Why isn't Hitstop Duration Standardized?

This is probably one of those questions that has an obvious answer, unfortunately I have no idea what it is… so Why isn’t Hitstop Standardized across every move… from Light Normals to hard hitting specials ?

Why is it important that the game freezes longer on Heavy Normals than it does on light normals ? What obvious flaw am I missing ?

Also isn’t there a general question thread I can use to ask all my stupid questions ? I don’t think I’m supposed to be making whole new threads just to find out one thing…

It’s to provide a more sense of power. Light normals are quick and fast so it happens a bit faster. Heavy normals take longer so the hitstop is also higher to give the feeling of strength. If Heavy’s just moved from Start Up to recovery with little inbetween, it wouldn’t exactly feel strong.


Dunno about some ‘general question’ thread. So long as it’s something you don’t know and hasn’t been answered elsewhere, seems perfectly fine to me.

Clarify something for me though. When you say standardize, would you mean that every character’s LP for example would offer the same amount of hitstop on hit across the full roster? And are you extending that to say that if, on hit, a LP normal would offer the same hitstop as special?

Yep… The same momentary freeze duration for all attacks on hit and on Block… uhm… Projectiles included… maybe…

I suppose this is satisfactory for Killer Instinct… but only for Killer Instinct. In other fighting games I have some serious gripes with Short Hitstop duration because they don’t have C.A.M. or other aspects of the design just make an already frustrating game even more frustrating… KI’s design is literally the most consistent out of all the fighting games I’ve played… well… KI and Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm but the latter doesn’t count.

You sure ?.. to me it just felt weird… like I was adding unnecessary clutter.

On block as well? That’s too much; that’s making your hitstop equal to your frame advantage/disadvantage. And when you add projectiles into that mix? As I’m envisioning it, it would turn KI as it is now into a pretty boring game to play. I’m also seeing in my mind how it would promote pretty degenerate strategy.

I can say I’d like more hitstop for KI (or for counter hits to have a slightly increased advantage) so more things could be hit confirmable, but not in a universal means like I’m envisioning right now. Challenge me as a player to both have a strategy for that beefy hit and to react/anticipate fast enough to capitalize. But don’t cushion it so much that there’s little reason to do much more than hunt to make my opponent hold my buttons until they crack, or vice versa.

Hitstop has no effect on Frame Advantage/Disadvantage. Its literally just the entire game freezing for a second… it has no effect on Block/Hit Stun… atleast I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. Even some background effects are affected by Hitstop… you just need a hard enough hit to see it in effect.

As far as I can tell all it would do is allow for new hit confirms… nothing wrong with that, it wouldn’t be a crime to be more certain if you should press on the offense or not.

True, hitstop and frame (dis)advantage are two separate things. The way I interpreted this…

…was that you were seeking a situation where both were the same value.

Yeah I believe thats exactly what I said.

They would have to be completely separate things for them to have no effect on each other… therefore why not just standardised the duration ?

I’m assuming the whole concept of Hitstop in fighting games was made purely for Aesthetics Purposes only when they were first implemented. And then just like with everything else in this genre, this was exploited by players to give thenselves an edge in competing.

No, hitstop is not an aesthetic choice purely by the developers, it does serve an intended function. Hitstop measured within individual frames add to fractions of seconds, which don’t really give any player a significant competitive edge unless your brain can compute on a quantum level and react with uncanny speed. Anything within a fighting game can be used to an advantage if done correctly, but relying on hitstop as a strategy for anything such as identifying various strength autodoubles or linkers is honestly much more difficult than is probably worth it to ANY player of any skill level.

There is a reason hitstop exists the way it does but why it isn’t standardized. If you play vanilla version KI, and compare it to the final version we have now, you’d have a MUCH better understanding as to why it does exists in the form it does now. I’ll try to explain it why in any case, but if you ever get the chance to play vanilla KI, do so, and you’ll see night and day differences behind this particular choice.

Basically, every character’s attack animations play out with a certain animation style. Hitstop has always existed in KI but was not very prominent initially in its launch version. As such, for example, when Jago executes a laser sword linker, the hitstop was so small and miniscule, but the animation moved fluidly and acted as though there were none at all. However, this made some of the early moves in KI very strong, where even if you could see the light laser sword coming, identifying a moment in which to combo break was still super difficult because it made identifying the actual window of breaking very difficult to identify. So an opponent who is spamming light autodoubles, light linkers, etc., could still be very difficult to break, not because they are being unpredictable, but because identifying the exact breaker window itself is actually hard.

