the same thing


#3

There’s good randomness and bad randomness…

Bad randomness is basically what you said - actions that either would never make sense in the situation he was in (like say, reversal fireball in the face when the opponent is standing right in front of him, or attempting to do a normal with very slow startup when you clearly don’t have the frames to do it), or actions that could work in the situation, but weren’t calculated and usually not based on anything that was being imposed by the opponent.

Good randomness is working within the options that make sense in the situation, but making those actions as unreadable as possible. 3S is a game where this is most important I think. You have to be aware of your actions or you might slip into a pattern that you might not even noticed you had.


#4

It’s much better to keep your opponent guessing within the confines of tactics that are carefully weighed-out in terms of risk-reward. When Daigo is random, it’s ALWAYS low-risk. That or you’re misinterpreting his actions.


#5

I’ve seen daigo do some dumb shit only to get blown the fuck up. He wiffs SRK just like the rest of us. When you choose to play that way, you get blown the fuck up here or there eventually.


#6

Emil, I’d agree with you, but that’s stuck within the confines of a box.

As far as I’m concerned, there’s just correct, and incorrect.

Once that’s said and done, then it’s about maximizing what was correct. And then that just drives the choice home.

If it doesn’t make sense, but somehow became a correct answer, than that’s the fault of the player that made it a possibility, and to the credit of the player that was correct.

Also, the excuse of getting “randomed” out, is such a copout. Players just need to give credit to the victor of a given match, and accept the loss in a given match.


#7

I used to think that, but over the years I’ve come to another conclusion. If you watch a lot of Daigo’s matches (Valle has a pretty similar style too), you’ll often notice that in the first few rounds or even first game or so they’ll be careless as hell. They’ll do some seriously ballsy stupid looking shit. Then they come back with miracle looking stuff and/or just completely roll the guy in the last game.

My current theory is that they have a handful of either easy-win or high-pressure stuff that they just throw out there. They do something dumb, see how you respond to it and take note of that. During this, I think they also note how you respond in general, like “Ok, I did 3 obvious attempts to meaty/cross-up/tick-throw/etc. Did he keep going for the same counter? Mix it up? Try to read me? Etc”. I think they treat these early rounds/game as throw-away. If they happen to win, cool. But either way, they’ve now figured you out. From there on, they feel confident enough with all of the play styles and tricks to then use your own strong/weak points against you and the exploit the hell out of that to take the set.

That’s just my theory though…


#8

I don’t know…there isn’t much meaning to it. It’s like a puzzle…if someone attempts to understand it and make a choice based on that, it would be meaningful if they got it right. If someone completely misunderstands the puzzle but chooses an option that is somehow still correct, it doesn’t have the same meaning. And then there’s the ones that don’t even try to understand it and pick whatever.


#9

not entirely true. In ST, say you have a perfect going on and all of a sudden you receive a 2 hit dizzy, combo into super which in most cases is a dead character. It happens and that is pretty random.

Mvc2 is known for being extremely random. The opener is pure random. If you stay still and block, you give the opponent a free mixup. Holding dwnbck+assist triggers random ublockables which lead to double snaps. Marvel disables inputs for a brief period of time during twitch guard so in essence, you get hit for holding back for FREE and this can happen randomly @ any point in the fight. Normals crossing up that shouldn’t especially from wrong angles. Random damage, assist tracking becomes random.

So its not a BS excuse in SOME games, being randomed out does happen ESPECIALLY in mvc2 since marvel players have the hardest tournament game of all time in the US. On top of being extremely difficult. a max marvel set is 3 rounds. The max round set in SF is 6. Marvel odds are cut in half while playing a game that is @ least 300x more random.

The problem I have with their style is why do you have to do something risky to get a read? Let me make it clear, both daigo\valle are incredible players and I’m not calling their style crappy which is by far the opposite. I just have a hard time understanding the risk taking per situation.

do you really need to wiff a shoryuken to see if someone will break up their footsie timing? couldn’t you just play footsie with them, counter them on a layer, and see if they change their footsie timing then?

If you can use a safer method to reach the same conclusion, whats the point of the risks? it might be my background since I play mvc2. You kinda want to prevent random dumb mistakes cause you’ll get blown the fuck up and lose the round. Its not quite like that in ssf4 and you usually get a quite a few chances to live against MOST characters but I feel like that life is valuable. Especially against players like daigo whom you don’t want to give ANY life to.


#10

not really. in ST there is an invisible stun bar. Just like SF3 except invisible. Take enough hits and the bar fills up and you become dizzy.

Using fba-rr and a lua script you can see the dizzy bar and how it gets filled as your taking damage. So again, not random, but then again you suck so where is the surprise with that?


#11

Isn’t stun duration/stun damage semi randomized in ST? Or was that only earlier SF2s?


#12

ST stun values vary heavily though. Yes it is a resetting bar, but the value you get on a move like a Fierce can vary pretty widely, just like with damage in that game. I would like to see the Lua script you’re talking about though. Is it in the scrolling input script?


#13

no its a different script.

They’ve also got hitbox scripts as well.


