Street Fighter II Designer Akira Nishitani Shares World Warrior Development Tidbits

By on October 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm
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Akira Nishitani, lead designer behind Street Fighter II: The World Warrior and co-founder of development studio Arika, recently joined Twitter. But, instead of letting everyone know what he had for lunch and sharing cat pictures, he began dropping interesting tidbits about the development of Capcom’s early fighter.

As the tweets are in Japanese, a member of the Mugen Fighters Guild forum named felineki began translating them into English earlier this month. What resulted was a long list behind-the-scenes information that provides an interesting look at the work that went into creating the classic title.

While some of it is just silly asides (like complaints from players when they incorrectly labeled spiders as insects in Ryu’s dislikes), they offer a great look at the choices they made during development and some background on how certain mechanics were achieved.

We’ve included a selection of these tweets below, but be sure to visit felineki’s original post for more and give Nishitani a follow on Twitter should you speak Japanese.

Remembered something else. We had given each character their own separate defense value, then somewhere along the line we discovered that those values weren’t actually being reflected in the damage calculation, but ended up leaving it that way.

 

But I guess it felt more fair that way? Turned out alright in the end.

The red Hadoukens in the first SF2 weren’t actually a glitch, they were an intentional easter egg put in by the programmers. But I couldn’t have imagined that would eventually become the Shakunetsu Hadouken.

In SF2, sometimes Ryu takes absurdly high damage when dizzied. This is due to the fact that we experimented with characters taking twice as much damage when dizzy, and applied this flag to all dizzied animation frames, but forgot to remove it from one.

 

I’m pretty sure it was 1 frame out of a 4 frame sequence, so it should be possible to watch the animation once Ryu’s dizzied and intentionally aim for that high damage.

That’s right, we also had it set up to where we could designate specific weak points on particular sections of each character. But we ended up deciding it wasn’t quite time for something like that yet.

A random SF2 memory. A programmer told me he didn’t want the rock in Sagat’s stage being used as a landmark for Ryu’s corner traps, so he proposed having its position change randomly by a small amount. I can’t remember if that was actually implemented or not. If someone has some free time, please investigate this. Maybe it applied to the drum cans in the other stages, too? Or maybe it was in Champion Edition?

 

(This was subsequently tested and confirmed.)

The knockback a character undergoes when hit by an attack in SF2. As much as we tried, we couldn’t get it to go the way we wanted with acceleration and deceleration formulas, so we ended up just plotting it out pixel-by-pixel on graph paper. We plotted out lots of other things pixel-by-pixel, too. Although it was just being fussy about details.

An SF2 detail anecdote. On the occasion that two opposing processes had to occur on the same frame, I thought it would be unfair to give one player priority over the other, so the programmer made the order of processes during an individual frame rearrange at random. And as a result of that attacks that become active on their very first frame like Blanka’s Bush Buster and such become unblockable 50% of the time. Although that’s my fault for making them active on the first frame in the first place.

Sources: Akira Nishitani and Mugen Fighters Guild via Andrew Alfonso and Derek Daniels

  • Jeremy

    Maan, Japanese people get way more out of tweets than english speakers do.

  • Interesting stuff. I didn’t think that much thought would be put into a fighting game long before the advent of competitive gaming.

    • bavobbr

      true, there were no real competitive fighting games back then, so they really had a good prediction and feeling in how the game would be played

  • k.b.a.

    love it

    now all of you go and complain about everything ever

  • CapnWTF

    MFG got name-dropped? I guess we’re moving up?
    But this is cool how conscious the people who work on street fighter are of the games. It wouldn’t have surprised me if Nishitani didn’t know Ryu had a corner trap, or what a corner trap was…etc. What I mean is that I’m glad that he isn’t an “armchair” designer.

  • H_Magnus

    “We had given each character their own separate defense value, then somewhere along the line we discovered that those values weren’t actually being reflected in the damage calculation, but ended up leaving it that way.”

    Holy damn, the idea of different hit points per fighter was going to debut in WW?!

  • TwitchyGuy

    Wow, this is pure gold.

  • bavobbr

    Somebody do an interview with this guy, please. We need an interviewer that knows hardcore sf2 facts and speaks Japanese, a combination of Maj and Zhi or something

    • Cloak

      Couldn’t agree more

  • Smang

    Where did Giefs tattoo go?

  • NickLeake

    Very nice. I love hearing stuff like this. Maybe one day we’ll hear similar info from folks who worked on Marvel 3 or AE 😛

  • cybermoranis

    Weak Points? I believe they were nabbed by Data East in mega-rip-off Fighters History, kicking a headband or a knee etc. for a dizzy, decent idea but I think in practice it was a wise move to leave it out, perhaps a gimmick too far…

    • bavobbr

      Sweep the leg. Do you have a problem with that? No mercy.

      • cybermoranis

        Ha, Chong Li iss weak een da gut!

        However I’m all for a more realistic UFC type game in the Capcom style, like that Bushido Blade back in the day where if you took a blow to the leg, your fighter could still crawl about and swipe his sword like a crazed, medieval Terminator, nyuk! Just not in SF, thanks.

  • Watts

    fascinating stuff, love it

  • Emezie Okorafor

    Shoutouts to all the old school “hardcore” gamers who like to act like old school fighting games were inherently better made than newer ones. Apparently, the concept of “trial and error” existed in the 90’s, too.

    So, stop picking on Ono, Ayano, and the current SF crew.

    Making fighting games is just hard. It takes a few revisions to get things right. ST wasn’t made in a day. Neither was any other respected fighting game that we play today, Capcom or otherwise…from Tekken to VF to GG to whatever.

    • TiredOcean

      You’ve made a great point in showing that SF2 need multiple iterations to become “perfect” (5 for ST, 3 for HF for the really old-school crowd); but I do think it’s still justified to complain about the newest iterations of SF. I (and probably a few other detractors of the games) realise how much work Ono and Co. put into making their games, and I appreciate it – Ono is a fantastic guy that is almost solely responsible for the resurgence of fighters, and I certainly wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him.
      The problem with the Street Fighter 4 games is that there are fundamental design problems that will never be addressed: the speed (both in terms of low character walk speed and low damage) and the Ultras. Both of these design decisions were obviously there to make the game more noob-friendly, but detract from the game as a whole, but the team’s stubborn refusal to change them means that they will draw some ire.

  • $24320100

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    Come like my “everything SF2” page on Facebook! No ads, and all clean content, all high resolution! : )