Tracking is the ability of a move to hit a sidestepping opponent. It’s affected by the move:
- having a wider hitbox
- having a hitbox closer to one side
- realigning towards the opponent during startup
In addition, there are moves which cause either the attacker or defender to recover slightly off-axis, which can change the tracking of immediate followups.
Homing is a specific property of a move indicating it can’t be sidestepped. These moves emit white sparks in-game as a visual indicator.
The following tests are used to measure tracking scores for Wavu Wiki movelists:
- +6 — d/b+1,F hit
- +5 — d/b+1+2 hit
- +4 — d/f+1,1 hit
- +3 — BT 1 hit
- +2 — f+2 hit
- +1 — 1 block
- +0 — 2 block
- -1 — d/f+1 block
- -2 — d/f+1,1 block
- -3 — f+2,3 block
- -4 — b+3 block
- -5 — b+1 hit
- -6 — f+2~1+2 block
- -7 — d/f+2 block
- -8 — BT 1 block
- -9 — f+2 block
- -10 — 1+2 block
- -11 — b+1 block
- -12 — 1,2,2 block
- -13 — d/b+1+2 block
- -14 — ws1 block
- -15 — f,n,d,d/f+1 block
- -17 — qcf+2 block
The test is done by recording a Heihachi pressing F (to realign), into the test move, into a sidestep; and then trying to hit him with the move being tested.
The tracking score is equal to
startup + test, where
startup is the startup of the move and
test is the test with the best score where:
- the move hits fairly consistently
- the move doesn’t miss in a test with an equal or worse score
The tracking score is thus the number of frames Heihachi can sidestep for and still be hit by the move.
In tests where the bot has around 10 to 14 frames to sidestep, both sidestep and sidewalk should be tested. The test is passed only if both get hit.
- This is to avoid situations where a move will hit at e.g. -9 but not -2 to -8 because of weird hurtbox interactions.
An often overlooked aspect to measuring tracking is that a move’s speed plays a role. Slower moves give the opponent more time to sidestep, which leads to two unexpected results:
- If tests measure if a move hits after a sidewalk at +0, then slow moves will be underrated.
- If tests measure if a move hits after a sidestep, then slow moves will be overrated.
For this reason, the “tracking score” takes startup into account.
Knowing this is necessary to contextualize the score: Against an opponent doing sidestep block, a slow move that tracks 15 frames of sidestep is just as good as a fast one. But against an opponent who commits to a sidewalk, the faster move is better, because it doesn’t give them that extra time.
The most significant limitation of this method is that the tests only work on moves done from standing. Moves from stances and strings must be tested in other ways.
Tests can’t go beyond +6 because after that the sidestep is too early and the attacker will realign, so some moves will have their tracking underrated. This could be addressed by adding tests against a character with a stronger step, such as Lili.
In some cases, a move will track well at close range but not at long range, or it can hit at -9 but not at -5, because the hitbox has a weird shape. There are also many odd interactions between various opponents’ hurtboxes which aren’t reflected by only testing against a single, standardized opponent.
There are also many situations where a move will hit an opponent sidestepping but whiff against sidestep guard or sidestep crouch, and vice versa.
The use of this tracking score in movelists is not meant to be definitive. Extra pages detailing the tracking of moves in relevant situation can be valuable additions to the wiki.
One could simply note the exact size and position of the hitbox and whether or not it realigns, but for most players this is not useful information.
One could reduce the score down to something like “tracks left”, “tracks right”, or “no tracking”, but this would be oversimplifying.