Fourts and Chaos Part 4: Street Fighter IV Miscellaneous

(Continued from Part 3)

Part 4: More Miscellaneous stuff I don’t like

How netcode should be done

* Crummy netcode – one of my biggest problems with SFIV, since I have very few local players. I think the real reason that they use input-lag style of netcode is that it more easily hides internet latency and lag issues from ignorant people who don’t understand them. The GGPO/HDR method for dealing with lag is quite obviously far superior in a fighting game for anyone who’s played them a lot. Although realistically lag cannot be dealt with perfectly either way, the best method would be to have a reasonable way of the game automatically finding good matched opponents for me, as I’ve covered before.

* Hopeless non-skill-based matchmaking and ranking systems. Well I think this has been covered enough on Agoners already to be worth going into any more detail for now 😉 The best thing that can be said for SFIV is that at least they tried doing something with rankings and matchmaking, they just got it rather wrong.

* Overlapping move inputs – this has been covered before, it’s basically just an extra difficult execution penalty for no reason. If you mess up an Ultra fireball command for Ryu, not only do you fail to do your move, you’ll probably get an EX-Shoryuken or Hadoken for your trouble.

* Move shortcuts – like Ultras this is a decent idea in theory that’s been poorly implemented. The trouble is that they lead to moves coming out accidentally at stupid times as much as they help you perform moves, and they help some characters far more than others (notably they did nothing for charge characters). At the very least it should be an option for players to switch on or off at their choice (like other “Easier Execution” modes attempted in fighting games before).

* Option select heavy game design, partly as a result of many difficult and overlapping execution on moves, it leads to lots of ‘design accidents’ which become (like combos in World Warrior!) a key part of high level play. Almost all fighting games ‘suffer’ from some kind of option select, the degree to which this bothers you will vary. I personally dislike it, as once again, it generally leads to less choices the players are making, and more execution tests ie: Can you do this option select perfectly over and over. I’m ok with a few option selects existing, as long as they aren’t as ubiquitous as the one’s in SFIV are (and for the record its the VF5 ‘fuzzy guard’ option select that soured me on VF at a high level)

* Non-interactivity – this is my big problem with long (especially infinite!) combo sequences in any fighting game is that whilst they might provide an opportunity for skill differential and be giving great execution flow based fun to the person performing them, they are non-interactive and boring for the person on the receiving end. I’d rather I just got knocked down with a single powerful hit that takes 1 second, and let the game continue to the next important play state. Of course in SFIV, thanks to the difficult to execute links, you might actually be playing a “mash reversal SRK” mini-game yourself whilst being combo’d, depending on your character choice. However as the cliche goes – two wrongs don’t make a right!

* Overly long canned ‘movie’ sequences on Ultras, is another problem of non-interactivity that many have complained about.

* ‘Slow’ throws (with frame startup) allow some really irritating pure guessing-game wake-up games. To explain this I’m just going to link to this forum thread in which Robocop Two and Fulan cover it brilliantly by the end of their discussion. This is mostly a problem for those familiar with other fighting games like SF2 which don’t involve these kinds of guessing games.

To be Concluded in Part 5

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