But Really, How Do I Ryu?

How Do I Ryu

Today’s video isn’t like anything that I’ve ever made before. It’s a Ryu tutorial. I decided to create this 15 minute segment because I have two friends who live out of state who are starting to take Street Fighter seriously for the first time. One of them actually mains Ryu, the other, well, he sorta “mains” everyone, but I’ve seen him play Ryu several times (he’s particularly fond of the ramen chef alternate costume). Truth be told, the internet has such an overwhelming amount of information about fighting games now that it can be difficult to glean what’s really important for a single character in a single game, so I did my best to toss together the things that I feel are the most important.

Here’s what I cover:

  • General approach: Hadokens and c.mk
  • Playing defensively
  • Various anti-air options
  • Various punish options
  • Important combo enders and how to get to them easily
  • ULTRA SETUPS!!!!!!!
  • Things to avoid doing

All of the tips that I offer should be taken with a grain of salt. They’re not perfect. I don’t actually play Ryu; I just have a pretty good idea of what his general game plan is because I’ve fought him thousands upon thousands of times. This video wasn’t created to turn you into John Choi or Daigo or Papa Valle, but it was created to help brand new players with a decent grasp of the game see the kinds of things that Ryus are expected to do in a relatively small amount of time. If this goes over well, I may do a (higher production quality) multi-part Ibuki tutorial, because I know a whole lot more about her. Let me know what you think!

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The Ultra SF4 Ultra Update Wish List

SSF4AE Title

Ultra Street Fighter Four, slated for realease early next year, promises a plethora of balance tweaks to the existing cast, the addition of five new characters and a handful of new stages in which to throw hams. But there are some features missing from the current iteration of the game that I feel desperately need to be added before any of this extra stuff can be exciting.

First, the game could really stand to allow players the ability to create and join Player Matches. Ranked Matches can be stressful and Endless Lobbies daunting. Sometimes you just want to hop in a queue, wait for someone else’s name to pop up, check out their win/loss ratio and disconnect status and then hop right in for some fights. Player Matches would not affect BP or PP, that would defeat the purpose; They could, though, have their own sort of win tracking just to allow players to judge who to fight and who to pass on, but that isn’t really necessary–purely a benefit I’d like to see added only if given the time.

Second, once a player match ends, allow the players to hit rematch to instantly dive back into another match. No more spending 30 seconds going through the lobby screens, no more sitting on character selection for a minute or so waiting for your opponent to decide if they want to pick Ryu for the umpteenth time, no more waiting for them to choose which ultra is best–seriously, do you really want to use ultra 2? Really?–and no more stage selection. Just a simple “rematch!” and right back into the action. Shaving off the few minutes between matches seriously adds up, especially on a tight schedule. I’ve had experiences where the time between matches was greater than the matches themselves, which drains out a lot of the fun. The addition of Player Matches could fix that problem.

Should the ability to rematch be added to Player Matches–assuming Player Matches are added at all–it would be ideal to allow for Endless Lobbies to actively shift to a “Player Match” mode when only two players occupy the lobby, regardless of its maximum capacity. Sometimes it takes a while for people to join an active lobby; Sometimes your buddy has to run to the store and grab a six pack before he accepts the game invite, but you still want to keep the lobby open for him to join when he returns, Coors in hand (poor beverage choice, by the way). The ability to actively shift between the two modes, depending on the population of the lobby may be asking a bit much, but talk about a quality of life improvement!

Speaking of quality of life improvements, what about streamers? I’ve watched lobbies run with an AFK (away from keyboard) host streaming in the past. Each time the winning player cycles through everyone and gets back to the host–who isn’t actually playing, mind you–they have to wait for the host to be cycled out and counted as away. It doesn’t take long, but again, removing these little periods of waiting stands to really increase the game’s hype potential. There are a couple of ways to fix this: First, add a host setting like is present in other fighting games (P4A comes to mind) which prevents the host from coming up in the fight queue entirely; Or, a slightly better option, allow players to toggle to “spectator mode” whenever they see it fit. This ability would enable streamers not only to host their streams without cutting into precious match times, but would also allow players to step away for a moment without worry of disrupting the flow of things and would let them hop back in when they were ready.

While we’re on the online modes kick, it’d be great to throw in an online Training Mode. If Capcom wants the title to grow well beyond where it is now, new players are going to have to be able to learn the game quickly. While online tutorials and forum posts are good, it’s hard to compete with the knowledge that can be gained from a good ol’ training session, even if it is across the country.

