Tekken Tag Tournament 2/System/Hitboxes and Range
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.
- Strikes and Hit Ranges
- Frames #1: Explanation
- Frames #2: CH-Hunting
- Frames #3: Block Punishing
- Crush System
- Hitboxes and Range
- Parries and Reversals
- Throws #1: Front, Side, Back
- Throws #2: Crouch, Ground, Air
- Throws #3: Shifts, Chains, Tackles
- Combos #1: Launchers and Bounds
- Combos #2: Stage Gimmicks
- The Art of Buffering
Hitboxes and Range
- To show how hitboxes work in a fighting game
- To re-introduce pushback, range of moves, and how it affects punishing
On this chapter we're gonna describe hitboxes and how they work. The whole concept of it is pretty easy to grasp but its effects can be felt in the game. Most of this chapter focuses on things that affect punishing, and how your attack ranges can greatly affect your punishing capabilities.
You know that for you to strike and inflict hurt to someone in real life, you need to basically move your body part so that it will hit your opponent's body. (Duh). It kinda works the same way in fighting games but with a few little difference. Unlike in real life, fighting games doesn't rely on real physics to preserve competitive balance. Instead of making the actual character models to collide to each other, the game uses "hitboxes", which is an space around the models. Those hitboxes are the one colliding and they are either bigger or smaller than the models depending on how the developers see fit.
Why put this hitboxes you ask? Well, the problem is if we use real life physics in this game, it will produce many inconsistencies that is very destructive in a fighting game. Smaller chars will be harder to hit, a hit can cause different stuns and basically, all the moves you have will have different effects everytime, making the whole game based on randomness. This why fighting games use hitboxes and moves with predetermined effects to remove the majority of inconsistencies.
Due to hitboxes, many moves in this game have definite range and properties that's close to consistent, so if you do a specific move before, you're gonna be sure that it will still have the same hitbox and same effects when you do it again...
One of the most evident effect about hitboxes is it determines the range of your attacks. Remember that it's the hitbox of the characters that's colliding instead of the character models. What this means is the range of your attacks doesn't solely depend of your character's limb size. Some characters attacks appear to have shorter range than what they look like (i.e. Marduk VTS f+2) and the opposite is true too, that some attacks have way bigger hitboxes than they look (Mishima EWGF).
Unlike Soul Calibur, Tekken doesn't solely rely much on attack ranges but there are still noteworthy. First of all, whiff punishment hurts in this game and just a small whiff of your attacks can mean big damage coming to you. Even the safest of jabs can be punished so hard if it misses. You don't want to get hit just because you didn't quite reach your opponent. Remember that whiff punishment is one of the ways to look out for damage in the game, so it's pretty important that you don't want to miss attacks without purpose. There are many whiff punishers around each characters and many characters actually specializes for it (i.e. Mishimas, Wang etc.). The same holds true to misjudging your opponents range, as you don't want to get hit by a move with a so-called "phantom hitbox" (a move that has a bigger hitbox/range than it looks). This is important when you are trying to bait your opponent. By knowing your opponent's range of their attacks, you can use your movement skills accordingly.
A more noteworthy stuff about hitboxes is its importance on block punishing. There is this property called pushback that makes many powerful-looking moves safer that it should. How? Let me give you an example:
One famous move is Paul's Deathfist (qcf+2). The move is famous for being a long-range mid that will make you cringe if you get counterhit by it. The whole thing removes half of your lifebar on clean CH hit (and just imagine if he got bonus rage damage). Of course, with its power, there's gotta have drawbacks. According to frame data, Deathfist is -17 on block, that usually means you can punish it with almost anything on block, preferably with a hopkick, but when you watch games, you don't see Paul getting punished much. Why is that?
This is where pushback comes in. Paul's Deathfist pushes the opponent away from him that most regular punishers won't hit him because it's a bit far away. This can mean two things. If you don't have a long range punisher, Deathfist will be technically safe on block and Paul can get away with spamming the move if you keep blocking it. (This is the same reason why we say that frames are important but not THAT important). Now, we need to not only consider how fast the move can be to be a effective punisher, we also need to look at its range. Many reliable punishers doesn't only have big range hitbox but also consistent that it will always hit.
With this in mind, it's more important to know your punishers than how much frames on block your opponent's moves are. I'm not downplaying frame knowledge here, what I'm saying is why do we need to know it with great detail if you don't have the right punishers in the first place? Many players are being overwhelmed by frames despite using characters like Steve who obviously have weak punishers. What's more important is to continuously gain experience fighting a specific character. Remember that frame data is more helpful with accompanied experience against the character.