#14

Yeah, I’ve had the hitbox scripts since it was just Vsav, I didnt know about the dizzy one


#15

i’m not sure about the other games, but HF uses a point system i forget what the values are for stuff but its explained in that sweet text file of HF strats


#16

I’ll agree. Although, said meaning varies in significance from player to player. Some players, just choose to not understand, why should they even be at fault for that? Each player, has their own reasons for playing.

It just really sucks when they’re not playing the same puzzle as their opposition. It’s just like when people make arguments based on something completely misinterpreted, or due to lack of comprehension, or with some kind of strawman or whatever. It just becomes pointless, but you still can’t fault the person, unless you laid it out for them to understand and they just choose not to. And even still, is it really their fault if they still don’t bite? I guess maybe the player just needs to beat their opponent at their own game, too. Or lay out the ultimatum in their playing style.

Was getting hit with the 2 hitter random?
Why call it getting “randomed out” and not give credit to the opposition that just so happened to have a fortunate occurrence and took advantage of it?

You could get these same fortunate events to go in your favor too. And I’m pretty freakin sure, that you wouldn’t want credit taken from you.

The right place at the right time.

If it is indeed random(ST part: ShinjiGohan just said it’s not) then, that could just be considered a design “flaw” anyway.

Maybe player’s egos are just too big, to admit they’re playing a game with something like that in it? And maybe player’s egos are just too big, to give credit to the opponent they’re playing. Sometimes, I think maybe player’s competitive spirit just isn’t in tune, if they can’t even give their opposition some credit or respect. Of course they’re going to leave themselves open for what you call being “randomed out.” If you don’t even give credit to your opponent in some forms, whatever happens will be interpreted with some kind of lame excuses.

Is it random, when the opponent takes advantage of a situation that can be left up to chance?

Is it also random, when the opponent plays well enough to reduce the chance of a situation where it can be left up to chance?

Wanna know what’s random? The types of excuses people come up with, and the varying levels of people’s egos and pride.

If someone is playing a game with all these events that are so freakin random, the game just isn’t all that good, or maybe that someone just isn’t as good as they thought they were in an area that might not be so immediately recognizable.


#17

ST stun is random. Lots of things in ST are random. Check the link in the quote above for Maj’s article on SFII randomness. Instead of telling people that they “suck” and promoting wrong information why not look things up instead?


#18

I forgot to mention something. Part of it is feeling out their opponent, but there’s another part too. While they’re doing this, they’re also setting up what the other player can expect from them. By doing bizarre stuff early on, you can train your opponent to realize that they can’t expect anything, that you could decide to do a SRK or something “stupid” at any moment. This causes they’re opponent to play much more cautiously. It also causes them to become more alert, because they now have to be on the lookout for random things. The net result is that it distracts them and limits their options.

Another thing I’ve seen these guys do is not go for a bunch of random stuff in early rounds, but to go for a lot of the same thing. At this past Devastation, we were watching Valle play and he used THE FUCK out of EX Tatsu. He was doing it early and often. A lot of times it didn’t seem to be for any reason. Sometimes he’d land a big combo off it, but half or most of the time he didn’t. There may have been some other reason he was doing it, but none of us could make sense of it. So anyway, he’s whoring the shit out of that thing for a game and a half. Then in the last round he knocks the guy down in the corner. For once, this would’ve been the perfect time to try to land it and combo into Ultra. Instead, he walked up like four times in a row and threw the guy. Just waltz’d right on in there, with no hesitation, and did throw after throw. He mindfucked the opponent. He trained his opponent to expect one thing, and then did another.

The problem with playing by the book, using only the same set of solid attacks and setups over and over, is that if you only do that your opponent can read you more easily. Sure, what you’re doing may be mostly safe, but it’s also predictable. The problem is, if you make a slight screwup your opponent is immediately ready to counter because they knew what was coming already, they’re just looking for you to leave a hole. It also allows them to more easily block or avoid your attacks. When you get a little wild, all of a sudden, your opponent must be much more concentrated and alert to deal with whatever you might do.


#19

That’s definitely good for some games, I use that strategy in VF sometimes, but for SFII, or other fighting games where damage output is almost comically high, you might [media=youtube]ny7ysswv5LM"]lose all of your health based on just [URL=“http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFgw7AtnFGg”[/media]. Taking unnecessary risks in a game like ST where you can lose pretty much all of your health off of one bad choice is not something that will pay off often against good players. Taking a big risk to condition your opponent to make a mistake in response later in a round rarely pays off based on my own experiences in ST. I know people have been talking about SFII in this thread but that game is one of the few where playing with random approach to your opponent will get you stomped in no time.


#20

I really can’t say I’ve seen him whiff srk unless the opponent dodged it so he couldn’t FADC. Maybe once or twice in a Dhalsim match-up, but he’s not very versatile when it comes to punishing. Idk man, you gotta present the context of the situation. That way, you can rationalize why a top level player with many years of experience mindfucking people would seemingly abandon his strongest tool against an opponent.

Imo, if there is any semblance of meditation behind a tactic, it isn’t random anymore.