My Hayward Rept. Pt 3

Discussion in 'Junky's Jungle' started by akiralove, Jul 12, 2001.

  1. akiralove

    akiralove Well-Known Member

    XBL:
    JTGC
    Part 3

    GAME SPEED

    Okay, while it has been reported a lot that the speed has increased, I personally didn't notice it much, and actually felt the game to be SLOWER at times. I think this could be due to several animations being slowed down, like Jacky's D+K,K, Kage's b,b+K+G Wolf and Jeff's d+P+G etc. But the more I think about it, ithas probably come up a little. Dashing seems really quick now, recovery times are shorter, and the overall lack of guard animations speed the game up. I guess these things make the game PLAY faster, but I don't feel the actual speed of the engine is a substantial step from tb. Some might disagree.

    CPU AI

    The AI has definately improved over the DC VF3tb US vesion. While it wasn't quite as difficult, it was definately smarter. Rather than throwing out string after string mindlessly (like CPU Kage and Lau in 3tb), at higher levers it seems to watch what you're doing and act accordingly. I noticed in one clip that a player hits Akira with a high rising kick, then as he goes in for the throw, Akira recovers and PG throws HIM, HA! Another time I was crouching against Pai, sort of waiting for her to come in with a PPP string so I could shoulder her, but instead she started f+P chopping me over and over. CPU jeffry also has a sort of patient game. Also, they try air combos now. I saw CPU Akira go for the DLC a few times.

    STAGES

    Currently there are 10 stages available. I'm guessing there will be 3 or 4 more in the final, based on one for each character and 1 for Dural. The stages in their current form seem to tell that the game is not finished.
    Some are really overflowing with activity, and some are really still/plain. Also, there are big gaps between the way similar effects are done on different stages, like water. That's why I think they aren't done yet; but I could be wrong here. At points, I'm gonna refer to some shots off the official VF4 site, which can be found at:
    www.sega-rd2.com/vf4
    Click on the "character" icon and check out the pics there in the individual character sections; they're good, clear pics where you can see what I'm talking about. I'm also gonna speculate about which stages belong to who, just for fun.

    All stages have intros now that play before the challenger's intro at the start of a match. So that when a match starts, you'll see an overview of the stage (which is paced differently for each one), then one of the
    challenger's intros (followed by the other character's intro if it's the first match for both fighters), then fight.

    If the stages in the test version ARE all finished, this is probably the biggest dent in VF4's graphical armor, as some spots look like they need work.

    Snowy Rooftop:

    This is one of the stages that I feel could be finished. While Lau appears here now, I don't think it'll be his stage in the final, as it feels really Euro and Lau has usually had a pretty chinese flavored stage. I'm guessing it'll be Lion's stage, but I could be totally off.

    One of the nice things about this stage is it has several different feels to it depending on where you are in the ring, even though it's basically a snowy square. If the camera is high, it does just look white and pretty
    simple. But if the camera goes lower, you can check out all the castle walls with the flags waving. I'd guess there are 7 or 8 flags, and there has been some discussion as to whether or not they move in unison. I'd say
    that while 3/4 of the flags DO move together, a couple move on their own. Check out the second picture in the Sarah section of the VF4 site. It looks like 2 flags are moving together, while 1 is at it's own pace. This is one of the few things I really looked at, as I flipped out when I first heard all the flags in Lau's vf3 stage move independently, which they do, even on DC. Not as nice as Lau's stage, but still cool.

    This stage also has this whole other scene going on, which you can see if the camera swings around to show the left of where Sarah is now, opposite the flags. That wall is sort of tucked under an overhang and behind that is sort of a shallow courtyard/hallway that's connected to the castle. What's nice is that the color scheme for that area is made of warm yellows, golds and reds. It has a nice glowing "royal" feel and contrasts nicely to the cool colors of everything else.

    The snow here is also nice. Notice in the same shot how the snowflake close to Sarah's hand is larger? Sometimes these get close to the camera and get kinda big. It looks cool. It's the best snow effect I've seen, as I feel TTT over does it. The snow on the ground is nice too, but it wasn't blowing my mind or anything.

