Ever since the days of Street Fighter, complex joystick motions and elaborate button combinations have been a staple of the fighting game. There are any number of ways these commands could be executed, from the simple holding and tapping of Guile's Sonic Boom to the the joystick swinging antics of Ryo's Furious Fandango or the pretzel-flavored madness of Geese's Raging Storm. And, of course, there are any number of ways these commands might be written out in textual form. Because not everyone is familiar with every (or any!) style, here are a few of the most common.
As with nearly all move-lists in existence, this guide assumes all directions are for a player on the left side of the screen, facing the right. As such, the terms “left & right,” “away & toward” and “back & forward” will be used interchangably. Should you find yourself on the right side of the screen facing left, reverse them.
In most cases, a button will be referenced as either a short abbrevation of the button's function (LP for Light Punch, HP for Heavy Punch or sometimes SP for Strong Punch, depending on who's writing the move list)1)2) or by the button's name itself (such as with most Neo-Geo games - A, B, C, and D). A few exceptions for certain games are listed below.
American Tekken players have adopted their own odd system where the directions are referenced using one or two letters (example: down-forward becomes df) and the action buttons are numbered from 1 to 4. This is basically entirely unlike just about any other notation system and is therefore worth mentioning to avoid confusion.
Some Street Fighter players like to refer to the attack buttons through their names, as the series uses their own unique names for the buttons3). These names are:
This style writes out each direction as either a whole word or a short abbreviation, seperated by commas. It is possibly the clearest of all the styles, but also the wordiest. For example, to write Ryu's Dragon Punch, you would say something like forward, down, down-forward + punch or f, d, df + P. To show that you need to hold a direction or button, you would just use the word “hold” or “charge” or an abbreviation of the above. The problem comes in when you have long, complicated motions. Here is Geese Howard's Raging Storm:
down-back, forward, down-forward, down, down-back, back, down-forward + punch db, f, df, d, db, b, df + P.
Understandably not as popular as the other styles.
Probably the most popular among English speaking players. This style uses the shorthand directions above for single inputs or odd cases, but otherwise uses a series of abbreviations to represent common motions. They can be combined in a sequence and/or seperated by commas to indicate they need to be combined rapidly. You can indicate that a motion is to be performed multiple times using “x” and then the number of times. An arrow (→) can also be used to mean a follow-up (in particular if the move(s) chain together), and a slash (/) can be used to show that you have two or three choices in input at this point. Hold/charge moves are represented the same as above.
A few example commands:
QCF+P, QCF+P, K
Here's a quick list of the most common commands and what they mean:
A 360 in fighting game terms is when you spin the stick from back to down to up-forward or from forward to down to up-back. There is no need to actually complete a revolution in most cases. This motion was popularized by Zangief in Street Fighter 2. A 720 is done by making one complete revolution then performing a partial revolution as above. It is generally done starting during a jump, then completed as the player lands (so as to not leap during the motion's entry).
b, db, d, df, f, uf b, db, d, df, f, uf, u, ub, b, db, d, df, f, uf
Dragon Punch, named for Ryu's famous anti-air special attack. RDP means Reverse Dragon Punch, or doing the motion using back instead of forward, like so:
f, d, df b, d, db
Half-circle forward/back, or:
b, db, d, df, f f, df, d, db, b
Quarter-circle forward/back, or:
d, df, f d, db, b
Named for the arrangement of number keys on the right side of most full-size keyboards, this style refers to the direction you move the joystick using the appropriate number. For example, 8 would mean to press up, 2 to press down, 4 to press away from your opponent and 6 to press toward them. You can show that you should leave the joystick in the neutral (center) position using 5.
7 8 9 UB U UF 4 5 6 = B N F 1 2 3 DB D DF
Directions that need to be pressed in quick sucession touch each other, and to show that you need to hold a direction for a second or two before releasing, you use a tilde (~). A (/) may be used to show if you have several choices at that point in a move (but this is generally only used for buttons in this style).
The above generally is the case for moves with more odd motions as well, such as Geese's Raging Storm. Confusingly, this can also work for moves which require pressing a number of a buttons in quick succession. Whether you are intended to press a command simultaneously or rapidly in quick succession is generally determined by context. If you wish to specifically indicate a pause or simultaneous input, you might use a comma (,) or a plus sign (+), respectively.
623(A, B, or C)
This style is useful for another reason - it is commonly used among many Japanese players (especially players for games like Melty Blood), and so using it allows players who may not speak the language well to understand what move you are referring to.