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Harada on Revealing Frame Data in Tekken Games

On twitter, Kurokuro asked Harada about displaying official frame data into the Tekken games since it would make his job of creating some match videos with frame data much more easier (Knee Kumite). Harada responds with a lengthy tweet that goes into the decision of not displaying the frame data and the implications of him revealing it. It's quite an interesting read but it's all in Japanese so I took the liberty of translating the whole tweet for us English readers.


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  • It is of course possible to display the frame data within the game but I wouldn't do it. Including the entire frame data (the time and range of an attack's data) into the game, there are things to consider when you give the player access to this data.


  • If players could easily have access to such data within the game, it will allow players to uncover and find out the intricacies and details about characters and their moveset much faster which can lead to an impact on the game's lifespan. (The game's 'discovery' period will be shortened as the answers are easily available in game for instance)


  • This also has an effect on the players who like to strategize and discuss the game's characters and balance since all their arguments will no longer be arguments since there will be the ultimate authority: a - 'word of god' in the game. (This is but a side-effect however.)


  • Harada brings up a small example 'scene' that he always see within the players from time to time. The example is that a skilled player and another player but isn't that skilled with the games are talking about a certain move and it's frame data (How bad is that move on block? For instance) within the game. They both give out what they think is the right frame data about a move but in most cases their answers will be different since there are players that base their information from different places. They could get the data from say their own study inside practice mode or from what they hear from other players as well as looking up the data on an internet website or strategy guide.


  • Harada cites a common phrase 'demo frame jan?' (it's a phrase that means 'but frame is X?' but in English we would normally say 'but isn't that move X frames?') that people like to use in discussing how bad a move is. However this is only a single piece of information within a move and doesn't account for other factors within the game like it's range or how long it takes for the move to come out. (will your jabs actually reach the -10 move you blocked?)


  • For example, in Soul Calibur the game's hand-to-hand weapon based combat system means the range on moves is typically long. You'll have to factor in move's frame data as well as the range of your character's moves if you want to punish certain attacks making punishment hard in such a game.  Especially within matches since the player must factor in the information and calculate if he can punish a certain move in a fast paced instant. Therefore players tend to develop a 'sense' within playing the game in regards to dealing with moves.


  • Additionally in certain cases, some moves may have the same start-up frames but differ with their animation causing players to have trouble telling how bad a move may be on block. This instance in which a player may not know the data behind certain moves can form alternate strategies behind different players. So if a player doesn't realize he can punish a move because it is -14, he might opt to say run in and throw the opponent. The case in which he does not know the data forms a different outcome inside matches which is due to what an opponent knows and doesn't know. The different level of game knowledge between players is an important factor in fighting games.


  • If the frame data was displayed and freely available, every single player would easily have the 'answers' to moves and situations an opponent can throw at you basically.


  • Another example, if you were to look at Tekken 6 or TTT2 Heihachi's and only look at his frame data you may find out that he may not actually be a good character due to how bad his frame data may appear to be. (Given if you knew the frame data) However when playing against Heihachi inside a match, certain players may say that he has good moves since they feel that might not be able to punish an attack after blocking them since they see a bit of a 'heavy' guard after blocking it (this type of player feedback is considered quantitive data). As a matter of fact, Harada mentions that in T6 that they partially experimented with Heihachi's movelist to see the kind of impression his attacks would give to players.


  • Certain impressions like 'that move is scary after blocking it,' or 'that move is really punishable' that players tend to 'feel' in matches are important in the thinking process as players calculate and strategize with what they can get within the matches against an opponent.


  • Since the moves in the Tekken games tend to have differing data on start-up and on block, one of the more interesting elements in the games tend to be seeing how different opponents deal with the same situation in matches.


  • But seeing as that learning the frame data behind moves is an activity for the dedicated, hardcore players of fighting games, they will mostly already know most of the frame data and answers to situations so this isn't really an issue.


  • With that, if players knew the frame data along with the other factors that surround it behind moves, it may form players unconsciously playing in a 'flowchart' manner in matches. but if you don't know the frames and particulars behind certain moves, then seeing players discover new and different things and forming tactics and then using that new discovery inside matches and seeing if they succeed or fail is part of the fun of the Tekken games.


  • But in any case it seems to be that when the matches in fighting games get intense, players will often do certain moves without thinking about how bad it is or considering it's frame data.


  • When it comes to arguing the balance of the Tekken games, I don't consider players saying certain moves are bad only because of the frame data's numerical value. Because as I mentioned earlier, there a lot more factors in moves to consider like the animation, range, reach, if your opponent is sharp enough to block it etc.