    Now check the first shot in Vanesa's final sequence. The texture on the castle behind her looks nice and high res. Store that in your memory bank. Lastly check out the fence/wall. This area suffers from the same problem in almost every stage, alaising. This is the only place in all of VF4 that I noticed any jagged edges, but like I said it's consistent throughout.

    The wall here couldn't br broken in this version, but you could RO over it. I think it'll stay this way in the final. Overall, this stage looks pretty polished, much more than some others.

    Shaolin Temple

    If you don't know which stage I mean, I mean the Lei Fei intro stage, with the waterfalls and pagodas. Check the last shot in the Lau section. I'm pretty sure this will remain as Lei-Fei's stage, although currently Shun also appears here.

    This is another stage that is probably done. Aside from the same issues with the alaising of the wall, it looks clean. The only other blemish in this stage is this: check out the textures on the rooftop and underside of the roof on the pagoda at the right. UGHH! Even at a relatively far distance, it looks pretty low-res, don't you think? Reminds me of an N64 game. I've never see this low of a resolution on anything in VF2 or 3; and I was suprised. I'm currently looking at a screen shot in a VF2 mook of Pai's stage, and the roof of the pagoda is farther away, but appears much cleaner and sharper. That's why I pointed out the nice texture in Sarah's stage (though even that particular spot might be low res). Even looking at the floor under Lau's feet, it looks cleaner. Make a second mental note here, the shape of the tiles that make up the floor: squares with beveled edges.

    Okay, to lay off the graphic whore-isms for a sec. This stage does have a lot of nice stuff happening. The spray from the waterfalls looks good, and it’s cool to fall into it when you RO. You’ll also notice the birds right off, there are TONS of them, and they move quickly across the screen, sometimes almost obscuring the whole sky. I think this is one of the stages that also uses the lens flare effect, which I’ll talk more about in a minute. The last piece of eye candy here is the smashing tiles. This effect is cool, and is done really nicely. The tiles break one by one and in stages. First they crack from lighter blows, then shatter as pieces come flying up all over the place. At times, with the waterfall spray, birds, tiles breaking, walls crumbling and characters moving, this stage can get really active and animated; it’s crazy looking as big chunks of tile come close to the camera.

    Autumn Leaves

    Okay, here’s where the blemishes start to kick in. Parts of this stage look great, while other parts look so unfinished that I have to conclude it’s not done. This will probably remain Kage’s stage.

    Check out picture 2 in Akira’s sequence. Those rocks look great, huh? The various buildings also are done really well. And that’s the best looking tree I’ve ever seen in a video game, hands down. But look at the area under Kage’s legs. First thing I notice is that it looks like the leaves are sort of floating above those logs, oops, I mean above that low-res texture that’s supposed to look like logs! See how where the logs should dip down where they join, but they don’t since it isn’t actually modeled, and the floating leaves totally ruin this already thin illusion. Now check the first shot in Kage’s sequence. See how between the covered walkway behind the tree (note the jagged columns next to the clean tree branches..WTF?) and where the leafy ground ends there’s a little gold area? That’s water, and this water is probably the worst looking thing in VF4. When fighting, you’d never see it; but the intro for the stage goes right to it EVERY time! What’s so bad about it? There, the water is not modeled in ANY way, but is instead what I’d call a "video texture": a flat polygon with a texture over it that shifts slowly to emulate water’s movement. This looks like shit, to be blunt. What makes it even worse is that it has leaves on it, and they float over it in the same way they do over the ring, not moving at all. So what you’ve got is a flat surface that’s supposed to be water, that changes slightly in shade in a kind of mottled pattern, with leaves on top that do not move. It really looks cheap. I can’t believe they pan over it in the intro. I think it must be unfinished after seeing the water at the Marina and Cherry Blossom stages.

    Lastly, off screen in these shots are some hanging banners with Japanese writing on them coming down from some vertical poles. They look almost exactly like those found in DOA’2s "Burai Zennin" stage. Here again, we have things blowing in the wind that move in unison and are identical. I’m sad to say this also looks kinda lame by the standards of other things in this game.

    Kind of a mixed bag, I’m hoping that they’ll clean it up so it can live up to it’s potential.

