What is Practice Mode?
It's a mode accessible from the main menu that lets you fight against a dummy character. You can use this mode to try out your moves and see how they work. Most of getting better at Fantasy Strike involves playing actual people, and not spending a lot of time in practice mode, but we have a full-featured practice mode for you anyway, in case you want it.
Controlling the Dummy
You can directly control the dummy simply by using the controls for player 2. You don't have to turn that feature on—it just works.
You can use the pause menu in practice mode to set various behaviors for the dummy. You can set whether it jumps or not, whether it blocks or not, whether it does an action right after it blocks, and whether it does an action right after it gets up from a knockdown.
Fantasy Strike, like almost all fighting games, uses the frame as the basic unit of time. A frame is 1/60th of a second. The more frames a move has, the slower it is.
Attacks have three parts: startup, active, and recovery.
- Startup frames can’t hit the opponent.
- Active frames CAN hit the opponent.
- Recovery frames can’t hit the opponent.
Here are the frame stats for Grave's double palm move, done by holding forward+A:
Sometimes you'll see more numbers in there, such as Rook's f+A kick, which has these frame stats:
8 / 5 (7) 15 / 22
The 8 startup and 22 recovery are straightforward enough. The middle part means that it can hit TWICE. It has 5 active frames for the first hit, then 7 frames where it can't hit, then 15 active frames for the second hit.
The diagram above also shows a second set of numbers that say (13 / -9). The 13 is startup again (it's just repeated from the stats above it) and the -9 is advantage time, also known as frame advantage.
Frame advantage is an important concept in all fighting games. It means how much sooner (or later) do you recover from a move compared to the opponent. For example, let’s say your move has frame stats of 13 / 7 / 28 and you make the opponent block it. You most likely made contact on the 14th frame; that’s the first of the 7 active frames in this move, though you might have made contact as late as the 20th frame. Anyway, you’ll be stuck in your animation for the rest of your active and recovery frames. Your opponent will ALSO be stuck though—they’re in blockstun because they blocked a move. So who will recover first? You can use the in-game training mode to find out.
If you do Grave’s double palm and have the training dummy block it, these stats appear below the move’s frame stats: (13 / -11).
That means 13 startup frames and -11 advantage frames. The negative number there is bad for you. It means the OPPONENT recovers from their blockstun 11 frames sooner than you recover from your attack. If the opponent has a move that has 10 or fewer startup frames (since that would hit on the 11th frame) that can reach you, they can hit you back guaranteed. And even if they can’t do that, if you both do a move as soon as possible, you’ll be “11 frames behind” and you’ll probably get interrupted by the opponent’s move.
The in-game frame advantage number is dynamic, meaning it’s calculated in real time as you do the move. You can see this by doing a jump kick at the training dummy and hitting them very high or very low to see the difference in advantage time. If you hit very high with Grave’s jump kick, you get about +10 frames of advantage time. If you hit very low, you get as many as +18 frames. The reason this number varies is that the later you hit them in your jump, the shorter the time is until you recover; meanwhile they will be in hitstun for the same length of time no matter when you hit them during your jump.
You can study this frame data in training mode to learn nuances of the game and know how safe or unsafe any move is.
For even more precise control, you can use the frame step feature. For now, the way you enable that is shift-1 on the keyboard in practice mode. This freezes the game and you can press the 1 key each time you want to step forward one frame, or you can hold down the \ key to step forward repeatedly. Press shift-1 again to resume to normal game speed. (These are placeholder commands, and there will eventually be a better UI for them.) While the game is frozen, you can hold down buttons, then advance a frame to input that command. For example, you could press shift-1 to freeze the action, then hold down player 1's throw button and player 2's super button, then press 1, 1, 1, 1, etc. to frame-by-frame and see which move wins. You could then shift-1 to return to normal game speed at any time.
Don't drown in the frames!