Zoning/Spacing and other Fundamentals

Myztek

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#1
EDIT Here are some videos that I find to be very informative.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfBuAo_Bfvw <-- This is a tutorial by Lucien that talks about spacing in Smash. It's a good visual representation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBUe7HkRkNM&feature=channel_video_title <-- This video is from Street Fighter, but the lesson can be applied to Smash. Also a good visual representation of proper zoning and spacing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PTgQeSG1oA&feature=channel_video_title <-- This is the first video I ran across when looking for videos about spacing. It's also focused on Street Fighter, but it shows just how well pro-level players space when they're playing. Again, this can be applied to Smash to some degree.

Don't shrug off the two additional videos simply because they're Street Fighter related. The third one I really enjoyed, because he uses matches from tournaments to represent what he's talking about. Spacing is pretty much universal in the realm of the fighting game genre.



This thread is meant to inform new players, or those looking to improve, of tactics that are necessary to play at high levels. Specifically, I will be covering the importance of zoning/spacing. If something as simple as hitting someone with the tip of Marth's sword vs hitting someone with the inner part of Marth's sword is the extent of your knowledge on spacing, then a lot can be learned from reading this.

Before I begin with the discussion of spacing, I'm going to cover a few bits of information that I feel are important. If any of the preceding information seems redundant to you, then feel free to skip to the section that covers spacing.

1. Tech Skill - Contrary to the belief of some, focusing purely on becoming god-like with tech skill is not key to being a better player. In fact, as long as you have a grasp of L-cancelling, wavedashing, SHFFLing, DI [direction influence], and the basics, you don't really need to dig much deeper. Of course, there are character-specific techniques such as double jump cancelling, waveshining, and so-forth that are essential to getting the most out of your character; but if you've hit a plateau and you can't understand why you're not improving, then there's a very good chance it has nothing to do with your technical ability. It doesn't matter if you can waveshine perfectly, multishine, moonwalk, platform cancel, double stick DI, or whatever flashy technique you prefer; You can know every combo in the game, but unless you are able to defend and approach at the right times, you will never make an opening for your combo, and you will be punished repeatedly for trying to perform an action in a situation where it is not appropriate.

2. Tunnel Vision - Have you ever been playing, and you suddenly feel the urge to pull off a specific combo, fancy trick, or maybe you just really want to land a Falcon Punch or waveshine someone across Final Destination? Well, stop it. I'm calling it tunnel vision, because it's basically a case of narrowing your thinking down to one option. You have one goal in site, and that's it. The effect of tunnel vision is that you'll end up trying to force moves into situations where they aren't appropriate and probably far from the best option; the end result is being punished by your opponent. Play according to the situation, and you will have much higher success rates.

3. Auto-pilot - This can be just as deadly as tunnel vision, if not more so. Playing on auto-pilot is just as the name implies. Instead of strategizing against your opponent's play style, you're just going through a preset rhythm. You may have picked this rhythm up from practicing tech skill for hours against a CPU or possibly other means. But, either way, this is not how you want to be playing. Aimlessly running in at your opponent will get you punished; it's thoughtless, unreliable, and very predictable. Instead, stay conscious thinking during your match. Every human has different patterns, play styles, and habits. Your goal is to pay attention to your opponent and figure out how you can take advantage of their play style. Maintaining an active mind during play takes focus, and the best players are able to stay in that mindset.

4. Game Knowledge - Simply put, game knowledge consists of things like what moves beat what, what your character's advantages over your opponent's character are, what works on what stages, and so on. All of this information is gained from experience and is extremely important. Game knowledge is required to have a more successful spacing game.

5. Patience - I'll begin this segment with a post made by Mang0. (editted for readability) "Once there was a great man named Gimpyfish who told me something that changed my life =). He said 'You don't have to go to him if you don't want him.' Which means, like when someone is camping you, you don't have to go to them all the time. JUST BE PATIENT!!! And keep your spacing, people.". Now we're approaching the main topic of zoning/spacing. But let's go over patience first. Mang0 makes an excellent point here. You can stay in your safe zone and wait. You don't have to run at your opponent at every given moment to try and start a combo or get a grab. Wait for the opportunity! This is not to say that you should never approach. Depending on the matchup, approaching is sometimes a great option. But if your opponent is good at defense and being patient, running in will get you punished almost every time. If you're going to run in, run in with a plan. I'll steal something else from Mang0 here. In the Puff vs Marth matchup, Marth has the superior spacing game. However, one strategy, as Mang0 suggests, (as the puff player) is to run in and shield. This may bait the Marth into using an attack, which then gives you the opportunity to forward air out of shield safely. The point is to find a method of putting yourself at a distance from your opponent where you are safe but ready to punish.

