What is an SOCD?
SOCD means "Simultaneous Opposing Cardinal Directions." It's the physical actuation of directions that are separate and opposite to each other - ie, pressing Left and Right at the same time. This phenomenon is best known on all-button controllers, such as the Hit Box and Smash Box, but current controllers like the Dual-Shock 4 can do something similar with its cross-directional (Analog Stick and Dpad) inputs.
What is an SOCD Resolution?
An SOCD Resolution is what a controller or game activates or outputs when an SOCD is actuated. There are many ways an SOCD can be resolved, either by not resolving and using both directions, choosing only one of the directions, or neither of the directions.
Now that you have SOCDs on the brain, let's go over the most well-known resolutions in controllers, as well as some game-side resolutions developers have come up with.
When a controller sends both opposing directions to a game, it's called a No Resolution SOCD. This isn't typically the solution controllers choose, simply because it can lead to game-breaking things due to weird or lack of game design considerations for SOCDs.
When both opposing directions are actuated, the controller can send a center output to the game. This is called SOCD Neutral, and it's typically the standard or default in most rulesets and controllers.
This is our default for Left + Right on Hit Box and Smash Box.
It's also our default for Up + Down on Smash Box.
On our Smash Box Designer software, this is called "Center on SOCD."
When the controller always only sends one specific direction over another, it's called an Absolute Priority Resolution.
The default on Hit Box is Up takes priority in all Up + Down SOCDs.
Okay, that was the basics, but let's get into the real nerdy stuff.
Second-Input Priority (SIP)
In most cases, both directions aren't initially actuated at the same time. When the second (or most recent) direction you pressed in the SOCD overrides the first, it's called Second-Input Priority Resolution.
On the Smash Box Designer software, this is called "Second Opposing Cardinal Priority."
Second-input Controlled Priority (SCP)
This is much like SIP, but instead of the second input simply overriding the first, the first input is deactivated, and stays that way until it's re-actuated.
On the Smash Box Designer software, this is called "Second Cardinal Overrides Once."
Less Familiar Resolutions
First-Input Priority (FIP)
As long as the first actuated input of an SOCD is held, it'll override the second.
On the Smash Box Designer software, this is called "First Cardinal Has Priority."
First-input Controlled Priority (FCP)
Once the SOCD is initiated, the second input is deactivated and stays that way until two conditions are met: the first input is un-actuated and the second input is re-actuated.
On the Smash Box Designer software, this is called "Left XOR Right."
That wasn't so tough! Now let's go over how game developers have handled SOCDs.
There are many ways games have dealt with unresolved SOCDs and cross-directionals (like on a Dual-Shock 4). Let's take a look at a few examples.
Vanilla MvC3 doesn't resolve Left + Right SOCD, and will give you both inputs. This leads to weird things like blocking on both sides at the same time.
In Tekken 7, the game will give you Neutral Resolution if you input Left + Right or Up + Down. This is possible because the Dual-Shock 4 sends both the Analog Stick and Dpad inputs to the game.
In SFV, the game prioritizes the "forward" direction. So, on player 1 side, Left + Right = Right, and on player 2 side Left + Right = Left.
In the PS4 version of UNIST, the game prioritizes the Dpad directions over the Analog Stick. So, a Left input on the Dpad + a Right input on the Analog Stick = a Left output. (This doesn't require an SOCD, as Dpad will override any direction the Analog Stick inputs. We call this specifically a Dpad Priority.)
To close things out, let's overview the basics:
- SOCD stands for "Simultaneous Opposing Cardinal Directions."
- Resolutions are what a controller or game output when an SOCD is actuated.
- There are many ways to resolve SOCDs, but the most popular one in controllers and rulesets is Neutral.
- Game developers have their own ways of dealing with SOCDs and cross-directional inputs, with a standard across the board yet to be established.
We hope this post clears up some confusion with SOCDs, but also keeps the conversation around SOCDs grounded by using consistent terms and phrases.
May your inputs be blessed.