- This article is about defining how frames are used to count actions in Street Fighter games. For the definition of frames and the various types, see Frame.
Frame Data is a term used to describe actions in the Street Fighter series.
Frame Data is not a gameplay element, rather a term used to describe various actions in Street Fighter. Modern Street Figther games run at 60 FPS (frames per second). This is vital to the game running smoothly. For PC ports of the game it is highly recommended that users tone down graphics and other settings to ensure that the machine can run the played game at a steady 60 FPS.
In Street Fighter, Frame Data usually refers to the following actions.
- The startup of the attack.
- The amount of frames the attack is in terms of who recovers first after a hit or Block.
- The recovery of the attack. (The first three are often grouped together also).
- The Screen Freeze of the attack (although not really important in the main games aside from confirming).
Using Ibuki's standing medium kick, It has a startup of 6 frames, this means that it will take 6 out of 60 frames per second to hit an opponent. Attacks that successfully hit opponents tend to have more frame advantage (frame advantage refers to the +frames on the opponent) than blocked attacks (but there are attacks that are negative even on hit). Ibuki's same standing Medium Kick will be +5 on hit (not counting Counter Hits), allowing Ibuki to combo with her standing LK that starts up at 4 frames, a 2 frame link (link refers to an two consecutive attacks that are stringed by frame data rather than Cancels or Target Combos or similar mechanics that can just easily lead to the other.
On block Ibuki is +2 on the same attack, meaning she can Pressure Cammy with attacks such as her standing MP, an attack that has 5 frame startup leaving a gap of 3 frames, or her standing LK, an attack that has a 4 frame startup. As the fastest normals in Street Fighter tend to be 3 frame startup with no invincibility if Cammy tries to attack with a normal she will be Counter Hit. Lastly recovery refers to the amount of frames after the attacking portion that it takes for the attacking character to be able to perform an action again.
Some attacks such as Ken's Shoryuken has a high amount of negative frames on block, referring to the term "unsafe" generally -5 is considered unsafe, but some attacks such as Fei Long's Rekka use distance to be safe rather than positive frame data. Rufus's crouching hard punch can be as negative as -16 on block and -12 on hit but the distance of the attack in terms of where it leaves Rufus and the opponent leaves most of the cast unable to punish on time.
Safe refers to an attack that is usually negative 1 or 2, most of the cast can not punish this. Ibuki's fastest normal is 3 frame for instance, the fastest kind of normal in the game. Against characters without 3 frame attacks -3 can also be considered safe and treated as -2 against these opponents. This is sometimes also referred to as "Losing your turn", meaning it is usually (but not always) advised to block after these actions.
Punishable refers to attacks that can be punished by opponents. This is usually -3 and up.
Be made safe
Attacks that can be made safe are usually punishable, but can be used at specific distance or spacing to put them out of the range of the opponent's attacks that could punish the negative frame data. Fei Long is a notable user of this tactic.
A meaty is the act of hitting an attack at a frame after the initial active frame (usually the last). Such a tactic allows for otherwise unusable link. An example would be Ibuki hitting her standing HK at meaty timing allows her to link into her 5 frame MP rather than her jab for more damage. This also makes attacks less negative to positive on block.
A link is the act of using two attacks that are allowed by frame data, such as Ibuki's MP that is +4 on hit into her 4 frame LK, making a combo from a 1 frame link.
A blockstring is using positive block frame data to punish opponents who are trying to hit back on negative frame data. Commonly used to set up Tick Throws, using a positive attack to discourage button pressing then throwing the opponent. This is also commonly called "Pressure". An example of a block string would be Ibuki's +2 crouching jab into her 3 frame jab.
Active frames are the frames before the recovery frames that have the hitbox of the attack ongoing. An example is Ibuki's Crouching Medium Punch, which has 5 active frames of attacking before retracting.
On older games such as Street Fighter X Tekken that do not display frame data on training mode frame data can still be detected manually. A reliable capture method is required that can capture 60 FPS. Some capture methods record at frames such as 58.941 that leave a higher margin for error.
An attack can be taken to a video editor and frames can be counted after Inputs are shown. Frame by Frame counting can be seen easily and video editors that can render individual images can see the user see the individual frames of the attack before it hits. A side benefit is potential hurtbox and hitbox quirks that can be spotted with frame by frame viewing rather than using the game's regular running speed.
Some attacks, such as Super Arts and Critical Arts have cinematic where the character does an action before the attack comes out. In terms of frame data the term "Cinematic Frames" is used to explain how long the cutscene plays before the attack actually activates. For Example in Street Fighter X Tekken Ibuki's Yoroitoshi has a 1 frame startup, meaning it takes a single frame for it to start hitting. The Cinematic frames take a total of 63 frames, but the game freezes aside from the timer during these frames. Characters with long startup cinematic frames tend to be great for Time Overs when the clock is low, refereed to as a "Timer Scam" and characters with faster cinematic both pre and post hit tend to be better for comebacks.