Archive for September, 2010

Native Resolution vs Standard Resolution

September 28th, 2010 8 comments

Back in the day, arcade and console hardware ran at weird native resolutions like 384×224. When they were hooked up to a standard arcade monitor, the picture was automatically resized to standard 4:3 resolution.

We assume that the game designers intended their sprites to be viewed at 4:3 resolution. There’s no real debate here because Capcom and other companies used to manufacture complete arcade cabinets, so they knew the end result would be displayed at 4:3.

As a result, when you go from standard resolution to native resolution on an emulator, all the characters look short and wide. The whole screen looks stretched because 384×224 is actually 12:7 resolution. That’s a messed up ratio that doesn’t make sense at all.

However, the main advantage to native resolution is that it represents every pixel. So for archival purposes, sometimes it’s better to store screenshots at native resolution because it’s easy to stretch that image to 4:3 later. On the other hand, there’s no way to go back from 4:3 to native resolution because you can’t tell what the original pixels were when you look at a resampled 4:3 image. Resizing aspect ratios is inherely lossy.

But then again, compressed video is lossy too. If you’re going to show a video to a general audience, it’s usually better to go with the intended 4:3 ratio. That’s how everyone played it so that’s what looks natural and familiar to everyone.

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Categories: Impressions, Technical Tags:

AaaA: s-kill’s Tournament Player Archetypes

September 25th, 2010 12 comments

This old Dom101 article came up in my interview with jchensor and i realized that i had more thoughts on it. I’d like to put them down paper, so to speak, in this “Article about an Article.” First, here’s a link to the original piece. Please read it and then come back.

Domination 101: Tournament Player Archetypes at Shoryuken

They’re in there, they’re playing, and they might even be pretty good. Without a “gameplan”, however, their goodness is limited to situational scenarios. Sure, maybe you can super through that fireball for massive damage, but unless you’ve also got some way to force or trick your opponent into actually throwing that fireball, you’re depending on them to hand you the win.

As you can tell from the quote above, this article was amazingly insightful to anyone without extensive tournament experience. It still holds up today, despite many of the specific examples having become outdated. However, the overall level of competition among the Street Fighter “middle class” has improved considerably over the years – partly due to fighting games becoming a niche hobby inbetween periods of mainstream success.

Even players who lose in qualifiers at Evo events are pretty well rounded now. It’s become more difficult to encapsulate everyone within s-kill’s original archetypes: the Scrub, the Turtle, Gimmicky Pete, the Stylist, and Grumpy Old Man. So i propose some modifications to the list.

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Categories: Spotlights, Strategy Tags:

How to Take Screenshots with MacroLua

September 21st, 2010 1 comment

That’s right, MacroLua isn’t just for making combo videos. You can also utilize scripts to set up and refine elaborate screenshot scenarios. The latest build (1.10) features several settings to facilitate the process. Here’s a brief overview to get you started.

Simply follow the directions provided in the documentation to get MacroLua installed. Once you have it running, the first thing you should do is turn off input display if it’s enabled by default. You probably wouldn’t want those command symbols showing up in your screenshots.

Next, turn on pause after playback. This setting automatically pauses the emulator at the end of the script. Once it’s paused, if you like what you see, you can simply press F12 to save a lossless native resolution screenshot to your screenshots folder. It’s that easy.

Now all you have to do is come up with a good idea and write the script to make it work. Include a W command at the end (like W10!) and use it to control when the emulator pauses. If it’s too soon, then increase that number. If it pauses too late, then decrease the number.

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Categories: Technical Tags:

Using Combos and Block Strings as Bait

September 18th, 2010 7 comments

A question recently arose regarding Footsies Handbook Element 02 which made me realize that it could use some clarification. The whole concept is to perform an attack sequence which leaves you looking vulnerable, thus fooling your opponent into reacting brashly

The example provided was Alex Valle‘s SFA2 Sagat landing crossup j.LK, c.MP xx Tiger Shot, which positions Ken just outside of sweep range without knocking him down. Sagat could’ve done a slightly more damaging knockdown combo, but Ken still would’ve survived.

Valle’s gamble tricked John Choi into activating Custom Combo, which would’ve given Choi a great chance to win if Valle wasn’t prepared for it. But of course it was a trap all along, and Valle responded with that historic fierce Tiger Uppercut to win the B3 Alpha 2 tournament.

Now this isn’t something you can do on a regular basis. It requires a certain kind of combo, and even then it requires a certain lifebar/meter situation to make the gamble worthwhile.

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Categories: Strategy Tags:

Interview with James “jchensor” Chen

September 15th, 2010 7 comments

As like-minded game engine savants, James Chen and i first met while trying to unravel the mysterious juggle systems of CvS2, and we’ve been friends since. With all the changes taking place in the community, we sat down (asynchronously on opposite sides of the internet) to discuss everything from stream commentary to character design to combo videos.

Maj: Let’s start from the beginning. What got you into fighting games and the tournament scene?

UltraDavid and jchensor commentating at Specialists 3jchensor: I got hooked into Fighting Games because they were new. I was hooked ever since the original Street Fighter II. And even way back then, I was entering tournaments for Street Fighter II. So it was just something I always did.

However, I can easily say I never REALLY got into the Tournament scene until Street Fighter Alpha 2. Previous to that, I was pretty scrubby. A2 is probably the period of time where I really made that leap from being good to being truly tournament worthy.

Maj: What was your first tournament experience?

jchensor: It was a classic Street Fighter II tournament. I think it took place at a mini-golf arcade. Me, my brother, and one of my friends were pretty good at the time, before others really got good as well. So we took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd pretty easily, though I was the one that got 3rd place.

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Categories: Interviews Tags: