This article explains what an SOCD Cleaner does and why it is required. It also explains typical SOCD cleaner modes and other modes as featured in the Magicians SOCD Cleaner.
What They Do
SOCD stands for Simultaneous Opposite Cardinal Directions and is a way to describe when either left/right or down/up are pressed together. The reason why SOCD events need to be cleaned when playing fighting games is because game developers, both in retro and modern games, almost never created a filter in their code to take this into account. They didn’t have to because it is physically impossible to press two directions at once with an arcade joystick and directional pad. But with the popular use of All Button Controllers (ABCs) manufactured from leaders in the scene such as HitBox Arcade and Junk Food Custom Arcades, SOCD events are commonplace.
SOCD Cleaners Focus on Resolutions
The act reading an SOCD event and determining what the interpreted direction should be is called resolving. There must be a resolution when an SOCD event occurs. For example, when left/right are pressed together, one resolution can be “neutral”. You can also say the SOCD is cleaning to neutral. When there is no resolution in place, it is up to the electronics of your controller or the game software to decide. For example, in Tekken 7, the SOCD resolution for either left/right or down/up is neutral. Other older fighting games can allow both to occur and will do wacky things like approaching an opponent in a match while blocking both sides. This is of course not fair in a competition or an online match. However, having no resolution is preferable, such as in rhythm type games which require you to have an SOCD event. Think Dance Dance Revolution and Pop’n Music where it is essential to have this SOCD event occur or you lose points.
The term resolution oddly does not come up that often. It is more commonplace to say SOCD cleaning modes or SOCD cleaning rules. No matter what you choose, nearly everyone will understand what you are referring to.
Types of Resolutions
We talked about two cleaning modes so far, no resolution (sometimes referred to as natural resolution or no SOCD cleaning or none). There are many others such as cleaning to min cardinal, cleaning to max cardinal, and last input priority. For example, if we think of the x-axis inputs (left/right), cleaning to min cardinal means that when both are pressed the cleaned result is left. If cleaning to max cardinal the cleaned result is right. This is also sometimes called absolute priority. But people will usually just say clean to left or clean to right. There are some other cleaning modes too that are not as well known. You can explore them from this article by Hitbox Arcade.
SOCD Cleaners on the Market
The most popular SOCD cleaning for the x-axis is clean to neutral while the y-axis is clean to up. For this reason, you will see nearly any SOCD cleaner have this hardwired at the only rule. But this is only one combination out of the many others possible. If we say we have cleaning none, neutral, min cardinal, max cardinal, and last input to choose from, that leaves us with 25 different combinations! It depends on your style and the game that you are playing which cleaning mode will work best for you. From what we have discussed so far, it’s clear that not all games benefit, or even all characters benefit from a single combination as designed by your typical SOCD cleaner. While you may save some money on just one combination, it is more expensive per combination. If there was a cleaner that can have all 25 combinations into one, that would be ideal. I am happy to say we have the only SOCD Cleaner on the market that does exactly that, the Magicians SOCD Cleaner V2. The cheapest single combination SOCD cleaner is $12.95 where the Magicians SOCD Cleaner V2 costs $40.95 and has 25 combinations plus other features such as pin remapping, live testing, phone app support, easy integration to OmniArcade products, and more. That’s $1.64 per combination! And the interesting part is that there is also a custom SOCD rule maker so it’s actually a bit lower, but you get the idea 😊 Of course the FGC has many folks who would like to make their own. I strongly encourage tapping into your inner engineer so if you would like to make your own SOCD Cleaner, please see our logic design article for a crash course on this.
SOCD cleaners are all about resolutions to events that might cause strange behavior in a game. They are required for competitive play and not all games require or even need it. Typical SOCD cleaners are commonplace but have a fixed mode with little documentation and support behind them. For a worry free installation and future proofing with characters or games you might come across, it’s worth getting something that has the flexibility of a Magicians SOCD Cleaner V2.