Lastly, learn from Mike Z. Skullgirls implemented two functions that honestly should have been standard in fighters from the moment tournaments began happening: A quick button check at the character select menu and a 15 frame hold period to pause the game so that start button slip ups don’t result in disqualification. There isn’t really much else to be said about these two features, they’re just awesome and need to be added.

Actually, no, for real lastly, make the fifth character Zubaz.

Source: Two Best Friends Play Wiki

Source: Two Best Friends Play Wiki

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Get hype! This week my first post for Thisisanothercastle went live! It’s about Divekick! Go check it out and don’t forget to sample the various other nooks of nerddom covered on the site!

Solo Commentary Round One: AE Ranked

SSF4AE Title

Today I decided to try my hand at solo live commentary for the first time. I typically try not to talk too much while I’m playing, as it’s super easy to get distracted and lose track of what’s happening in the match,but why not give it a try?  The video is actually quite long at just over 23 minutes and contains five ranked matches against (believe it or not) five different characters. I went in raw and just recorded everything until I felt that I had a decently sized chunk for upload. I opted to leave it as a whole because I actually kept talking for the duration of the video, even during the (sometimes long) lobby screens and didn’t want to get rid of anything.

It’s funny how having a recording of exactly what’s going through my head at every moment of the match allows me to see even better what I do and don’t do correctly. My bad habits–and I have quite a few–really come to the forefront. I end a lot of hit confirms with EX Tsumuji, for example. It’s a great combo ender, but works best in the corner, as it allows for a juggle with either a Kazegiri (not hard knockdown) or a Raida (hard knockdown) which allows for various different setups, some of which I show off in the video. Midscreen, though, a neckbreaker is almost always a better option to end combos. Neckbreaker sets up safe jumps, it sets up kunai and non-kunai vortexes and it causes a ton of stun. It also doesn’t cost any meter, where EX Tsumuji obviously does.

Neckbreaker changes are on the horizon, though, so shifting from my current bad habit may in turn develop a future bad habit. In Ultra, Neckbreaker will no long cause a hard knockdown. This completely changes Ibuki’s gameplan, at least at the intermediate level. MK Tsumuji’s third hit will (at least in the current notes) still cause a hard knockdown, so it will become the most obvious choice for a combo ender. Even now, MK Tsumuji can be used for safe jumps and vortex setups, but the changes coming to Ibuki seem to be shifting her in a more defensive direction. It has been stated that they are attempting to remove a lot of her vortex options. She currently has a plethora of them: off of a front throw, a back throw (in the corner), a corner Raida, a Neckbreaker, a Tsumuji, the list goes on–and I’m curious what they intend to leave intact. I don’t currently have any plans to drop her, as I’m pretty excited to see what direction she takes. I am, though, trying to pick up Makoto as an alt, because she hits like a truck and has all sorts of wacky crossunder setups which are very appealing… and she’s, y’know, not a big burly beefcake of a dude. That helps things, too…

Ronimo Aims to Add Even More Awesome to Awesomenauts

Awesomenauts Starstorm Title

Yesterday, Dutch developer Ronimo Games, creators of Swords & Soldiers and Awesomenauts, began a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the first Awesomenauts expansion: Starstorm. The team plans to bring three new characters to the game’s ever-expanding roster, as well as a host of new features. Among planned features are a global chat function which will allow players to talk strategy or simply request a game from the active players not currently in a match, a spectator mode so players can watch first hand as top teams throw down, and expanded control options for players who prefer using a control pad over a keyboard and mouse.

For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Awesomenauts seamlessly combines sweet platforming action with modern MOBA tactics. Pick your favorite ‘naut and dive into one of four beautifully designed 2D arenas and start fragging! Each kill nets Solar, which can be spent to purchase upgrades for your character. Work with your team to take out enemy creeps, turrets and eventually destroy their core in order to achieve victory.

Like any Kickstarter, the team at Ronimo also created a list of stretch goals, should their initial goal of 125,000 USD be met. The stretch goals are where the real excitement begins; Not only does the team plan to add even more characters, stages and music at different dollar intervals, they also plan to allow players access to the tools that they use when designing levels. Combine access to those tools with the integration of the Steam Workshop and you’ve got the workings for insane expandability in an already constantly-growing game. Not only will players be able to create and share maps, but they’ll also be able to modify game settings on those maps; If you just made a stage and want to fill it with Leon bots who constantly go stealth and can one shot you (wild one, aren’t you?) that looks quite possible, based on the settings screen example from the kickstarter page. The possibilities may indeed be endless.