SPACING / ZONING
Spacing is easily one of the most important aspects of Smash and fighting games in general. Everyone incorporates spacing into their game, whether it be intentional or instinctual. The difference between a great player and a good player is that a great player is constantly conscious of it. A good player may play safe to an extent, but when they end up being out-played by a superior opponent and every move they throw out gets punished, they may not be sure why it's happening or what to do about it. The solution is to space more effectively. The reason you're being out-played is because your opponent is reading your every move and taking advantage of it. Back off, be more defensive, and disallow your opponent from reading you. You need to observe your opponent, pick up on patterns, and take advantage of all of their flaws.

To put it simply, depending on where you and your opponent are positioned on the screen, one of the players has the advantage. For an example, if Fox is on the opposite side of Final Destination, and you're playing a character that can't attack from that distance, then Fox has the advantage. He can laser you safely, because there is nothing you can do to retaliate. This forces you to approach, which instantly puts you at a disadvantage. The key to turning this specific situation around is to get close enough to Fox that he is unable to safely continue shooting lasers. And when I say close enough, I don't mean to run in and throw out an aimless aerial in frustration, because this is what Fox wants you to do. What you want to do is get close enough that you are still safe, but you impede Fox from continuing his onslaught of lasers. Once you get into this position, you can then look for openings or try to bait Fox into making a mistake that allows you to punish him.

Ideally, the only time you want to close the gap that you have created between yourself and your opponent, is when your opponent is in a vulnerable state; such as performing a laggy move, lying on the ground after a missed tech, or any other action that you can take advantage of. After your opponent has been punished and has escaped the pressure, go back to spacing properly until you can take advantage of the next one or force your opponent into an unfavorable position. Isai wasn't kidding when he said "Don't get hit." If you space effectively, learn your character's best positions on-screen, and quickly catch on to your opponent's habits, you will greatly reduce the amount of punishment/damage you receive and greatly increase the amount of punishment/damage that you can give.

For every matchup, the spacing game can differ due to varying ranges and speed that characters possess. Once you begin incorporating a good spacing game, your overall game is sure to improve.


Some Side Thoughts
If you look at the tier list for Melee, it's basically a direct reflection of the characters' spacing abilities. Fox is number one due to his extraordinary speed, lasers, and other tools that allow him to apply pressure and get in and out of other character's zones. As you go down the tier list, characters begin to have less priority, less range, less speed, and less ability to punish their opponents. I guess that's kind've an obvious statement in some regards, but it's a bit interesting.

I'm under the impression that some players are inherently better at games because ideas just "click" with them. Some players never even have to read about how to space properly. It all just makes sense to them. It's as if they have a level of understanding that surpasses a majority of other players. But who knows. Maybe that just train harder. :p

Also, keep a good, positive, confident mindset! It can make a world of difference.

Questions, feedback, and criticism are welcome. If anyone has anything they'd like to add that may help other players, please post!
 

Jonas

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#2
Good write-up, but there's one thing I disagree with:

"After you have successfully attacked your opponent for making a mistake, go back to spacing properly until you can take advantage of the next one or force your opponent into an unfavorable position."

You should never EVER just back down and reset the situation once you have the advantage. It's called pressing the advantage.
When you've finished or even dropped a combo, your opponent will usually STILL be at a disadvantage, because it'll put him in a tight spot (near the edge, on a platform or in the air) or put him on a ground which sets up a tech chase.

Even if you feel like you've properly and succesfully punished your opponent's mistake with a huge combo, don't just give up the advantage and return to the spacing game, unless your opponent manages to get himself out of there.
 

KishPrime

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#3
Looks a lot like "Don't Get Hit."

Nice writeup. Spacing is 50% of execution in Melee, and tech skill is the other 50%.
 

Myztek

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#4
Good write-up, but there's one thing I disagree with:

"After you have successfully attacked your opponent for making a mistake, go back to spacing properly until you can take advantage of the next one or force your opponent into an unfavorable position."

You should never EVER just back down and reset the situation once you have the advantage. It's called pressing the advantage.
When you've finished or even dropped a combo, your opponent will usually STILL be at a disadvantage, because it'll put him in a tight spot (near the edge, on a platform or in the air) or put him on a ground which sets up a tech chase.

Even if you feel like you've properly and succesfully punished your opponent's mistake with a huge combo, don't just give up the advantage and return to the spacing game, unless your opponent manages to get himself out of there.
I agree with your point, and I actually didn't mean it in that way.

I meant it as your last statement describes, if the opponent escapes the pressure.