  • If it does come to that case in which players judged a move only by it's frame date, I normally say 'You've judged in a position in which a human will pile in all that frame data, now judge them on whether or not they can act with it.' Players must evaluate a move on paper and in game being played by humans basically before considering balance changes.


  • So we concluded that we can't prove and make arguments for balance changes to the Tekken games solely on frame data that players may complain about. I consider whether or not these players understand the underlying context in which the moves are in to be important. (It's not the move's fault, it's your use of it.) **FW: He didn't exactly say that but he pretty much meant that**


  • So it's for that reason that we don't display frame data in replay match recordings. If we did, I think that once you see all that data you will all be suprised as all the internet character ranking lists (tier lists) will be different from what they are now.


  • So that would be the conclusion right? Things would be different if we revealed the frame data. It would be a lot less interesting and reduce the fun since it will become the official Tekken bible among communities.


  • However the frame data in what oneself may feel about it, there are some good thoughts processes that you might run into like having a move with good frames (numerically) but you later find out that you hate throwing it out since it might have poor reach and sticks your character out into a scary postion (whiff) for example.


  • To reassert myself, I feel like I do not want a mode where you can see entire frame data in the game. (especially in a game like Tekken.)

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Reader Comments (29)

this is the worst thing ive have ever heard him saying!!! is he serious??? do this guy thinks we dont have lives and we only play tekken? i dont agree with this at all, MOST of us (like 95%) of the community have real live jobs, family and stuff....we dont have time to be spending half of our lives discovering frame datas and stuff, we have more important thing to do to.....we already have them and only few players know most of the characters frames data, most only know a few moves only or the ones that people tend to spam with them, not the whole commmand list (they are way to long to learn them all with 50+ characters), so basically if he does this, he closing the gap between normal day people and the ones that doesnt have anything to do (people with money that doesnt need to work or pros that are paid for it) and can waste their time doing this and nothing more, so basically, tekken will be a community where you only see pros (paid to play) and nobody else....... this is sick and stupid!!!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterharada

I agree, this type of archaic thinking is why japanies companies are trailing the west. Vf5fs has frame data in game, so why can't tekken. This game is deep enough that frame data would only enrich the experience. Its like if two people played chess, and only one person knew how all the players moved. How is that fair, balanced? What's that, the queen can move ANYWHERE? Checkmate in three moves. Game over. Time to go play checkers, chess doesn't make any sense.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterStarman

Yo to street fighter player above me i kind of understand because back during the tag 1 days playstyles were so different now playstyles are cookie cut and paste everbody pulling junkyard and everybody pulling hwoarangs safe stutter kicks. Frame might be good for the intellectual but it might ruin the exploration of the game as a whole due only using certain moves than others. Tekken players arent as much sellouts as other communities, at least in recent no collusion has happened even with korean players. So to the commentator above it tell that capcum guzzler to back off.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter

i dont really care about the article but good shit to wonkey for translating! you really do so much for the tk community!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterbrnsntrn

He has good points but I still want to someday their version of the frame data. At least for the older Tekken games.

Say Namco releases Tekken 5.0 and 5.1 HD. It will be great if people could compare the frame data we have on the internet with frame data from the developers. If there were differences and errors in the frame data we'd been using, then perhaps for the future Tekken games people would revise their methods they had been on figuring the frames, or even look for better ways.

I mean if they released frame data for the older Tekken games, because most people would be playing the same way they did years ago.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterL_Z_N

He has good points but I still want to someday their version of the frame data. At least for the older Tekken games.

Say Namco releases Tekken 5.0 and 5.1 HD. It will be great if people could compare the frame data we have on the internet with frame data from the developers. If there were differences and errors in the frame data we'd been using, then perhaps for the future Tekken games people would revise their methods they had been on figuring the frames, or even look for better ways.

I mean if they released frame data for the older Tekken games, most people would be playing the same way they did years ago.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterL_Z_N

I partially agreed with Harada. The thorough frame data can be obtain by
cam-record analysis, and they'll go viral fast enough by the Internet. I can
imagine someday Harada will attempt to forbid the discussion of the data
in the internet, and apparently, he's pretty much an Internet hater and
a supporter to a censored Internet, sadly.

Now Harada just told me that Tekken is the type of the game that can only
survive in an locked Animal Farm. If there's no information censorship,
Tekken isn't the only fighting game in the scene, or if there's any strong
competitor like Blazblue, Harada won't be happy. Perhaps he'll change his
mind when he release Tekken 7/X1 at 2017, and find that - while they will have
made a new gaming system, they don't support the game fast enough
and will end up being dominated by another Blazblue or KOF, then he will
start publishing the frames in the console version.

