Computerworld Honors to Virtua Fighter

history_a.jpgVirtua Fighter är ett av de få spel som räknas som pionjär i spelhistorien.
Spelet förde spelmarknaden och grenen fighting till helt ny dimension av visuell teknik och underhållning.
Seriens utveckling betraktades som framgång för spel, konst och entertainmentverksamhet och belönades 1998 med Computerworld Smithsonian Award, värt att tillägga att Virtua Fighter är det hittills enda tv-spelet som fått den här utmärkelsen, vilket säger mer än nog. Virtua Fighter kommer att vara bevarad för alltid som pionjär inom spelmarknaden. Virtua Fighter gallery finns bevarad i Washington DC Smithsonian museum …

Virtua Fighter är det hittills enda video/tv-spelet som fått den här utmärkelsen

Texten nedan är taget från Computerworld Smithsonian Award.

 

Computerworld Smithsonian Award


General Information

Virtua Fighter Series
Sega Enterprises, Ltd.
Ohata-Ku, Tokyo
Japan
Year: 1998
Status: Laureate
Category: Media Arts & Entertainment
Nominating Company: Microsoft Corporation

Summary

Advanced graphics and inverse kinematics technologies allow players to move around interactively inside a real-time, high quality 3D graphics world.

Summary

There were many fighting games before Virtua Fighter was introduced to the world. But what made Virtua Fighter so special and epoch-making, were the new computer graphics technologies used. Virtua Fighter provided the world an experience to move around interactively inside a real-time, high quality 3-dimensional computer graphics world, through a very affordable medium, video game. The existent games were all 2-dimensional which lack in depth and atmosphere; however, Virtua Fighter was 3-dimensional. The players are able to move freely inside the computer cyber space. This made it possible to enjoy the game with so much presence, that you would feel as if you are actually inside the cyber space fighting. The 3-dimensional cyber space was enough to shock the world, but what made Virtua Fighter a evolutionary hit was the smooth and natural motions of the characters. We applied Inverse Kinematics, a human-body simulation technology used in robot-engineering and sports-medicine, in making the motions. The whole idea of Inverse
Kinematics is to put a skeleton, just like a real human body, inside a virtual body created in the computer, and move the bones when making the motions of the virtual body. This allowed the characters to move realistically, and more freely. Virtua Fighter was the very first game in the world to use this technology in real-time, and there was not onegame in the past, which responded to the command of the player faster.
Virtua Fighter 2 and 3 operates at the frame rate of 1/60seconds, while television display each image at the frame rate of 1/30seconds. With this technology, we were also able to make each character have their own peculiarities. At the time, expressing peculiar movements using this technology was thought to be impossible. Achieving this had great influence, not only on the game industry, but also on other fields including robot-engineering and sports-medicine. The 3rd version of the series, Virtua Fighter 3 has 13 characters the player can choose from, and each of them has about 400 moves. Besides the basic moves, the characters will adjust moves to be most suited to the circumstance. In other words, the combination of moves is countless. That’s why you can never get bored of playing Virtua Fighter.

Benefits

Virtua Fighter had great influence on the vitalization of the game industry. The sensation that Virtua Fighter created caused game-creator to become one of the top occupations for a child to aspire. Also, the highest technology of both software and hardware being used in the development, the Virtua Fighter contributed in pushing the technology standard of the game industry to a higher level. Virtua Fighter also created a whole new style of a game. After Virtua Fighter, many similar games were released, and this caused the whole game industry to enliven.
With the technology of 3-dimensional computer graphics, we drastically improved the basic technique of game evelopment. Especially, we were able to take some of the burden off the computer graphics designers. In terms of communication, we developed an advanced man-machine interface.
In Virtua Fighter, the machine will analyze and presume the player’s will, based on the command from the 4 buttons and the lever, and the information on the situation of the player’s character, such as the position of the opponent’s character, and make the characters do a move which would be logically ideal. It is equipped with a will-presumptionroutine. Also, we developed a system, which enabled two players far apart, to play this game against each other using a modem, for our Home Entertainment System ‘Sega Saturn’.

Importance

We believe that entertainment is one of the best media for the highest technology to spread, and as if to prove our belief to be true, people waited in lines to play Virtua Fighter on the day of it’s release. Game machines, which are equipped with an advanced interface and visual and audial interactivity, will, in the future, play a big part in the information-oriented society, as a necessary, affordable multi-media platform. Our challenge is, to always be there to provide the best amusement to the world.

Originality

Virtua Fighter was the first game in the world to use Inverse Kinematics in real time. With it’s fine, interactive controllability, and the smooth realistic movements of the characters, the players get so absorbed into the game, you often hear them saying ‘ouch!’ when their character is attacked. Things which we always had in mind, were to make the motions smoother, more realistic and natural, and to make the game more fun. Also, as the series went on, the game became more and more realistic along with the improvement of technology.

Success

Virtua Fighter became a million-seller software, and was distributed all over the world. Due to it’s high popularity, many regional tournaments were held in different countries. And the winners participated in a global championship touranament. We will develop new games based on the knowledge and the basic techniques we attained in the development of the Virtua Fighter Series. Inverse Kinematics can be applied to all sorts of sports simulation games.

Difficulty

In the development of the Virtua Fighter, there were 3 major technical problems.

1.To use Inverse Kinematics in real-time, we needed to increase the processing speed drastically. 2.A vast amount of calculation had to be done for the complex collision detection of 2 characters, and the dynamic movements caused by the collision. 3.Now, with the convenience of a motion-capturing system, we are able to capture motions of a real person and apply them to a game character. But at the time when we were developing Virtua Fighter 1, our animators had to make each motion by hand, and managing the production efficiency and the quality was very difficult.

The three things listed above were the biggest obstacles that we had toovercome, and if we had been unable to overcome even one of the them, Virtua Fighter would not have existed.

 

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