I can't say I'm a professional (or even well versed) SF4 player, so pardon any terminology discrepancies I make.
Though I've had a copy of SSF4 lying around for quite a while, I've gotten into it only recently and came across an issue that has always bugged me in fighting games.
While some characters (such as Ryu) have very precise means of performing special moves, others (such as Guile) require charging directional input in order to pull off a special move. I find that this charge really gives away your intentions (unless you pull off the move during some insane combo. That's not what I'm talking about) and makes it difficult to react with a special move quickly.
When I'm playing as Ryu, my opponent has no way of knowing that I'm about to dish out a Hadoken, and if he happens to jump over me, I can counter with a Shoryuken without too much preparation.
However, when I'm playing as Guile and I want to pull off a sonic boom, then I either have to start backing away, or crouch back to hold my position, both rather obvious giveaways. Also, there's no quick way to react with a Flash Kick when someone is jumping at you.
Again, Guile is just an example, and I have these issues with most charge based moves. Is there a better way to use such moves that I'm missing, or do you simply have to use characters with such moves in a different manner when playing?
With charge characters, there's not much you can do to hide the fact that you are charging (for the most part, sliding input buffers allow you to mask charge somewhat).
However, this is part of the balance of the game, moves that require a charge such as this usually have quick recovery time.
In your specific example, Guile has the fastest recovery time in the game with his projectiles (outside of Seth).
Ryu (even though he has a great projectile) has some recovery time and you can punish him easier than you would Guile.
Speaking about Guile specifically, you can perform a Sonic Boom and retain the charge for the Flash Kick. If you hold the controller down and back, the charge counts for both down and back. If you perform the Sonic Boom like so:
Then you'll be able to perform the Sonic Boom while still retaining the charge for the Flash Kick. If someone jumps late enough, since you still have the joystick in the down position and retain the charge for the Flash Kick.
Note that joysticks with square gates make this much easier to perform than on pad (with a square gate joystick, you can move the stick along the bottom edge, as opposed to a pad where you have to roll your thumb across the D-pad or roll the thumbstick, which is round).
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