How the Fight Creates the Fighter – Telemetry Data and Its Uses in Fighting Game Development by Gamespot

By on April 30, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Game developers are always watching you…in a totally not creepy and productive way, that is. Arcade cabinets and consoles are constantly reporting fighting game statistics back to developers in order to help them see what areas of the game need work. They can see win/loss rates, character usage statistics, combo damage, and even finer details like the usage frequency of specific character attacks.

Gamespot recently put together an interesting feature that goes over how different game developers utilize this user-generated data. The article asks Katsuhiro Harada (Tekken), Adam Urbano (Injustice) and the entire Project Soul team (Soul Calibur) how this data has affected their game design decisions. You can read an excerpt from the article below, but be sure to check out the whole thing at Gamespot.

Harada is used to doing the legwork and visiting arcades, or at times requesting they fax him information. “Actually, we have been collecting simplified telemetry data from the first arcade Tekken,” he said. “However, at that time, it was mostly just the character usage rates. We started taking a little more detailed data, including the win/loss data, starting in 1997 with the arcade version of Tekken 3.”

“The arcades at that time were not connected to an online network, so the only way to look at this data was by flipping the test switch on each arcade board to view the collected information. Furthermore, and this information is not known yet, we knew a very difficult, hidden move that, when entered, let us secretly look at the more detailed data than the information collected from the test switch on the board. This information is something that I’m actually revealing for the very first time. We have been doing these things since 1997, but we did have the idea of collecting telemetry data as far back as 1995.”

Source: Gamespot, tip from King999

Angelo M. D’Argenio A.K.A. MyLifeIsAnRPG got his start in the fighting game community as a young boy playing Street Fighter II in arcades down at the Jersey Shore. As president of Disorganization XIII, he travels the convention circuit presenting a variety of panels from discussions on gamer culture, to stick modding workshops, to fighting game comedy acts. He has a passion for looking at the fighting game community from an academic standpoint and has completed several studies on effective fighting game learning and the impact fighting games have on social circles. A six year veteran of the gaming industry, he also writes for Cheat Code Central and is a lead game designer for Ember Games. On Tuesdays, you can find him getting bodied by Chris G and getting mistaken for Seth Rogen at The Break.
  • Ninebreaker (HurtboxTV)

    I think it makes a lot of sense to be constantly gathering data on good/bad matchups, character usage, and all of that. Along with pro or high level player input I think helps a lot for balance tweaks and improvements for future releases.

    • Pro input is stupid 99.99999% of players aren’t pros or enter tournaments. These games clearly arent made for them

      • Robbie J

        actually pro input shouldnt be included because if they are entering tournies and trying to win money, they will most likely have bias for their character

  • Louis Lam

    My entire life is a lie.

  • Langdon Herrick

    “we knew a very difficult, hidden move that, when entered, let us
    secretly look at the more detailed data than the information collected
    from the test switch on the board.”

    The real fighting game Illuminati right there.

  • Jordan Hoffman

    all this talk about telemetry is givin me a hard on

  • Beb0p

    Data doesn’t really say everything.

    • windsagio

      it says a LOT, and the more players there are the more it says.

      These companies know more about the balance of these games at all skill levels than we can ever imagine.

  • Beb0p

    At least it’s not like getting stares by a bunch of fags every time you step in the gym. They know it’s annoying but they also try to get your attention even when you tell them to fuck off.

    Also players are just using the characters they can win with not really the ones they care to use.

    • Garrett Jones

      YES I’m a fit gamer and NO I won’t go out with you, silly boys. *flexes ass cheeks in the mirror*

  • Barlton Canks

    Why did I know Capcom wouldn’t be in the interview?

  • Rohan Mayers

    Wait a second, is that not a violation of my privacy? I do not remember consenting to have my data be sent to developers? I have to consent when my data is sent to Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc. Should not I have to consent for me data to be sent to Namco, Capcom, Netherrealms, and whoever? So, both my online and offline matches are being recorded?

    • TwilightInZero

      Telemetry data is anonymous.

  • TwilightInZero

    I’m disappointed that telemetry data wasn’t used in SCV, because in excluding it, they missed a lot of shit. They think the game’s balanced, I disagree. I think telemetry data is a good way to get the *whole* picture; you can see how the dude who just sits down at his couch to play a few games feels in addition to the other more passionate players. Those who attend tournaments and upload videos. Not using telemetry data excludes the casual fan. You know, the part of the fanbase that accounts for the majority of purchases.