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Some questions about i-frames

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1 Some questions about i-frames on Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:56 am

In NG2 we have some moves which seem to have full i-frames in any instance. For example, DCTF 360Y. The same move is present in NGS2, it just seem to be severely nerfed and have much less i-frames than its vanilla counterpart, but it seems to still be a very reliable i-frames move, which have a full i-frames window that makes Ryu untouchable no matter what.

Though, there are many other instances in which the game seems to give Ryu i-frames for no clear reason, for example during the Izuna drop combos. Let's say, for example, Sigma 2, Master Ninja, Zedonius + gaja fight, DCTF. I approach a gaja, and I do STSSST. Meanwhile, Zedonius starts throwing fireballs at Ryu. The Izuna drop itself gives Ryu i-frames everytime and for the full duration of the animation, except (I think) a few frames during the recovery, so during that Ryu is always and completely safe from the fireballs. Though, the initial part of the combo, STSSS is supposed to have no i-frames. In reality, many times it happens that I just i-frames through the fireballs during SSS or during the launcher part, other times I get nailed.

Recently, a seasoned NGB/NG2 player told me that some moves in various ninja gaiden games give you i-frames on part of the character (like Royta was pointing out in the other thread here) but only if you are hitting an enemy with them. Basically they reduce the hurtbox of Ryu but only during hit frames. Now, maybe this may saound like a stupid or a lazy question, but... am I supposed to have some control over it or is just to make the game a bit easier to the player? Does a list of these moves exist? I'm sorry but it's not something that seem really easy to test in a game in which enemies can kill you in two or one hit so if someone has been less lazy than me I'll take full advantage of it Very Happy

Also I've heard there are full frame data lists all over the internet... if you are not jealous about your knowledge, please share with me Smile

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2 Re: Some questions about i-frames on Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:46 pm

Bumping this because I think the topic in the NG1 section has canceled the "highlight" on this one. Of course this is a call for Royta because he's the one who can potentially anwswer my question.

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3 Re: Some questions about i-frames on Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:29 pm

The design reasons behind it are mostly that, without some adjustments to AI, hurtboxes and i.frames - some moves would just be pointless. The Izuna is quite a long animation to start up for instance, without it having some i.frames and changes to enemy AI to not target you it would almost never succeed.

Another method behind it is to keep the battle going, without it still going. Let's say right now if you do an Izuna, and during it there are still Kunai flying all over the place while doing the move but they aren't hitting you. Despite being stuck in an animation, it still feels like the battle is going on. While if every time the animation would happen and the whole combat would freeze with enemies standing there just frozen, it would feel very 'gamey'. That's a big part of it.

Reward is also a part of it. Most games give you SOME i.frames or reduced hurtboxes when connecting a move to reward you and give you a bigger chance to connect the follow-up to that combo.

Though, the initial part of the combo, STSSS is supposed to have no i-frames. In reality, many times it happens that I just i-frames through the fireballs during SSS or during the launcher part, other times I get nailed.

Pretty sure the SSS part doesn't have i.frames, but just insanely reduces your hurtbox while also having enemies be a bit less accurate.

If you want to see a game that doesn't have any of this, go to Prince of Persia Warrior Within. A great action game, very unloved, but it also lacks all of the above. If you do a cinematic kill the whole arena just freezes, hell I believe even fire stops flickering. While some animations have hyper armor you can lose your entire lifebar during a dodge, jump or grab because you are in hyper armor and are getting stomped while in it. While interesting, a good solid 95% of your combat options in that game are highly situational because if you just use them in combat you can expect to die a painful death since there aren't any safety nets.

The general rule though is that this is more a nice helpful hand from the designer to make some moves not horrible, than it is something to actively use. Things that are handy to use though are what I think you already know, like i.frames on the wall attacks, headstomp, windpath, dodge, ut's and certain hyper armor animations or multihitter moves (like running SS with the DS, which can hit up to 6 times on a single target due to 'bad' coding).

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4 Re: Some questions about i-frames on Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:04 pm

this is more a nice helpful hand from the designer to make some moves not horrible, than it is something to actively use

Ah, thank you, that was what I wanted to know. Some players claim they can use these strange mechanics at will by timing certain moves, but I wasn't always convinced by those statements. I guess it's the same for all the games in the franchise, right? Mostly interested about Sigma 2 and RE.

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5 Re: Some questions about i-frames on Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:44 pm

Yeah generally speaking, abusing those frames to your advantage isn't something you can abuse unless we're talking about moves that have innate i.frames (which I think they mean) like the Dual Katana's 360Y in NG2 or the Scythe 360T in NG3:RE. This kind of takes me back to where people were discussing in Metal Gear Rising times that Raiden's jump had 1 frame of invincibility while getting of the ground, this is exactly what I was talking about: it's pointless to use but it's handy that it's there.

The jump having an i.frame is to help you out a bit and making jumping a bit safer, but you won't be jumping through moves (unlike DMC) since the frame count is just too low.

One thing I have seen used is using the Dabilabro's XY to avoid certain moves, ShowR shows it here:

But this is more clever usage of hit - and hurtboxes than anything else.

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6 Re: Some questions about i-frames on Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:01 pm

What a coincidence, I watched that video yesterday for the first time :)

He does a nice showcase there, with various weapons. Off topic: so in NG original Smaugan doesn't have helpers? Royta, if you are in the mood, since you seem very attached to NG1 in this period, would you make a big post talking about all the differences between NG, NGB, NGS, NGS+ ?

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7 Re: Some questions about i-frames on Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:18 pm

Ha! Holy shit that's a big request. Quickly to add to the topic at hand, I noticed that the health-drain of the Kitetsu is...fully i.framed. I had no clue haha. Never really used the weapon, just started doing Kitetsu Only Run and fumbling around with the weapon.

In terms of differences, pff haha. I think the biggest to note of NG04 to NGB is that you always play on Normal. Hard and Very Hard only change damage numbers a bit, that's it. The remixing of enemies, items and Scarab rewards or the addition of Master Ninja wasn't until the Hurricane Packs and/ or Black. Which is why you don't see helpers on NG04 videos. 

The rest would require a lot more than I can handle, and some are really detailed like the Vigorian Flails being able to access lvl2 moves in lvl1 due to a bug which I don't think works in certain regional versions of NGB. 

In total though, the differences between NG04 and NGB are pretty easy to sum up though. From the top of my head:
- you can now manually charge UT's
- ninja of the future costume removed
- shinobi costume removed
- new costumes added
- lunar added to draw balance away from the DS
- Higher difficulties now chance up enemies and item locations, while also adding new fights
- increased texture quality and backward compatability (NG04 looks noticably worse than NGB on an X360)
- Awakened Alma AI increased, auto dodges more
- Marbus only summons the blob and the ice boss in NG04, Nichae and Ish don't exist in NG04 yet.
- there's an Xbox statue after the dual-tanks fight (I believe...or that was in Sigma..shit now I'm doubting haha)

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8 Re: Some questions about i-frames on Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:25 pm

Thanks, so basically NG04 is much easier than NGB I guess. Kinda like Sigma 2 is easier than vanilla.

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9 Re: Some questions about i-frames on Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:50 pm

NG04 is more focused mostly, a lot of enemies are missing too (forgot about that). You won't see Red Ninjas for instance or those Windmill dudes, let alone Ogres, white crab fiends, cats and I think Bersekers are also exclusive to Black and up. Most enemies also couldn't break your guard.

So yes, it was easier, but I also felt it was more a Ninja game with a balanced difficulty. The game wasn't as much about demons everywhere, they were rare and dangerous. While in Black after Chapter 2 you barely ever see ninjas anymore. So the atmosphere was a lot better in vanilla.

I am going to do a OLB in NG04 with just the Plasma Sword at one point. I'll make some more notes then.

Quick edit: the flying swallow and GT inputs are also different. Flying Swallow is just Y in the sky, while GT is >Y. It works, but takes some heavy getting used to at first.

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10 Re: Some questions about i-frames on Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:34 pm

Wow. So it probably can played no UT no ninpo from beginning to end on Very Hard. Sounds interesting... it really sounds like Sigma 2... though we are going too much OT.

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11 Re: Some questions about i-frames on Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:11 pm

I'll transfer some of these notes over some day, and yeah I guess it really is Sigma 2 in some case, though it is the original. The vision was pure there, and I always felt it was diluted a bit later-on.

I just realized one other change, the Armlet of Tranquility was removed. The Kitetsu could not be upgraded, but in a twist it drained your life constantly. The Armlet of Tranquility gave you health regeneration over time, at the same speed of the life-drain of Kitetsu.

Really still want to do an OLB NG04 Kitetsu run with the life drain haha.

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12 Re: Some questions about i-frames on Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:46 am

I'm very curious, I'd really like to understand the train of thought that brought to NG2. Apparently, in the beginning NG was not the brutal game it is in NGB and even more NG2. It seems they wanted to deliver harder and harder games. It's also worth noting that Itagaki said NG2 would be his last NG game. So I wonder if he ran out of ideas and just thought that his ipotetical NG3 would have just been an even harder version of NG2, so he thought it would have been better to switch to a different project.

I'm kinda happy that he left Team Ninja though, because I like how the new team tried to make games that let the player use the full combat system, I really think Razor's Edge is an incredibly underrated game in an era of cinematic games and rpg elements thrown everywhere.

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13 Re: Some questions about i-frames on Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:39 am

Note: don't worry too much about going off-topic. Just enjoy conversations with like-minded fellows :)

I think it's important to note that NG04 was brutal for its time, the genre was at its infancy and a lot of mindsets, ways of thinking and more just weren't there yet. I don't know if you ever played World of Warcraft but most consider Vanilla to be the hardest, and now the easiest. It was hard at the time since the genre was new and we were ignorant, but now that we've played the genre to death the content in that game is just a mindless cakewalk.

If we'd started with NGB or NG2, it would've ended up going very differently I'd imagine (the reception to those games I mean).

In terms of content, Itagaki used NG04 as his first game and later-on reflected and saw things to be changed and fixed, which he did with the Hurricane Packs. Ninja Gaiden Black only exists because online on consoles wasn't too prevelant. I think with NG2 he took the smart route, he just didn't want to do the same thing again so he changed the mindset of the game (more about offense than defense). Downside is the game probably wasn't finished (I heard rumors of a bonus-pay they'd miss out on if they didn't release it in a certain timetable, and Itagaki also got those rape allegations), which is probably where some of the bonkers encounters came from.

It is also possible that the whole difficulty stigma went to his head. NGB was tough as nails, but generally fair with few exceptions. Maybe he liked the title of 'hardest action game designer' and just made this one even harder just because of the hell of it.

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