Question about priority in fighting games

I was talking to someone yesterday who told me that my definition of priority is not true but actually a common misconception. All along I had been told by others and read guides that explained priority is the measure of two moves hitting each other simultaneously and seeing which one wins. The move that wins has more priority. But he explained to me that without any other factors, if two moves hit simultaneously both players get hit. Any situation in which a move beats another is due to other factors related to hit boxes. Instead, he explains that priority is simply which move comes out when you do a command that is shared for multiple moves. For example, a dragon punch has more priority than a fireball, because even though the command of the fireball can be incorporated into the command for the dragon punch, the dragon punch has more priority and will therefore be executed.

So is this right? Is there no such thing as “priority” in the sense that I was thinking it was? If so, it is an enormous misconception, because people use the word priority all the time and they definitely aren’t talking about which move comes out when doing two moves with similar commands.

I wouldn’t call it a misconception so much as a practical abstraction of what you’ve described. You are correct that the idea of “priority,” in terms of game mechanics, is really just a combination of hitbox placement and size, as well as frame data associated with a move (chiefly start-up and invincibility time). Priority is really just how it’s experienced in similar situations, how it feels.

… I’m sure someone smarter than me will give you a better explanation in the morning. :lol:

v v v edit: what he said v v v

I have a feeling you misunderstood him and didn’t pick up that he probably segued into input priority, which is entirely different from hitbox priority. Either that, or he’s acting pretty elitist.

When most people mention priority, they’re talking about an attack’s attacking hit box stretching far beyond its vulnerability box or having no vulnerability for a length of time (i.e. invincible frames). The comparison of 2 attacks’ hit boxes determines their priority.

That’s why, in ST for example, boxer’s s.LP in its active phase (with the attacking box going straight out for pretty much the full distance of his arm, which is quite some distance ahead of the vulnerability box that doesn’t extend at all to his arm) will always beat Honda’s HP headbutt in its active phase (with the attacking box just barely ahead of his vulnerable body when it’s moving forward). Meanwhile, some attacks have strange hit boxes such as Guile’s c.HP as anti-air, which depends widely on where the enemy is positioned and how lengthy of a hitbox advantage the opposing anti-air attack has.

If the 2 attacking boxes hit the opposing vulnerability boxes at about the same time, then that’s when a trade occurs. There’s no magical property of a move that makes 1 move beat another. Still, the great chances of a move with hitbox advantage beating a majority of other moves with closer attack/vulnerability hitboxes lends that move the easy-to-say trait of “having priority.” It’s not really wrong or a misnomer, although it’s easily misunderstood. If you want to see this in action, I’d suggest buying SF:HD when it comes out this month and turn on the hitbox mode to see how all this priority stuff works.

What your friend seems to be referring to is move input priority, which is how the game reads your inputs and determines which move to throw out based on ambiguous inputs. That means if you were to overlap inputs (say, f,qcb,hcf+PK for Ryu, which overlaps all his special moves in ST), you would always get a hurricane kick first. Don’t press the K (since all his other specials end with P) and you get the super (via an unorthodox input shortcut). Skip the qcb (f,hcf+P) and you get a dp. Skip the f and you get the shakunetsu hadoken. Finally, only do qcf and you get the hadoken. This is a very real priority that will always be the same no matter what the conditions are. Still, this type of input overlap priority is so little used that it sounds like your friend was just being a bit elitist by simply referring to that as “priority” without any qualifier.

Right. In strict definitions, priority only applies to when two moves connect at the same time, yet one wins because of rules in the game mechanics (and not due to invincibility frames). The only game that I know of that has a priority system is VF, where if 2 moves connect on the same frame, the one which does more damage wins, and scores a counter-hit. If they both do the same damage, both players get hit on counter.

Usually priority is used in a loose sense to describe when some move beats out some other move due to various things. Could be speed, hitboxes/gethitboxes, invincibility boxes (ie lack of a gethitbox in a specific area), position/range, etc. But when two moves without any special properties connect a the same time, a trade happens.

Wow, thanks for the info. This whole thing started when someone on another board said to one user, “priority does not mean what you think it means,” which was completely unwarranted. The impression he gave was that priority had nothing to do with the interaction between two moves.

Wow, thanks Ganelon! I knew that “priority” didn’t technically exist in newer 2-D games (i.e. Guilty Gear, Arcana) since they have clashing, but I thought it did exist in SF2. Glad to see that it’s basically the same thing.

There are other games besides VF which do have priority, though. I think 3rd Strike might be one of them. I’m not sure how specials/supers work, but I seem to recall that heavy attacks beat light & medium ones, and medium normals beat light ones. At the very least, I’ve never had a medium or light poke trade with Oro’s s.roundhouse or c.fierce.

I also recall that the earlier DOA games had priority, which was why Hayate was godly in DOA3 - something to do with an “unbeatable elbow”.

What you’re saying in layman’s terms is:

Explore Steven Rondina

1 has greater priority than 2?

(note: I shopped that shit. Not actual hitboxes.)

Killer Instinct Gold also has a priority system, but it does not depend on offensive hitboxes. The way it is implemented in that game is as soon as a move starts, it is completely invulnerable to a number of other attacks. For example, any aerial low attack is completely invulnerable to any aerial fierce attack. This, and what is in VF, are among the examples one could consider of real priority. Most other games have the attacks determined by hitboxes, solely.

actually if we took on consideration the modern fg the hit boxes have some sort of priority, take for example GG, where you can find that every attack hit box has a level related to them, for example if a hitbox with lvl 1 hits against a hitbox of lvl 3, the attack with lvl 3 will win, on the other hand if both of them are lvl 4 a clash will occur, of course i dont know if this aplies to other games that use the hitbox system

Hecatom, what you said about Guilty Gear is not true.

The attack level of a move has nothing to do with whether a move beats, or clashes, with another move. Clashes occur when ever two move’s attack boxes intersect without touching the other’s hitbox. Attack level has nothing to do with it.

oh well, my bad, until now i always belived that the level was related to the clash in some way, thanx for the correction :wonder:


so this basically means that i can clash the 5p of ky for name one with the grave digger of testamen?

Yup, that would be an obvious priority advantage situation there (although I only know SF so things may work a bit differently in other games, as has been stated).

Again, buy the upcoming SF:HD and you’ll be able to see everything in action with the hitbox layer enabled. Of course, I know Josh will be getting on there the first day.

Wow, I always assumed that damage boxes and hit boxes were combined into one.

I now see why hitbox detectors are so vital.

I have nothing to contribute (cuz i is nub), but thanks for the info Ganelon :tup:

Wow, good thread, I learned something new!

assuming you can get the hitboxes to line up correctly (which would be very very situational and imo totally impractical), then yes.

as a more simple example, have faust do scalpel pull from full screen and do random attacks to clash with it (5P, 6P, 5H)

so, what are the meaning of the levels in the attacks of GG ?

Guilty Gear’s attack levels determine the amount of hitstun and blockstun a move inflicts. But there are moves that break the level rules, like “level” 6 attacks and many of Slayer’s attacks.

read the guide

thakns, lol i skipped that part when i read it long time ago :looney: