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Myth busted: Street Fighter 2's lead game designer says cancelling wasn't a bug

Posted by Catalyst
October 28, 2013 at 8:30 p.m. PDT

Nick Rox, who's been a huge contributor to the fighting game community over the years, recently tackled another popular topic — that cancelling moves in Street Fighter 2 was actually the result of a bug.

This has been a long running rumor reported by various outlets over the years, and to this day, there's a number of people who believe this to be the truth.

Nick spoke with Akira Nishitani, who was the lead game designer on Street Fighter 2, to get the skinny on the long running rumor. Click the Read more link below to see everything.

Nick Rox: Did the fighting game staple of canceling arise from a bug or not?

Nishitani: It originated with a system designed to make executing specials easier: 'If players press the button too fast, the move won't activate.'

After implementing that leniency, we discovered a side effect: It became possible to execute specials after hitting with normals.

We thought this was quite interesting, and it didn't seem to cause any bugs, so we decided it could be a feature to expand the gameplay.

It wasn't something we anticipated, but since we decided to incorporate it into the game during development, I wouldn't call it a bug.

Source: Nick Rox's Twitter account.


DrDucker said on October 28, 2013 at 8:32 p.m.

History i can get into

UncleBibby said on October 28, 2013 at 8:32 p.m.

well, it was an unintended feature. whatever.

Strider_Hien said on October 28, 2013 at 8:37 p.m.

Wow! Reading all of these story tidbits are quite the eye opener! So awesome, the same time,I feel like Luke Skywalker:"No....that's not true.THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE! :*|" Memories are being re-written...

Catalyst said on October 28, 2013 at 8:40 p.m.

Same. I remember so many people saying this was a bug and completely unintended by the developers, and that always struck me as odd.

They knew about it and while it wasn't intentional at first, they left it in the game. A "happy accident" as I believe they're called.

It's kind of crazy how often happy accidents turn into great things, in many different creative careers.

draw2 said on October 28, 2013 at 8:59 p.m.

The thing I'd like to know more info about in WW, is all the stuff the Guile had...

Like who figured out how to do Golden Stance, Hand Cuffs, and Phantom Throw...and then figured out how you get out of that stuff?
I remember when a random dude in the local fish'n'chip shop showed me how to do that stuff...I was like "..whhhhaaa...?"

And then I remember my first time in Japan...I picked up this SF2 comic, and it had a tips page that claimed some of the other characters had similar tricks (I think Blanka supposedly had a Golden Stance, off memory..), but it was all in Japanese, and I had no idea!? Just the comic art was sick!!!

Nader886 said on October 28, 2013 at 9:09 p.m.

im actually not surprised.

Kijui said on October 28, 2013 at 9:09 p.m.

The original SF2 confirmed as a minigame in USF4?!

delusional11 said on October 28, 2013 at 9:12 p.m.

It feels like srk did this story 2-3 days ago.

Devdan said on October 28, 2013 at 9:14 p.m.

Bah, that's basically the same thing. I really hope anti-Melee people don't read this headline, and star going off about how they WERE RIGHT ABOUT WAVEDASHING ALL ALONG. The SF2 defense was the surest way to shut those people up. :(

RandomSelectMaster said on October 28, 2013 at 9:51 p.m.

Good thing it was left in. They probably didn't realize the level of skills to play fighting games at the time since it was so new when compared to Karate Champ for example.

Catalyst said on October 28, 2013 at 9:52 p.m.

Considering these tweets went up about 14 hours ago, that would actually be fairly impossible.

BluePepsi said on October 28, 2013 at 10:09 p.m.

Just ignore him, he's a troll on Ozhadou and a general sh*t-stirrer.

sergio_reyes_ said on October 28, 2013 at 10:22 p.m.

also in arcade

OhYouDontSayThat said on October 28, 2013 at 10:25 p.m.

it resulted from a bug, but we kept it in so it's not a bug.


draw2 said on October 28, 2013 at 10:40 p.m.

Haha...yeah, when I drop combo's...that's just a bug with my resets...

GeneralSpecific said on October 28, 2013 at 11:49 p.m.

For those curious:

Guile Handcuffs
Guile Invisible Throw:
Guile Freeze:
And a lesser known one: Dhalsim vanish
I think this was done with a combination of standing forward + fierce xx fireball motion

There's also other stuff like Claw backflip through barrels on bonus stage, etc.
Fun stuff. =]

delusional11 said on October 29, 2013 at 12:33 a.m.

lol Blue Wizard. You know even your "bro" Glassy thinks you're a weirdo.

YouneverWIN said on October 29, 2013 at 12:42 a.m.

(This user was banned.)

acku said on October 29, 2013 at 12:57 a.m.

(This user was banned.)

Sasuga said on October 29, 2013 at 3:24 a.m.

Show me the code or it didn't happen. ;)

caruga said on October 29, 2013 at 3:41 a.m.