At the $270,000 mark, Ronimo plans to add the ability for players to create custom lobbies–perhaps the most exciting feature, as it stands to correct the current game’s only glaring flaw. Now, those aiming to play a round of Awesomenauts must either form a game with friends or battle randomly-assigned other players, since there exist no parameters to set when searching for a match. Combined with a smaller-than-desirable pool from which to pull opponents, players often face off against vastly superior (or, if you’re on that end, vastly sub-par) opponents. The ability to create lobbies specifically for newbies, or specifically for pros, or even for just messing with a new character, stands to vastly improve the ability to enjoy this great game, regardless of skill level.

Typical of any Kickstarter, backers of this project receive rewards based on just how much support they show the company. Rewards range in tiers from the $5 Wood Tier, which grants various digital wallpaper downloads to the $15 Copper Tier, which nets a copy of the original game, the expansion when it releases, a full digital soundtrack, as well as the Wood Tier wallpapers, all the way up to the $10,000 Cakemantium tier (that’s what Wolverine’s skeleton is made of, right?). If you’ve got a cool 10k to throw Ronimo’s way, you’ll get to visit Ronimo studios to enjoy cake with the devs on top of other incredible rewards including, but certainly not limited to designing and voicing an exclusive character skin, naming a bot that will appear in the game, getting a copy of the game’s soundtrack on vinyl and a mention in the game’s credits.

In just one day backers have already donated over half of Ronimo’s initial goal. With almost an entire month remaining before the Kickstarter ends, fans of the game have a lot to look forward to. Awesomenauts: Starstorm is slated for release late this year and the regular version of Awesomenauts can currently be purchased through Steam, the XBox Live Arcade or the Playstation Network store. Let’s hit those stretch goals!

The Evo Redemption Reel: Ibuki Ranked Matches

SSF4AE Title

It has been almost a month since I uploaded any videos related to Street Fighter, so now feels like the right time to attempt to redeem myself for my EVO performance–It was all nerves, I promise! This week’s video shows me playing a lot more like me–plenty of vortex setups, plenty of pressure and a dash of complete disrespect for my opponents. @MostlyAdequate was still in town when these matches were recorded, so he @GilesofJosh and I decided to make a second attempt at “commentary” during the matches, mainly with the intent of testing sound levels.

These three matches were picked for today’s upload because they’re against lesser-used characters (Seth, Sakura, Rufus). The banter between the three of us strays pretty far from the matches at hand and I rarely have much to say, as I’m manning the controller, but the sound levels are much more appropriate than in Tuesday’s upload. Everything as a whole sounds just a touch quieter than it probably should, but that is easily remedied with a global volume increase.

As Ibuki, it’s easy to tell when your opponent doesn’t know the matchup. If they eat every vortex setup, consider trying some of the weird stuff that never works, because, well, maybe it’ll work. Just this once. Examples:

1) [Any Combo] xx EX Tsumuji (hard knockdown), jump, LP kunai

  • This kunai always hits the front of the opponent due to the spacing created by the Tsumuji and should honestly only be used if you’re pretty certain that they won’t know how to block it (and it’s super easy to block).
  • Like any decent Ibuki setup, this leads right into vortex.
  • If they block it once, they’ll typically block it every time. It’s just not a great setup.

2) c.HK>HK xx SJ, MK [Any Combo]

  • This setup can be easily stopped by nearly any anti-air attack. It can be dragon punched, it can be focus back dashed, Hakan can Ultra 2 it; you name it.
  • Replace the SJ MK with a SJ LK>MK for two high hits; if the opponent blocks, but doesn’t punish, consider a third overhead from F.MK.
  • Again, if this hits, it leads into vortex.

Those two setups far from exhaust the list of weird stuff that my favorite kunoichi can throw at unsuspecting opponents, but they come up in the video, so I felt them worth a mention. Be sure to check back next week for more video content and another feature article! Also, wish me luck with my first week of Grad school (it starts Monday, oh god)!

Weekly Vortex Episode 3: Tuesday Edition

Injustice Harley Quinn

I spent all of last weekend with @MostlyAdequate, a good pal of mine who flew in to see The Protomen (twice!) in my area. When we weren’t seeing their shows and consuming copious amount of adult beverages, we were pouring tons of time into every fighting game that we could before he had to make his aerial trek back home in his cloud car.