    Aquarium

    Pai’s stage. This one goes in the "most likely finished" pile. A lot of work went into this baby, and it shines. The setting is a glass and stone cube on the bottom of the sea. During the intro you can see it from the outside, it’s cool. The inside of the cube is decorated with chinese flavor, and as the sunlight comes through the ceiling in rays, all kinds of fish swim around the windows and underneath the floor.

    Look at the first shot in the Pai section. You can see the rays of light coming in, the fish beneath Pai’s feet, and the nicely detailed dragons. Big and small fish swim by, from a huge whale shark to small squid. At first I thought that the smaller fish might just be a single poly with a texture moving by; but then I noticed that they all animate, even the little squids. The dolphin plays, flipping over and sometimes just floating up still before moving again, and all the bigger fish have the surface of the water reflected on them.

    You can’t break the wall here, but can go over. The floor texture here looks nice and high res to me, as you can see in the sequence. I have no gripes about this stage, it has nice mood, and looks great with Pai’s pink and white 2P costume.


    Beach

    Jeffry’s stage. Not much to say about this one. The sand seems to use a toned down version of the snow engine. In contrast to the shitty water in Kage’s stage, the water here is, of course, nice looking. The boat sort of bobs around on the surface of the water, and the propellers turn slowly. I wish the plane would take off and land to mix it up, because as-is, it’s a little plain. The birds are nice and plentiful here, too, but seem to stay further away from the camera than in VF3 or Lei-Fei’s stage. Like Jeff said, compared to the beautiful modeling of the undersea shores in him VF3 stage, this is drab.

    One of the nice things here is the lens flare. While some of you are probably saying "ughh… lens flare is so played out", and it is; it’s actually nice in VF4. The lens flares are pretty heavy, and kind of bathe everything in white light. It’s one of the cooler effects.

    If you look at the last shot in Jeff’s seq. You can get a nice look at the texture on Wolf’s little loincloth. With shit that clean in parts, the low res stuff I’ve been pointing out really stands out. Especially since only the stages seem to suffer from it.

    Coliseum
    In the final, I think this’ll be Sarah’s stage, though Lion also shows up here. I think it’ll be Sarah’s as a reference to her VF2 stage; even though I think Sarah is a little too urban and slick for this stage now.

    If you look at Lion’s shots, you can basically see it all. This stage is probably the most over the top with the eye candy, in the form of the crumbling statues and buildings that fall after being hit by lightning. It’s cool the first few times, but quickly goes over the top, as it happens a lot. It just starts to seem a LITTLE too much for VF. This stage does have cool atmosphere though, and I like it.

    Check out the last shot in Lion’s seq. Whoa, here again the high and low res textures clash seriously. Look at the bottom left corner… and remember how I mentioned the "squares with beveled edges" tiles in Lei-Fei’s stage? Well, here they are again, even the grass is square with cut edges! Compared to something like Kage’s VF3 stage, with the individually cut stones that make the walkway, each with their own shape; or the grass in TTT, this is pretty lame. I hope it’s unfinished.

    City Rooftop

    Jacky’s stage. While there isn’t really anything wrong with this one, again, it’s just kinda plain. It seems like they put a lot of work into the whole helicopter/spotlight thing, and kept the ring itself minimal. I dunno, after FV, T3, TTT the helicopter thing seems a little played to me. Adding the spotlight doesn’t really detract from that enough for it to feel like a fresh concept (T4 is also doing this, on a city rooftop no less… notice they gave paul the bodycheck, too?…*cough*fucktekken*cough*cough…). One cool thing I saw was that once, the helicopter was facing the camera between the fighters with the light shining in the camers at Round 1 Ready GO!, then it started moving. Can’t break the wall here, either as of right now. At first I thought that this one also had the squares for the ground, but now I think it’s just one big texture….YAWN

    Check pic 1 in jacky’s section. Then check out Sarah’s muthafuckin ASS! Yeah, baby!