ShiroKuma said on October 29, 2013 at 3:45 a.m.

I'd say this is a "pug" which is what you call in computer science... an unintended code feature that has a positive effect.

DORMWORM said on October 29, 2013 at 6:18 a.m.

Was Fadc a bug also?

Stickyresin said on October 29, 2013 at 6:19 a.m.

Uh, yeah, that was most certainly a bug. As any software engineer knows, if it wasn't specified in the requirements then it is a bug. Just because they liked it and added it to the requirements doesn't mean that it originally wasn't a mistake.

cab1020 said on October 29, 2013 at 6:27 a.m.

I think this is due to the "pause" effect that occurs when an opponent is hit. I am pretty certain, however, that the canceling aspect wasn't completely tested as an intentional feature due to bugs like CPS1 chains.

Jing22 said on October 29, 2013 at 7:23 a.m.

That's still technically a bug, but he went "it's not a bug it's a feature"

JuriTheSpider said on October 29, 2013 at 8:18 a.m.

It ended up as a feature. Sure it was unintended but since it was discovered and built around it's kind of hard to call it a bug when it becomes part of the development process

hamster said on October 29, 2013 at 8:36 a.m.

Lol. He just suckered in someone with the long running programmer joke of, "It's not a bug, it's a feature."

P.S. Awesome, I just triggered the site's censorship rule by trying to write the developer's name. Must have been a feature.. el oh el.

FlynnChop said on October 29, 2013 at 10:32 a.m.

This is like telling your child he/she was a surprise, not an accident or a mistake.

Whether or not the devs knew about canceling before they released their game is inconsequential. It was still the result of an accident/bug/mistake/surprise, or whatever else you want to call it.

Jinmaster said on October 29, 2013 at 11:56 a.m.

computer bug

Web definitions

A software bug is an error, flaw, failure, or fault in a computer program or system that produces an incorrect or unexpected result, or causes it to behave in unintended ways.

So he wants to call it an unintended feature instead of a bug. Some news.

fluxcore said on October 29, 2013 at 12:21 p.m.

I can actually explain how this works, and how it came about.

In SF1, there was no 'leniency' of when you could do a motion/push the button for a special move, it had to be exact.

In SF2, they added some buffering so there was some leniency. In particular, what we came to call 'kara cancelling' - there is a 5 frame window from when you press the attack button during which you can complete a special move and still get the special move to come out. For example, you can do D+HK, DF, F+P far away with Ryu and get a sweep whiff cancelled into a fireball. Any normal move has this property, even ones we don't consider 'special cancellable'.

So the follow-on effect is that ANY normal move which hits on the 5th frame or earlier is capable of hitting the opponent and THEN cancelling into the special move. I doubt this would make much of a difference normally, except the counter which decrements from the 5f for the 'kara cancel' does NOT decrement during hitstop/hitstun - so you get an extra 14f of time to cancel from a hitting normal move into a special move. And thus, special cancelling combos.

If the kara cancel window decremented during hitstop as well, very few specials would actually connect after the normal move hitting, but maybe there'd be a couple of combinations that would.

I always assumed that the list of "special cancellable moves" was actually a defined set - but in SF2 it's actually just anything with a startup of less than 5f.

acku said on October 29, 2013 at 12:42 p.m.

(This user was banned.)

Super_Honda said on October 29, 2013 at 2:10 p.m.

Very interesting. However, when you combo into a special move, you can deal a hefty amount of damage. For example, Ken in Champion Edition, if you hit your opponent with double crouching LK, then link it to crouching HF into uppercut, you will deal close to 80% damage! But in Hyper Fighting, the damage was reduced slightly, but with Ken's combo, it will deal about 70% damage. But after that combo, your opponent will be dizzied which allows you to win the match. A TOD right there. Ryu can do it, but with a fireball as a combo ending move because his uppercut's range is not as big as Ken's. I can't remember exactly since I remembering from the top of my head so I could be wrong about Ryu not being able to do that combo like Ken.

fluxcore said on October 29, 2013 at 3:07 p.m.

After dizzy:

Ken can do crossup J.HK, s.HP xx HP dragon punch
Ryu instead does crossup J.HK, cr.LK, cr.LK, s.HP xx HP fireball (cps1 chain combo)

bigjbilly said on October 29, 2013 at 3:43 p.m.

I think somebody like Seth covered it in the I am SF doc. Someone did at least. Maybe that's what ur thinking of?

Medikor said on October 29, 2013 at 4:23 p.m.

So less of a bug and more of a happy accident. :)

emc said on October 30, 2013 at 3:29 p.m.

it's called Buffering. When you have a frame buffer that allows you to input a command before another one finishes. The less buffer time you have, the harder it is to pull off moves, each game has it's own buffer time. Melee for instance had 0 frames of buffer, brawl has 10.


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