EDIT: I edited the line in the article. Hopefully it reads better.
 

Signia

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#5
Domination 101 Smash Edition?

Excellent, smashers need to know this


Edit: Idk about not approaching someone if they're not approaching... it seems to me it should be better (in theory...) to take the opportunity to adjust your spacing so that you pose a greater threat to them than they to you. You want them to be enclosed by your danger zone, but not be in your danger zone, if possible. Or be inside their danger zone but be close enough for them to be in a zone of even greater danger. Make sense?

To clarify, my theory of the zones has three levels of threat/danger:

Level 1 - Areas where you can force a response to something you do, but the opponent has plenty of time to see it coming, and can react with choice-based reaction.
Level 2 - Areas where you may be able to hit them before they can think, but they still have time to do a knee-jerk or default response. For different players and at different spacings the knee-jerk response will be different but it's a good idea to see what it is for that player/spacing because it's not as easy to adapt your knee-jerk response, as it's almost subconscious. This will usually either be shielding, rolling, spot dodging, or dashing away if there is room.
Level 3 - Areas where you can truly mix them up in a two-choice or three-choice where they have to guess correctly or get hurt. Each action must be fast enough to be within choice-based reaction time with no blanket counters to everything available. Alternatively, Level 3 danger is where you have no time to react even with a knee-jerk response, i.e. you can get hit before you know what hits you.

It seems to me these are discrete and comprehendable places to think about when playing fighting games.
 

Massive

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#6
You list zoning but you don't point out that it is zoning. Fox's lasers are an OK demonstration of it, but not really the best example.

The idea of zoning is blocking off several of your opponents options so they are forced to take hits or open themselves up to a punish.

The best example of zoning in smash is ledge game. If you take the ledge in invincibility frames your opponent is forced to attempt to recover onto the stage. This is, in effect, removing options and approaches available to them and forcing them to go into a certain 'zone' on the screen, which you control.

Techchasing is another good example of zoning. A grounded opponent only has 5 options as opposed to an unrestricted opponent. (Stand up, Roll left, Roll Right, Get-up attack, and Stall; if you're curious) With only 5 options even a random guess will be correct 20% of the time. Using tactics like dashdancing or shielding, one can cover multiple options at once forcing them into a bad situation. Again, you are forcing them to travel into a 'zone' which you can predict/control.

There are many other examples (platform tactics especially come to mind), both general and character specific, so it's better just to give an overview and let people get into the mindset.
 

Myztek

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#7
Agreed with Signia & Massive, both.

@ Signia: I didn't mean to imply that you should never approach. I mentioned that in the example with Fox/lasers. Put yourself in a position where Fox is in danger, and has to do something else besides just spam lasers.

@ Massive: Thank you for the extra examples. I suppose I really could have generalized it a little more. I just thought a specific example might help give a better understanding. Then again, it may do the opposite.

So yeah, proper stage positioning will limit your opponent's options.

There are various zones, or stage positions, that make only certain options viable to either player. Like Massive says, when a person has missed a tech and is lying on the ground, he only has 5 options. Same goes for any other situation. Depending what state or position your character is in, there are certain options available to you. If you can put yourself in a position where you narrow your opponent's options, and you know what those options are, then you have a higher % of guessing their next action correctly.
 

Signia

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#8
Actually I kinda muddled different concepts together...

The levels I listed are discrete "reactability" levels. The strength/threat of each spacing area is just the expected value or risk/reward as result of the moves that can be used within the time of those reaction time levels.

Btw I think the simplest example is falco lasers... spamming SHL controls the whole bottom of the stage. At a distance I'd call it "safe but reactable" as it's easy to react to and has little reward, up closer I'd call it "safe (unless powershielding is possible) and powerful (normal responses to avoid getting lasered at this spacing are either unsafe or not rewarding for the other player, unless they can powershield) and reaction is limited" and when up in their face it's "safe (unless PS'd) and strong (leads to mixups or can be mixed with empty hops/aerials for mixups) and unreactable."

Projectiles and throwing out hitboxes are the only times you are ACTUALLY controlling space. Other times you are only threatening to control space. But you might as well be controlling space though when you threaten to do something they can't react to in time, and you can make the threat simply by being within the spacing where that's possible. I hope this makes sense, I wish I could draw a helpful picture.

So, Massive, I don't think your post was accurate. Yes, the idea is zoning is to limit or cover options. However, covering options is not zoning. In your examples you control "possibility space" (I guess) but not physical space. Zoning is just using hitboxes to control area, and that has limited application in your examples... and btw you aren't controlling space or threatening with anything if you are dash dancing or shielding during a tech chase.
 