    Cherry Blossom

    Aoi’s stage. This one is beautiful, but seems unfinished. Unlike the little bit of water in Kage’s stage, this one is sort of surrounded by water, and it’s done great. The water is green and ripples a lot, with some mild light reflections. It just looks really smooth and liquid. If you look at the Aoi shots, it’s pretty much all there. This stage is pretty clean all around. The aspect that seems unfinished is that aside from the water, nothing here animates, and it seems really still. I’m hoping they add falling cherry blossom leaves then it’ll be great. While it’s a little dead at the moment, one of the more beautiful stages in the classic VF style IMO. BTW, when you RO here, you don’t fall in the water, but onto a platform around the ring.

    Wrestling Ring

    Wolf’s stomping ground, and the most impressive in terms of pure polygon pushing. I’d say that there are between 250-300 full polygon characters in the crowd, spanning 2 stories and going deep into the background. Of course, there are actually somewhere around 10-15 individual models, and many of them animate in unison; but the effect is of a HUGE crowd, and it works. Everyone seems to be wearing grey camo for some reason. If it weren’t for the big SEGA signs, I’d say it was supposed to be a military base. Can’t break the wall here. The sound of hitting the cage is great.

    No gripes about the graphics here, it seems done, even though it wouldn’t come up during VS play, hmmm…


    Marina

    While Akira appears here, I don’t think this’ll be his stage. I’d guess it’ll belong to Vanessa or Lion, since it’s kinda Coastal/Euro feeling. The water here is done like the water at Aoi’s place, with lots of reflections this time. When you get a special hit glow, it shows in the water under the ring, looks nice. The boats don’t look too special, you can get a good look at them in the intro. Again, can’t break the wall. Overall, looks good, nice lights, seems done, but nothing to write home about.

    Okay, I’m really tired. Sorry this has been so long, guys. Last part’s finally coming… characters!
    Saved the fun part for last.

    Spotlite
     
  2. Hayai_JiJi

    Hayai_JiJi Well-Known Member

    Thanks for another great report you have went far above and beyond the call of duty with these reports so once again thank you.

    Under the surface of the most jaded cynic lies a dissappointed idealist- George Carlin
     
  3. adamYUKI

    adamYUKI Well-Known Member

    PSN:
    adamYUKI
    XBL:
    adamYUKI
    God bless you Brian. I love the detailed impressions of the stages and graphics. You make graphic whores PROUD!!!!!

    [​IMG]
     
  4. ice-9

    ice-9 Well-Known Member

    Brian, this is a kick ass, super detailed report, a super thanks!

    As for the slow moves thing, I think it's Sega's way of saying: "OK, we don't want you to use these moves as much in VF4." Kage's, b,b+K+G is slow enough to block on sight now (much easier than 3 at least). Jacky is much better off with the low back fist (fast and still uncounterable) than his low kicks.
     
  5. akiralove

    akiralove Well-Known Member

    XBL:
    JTGC
    The final update is still coming guys, I typed 9+ pages today! I'm gonna barf if I go on, I'm trying to finish Akira. Should be up tommorow. My thoughts exactly on the slow moves, kage's elbow included. said the exact same thing in my new report.

    Spotlite
     
  6. adamYUKI

    adamYUKI Well-Known Member

    PSN:
    adamYUKI
    XBL:
    adamYUKI
    Hey Brian,

    I read this on the gaming-age forum:

    There's a new stage that's a remixed version of Lau's "Great Wall of China" in VF3

    Can you confirm? Does it look SEXcellent? I imagine it would (although the original one had REDICULOUS texture detail - and it would be hard to top it...)

    This guy is located in Japan, and i think he played a more recent version, as he states this:

    Vanessa is a royal hottie with awesome submission grappling moves right out of UFC, and has a nice rump



    [​IMG]
     
  7. Sudden_Death

    Sudden_Death Well-Known Member

    he can't confirm it since you said:

    "This guy is located in Japan, and i think he played a more recent version"

    its on the new version, otherwise bryan would of mention it by now. hehe

    ^_^


    <font color=red>nAndato</font color=red>
     
  8. akiralove

    akiralove Well-Known Member

    XBL:
    JTGC
    yeah, didn't see it, but it confirms what I thought about the rooftop not being Lau's stage (if this is now Lau's, could be Akira's too). Probably came from the new version if vanessa's there, too. Core reported that finished versions are showing up in Akibahara.

    Spotlite
     

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