RaspingBike joined the mix and we did our best to figure out just how well my setup can capture live commentary. This involved lots of volume level tweaking and a huddling of three dudes around a central headset which was precariously perched in front of us. The matches we fought were markedly more numerous than they were serious; We were just trying to have a good time and enjoy some conversation while pummeling each other. The focus for this video, then, is actually the audio. This particular chunk weighed in barely shy of the two hour mark and I whittled it down to just over ten minutes. It’s an comedy-packed guff fest filled with talk of comics, movies and all sorts of other things and is positively loaded with NSFW language. The footage comes exclusively from Injustice: Gods Among Us, but we captured equal-length recordings from Street Fighter IV, Persona 4 Arena and Skullgirls.  that still require necessary edits in order to be consumable.

 The outcome of this video, as well as the other bits that we recorded over the weekend, has given me the confidence that my setup can handle this type of thing and produce quality results. Nothing is quite yet perfect, but everything looks and sounds very good. I hope you enjoy the video and be sure to check back Friday for some of my ranked SF IV matches with commentary from the three of us!

Turbine Turns the DC Multiverse Into a MOBAverse

Inifinite Crisis Logo

In recent years, Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBAs) have become wildly popular and it’s easy to see why: they’re easy to pick up, impossible to master, offer hours of competitive play and typically follow a free-to-play model. Developers of these titles make most of their money through the sale of newly-released characters, cosmetic character customization and UI changes that do little more than alter the game’s appearance. These micro transactions are enticing; A couple of two dollar purchases here and there appeal to gamer wallets much more than a single, chunky, 60 dollar box price, and since the purchased items typically have no impact on actual game play mechanics, the games can be played entirely for free, should the player see it fit.

It’s hard to believe that the entire MOBA genre sprang from a single community-made Warcraft 3 mod, but what began over a decade ago as something so simple has since spawned an alarming amount of titles. Games like League of Legends and DotA2, Heroes of Newerth and Smite, Bloodline Champions and more. Turbine Entertainment, creators of Asheron’s Call have decided to try their hand at the genre with their upcoming title, Infinite Crisis. In this super-powered title, Turbine pits DC characters against one another in a battle for control of different famed segments of the DC universe. Two teams of five heroes take to the lanes and battle one another in a very typical MOBA fashion: killing creeps and enemy champions to accrue experience points in order to level up and gold to spend on new equipment. Each hero sports an always-on passive ability, three normal abilities and an ultimate ability. During any normal encounter, players can expect to make us of all of their normal abilities, but it takes a special occasion to warrant the use of an ultimate ability. In the case of Green Lantern, he should wait until a cluster of enemy heroes are taking damage at once before he calls into existence a construct jet and slams it into them, causing massive damage and a one second stun to all caught within its area of effect.

The current cast of available characters features DC staples such as Batman, The Joker and Doomsday, but to add variety, and nearly endless expandibility to the game’s roster, Turbine has already begun to tap into alternate DC timelines. Currently, the roster draws from six of the 52 alternate DC Earths: Prime, the “regular” Earth from which all of the popular heroes sprang; Arcane, home to magic-based heroes and an Earth enveloped in eternal darkness due to the Shadow League extinguishing it’s sun; Atomic, an Earth ripped apart by nuclear war; Gaslight, an Earth inspired by Victorian-era steampunk culture; Nightmare, an Earth where legendary creatures like vampires are a reality and have turned some heroes and villains into one of their own; and Mecha, an Earth where heroes were built, not born. These alternate Earths currently offer up characters like Nightmare Batman and Gaslight Joker, who look and play completely differently from their Prime counterparts.

Gotham Heights

Gotham Heights

Tapping into the DC multiverse offers further expansion to the game in the form of a nearly limitless offering of battle locales. For now, only one map can be played by the general closed-beta public: Gotham Heights. It offers a single lane of battle that wraps a circular path around the outskirts of the map. Evenly spaced along this lane reside five control points and in the center of the map is a sixth, massive control point. Each team controls a different power core. In order to secure victory, your team must be the first to destroy the opposing team’s core. Damage can be dealt to the enemy core two ways: first, each control point that your team claims deals damage to the enemy core at set intervals, so the team who controls the most points for the longest period will jump ahead in points; second, when the middle control point becomes active, the team to first claim it sends a massive blast from an orbital cannon directly into the enemy’s core. The inclusion of the orbital cannon allows for interesting strategies to develop. Is the damage that the cannon causes worth sending multiple team members to claim it? Doing so could allow for the enemy team to claim all of the control points left uncontested for doing so, for example.

Infinite Crisis is currently in closed beta and only last week went live for 24/7 play. Beta keys are readily available through various social media outlets, as well as through their website. Sign up and check it out for yourself!