Massive

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#9
Yes, there are very few instances of zoning as you see in traditional 2D fighters in smash, I am more than willing to admit that.

However, it is prudent to expand the definition of zoning for the purposes of melee because of how similar the concept is to other fighting games.
Many mindgames are emergent from the type of zoning/option control we use in smash, it is very a good segue to learning mindgames to understand controlling movement and blocking off approach/defense options.

Arguing real hitboxes vs. virtual hitboxes is a moot point when the hitbox is always going to be there.
Signia said:
But you might as well be controlling space though when you threaten to do something they can't react to in time, and you can make the threat simply by being within the spacing where that's possible.
You said it yourself.

Signia said:
and btw you aren't controlling space or threatening with anything if you are dash dancing or shielding during a tech chase.
Dashdancing allows you to chase a roll in either direction with a sufficiently fast character, it also allows you to run away from a get up attack/stand up and retaliate with a grab or basically any move. It is an invaluable option for techchasing with many characters (captain falcon, sheik, and marth especially).

Shielding effectively removes 2 options if you're right above someone who is grounded. Standing straight up becomes very dangerous and their get-up attack is now a liability.

There is certainly an element of control even if you aren't able to punish, if forcing an opponent to choose from a smaller set of options isn't control, then what is?
 

Metal Reeper

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#10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfBuAo_Bfvw

/thread

I saw this video before I played higher players (like cactuar) and thought it was important. But after playing him I found it's INSANELY important. I'm talking about how characters have ranges you can't see. Fox's nair, Falcon's nair. Marth's JC grab, Pikachu's nair, etc. You should post that in OP. I think the video deserves more views. We need more videos like this.
 

Signia

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#11
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfBuAo_Bfvw

/thread

I saw this video before I played higher players (like cactuar) and thought it was important. But after playing him I found it's INSANELY important. I'm talking about how characters have ranges you can't see. Fox's nair, Falcon's nair. Marth's JC grab, Pikachu's nair, etc. You should post that in OP. I think the video deserves more views. We need more videos like this.
I found that tutorial to be superficial. He doesn't mention reaction time, which defines where the ranges are. He thinks the space that is controlled is based on where they "commit" which doesn't tell the whole story. He doesn't talk about any "ranges" other than max range moves (like fox's dashing SH nair or the limits of his max range while shielding), and doesn't go into details about options at mid range and close range and compare the two characters' options at key spacings.

He has it backwards when talking about where to space as sheik against fox when he says fox has more range. If you have less range, then Fox should have the advantage if you stay back. It is Fox that can do the baiting while staying closer to his dashing SH nair range than Sheik to her dash attack range. As Sheik, you can only stay outside his (and your) range and bait. If both players are ardently spacing this way, Fox would just end up pushing Sheik to the edge. By this theory it seems like it would be better for Sheik to space within her dash-dash attack range so that they both threaten with something rather than Sheik having less access to her attacks than Fox when they're at range. But this doesn't take into account other ranges/dangerzones.

I don't doubt the success of the tactic, it just seems like fox has the advantage if sheik does that, as long as fox doesn't space his dashing SH nair poorly.

Situations like that lead me to believe that you don't want to space in the tip of those ranges/zones as they can move out of that range easily. Instead you want to space to cover their reactionary escape. This is another thing Lucien does not talk about... how to use this spacing technique offensively.

To top it off the whole thing seemed improvised, with a partner who didn't seem to know what he'd be doing before they started recording. There was very little content in 9 minutes. It felt like I was sitting next to someone giving me advice, which is cool I guess, but it could have been done waaay better.

btw
http://shoryuken.com/f176/controlling-space-34761/
/thread
I don't play the games he's talking about but this guy knows what's up when it comes to controlling space.
 

Signia

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#12
Yes, there are very few instances of zoning as you see in traditional 2D fighters in smash, I am more than willing to admit that.

However, it is prudent to expand the definition of zoning for the purposes of melee because of how similar the concept is to other fighting games.
Many mindgames are emergent from the type of zoning/option control we use in smash, it is very a good segue to learning mindgames to understand controlling movement and blocking off approach/defense options.

Arguing real hitboxes vs. virtual hitboxes is a moot point when the hitbox is always going to be there.
That's fine, as long you understand the difference.

Dashdancing allows you to chase a roll in either direction with a sufficiently fast character, it also allows you to run away from a get up attack/stand up and retaliate with a grab or basically any move. It is an invaluable option for techchasing with many characters (captain falcon, sheik, and marth especially).

