Oki Poke-y: What Is Frame Data? Part 2

Link to Part 1 – (https://wordpress.com/post/crushcountergaming.com/77)

Hit Stun/Hit Advantage

When an attack connects, the player that was on the receiving end of the strike will be unable to execute any inputs for a specific amount of frames. This is called hit stun. The number of frames of hit stun the “strikee” will suffer is determined by the move they were hit with, as each move will have a predetermined value assigned to it. Depending on the mechanics of the game being played, landing an attack can lead to combos, knockdowns, setups, mix-ups, pressure, etc. All of which is made possible through hit stun. For example, Ryu’s standing light punch in Street Fighter III inflicts 7 frames of hit stun while only having 2 frames of recovery giving him an overall hit advantage of 5 frames. With Street Fighter mechanics, this advantage allows Ryu to combo his jab with any move that starts up in 5 frames or less, not including special moves such as “Hadouken” or “Shoryuken” because they can be cancelled into, allowing you to skip Ryu’s recovery frames.

Not all games’ mechanics function the same though. In the “Netherealm Studios” (NRS) developed title Injustice 2, which features a myriad of DC Comics heroes and villains beating up on each other, landing a singular hit doesn’t always guarantee a combo. This game utilizes strings, button combinations that when pressed in proper sequence produce 2 or more sequential attacks. Strings cannot be linked into each other based on hit advantage the way attacks in Street Fighter can. They must be cancelled by a special move to further the combo. Scarecrow’s “Side Cut”, a crouching light attack also referred to as a Down 1 (D+1), inflicts 28 frames of hit stun, while having only 15 recovery frames. Subtract to find the difference and you’re left with 13 frames of hit advantage, meaning you can act and perform moves in a 13 frame window where your opponent can’t. Opposed to Street Fighter, where your opponent can’ t perform any actions until their hit stun ends, in Injustice they have one action they are allowed to perform during hit stun: Block. This game mechanic is what causes you to be unable to link strings and leads to a phenomenon unique to NRS titles known as Jailing. In short, jailing forces your opponent to respect your frame advantage and allows you to continue or start your pressure.

Block Stun/Block Advantage

Rock, Paper, Scissors (RPS). We’ve all played it and we all understand the concept of each option beating one of the others and losing to the third. Fighting games have their own version of rock, paper, scissors where the triumvirate we know and love is replaced by strike, throw and block.

Opposed to RPS, where every option beats another cleanly, much more gray area occurs in fighting games. For example, a stronger variant of throw such as a command throw may go through an opponent’s attack, or certain attacks may have a guard crush property, rendering them able to hit an opponent that is blocking. These are specific examples though, which you may not come across in most fighters. However, in virtually every 2-D and 3-D fighting title, blocking an attack will result in the blocker taking reduced damage when compared to being hit called chip damage. Attacking an opponent that is blocking works similarly to attacking an opponent that isn’t. Every attack in your character’s repertoire still deals stun frames to your opponent, but the stun is reduced when the attack is blocked and referred to as block stun. Frequently, the stun frames of a move can be reduced so much by being blocked that they leave the attacker at a frame disadvantage. Leaving them open to counter attacks from their opponent. On the other hand, another fashion in which attacking can “beat” an opponent blocking is if the move used to attack is advantageous even when blocked, meaning said attack is so powerful that it deals enough block stun to leave the attacker at a frame advantage. This concept is referred to as block advantage and if a move leaves the attacker at frame advantage it’s referred to as “plus”, but if it leaves the defender at advantage it’s called “minus”. A blocked attack can even render both the attacker and defender able to act at the same time; this is known as being “even”.

In Injustice 2, Scarecrow’s “Fear-Ferno”, or “Down Back 2” (DB2), is a special move with limited use. Mainly being utilized to block incoming projectiles, build “Super Meter” and “re-stand” your opponent after you hit them. This attack is particularly weak against blocking opponents, being heavily “minus” on block (-14) and able to be punished by most moves in the game. It’s only after using that super meter you built to amplify “Fear-Ferno’s” abilities that the fun begins. When “Meter Burned” (MB), “Fear-Ferno” gains a second, delayable hit that is +6 on block, creating a “frame trap” that guarantees that your opponent must block your D+1, since it starts up in 6 frames. Essentially, MB “Fear-Ferno” subtracts 6 frames of start-up from your next move. This turns a 6 frame attack into a “zero” frame or guaranteed attack, since your opponent can’t perform an attack of their own without being hit. Interestingly, if you had unlimited meter, you could perform Scarecrow’s MB DB2 into D+1 in an endless loop, never allowing your opponent to escape; pretty “scary” indeed. Fortunately, or unfortunately for Scarecrow mains and players of other characters with similar frame traps, game mechanics prevent this in ways such as: running out of meter, increased “pushback” on block, parry or perfect blocking, decaying block stun, etc.

Go Practice

Now that you understand the basics of frame data and have learned a couple of tricks on how to use it in your gameplay (I hope); you can take that info online, into training mode or to your local arcades and tournaments to practice and understand how to apply the knowledge in new and creative ways. Practice and understanding are the key words though, as you probably still won’t beat that “cheater” from earlier, but at least you know how to “cheat” now too.

Special Thanks

For the use of the Injustice 2 frame data images I’d like to thank:

Frame Boy – This article wouldn’t have been the same without the existence of the Frame Boy app. If you play Injustice 2 or are a frame data enthusiast, download Frame Boy from the Microsoft Store it’s free and very informational.

Published by Ty Valentine

Hi, I'm a student studying for an Associate of Arts Degree and later pursuing my Bachelor's in Digital Journalism. I've been playing fighting games since I was a young buck in the late 90's and began delving into the competitive side of the genre 6 years ago. Hopefully you'll be entertained and educated by the content I'll be posting in this blog such as: fighting game history, game reviews, retrospectives, mechanics breakdown/analysis and me teaching my girlfriend Kirsten how to play Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Smash among other titles.

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