February 11, 2012 1:42 PM   Subscribe

I love game graphics breakdowns like this. Also great is this paper on illustrative rendering in TF2.
posted by migurski at 2:28 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed that TF2 paper! The Google-Translated Japanese in the FPP is too distracting for me though. Maybe some kind bilingual graphics enthusiast will do a manual translation.
posted by scose at 3:30 PM on February 11, 2012

I never got that much into SF2 in the arcade, just because it was so expensive, but we played the holy living f*** out of the SNES version. It was, as far as I could tell, a nearly perfect port of a nearly perfect game. The fluidity and sense of control were extraordinary, and there was just level after level after level of skill. It felt kind of like real martial arts, in the sense that no matter how good you got, you could always get better.

It got to the point, in our group, that even a very tiny mistake could lose a match; you could be completely wiping the floor with someone, and if they managed to get purchase for even a second, and reverse the momentum, they could take you from full strength to knockout within seconds. I don't even know how many attack and defense patterns there were in that game, but it got to the point that fighting in Street Fighter felt kind of like typing -- in the same way that you think words onto the keyboard, you'd think out patterns of punches and kicks and combos to defeat your opponent. And if you got tired of the character you were playing, there was like seven more, each wildly different. My favorites were Ryu (the guy in white who's the primary focus of this link) and E. Honda, the sumo wrestler.

I didn't like the later versions as much. That may have been simply because we had over-specialized into regular SF2, but after putting, geeze, maybe a thousand hours into the original, the sequels just never felt as good. They were confusing, and broke too many of the rules that had been set down in the one we'd learned.

They still play later versions of that game competitively. It really is an extraordinary design. A truly brilliant player is a joy just to watch.... and the game makes room for that kind of pure brilliance.

Mortal Kombat was such a freaking joke in comparison... MK was crude in every sense. Going from SF2 to MK was like trading in a surgeon's operating suite for the kid's game Operation.
posted by Malor at 3:40 PM on February 11, 2012 [10 favorites]

there was like seven more, each wildly different.

Well, 6 of them were. I always assumed Ken only existed to entice a Western teen market that would want to play the hero as a white dude.
posted by howfar at 4:39 PM on February 11, 2012

Ken basically is the Luigi of Street Fighter. In the original game there no was choice of which character to play, if a second player joined in then Ken would appear as an identical challenger wearing red. I don't think the designers actually gave much thought to him until years later.
posted by Winnemac at 5:58 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

zsazsa, that's awesome.

Need more articles like these!
posted by migurski at 12:27 AM on February 12, 2012

Thinking about this the next day, . They're playing a later version of the game than the one I specialized in... one major difference is that the newer version runs things faster than the old one. It takes almost superhuman reflexes to be truly great at the later versions of Street Fighter.

And you actually see that superhuman speed in this video. Each competitor wins one match fairly normally, and then the third match has Ken just the tiniest whisker away from losing. One more hit will knock him out. And Chun Li launches into a hurricane-kick combo, which is a zillion medium-strength attacks. It's a special combo, so it can't be completely blocked with the normal crouch/block move; some damage will get through, and Ken can't take even one more point. If he does, he's done, and the championship goes to the player on Chun Li.

So, instead, he does something that was added after the version I played so much -- he counter-attacks. He attacks at precisely the right rhythm to counter the hurricane kick, which normally comes in at about four hits a second; he stops the first one, and then get the timing exactly correct to stop every incoming attack, jumps into the air to block the high kick, and as he touches down, explodes into a perfect combo of his own, instantly winning the fight.

The audience goes crazy because that is just absolutely unearthly skill; that guy really is, probably, the best in the world at that game.

It takes a marvelous game to support that kind of skill playing it.
posted by
Malor at 7:02 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's interesting to compare the graphics of Street Fighter 4 with those of its long-time rival King Of Fighters.

Despite the move to 3d, Street Fighter 4 manages to remain faithful to the 2d originals. The movement has all the exaggerated movements and bodily deformations that give the original games their artistic character.

The latest King Of Fighters games have pushed their traditional hand-animated sprites as a selling point. But watching it in motion everything's obviously rigidly traced over 3d renders. The characters are unnaturally stiff, without any of the organic movements of the truely hand-drawn animation from the older KoF games.

It's a great example of conflating art with the technology used to create it.
posted by Lorc at 8:29 AM on February 12, 2012

Sorry, that should be "confusing" not "conflating".
posted by Lorc at 8:39 AM on February 12, 2012

one major difference is that the newer version runs things faster than the old one.

I downloaded SSF2T on the wii a while back and was surprised at how lead-footed the game felt and how different my memories of its speed were. Soul Calibur must be really intense for 10 year olds.
posted by timshel at 11:21 AM on February 12, 2012

Yeah, that's the version we used to play, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, and it was much slower than the later versions. And, yes, it did seem quite fast at the time. :-)
posted by Malor at 1:23 PM on February 12, 2012

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