Shielding effectively removes 2 options if you're right above someone who is grounded. Standing straight up becomes very dangerous and their get-up attack is now a liability.
I'm not convinced that dash dancing increases your options during a tech chase. Dash dancing is great tactic for confusing spacing, but that doesn't apply here. Dashing does not have any startup animation, dashing from standing still is just as fast as doing it from a dash. If anything, it can throw yourself off if you're caught at a bad place in the DD when they tech.

Also, if you stand over them you have the option to jab, and can shield or dash away on reaction to a getup attack. If they roll toward you, the distance is shorter, so the short turnaround animation is compensated. If they roll away, you can dash to them on reaction just like with a DD. So I stand over them and react to everything when I tech chase (you still have to react to what they do when you DD).

DDing still might be a good idea if you're trying to fake them out, but more often than not, faking them out will screw yourself up (you still have to react to what they do!).

There is certainly an element of control even if you aren't able to punish, if forcing an opponent to choose from a smaller set of options isn't control, then what is?
Yeah, that is control, and it's essential, I just wouldn't call that spacing or zoning. That's more like option selecting.
 

The Cape

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#13
I think it may be worthwhile to mention the difference and indepthness of vertical spacing as well as horizontal. Whether its shining a shield with a space animal and jumping away or making sure you hit with Ganon's bair the frame before you hit the ground so you can get a free grab, its important to mention that there is in fact vertical and horizontal spacing and both are important. Beyond that, proper vertical spacing allows you to beat out moves like Luigi's nair from below and by aiming at the center point of the character during a combo it allows you to cover a jump out or a fast fall below the move and therefore cover as many options as possible. By mixing vertical and horizontal spacing you can create situations that are nigh inescapable by outranging moves and covering all escape options simultaneously. Renth
 
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#14
I found that tutorial to be superficial. He doesn't mention reaction time, which defines where the ranges are. He thinks the space that is controlled is based on where they "commit" which doesn't tell the whole story. He doesn't talk about any "ranges" other than max range moves (like fox's dashing SH nair or the limits of his max range while shielding), and doesn't go into details about options at mid range and close range and compare the two characters' options at key spacings.

Situations like that lead me to believe that you don't want to space in the tip of those ranges/zones as they can move out of that range easily. Instead you want to space to cover their reactionary escape. This is another thing Lucien does not talk about... how to use this spacing technique offensively.
To be honest I personally hate the tutorial I made. I think faster than I talk to it came out as a mumbled mess. I just decided to do it after a tournament so it was cleaned up at all.

No one really talked about spacing to the smash community so I tried to tell some really broad ideas that I thought was obvious. I was going to go more in depth with some of the things you mentioned but life hit. There is also a ton more about spacing that you did not mention. That video is definitely NOT the end all of spacing and is barely a start. I am glad so many smashers like it as much as they do, but they are overreacting how good it is.

Spacing and footsies is an almost abstract concept.
 

Signia

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#16
To be honest I personally hate the tutorial I made. I think faster than I talk to it came out as a mumbled mess. I just decided to do it after a tournament so it was cleaned up at all.

No one really talked about spacing to the smash community so I tried to tell some really broad ideas that I thought was obvious. I was going to go more in depth with some of the things you mentioned but life hit. There is also a ton more about spacing that you did not mention. That video is definitely NOT the end all of spacing and is barely a start. I am glad so many smashers like it as much as they do, but they are overreacting how good it is.

Spacing and footsies is an almost abstract concept.
I'd love to see a more in-depth video. In the second video you went right into "reading comprehension" and it seems like you have the right idea, knowing that spacing and reading are tied and almost inseparable. Most of the depth in fighting games (and even other games) comes from this aspect and it's really interesting to discuss.
 

MTKO

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#17
I'd love to see a more in-depth video. In the second video you went right into "reading comprehension" and it seems like you have the right idea, knowing that spacing and reading are tied and almost inseparable. Most of the depth in fighting games (and even other games) comes from this aspect and it's really interesting to discuss.
I agree, I'd really like to see a more in depth video with a wide variety of examples, from simple to complex. The other two videos are good, but only touch on the basics, as said before.

I'd also like to ask a question. How does spacing and prediction skill differ from play style to play style. Like in what was does a campy player use spacing compared to a really aggressive player? That might seem like a silly question, but I guess I can't really word it right.
 

Myztek

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#18
The original post has been edited to include a few video links.


So Meztak. Did Mango say anything about fox? Like trying to get better with him?
Mango has said a lot of things, but I have no Fox examples for you off hand. I used the particular quote I did, because Mango stresses the importance of patience, maintaining proper space, and the fact that his gameplay improved once he started taking advantage of it.


