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Frames, Timing, and Animation

Skullgirls plays and reads player inputs at a base 60 frames per second. Frames serve as a extremely useful unit of measurement for any action during gameplay. Even though the game engine runs at 60 frames per second, this does not mean there are 60 distinctly drawn frames per 1 second of animation. Characters are typically drawn with 30 frames (30f) of animation per second and these are held from 2–5 frames (2–5f) at the 60 fps base game speed.

Frame Skip

Frame skip determines Skullgirls gameplay speed, effectively running the game faster as frames get skipped. There is a default 6f of frame skip, meaning every 6th frame will not appear on screen. This effectively gives Skullgirls 72 fps and a 16.7% chance for skip on any individual frame. Inputs for these skipped frames are still read by the game engine and frame skip cannot skip in a way that makes a 1f input timing impossible for the player. All references to frame timing or frame data in this guide use the base 60f frame speed.

Frame Timing

The frame by frame timing of any attack, movement, or action acts as a useful reference for experienced players. Several concepts based on frames are common to fighting games and referred to freely in this guide.

SG timing1.jpg SG timing2.jpg
The start up of Parasoul's s.HP. It hits Valentine on the first active frame, causing a brief hit stop.

Start Up Frames

All attacks have start up, or some number of frames as the attack begins and before it hits.

Active Frames

The number of frames an attack can actually make contact with an opponent.

Hit Stop

Hit stop briefly freezes the screen on a successful hit, adding an impact effect and additional frames for inputs. Hit stop is often ignored by players, but has a few additional details that can subtly affect gameplay:

  • If an attack causes a screen shake effect, it occurs during hit stop.
  • If a projectile causes hit stop, it applies to the defending character and the projectile itself; it does not stop the projectile's owner.
  • The super freeze during a Blockbuster counts as a hit stop for all characters, even as the screen zooms and the attacking character continues the animation.
  • Blockbusters cause an induced hit stop for defending characters after the super flash and before the Blockbuster hits. Most have enough frames of induced hit stop to cover the post-flash start up frames, making the Blockbuster impossible to block on reaction. Proj.png Blockbusters often have less and Throw.png based Blockbusters have 0f of induced hit stop.
SG timing3.jpg
The recovery frames of Parasoul's s.HP and Valentine in hit stun.

Hit Stun

As a defending player goes through hit stun while taking a hit, leaving frames of vulnerability before any other action is possible. The length of hit stun is specific to the attack, and many attacks have effects that cause a non-standard stun. Combos are successive hits that keep that defending player in hit stun, unable to block or recover fully. There is no hit stun scaling in combos.

SG timing4.jpg
Valentine's hit stun ends before Parasoul fully recovers from her s.HP.

Recovery Frames

An attacking character goes through recovery frames after an attack's active frames. When recovery ends, the character is free to act again. Canceling an attack will stop the active or recovery frames of the move in progress to start another action.

Block Stun

As a defending player goes through block stun after successfully blocking an attack. The defending player can't move or attack during these frames of stun, but they can still take some actions such as push blocking or calling a Stunt Double. The length of block stun is specific to the attack, but block stuns are typically shorter than hit stuns.

Frame Advantage

Visual Frame Data Color Reference

Frame Data Notation and Formulas

  • All hit and block advantages assume an attack hits the opponent on the earliest possible active frame.
    • Advantage = stun - (recovery + (active - 1))
  • Attacks with multiple hits list the active frames for every distinct hit separated by commas. The intermediate start up frames between the hits, if there are any, are listed in parenthesis. Calculation of hit and block advantages uses the same formula as a single hit attack using the numbers from the last attack only.
  • Some multi-hit attacks have continuous window of active frames for the entire move. After hit stop, these attacks immediately transition to the next hit with no intermediate start up. If a continuous multi-hit attack hits early, the remaining active frames become additional recovery frames after the last hit. If the attack hits late, the active frames may end before the attacking character can get to the last hit. Advantages for continuous multi-hit moves use a slightly different formula but still assume the attack hits the opponent on the earliest possible active frame.
    • Advantage = stun from last hit - (recovery + (active window - number of hits))
  • Air attacks have hit and block advantages that assume both characters remain in the air until they fully recover. In a real match this usually doesn't happen, as the characters will "recover" as soon as they hit the ground.
  • Hit and block advantages for projectiles assume the attack hits on the first possible frame. For typical "fireball" projectiles (such as Parasoul's Napalm Shot, Double's Luger Replica, or Peacock's BANG BANG BANG!), this means the attack hits the opponent at point blank range. The advantages increase if the projectile takes longer to hit the opponent. In addition, projectiles do not cause a hit stop effect for the attacking character, requiring a different formula for projectile hit an block advantage.
    • Advantage = stun + stop - (recovery - projectile start up - 1)
  • All projectile attacks have start up frames for the attacking character and additional start up frames for the projectile itself. Projectile start up is listed with the normal start up and separated by a comma. Most projectiles have active frames listed as "-"; they remain active until they leave the screen, making the number of active frames dependent entirely on position. Projectiles that do have a fixed number of active frames (such as Filia's Ringlet Spike or Peacock's j.MK) have the active frames listed as a number.
  • Projectiles that appear from a remote location (such as Peacock's George at the Air Show or Parasoul's Egret Charge) and have no fixed number of active frames do not have advantages listed at all. These attacks cannot consistently hit on the first active frame, making the hit and block advantages depend entirely on the opponent's position.
  • Outtakes all have the same frame data.
  • All throws and throw on hit attacks have damage listed for the complete throw and all frame data from an unsuccessful throw.
  • Any Blockbuster that only does a full animation on hit has damage listed for the complete move and all frame data from the attack on block or whiff.
  • Tag In attacks are all different, but all similarly depend on positioning of the opponent and the entrance location of the attacking character. They on have advantages listed if they give a consistent advantage on hit or block. They are generally disadvantaged on block and have some sort of knockdown effect on hit.
  • Blockbuster attacks use a "+" to indicate a super flash effect. For most Blockbusters the flash will occur during the start up, creating distinct pre-flash and post-flash start up frames. Blockbusters can also have the super flash listed during the active frames (Cerebella's Diamonds are Forever) or not at all (Valentine's Acquisitive Prescription).
  • Induced hit stop to the defending character after a Blockbuster super flash is listed with parenthesis under the hit stop for the move.

Skullgirls 2nd Encore+
General ControlsUI/HUDGlossaryTraining RoomFrame Data TutorialHitbox TutorialPatch HistoryExtras
Characters FiliaCerebellaPeacockParasoulMs. FortunePainwheelValentineDoubleSquiglyBig BandElizaFukuaBeowulfRobo-Fortune
Mechanics MovementAttacks/PropertiesDefenseTeam MechanicsCombos/Damage/Meter/IPSAdvanced Mechanics