Introduction to SOCD and Resolutions

What is an SOCD?

SOCD means "Simultaneous Opposing Cardinal Directions." It is the physical actuation of cardinal 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 - by using both directions, neither of the directions, or choosing only one of the directions.

Now that you have SOCDs on the brain, let us go over the most well-known resolutions in controllers, as well as some game-side resolutions developers have come up with.


Types of Resolutions

Natural or No Resolution

When both opposing directions are used in the game, it is called a Natural SOCD (also referred to as "No Resolution"). This is not 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.


SOCD Neutral is when the game shows neither of the cardinal inputs - known as a 'center' or neutral input. This is typically the standard in most rulesets, controllers, and games.
This is the default for Left + Right on Hit Box, Smash Box, and Cross|Up.
It is also the default for Up + Down on Smash Box.

Absolute Priority

Absolute Priority Resolution is when one specific cardinal directions is always used instead of the other, in all situations when the SOCD is active.
The default on Hit Box and Cross|Up is "Up priority" in all Up + Down SOCDs.
Okay, that was the basics, but let us get into the real nerdy stuff.

Last Input Priority

In most cases, both directions are not initially actuated at the same time. When the second (or most recent) direction you pressed in the SOCD overrides the first, it is called Last Input Priority Resolution.
In the Smash Box and Cross|Up Designers, this is the "Last Input Priority" option.

Last Input Controlled Priority

This is much like Last Input Priority, but instead of the last input simply overriding the first, the first input is deactivated, and stays that way until the last input is released.
In the Smash Box Designer software, this is the "Last Input Controlled Priority" option.

Less Familiar Resolutions

First-Input Priority
As long as the first actuated input of an SOCD is held, it will override the second.
In the Smash Box and Cross|Up Designers, this is called "First Input Priority."
First-input Controlled Priority
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.

That was not so tough! Now let us go over how game developers have handled SOCDs.

Examples of Game-Side Resolutions

There are many ways games have dealt with unresolved SOCDs. Let us take a look at a few examples.
Natural Resolution
Vanilla MvC3 does not 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. 
Absolute Priority
In SFV, the game prioritizes the "forward" direction. So, on player 1 side, Left + Right = Right, and on player 2 side Left + Right = Left.


To close things out, let us 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, with a standard 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.