I agree, I'd really like to see a more in depth video with a wide variety of examples, from simple to complex. The other two videos are good, but only touch on the basics, as said before.

I'd also like to ask a question. How does spacing and prediction skill differ from play style to play style. Like in what was does a campy player use spacing compared to a really aggressive player? That might seem like a silly question, but I guess I can't really word it right.
I recommend watching the Street Fighter videos I posted. Unfortunately, there aren't many references for spacing in Smash, but a plethora of info on it when it comes to Street Fighter. Like I said, though, the lessons can be applied.

As far as your question goes, I'll give my take. Concerning the idea that spacing differs from play style to play style? That's a really vague question, but I guess you're being more specific in the latter part of your question. Camping vs aggressive: Camping, generally, is just safe. It's not a bad idea by any means. If you can camp effectively (and camping is just prolonged zoning or spacing IMO), then you will deal more damage and take less damage, and once the opponent has reached a percentage that you can more easily take advantage of, then you can go for the kill. Or, keep camping until you have a completely safe opening on your opponent. Example: Fox vs Jiggs. Fox can run away laser on larger stages until Puff reaches a percentage that requires a simple up air/upsmash/b-air to finish her off. And, generally, it's a lot safer than running in to approach.

Aggressiveness is more difficult to touch on. Generally, being aggressive involves constantly taking risks. At least, I think so. It really depends on how you define being aggressive. I would say that aggressive players usually don't fair as well against players who play a safer game. Aggressiveness has its place - there are some matchups where you can effectively apply pressure and be aggressive and remain safe while doing so. However, if you're constantly running in and being "aggressive", you're really just being hopeful. Sure, it works out sometimes, but the likeliness of being successful is much higher when playing a proper spacing game.


Anyone feel free to clarify my arguments - I really don't know if I'm making sense right now ~_~

EDIT: I'm rewatching the third Street Fighter video I linked to in the original post. It's a great video, but some of it may be a tad confusing if you're completely unfamiliar with Street Fighter. Either way, I wouldn't say it's too difficult to follow.
 

MTKO

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#19
The original post has been edited to include a few video links.




Mango has said a lot of things, but I have no Fox examples for you off hand. I used the particular quote I did, because Mango stresses the importance of patience, maintaining proper space, and the fact that his gameplay improved once he started taking advantage of it.




I recommend watching the Street Fighter videos I posted. Unfortunately, there aren't many references for spacing in Smash, but a plethora of info on it when it comes to Street Fighter. Like I said, though, the lessons can be applied.

As far as your question goes, I'll give my take. Concerning the idea that spacing differs from play style to play style? That's a really vague question, but I guess you're being more specific in the latter part of your question. Camping vs aggressive: Camping, generally, is just safe. It's not a bad idea by any means. If you can camp effectively (and camping is just prolonged zoning or spacing IMO), then you will deal more damage and take less damage, and once the opponent has reached a percentage that you can more easily take advantage of, then you can go for the kill. Or, keep camping until you have a completely safe opening on your opponent. Example: Fox vs Jiggs. Fox can run away laser on larger stages until Puff reaches a percentage that requires a simple up air/upsmash/b-air to finish her off. And, generally, it's a lot safer than running in to approach.

Aggressiveness is more difficult to touch on. Generally, being aggressive involves constantly taking risks. At least, I think so. It really depends on how you define being aggressive. I would say that aggressive players usually don't fair as well against players who play a safer game. Aggressiveness has its place - there are some matchups where you can effectively apply pressure and be aggressive and remain safe while doing so. However, if you're constantly running in and being "aggressive", you're really just being hopeful. Sure, it works out sometimes, but the likeliness of being successful is much higher when playing a proper spacing game.


Anyone feel free to clarify my arguments - I really don't know if I'm making sense right now ~_~

EDIT: I'm rewatching the third Street Fighter video I linked to in the original post. It's a great video, but some of it may be a tad confusing if you're completely unfamiliar with Street Fighter. Either way, I wouldn't say it's too difficult to follow.
Yeah that's pretty much what I was asking, thanks. I watched the two street fighter videos you posted up and I think I'm understand how it all comes together quite a bit more.

I guess I have a hard time understanding how to space well and read when playing aggressively. I tend to go on auto-pilot when I play aggressive because I can't think fast enough when I'm playing like that, so I go straight to auto-pilot and spam tech skill and get owned :D I play more campy and that gives me time to slow down and think about what I'm doing. I guess I just have to learn how to get around the problem because being aggressive is an area I'd like to work on.
 

Signia

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#20
Yeah that's pretty much what I was asking, thanks. I watched the two street fighter videos you posted up and I think I'm understand how it all comes together quite a bit more.

