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What is it and how is it used in fighting games

What is it and how is it used in fighting games

Frame data is a fighting game term that refers to the mathematics behind every hit and interaction during matches. This is one of the most advanced materials when we think of learning games of this type. Although it doesn’t have to be fun, understanding and interpreting strike animation frames is a way to improve your gameplay, as it helps to get a sense of what gets punished and even organize combos. In this sense, Street Fighter 6 is one of the best titles to delve into the subject, as it features a training mode complete with a frame meter.

Sometimes players encounter resistance to frame data, as the tables with numbers released by the community on social networks are very scary. Fortunately, current games make this task much clearer and easier to understand. It should be noted that this knowledge applies to all fighting games, including those already available, such as Street Fighter 5 and Mortal Kombat 11, as upcoming releases, including Tekken 8 and Mortal Kombat 1. In the following lines, TechAll Details what frame data is and how it is used to improve fighting games. paying off:

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Strike animations in fighting games are divided into initial, active, and recovery frames, respectively – Image: Reproduction/Bruno Magalhaes

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What are the tires?

Frames are used as a unit of measurement and determine the correct time to perform each action in fighting games. The attacks are organized into three different parts.

  • Initial Frames: Relates to the first frames of your attack animation, before you hit the opponent;
  • Active frames: the moment when the hit appears the collision box (hitbox) and begins to hit the opponent;
  • Recovery Frames: This occurs when the hit square disappears and the attacking character returns to fighting mode, thus weakened and unable to perform any further action (such as defending himself) until the end of the animation
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Games of this type usually run at 60 frames per second, that is, frames per second. This is an expression gamers are used to hearing, referring to the number of times the screen refreshes, in a split second, to display the user’s animated image. Knowing these three different parts can be the difference between an average user and a fighting game expert.

Street Fighter 6 features a full frame-scale training mode РImage: Reproduction / Bruno Magalḥes

Positive and negative strikes

The true value of frame data lies in the interaction with the corresponding character. When the blow is parried, the opponent will naturally also go into a defense recovery move, called blockstun. This is where the concept of positive and negative strikes comes in.

In short, positive strikes mean that the attacker has the frame advantage at the time of defense, so he can continue to maintain his pressure. The defender is obliged to respect the opponent’s role, because he risks being interrupted if he presses any button. Negatives indicate that the attacker is at a frame disadvantage, as the opponent recovers first from the blockstun and so can compete. In other words, the turn is always in the hands of whoever recovers first after blocking an attack.

Punishable strikes can also be taken safely if they are well spaced, as is the case with the Kami medium kick – Image: Reproduction/Bruno Magalhaes

In Street Fighter 6, the faster buttons, which tend to be weak punches or kicks, have four starting frames. So, if the defending hit is -4 in defense, it becomes what we call penalizing, since there is nothing the opponent can do to prevent the skill from entering. Depending on how passive the attack is, you can find better buttons to award penalties that deal more damage, like a medium punch or even a strong punch.

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In this sense, it’s interesting to test how fast your character’s buttons can be when the frame meter is turned on. Likewise, it is always a good idea to test positive or negative commands when defended by an opponent. This is necessary for the player to be able to effectively maintain his offense during the matches.

In higher ranked matches, players tend to be more aware of penalized moves when they are blocked. If you’re the type who likes to make passes, that explains why you’re punished with a back (or even more painful combo) when you’re being defended by an opponent, for example. This is the calculation behind playing fighting games.

How do groups work?

Similar to blockstun, there is hitstun. As the name implies, this is the animation when a character collides head-on with an opponent’s attack. Depending on the command selected, the attacker has a certain framework advantage. If he presses another button quickly enough during the strike, it is possible to create a combo, that is, a chain of attacks that cannot be defended.

For example, Cammy’s Crouching Heavy Punch in Street Fighter 6 gives her a seven frame advantage (+7) when she hits. This is more than enough to fix the average perched punch, which has exactly seven starting frames. Therefore, these two buttons combine and form a combo.

Understanding frame data also helps and discover combo methods in fighting games – Image: Disclosure / Capcom

Looking at the frame feature for commands when hitting an opponent is an effective way to learn combos. It is even possible to make some movements more positive, especially when we press a button at the moment the opponent wakes up. This is possible because it is common for buttons to have more than one active window, represented by the red blocks on the game counter. Therefore, if this is done under certain conditions, it is possible to hit the opponent in the last active frames of the movement, which will correspondingly increase your advantage. This is called “meaty”.

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With more frame advantages, it is possible to create combinations with buttons that would not work under normal circumstances. Still using Cammy as an example, she can unleash a spiral arrow, lunge and hit a medium punch the moment the opponent gets up. This makes the button hit the last of the active frames, allowing you to release with a powerful standing punch if it hits the opponent. If the button is defended, it becomes more positive and the turn remains for the attacker. It is a very useful technology.


Learning about fighting games is gradual, but taking the first steps in topics like frame data is definitely something that helps to see games from a different angle. It’s worth remembering that this is thought of for those who want to get better at fighting games, and not necessarily for those who just want to have casual fun.

The trend is for new fighting games to bring a training room with everything users need to immerse themselves in frame data. Such is the case of Mortal Kombat 1, which already had, in the command menu, a breakdown of the animation frames for each of the moves in the latest online stress test. The greatest satisfaction in fighting games is constantly punishing your opponents, so this knowledge is key to avoid exposing yourself and knowing the gaps to victory.