Tekken Tag Tournament 2/System/Frames Part-1

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This series of lessons are aimed to introduce the offensive systems Tekken has, which include hit ranges, throws, crush system, frames and the combo system, in a way that the readers can take advantage of this system in a fight.


Frames What? pt.1


  • To fully explain the concept of frames in a intuitive way
  • To introduce impact and recovery frames

When you read the TZ forums, except for button commands, you might see some random numbers littering around with +12 or -14 or some random algebra numbers that makes us look geniuses (and makes you lost on the way too). Don't worry, this lesson is here to make you a genius! (well, not really). Actually, we're just talking about frames, and it's an important part of the gameplay in Tekken. Don't worry, the concept of frames is actually very simple!

Frames What?

Have you ever wondered how some movies animate in your monitor or TV? Your TV uses a series of still pictures that succeeds each other really fast, giving our eyes the illusion that the whole thing is actually moving. Guess what, each still picture is called a frame. At least you're getting the idea now. Frames are used to animate stuff that you see, and Tekken also uses that. As a consequence, each and every move you and your opponent does are confined strictly (and precisely) by frames too.

Because of this, frames are widely used to precisely measure anything about speed. In a perfect tourney world where no lag is supposed to exist, Tekken shows up 60 frames per each second, so if some move is described to move 10 frames then:

10 frames / 60 frames-per-second = 1/6 second. So, a 10-frame move is a sixth of a second.

(Also, if you asked, "Why use frames...?" We have used frames a lot, instead of actual time unit in seconds, because it makes computations easier. Trust me, as you can see, converting to seconds gives you fractions, and adding fractions and infinitely reaching decimals is a pain. Also, everything moves faster than a second, so using a unit smaller than a second helps).

Frames as Move Properties

There's this note about boxing (or in any striking art) that when you do an attack, somehow you usually leave some part of your body wide-open, and martial artists are trained to seize that opportunity to strike. This idea applies to Tekken A LOT.

When you do an ordinary move in Tekken, you cannot block until the rest of the animation is finished. That means there's a specific time interval that you can be freely hit by someone after you do the move. Of course, each and every move can be fast or slow, and the window of opportunity depends on that. That's how frames come in and play. We use frames to measure that time where your opponent can't block, and use an appropriate move fast enough to hit him in that time.

We can divide the move frames in two frame intervals, the impact frames and recovery frames. Startup frames (also called Impact frames) are the time before the move actually makes contact with your opponent, Active Frames are the frames that a attack would occur, and Recovery frames are the time after the hit. You cannot block during all the time intervals, but getting hit during the Impact frames hurts more and can put you in more funky stuff like stuns or even a juggle, depending on the move that hit you.

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