I guess I have a hard time understanding how to space well and read when playing aggressively. I tend to go on auto-pilot when I play aggressive because I can't think fast enough when I'm playing like that, so I go straight to auto-pilot and spam tech skill and get owned :D I play more campy and that gives me time to slow down and think about what I'm doing. I guess I just have to learn how to get around the problem because being aggressive is an area I'd like to work on.
It's harder to visually represent spacing used in a non-"campy" way. To go on the attack you have consider your character's ranges and space in a way so that your set of options give better risk/reward than their set of options. Like in the SFIV video, characters in Melee have various key ranges and have different options to work with. You want hang around in the area where you're strong and force them to respond or get hit by something they can't see coming in time because of the limits of reaction time... then read and counter their response with something that covers options and is safe enough to have good reward for the risk. Find your sweetspot.

For example, against characters with a bad Bair or back-turned options, it might be a good idea to convince them to shield and then go to their back.
You might convince them to shield by entering a range where you are a threat.

This is why I hate mirror matches ("dittos"). Moving into your good spacing is also their good spacing, it almost seems pointless to adjust spacing. However, you can still seize the advantage by messing with their spacing by moving around and mixing up your actions and forcing them to react.
 

joeplicate

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#21
i don't really like it when people bring up street fighter in smash threads, because then other people feel inclined to brag about their SF skills or talk like they've been there, done that =\



spacing is pretty good
 

Myztek

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#22
i don't really like it when people bring up street fighter in smash threads, because then other people feel inclined to brag about their SF skills or talk like they've been there, done that =\



spacing is pretty good
No one has said, done or mentioned that. Why bring up something that isn't even an issue?

Stay on topic, please.
 

Jonas

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#23
i don't really like it when people bring up street fighter in smash threads, because then other people feel inclined to brag about their SF skills or talk like they've been there, done that =\
Spacing is universal to almost all fighting games. It applies to Street Fighter as much as it applies to Smash, so I don't see why not.
 

joeplicate

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#24
damn, there are a lot of things i want to say, but i can't decide



i'll just state my biggest thoughts then:
-i think it's superfluous to link to SF examples, because there's no reason to move outside of melee-domain, (and the work you do linking or referencing would be better put in building your own melee-related spacing ideas). basically, it makes the discussion sf-oriented, to some degree, when it would be better to be fully melee-oriented, imo
-spacing is a super complex topic, and it feels under-represented here
 

Myztek

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#25
damn, there are a lot of things i want to say, but i can't decide



i'll just state my biggest thoughts then:
-i think it's superfluous to link to SF examples, because there's no reason to move outside of melee-domain, (and the work you do linking or referencing would be better put in building your own melee-related spacing ideas). basically, it makes the discussion sf-oriented, to some degree, when it would be better to be fully melee-oriented, imo
-spacing is a super complex topic, and it feels under-represented here
I honestly don't know if you're just posting to increase your post count or if you legitimately think you're contributing.

I linked to the Street Fighter videos because, as I said, there isn't a large amount of information on spacing specifically in Smash. And linking to two Street Fighter videos does not convert this discussion into one about Street Fighter.

Once again, stay on topic or get out of the thread. Saying "Spacing is pretty cool" and "Spacing is super complex and is under-represented" does NOT qualify as a contribution. If you insist on posting again, post your way of describing spacing so that others may be able to understand it better.
 

Divinokage

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#27
I kinda like regarding spacing as in the push and pull mechanics. Like in Tai Chi, when the opponent pushes you, you pull and if you push, he pulls back. It's also pretty important to know the hitboxes of all your moves and know how to move with them.. then you can definitely take advantage of everything that comes at you. I think a lot of experience is required to do awesome spacing, (knowing what's safe and all that)
 

Signia

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#28
I kinda like regarding spacing as in the push and pull mechanics. Like in Tai Chi, when the opponent pushes you, you pull and if you push, he pulls back.
How is this applied in Melee? Why not push back when you get pushed in Melee? In a fight I understand the physics behind the idea using their momentum against them, but momentum is not conserved in any fighting game I've seen. The physics isn't the same. Could you go into detail about what you mean?
 

Bones0

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#29
I believe he's talking about the pushing and pulling of spacing. When an opponent approaches you, the typical reaction is to reset that space by moving away from them. When you push the space past the point of them being able to work within it (like forcing them to the ledge simply with your presence) you get a successful hit.
 

Divinokage

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#30
How is this applied in Melee? Why not push back when you get pushed in Melee? In a fight I understand the physics behind the idea using their momentum against them, but momentum is not conserved in any fighting game I've seen. The physics isn't the same. Could you go into detail about what you mean?
Spacing is usually about getting the first hit.