So why not time the breaker window to be wide enough to go past a certain point in the animation? Because the auto combo system “cancels” the rest of the animation sequence and goes into the animation of the next move. However, if the breaker window is around a five frame opening, but the next move is a four frame startup AD, you’ve effectively created a confusing situation where you are actually able to break a move after the opponents next move has already begun and in some cases connected. If you adjust it to be breakable before the hit ever connects, then that gives too much leverage to the defensive player to guess.

Hitstop artificially “elongates” an attack animation, which a pronounced freeze as a gameplay aesthetic to give players a recognizable window to identify the exact breaker window, rather than guess during the animation when to break.

Now as to why the hitstop isn’t standardized across the board.

All fighters need good animation for more than just aesthetic. Good animations have to play out in a way in which makes sense to the player visually to give them the proper video cues they need to identify to perform various actions. If a move animation plays very fast, but there’s a long pause after the hit, the animation looks jarring and can be misleading on the visual cue intended for the player to pick up on. This could mislead them into thinking the breaker window is longer than it actually is, or isn’t there at all. Fast moves aren’t intended to have long hitstops to create an allusion of a hit that isn’t exactly powerful but hurts, while heavy moves rely on it more to create an impression of strength.

Depending on the move performed, hitstop needs to be adjusted to create a balance between the move animation speed and power, and to offer correct visual cues to the player. If your frame advantage is too long, and lasts way too long after the animation finishes or is cancelled, it looks like the hit has more advantage than actually does, and creates a misleading visual for the player, but the opposite side of this is a hit that can be confusing that offers little advantage for making contact. It’s very animation dependent because between all the different characters and their specials, the varying strength and utility of said specials, you have to counter balance the actual attacks with varying degrees of hitstop in order to create the correct visual cues, without them being too obvious, misleading, or poorly animated. Cinder’s traiblazer won’t play out with the same exact amount of recovery animation as Jago’s wind kick will, but without the correct placement of hitstop and frame advantage, the moves look jarring, and can be hard to identify where you can either counterattack or combo break. Standardizing hitstop can create problems that make key visual cues harder to identify correctly. It’s one reason why the developers go over the frame data and development of character moves so frequently in testing phases and why a mistake like a +11 on some move that should be +5 or so can sometimes slip past testing.

You’re trying to create balances in the key frames of animation so they don’t come across as too jarring but not misleading, and it’s a hard science to nail down because it’s in fractions of a second. Standardizing these moments would create more problems than it would solve, and break the animations of some specials altogether.

Anyone who played vanilla KI can tell you the night and day difference that hitstop makes, and why it has to be tuned to each individual special move, and why it’s a pain when identifying the actual breaking window is more difficult than it’s worth and just to take a hit than risk the lockout.

I hope I explained that well enough, but even so, it’s a complicated subject to describe with an exact terminology and quantifiable measurement which even I can’t quite do justice.

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Yes… TODAY… but like I said… that may not have been the case when it was first implimented… I’m talking Street Fighter 1. Maybe even before then.

Actually it does… Without hitstop it would be near impossible to hit confirm anything since advantage in fighting games is no more than 6 or 7 Frames usually… Hitstop last long enough to help you decide whether you should cancel into the Special Move if it hits or If You should hold off if its blocked… its a tiny that makes a huge difference. Especially in Hisako’s Case because her lights don’t combo into her Rekka and She doesn’t have two button style hitconfirms like SFV…

Luckily each Autodouble has its own unique animation so its not really all that difficult to tell them apart… except for the light one its too fast… as it should be… thats definitely one area where Hitstop should NOT be standardised.

I still have to read the rest of your reply… I just got off a 6 Hour Practice Session on Guilty Gear so I seeing that many words fly by is making me dizzy…

Will get back to you ASAP… so tired… must sleep…

Alright I’m mildly rejuvenated… lets do this !!!

This is something that always bugged me about KI… particularly way back when I was only spectating it (at 30FPS). The way the combos were aninated bugged me… it seemes too… I don’t know… “Skippy”… if thats even a word. I figured it was because it was such a Cancel Heavy game. It definitely looked better (smoother) with Manuals instead of Auto Doubles but those are hard to do.

PREACH !!! :smiley:

Yeah @Sasuke99l already explained that… but I overlooked how it would affect Combo Breakers… seems pretty obvious in retrospect. Although it may have always been obvious and I’m just stupid… its been known to happen.

