One deceptively simple question that I’ve yet to find an answer to is: where do you look at on the screen during a match?
When I was just starting out in SF4, I spent most of my time looking directly at my character on the screen. This was mainly because I was more concerned about hitting my links and such. Over time, I realised that might not be the best approach. Since I play a zoning character, shouldn’t I be eyeballing my opponent 100% of the time for a jump?
I went on to read a few more articles on this matter, and the number of different approaches to eyeballing the screen is quite interesting.
Some people argue that it should be your style that dictates where you look at most of the time. For example if you play a rushdown character like Rufus, you’re probably going to be in your opponent’s face most of the time, or least trying to. Thus, looking at your character would allow you to maintain the consistency of your combo execution, as well as keeping a close tab on your opponent.
Parabellum (a Chun Li player) has an interesting point, choosing to look at the space in between the characters. He says that scientifically, human beings react the fastest to motion just within the range of their peripheral vision. So, looking at the space in between should allow you to continually gauge footsies distance, as well as in theory, react the fastest to a jump.
Personally, I have had similar experiences to what Parabellum discussed before. Sometimes I find myself staring hard at my opponent’s character, only to react somewhat sluggishly to a jump, whereas sometimes I’m focussing more on doing fireball feints such as standing short and crouching strong, and I react almost instaneously to my opponent’s jump just out of the edge in my vision.
I’d really like to get some personal feedback on this, what do you guys think? Do you have a strict philosophy to looking at the screen, or do you guys frequently change the target of your vision within a match?
Edit: From Maj’s incredible interview of James Chen at: http://sonichurricane.com/?p=4511
Maj: What part of the screen do you watch when you play?
jchensor: Mostly the opponent. I discovered this one time while at the arcade during college. One symptom of an impending migraine headache is that the blind spot in your eye (everyone has one) grows larger for some reason. And one day I was playing Alpha 3, my Guy vs. my friend’s Cody, and literally Guy disappeared from the screen.
From what I could tell, there was only Cody until I looked over back to my character. Guy would reappear, but every time I played, Guy would disappear. That’s kinda how I found out I look at my opponent more than my own character because the blind spot is always in the peripheral area of your vision, and it was my character that would keep disappearing. Needless to say, I got a migraine about an hour later, and it hurt like a mother.