It's simply the space in between you and your opponent. The closer you are then obviously the space gets smaller right? When a move is thrown the space changes and you have to adjust around it to not get hit. This is what good spacing is, if you manage to go around it and you counter-attack correctly, that means you had good spacing right there. If you hit someone's shield but you back away as you are throwing a move and the opponent could not punish you after, that means it was safe and it was also good spacing. It's about manoeuvering around your opponent, it's about like I said knowing your hitboxes, use them to your advantage.

In the case I said pull back when he pushes you.. means like in a situation where like Fox attacks you with a SH Nair and with Ganon you backjump fair to counter that... There's a lot of things Fox can do to you which will out-prioritize your own moves/hitbox with his own... so you really have to know how to counter these things with good spacing and choosing the right moves. Good spacing is also using the hitbox at key points during an attack animation which CAN let you gain the advantage. Timing is also extremely important for this along with reaction time.

So ya, that's it.
 
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#34
i liked those vids
i knew it all, pretty much

but hearing it in words other than my own helped me internalize it
 

safehaven

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#35
u do need to study lol

if u have never studied your own game play
then start now lol

people with talent still have to put in conscious effort to fully grasp something
 

joeplicate

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#36
Is this something that needs to be studied? Doesn't one naturally learn to space while playing?

:phone:
spacing DOES naturally develop while you're playing, but there are two sides to every coin.

natural feeling of your character's spacing basically reflects your familiarity with the game--you don't really need to think about it as much, because it's developed naturally as you want to put X move in Y position at Z time.

that said, though, you can definitely develop your spacing, even in a "practice makes perfect" kind of way. i think the most effective way of doing this is paying attention to the position your thumb makes on the control stick whenever you're doing your moves. you can wavedash far or short, or with jigglypuff (for example) you can float to the side as fast as your can, or slowly float over, or fade back, etc etc.

mango told me that whenever he plays jigglypuff he's constantly dash-dancing in the air. basically, there's an element of tech skill to spacing. :)

(there, i'm contributing)
 

godslafco

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#37
Practice is study.
Not necessarily, practice is only study if you're conscious of what you're trying to accomplish, and if you're practicing in the correct ways. To just play against friends, just to show your improved tech skills doesn't mean you're getting better at spacing and reading your opponent, often times (at lower levels of game play) it's just you being faster. Higher levels of game play are higher because of the study(conscious, directed focus on a topic) of more abstract and pseudo topics...like spacing.

spacing DOES naturally develop while you're playing, but there are two sides to every coin.

natural feeling of your character's spacing basically reflects your familiarity with the game--you don't really need to think about it as much, because it's developed naturally as you want to put X move in Y position at Z time.

that said, though, you can definitely develop your spacing, even in a "practice makes perfect" kind of way. i think the most effective way of doing this is paying attention to the position your thumb makes on the control stick whenever you're doing your moves. you can wavedash far or short, or with jigglypuff (for example) you can float to the side as fast as your can, or slowly float over, or fade back, etc etc.

mango told me that whenever he plays jigglypuff he's constantly dash-dancing in the air. basically, there's an element of tech skill to spacing. :)

(there, i'm contributing)
Spacing CAN naturally develop. Certainly some of the best players have natural affinity for spacing, or a natural ability to assess their gameplay, but for most the only way to make marked improvement on spacing is to study it.

Another important aspect, I believe it to be the most important, is HOW to practice spacing - that is, what are the most ideal conditions to practice? With people decisively better than you, with people marginally better or worse than you? With people decidedly worse than you?

Personally I think those marginally worse than you gives you the amount of pressure(tech skill wise) to be able to make a concerned effort to concentrate on new ideas while also forcing you into habitual maneuvers. Useful for measuring how successful you are at changing your habits.
 

Ryucloud

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#38
I remeber watching the spacing video by lucien and thinking in a mindset of staying out of my oppoents ranges but than one day i played my friend zoso and he pushed me to think differnt to use spacing ranges as a offensive tactic as knowing my chars ranges and putting my enemey in it . Than i seen a dramitic change in my game. SO whats the mindset you need to think and have for this? Is it when your enemey in range of your moves or what
 

Ryucloud

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#39
I'd love to see a more in-depth video. In the second video you went right into "reading comprehension" and it seems like you have the right idea, knowing that spacing and reading are tied and almost inseparable. Most of the depth in fighting games (and even other games) comes from this aspect and it's really interesting to discuss.
Is that Why Mango so good at Reading people and has amazing reads because of his great sense of spacing moves and ranges?
 
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