Hmmm... actually SF, KOF, BB and etc didn't include the data in their
arcade games, and DOA5 and Injustice reveals pretty much everything
at start and sneaked into the mainstream quickly. Maybe there's actually
just little impacts with the frame data publication.....

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered Commenterwm4

Much thanks to Flying Wonkey for translating this, I appreciate your skill and work.

I agree with Harada-san, in that frame data should NOT be released. Exploration of the game will be required, and yes, people will have to experiment with moves. As Harada-san stated, this will increase the longevity of a game, which a game SHOULD have. Not this 1-year game lifecycle dilemma we constantly see. TTT2 has incredible longevity, and I think it should be maintained. Admittedly though, there may be a divide between those who know the game and those who do not. But that's life. Those who have researched the game will recall certain things that others might not. Should one have to go to Tekken University (zaibatsu, avoidinghthepuddle, youtube) in order to more fully understand the game? It seems so. But perhaps that is why there should be an emphasis on teaching the game in an efficient/substantial way, or implementing things like rage mode, or even invincible moves to ease novices in. New people can enjoy a deep fighting engine as long as they are accommodated in some sort of significant fashion, whether it be rage, or teaching methods. I don't think handing out frame data is a necessary way to accommodate the new guy.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

and this makes me love killer instinct, double helix, mss even more. good point with vf showing frame data. come on harada change it up. ty wonkey for the translation and article.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered Commenternick

Dear Harada, I partially agree with you but you should admit that what you said it's also meant like,from what I understood "it's a your problem, have fun looking each for each moves in practise mode for every characters" ...I do already it sometimes and it's quite frustrating,do you want to know why? (a side problem though) Happens very often to play with a normal tv e since the major part doesn't have a 'monitor zero lag', frame testing would not be very accurate...I know,it should be a my problem but I think that we should find also a "point of meet" . Every characters has 100+ moves, I don't think it's so that much funny pass 2 hours and more (depends also on character's move list,ok) to see/understand all 50 charsx100 moves, considering also the fact that anyone can't love every character for pass so much time for each... Anyway I think I will become crazy!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterSyl

Harada is out of head.
Show the frame data reveals just how is stupid the tekken team work.
Study the frame data is just the beginning of a good player and can dedicate time to be more creative ti use every single moves.
Hrada go home and change work.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterEvildice ITA

harada should chec this intervieuw the true tekken god itself say 9:39 "FRAME DATA"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterdivty

I don't see this as too much of an issue. Frame data can be easily obtained in websites and forums. To be a high level Tekken plays requires more then just knowing frame data obviously.

But at least include the frame data in the strategy guides.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterskpg

I thought it was for quarters.
8] ha-ha!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkiChan

Holy shit...This guy doesn't recognize how painful it is to blindly suffer through the hundreds of moves in the games.


The Tekken clearly doesn't know how to design an intuitive fun game anymore and it CLEARLY shows with TTT2's design.

I wonder what logic they have with fucking bear feets being so far back.

They are NEVER serious about making the games accessible or Logical.

Honestly they deserved that TTT2 didn't sell well.After hearing this bullshit 1989 method of thinking.

There are TOO MANY CHARACTERS, MOVES,CRUSH SYSTEM AND OTHER BULLSHIT in your games HARADA.This logic isn't VIABLE with your current games.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterWakeup

even if the frame data were released not every tekken player would bother to go through every detail. As skpg already posted -
"Frame data can be easily obtained in websites and forums. To be a high level Tekken plays requires more then just knowing frame data obviously."

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 2:08 AM | Unregistered Commenterluckydaniel

This on the heels of the RPG pay to win mess that is Tekken Revolution... Harada go home, you're drunk. Or too old.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 3:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterBob

Harada hitting that coke again. No way in hell I would waste coins at an arcade trying to learn a character like hwoarang over jack where I could keep playing in a line and ranking up. He doesn't like that math making subjective thinking obsolete? He needs to get on Kor's academy and argue with people who consider lightingscrew being the best move and unpunishable for about 2h, that would set his head straight.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 3:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterReality

ingame frame data? even more overwhelming for new players.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 5:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterHades

Wow, people are so bent out of shape about this. Just go on TZ, inatekken or rbnorway to look up framedata, it has been this way forever. Why now are you guys so buttdevastated?
No frame data display in next tekken? Whoop dee doo, been there, done that. Whatever.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaptain Child Molester

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