You explained it perfectly… I feel thoroughly enlightened (that sounded weird). I appreciate it… thanks. :wink:

Well, I’ve never played SF1 to know if it featured hitstop, but SF2 did, and combining it with people’s notice of frame advantage and that’s how the combo system was born. A kind of accident but that’s the history behind it simplified. Perhaps not in the first iteration of SF2, where it was probably only an aesthetic, but not in the later versions of it.

Alright I made an oversight on that. If you intend to base your gameplay solely on reaction, without any foresight or anticipation, and actively looking for those cues, it would be impossible. Reaction times in humans become faster in response to familiar stimuli, but removing that from the equation and basing it solely on reaction, hitstop offers little competitive edge. I should have clarified that a little bit earlier.

To me though, hitstop just identifies key frames of animation where you develop your gameplan. Reacting to them is pointless, but using them to develop key moments to anticipate and counter seems like a better strategy.

Honestly though, I find it REALLY hard to separate any discussion of hitstop from any discussion of frame data like hit advantage. The two seem almost inseparable to an extent since they both have key roles in determining so much about a move’s properties.

Also, I take it from your response you’re probably more experienced at fighting games than I originally guessed. Apologies if I came across a little patronizing. That was not my intent, and like most others here, hope to bring more people to enjoy KI and build a good community of people who like it.

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Your questions continue to be unique enough that they don’t fit well with extant threads, and are not tied enough to gameplay or player growth to warrant being placed in the Dojo section. So new threads in General Discussion is fine.

To a certain extent hitstop is largely an aesthetic choice designed to make a game’s moves have appropriate weight. If you jab someone in real life the motion is smooth, fast, and over in a fraction of a second. If you land an uppercut on someone, the actual connection of fist to face is naturally longer, as the direction and weights of the two objects interact in a more “meaningful” way. Hitstop serves to provide some of that same differentiation in “oomph”, where quick attacks, whether landed or blocked, are over quickly and heavy attacks linger. From an artist/engineer standpoint, increasing hitstop instead of adding a bunch of “guy reeling from getting punched in face” frames is also a means of saving on time/effort to achieve that appropriate weight.

How hitstop is used (or not) will accordingly significantly change the way a game “feels” to play. A game with no hitstop, like many old arcade or NES games, can often feel floaty or janky, where you’re never quite sure if something landed or connected at all. A game with a lot of hitstop (say, BlazBlue or UNIST) can feel staccato or “punchy”, which may or may not appeal to you.

And while hitstop and frame advantage/disadvantage are technically independent, the two are correlated very much in the overall feel of a game. If a move with little hitstop has a ton of blockstun attached to it, for instance, that doesn’t feel good as a player or spectator. It intuitively makes sense that you’re stuck in blockstun if you block a shadow fission, because shadow fission is a giant fireball exploding in your face for 2.5 seconds. If Jago’s st.MP had you in blockstun for the same amount of time as fission but retained its current frame advantage, it would feel really off because the attack simply doesn’t have the same kind of visual heft to it.

As to why not standardize the hitstop across a game, I feel like you’ve pretty much answered your own question. Every move isn’t supposed to be as easy to confirm as all other moves. If you’re tossing out low-risk-plus-on-block cr.LK’s, you should have to hit someone with it twice to be able to reliably confirm with it. This forces the combo to scale more heavily and ensures the attacker doesn’t get big damage from tossing out a normal that costs him almost nothing. If you eat a Hisako’s wrathless st.HK, that player has earned the right to get a single-hit damaging confirm, because they caught you with a move that takes a third of a second to come out and can be punished cleanly by a well-timed jump-in. Differing hitstop provides the look/feel “oomph” behind bigger attacks, and works hand-in-hand with actual frame advantage to help define the actual nuts and bolts of a game’s balance.

Also, SF1 was a largely terrible game that played terribly. Lack of hitstop wasn’t its only issue, but it certainly was one of them.

Yeah I didn’t sense any patronizing tone. Even if you were I would still appreciate the the effort to accomodate me by being so detailed in your explanation… thats just me… I like learning… I literally don’t even find it patronising doing tutorials where they say “D-Left moves your character left and D-Right moves your character right” I like it when some one goes through the effort to be that thorough… silly as it sounds.

I think this is what I was overlooking…

Well I mean… they could just nerf the damage on light kick or just special case the Way it scales when cancelling off of light kick specifically. But honestly… the way it works right now is just better. If it aint broke don’t broke don’t fix it, Right ? :wink:

LoL… I like how that fact did not deter Capcom from including it in the 30th Anniversary collection. That’s Confidence !!!