More of a quick update than anything else today, but still a decent one at that, concerning the delightful port of Super Street Fighter IV for the 3DS.
A few days ago Capcom released a few new screenshots showing the game in action. These new screens revealed not only a few characters not seen in earlier shots of the 3DS version, but also significant graphical improvements finally putting the game over and above anything the PSP could possibly do. It’s rather impressive!
First on the agenda today is the observation that none of the new screens feature that ink-shading effect seen in the earlier shots released at E3. Previous screens only showed off the game using this effect, which in turn made things look rather flat, albeit also very stylish. It now appears that, like in the PC version of SFIV and in the PS3 and 360 update Super SFIV, that you can turn on and turn off the ink shading as you see fit.
Visually the new shots definitely look more in keeping with the console versions of the game. In particular with the ink shading off the characters display noticeably more in the way of subtle details, and an increase in bump-mapping giving them a greater sense of depth compared to before.
The backgrounds have also been given a subtle overhaul, with a greater use of geometry being visible making things seem even more impressive. But to really appreciate just how good it looks overall you have to see the game being displayed side-by-side with its bigger brother in order to gauge just how close it is.
It’s pretty clear from the above screenshot comparison that Capcom have managed to get the game looking incredibly similar whilst using only a fraction the polygon power available to them with both the PS3 and Xbox 360. The developers also appear to be using the exact same character models as the two console versions of the game, just scaled back in geometry counts, and using a greater amount of normal mapping to replicate a similar level of detail.
And against the iPhone version of SFIV:
Moving on, in the latest shots of the 3DS game self-shadowing is also still visible, which is nice, along with what looks like some kind of soft shadow filtering giving a smoother appearance to shadow edges.
As to be expected there is no anti-aliasing of any kind to be found in the 3DS version so far, and to be fair it is unlikely that there will be in the future either. Certainly, with the reasonably high geometry counts we are seeing, along with some advanced shader effects, normal mapping, and soft shadowing, it’s going to be hard enough maintaining that essential 60fps update as it is without trying to implement an AA solution in on top of that.
But to the honest they don’t really need to. The sharpness of the visuals, the detail, and the impressive use of various visual effects is outstanding for a first-generation title. It’s also way ahead of the now meagre looking iPhone version of SFIV (which failed to even feature true polygon backgrounds). The only disappointing thing is that we may well have to wait a little longer for the game than expected - Capcom are now saying that it is unlikely that it will be out in time for the 3DS’ launch.
Either way, we’re definitely looking forward to seeing it in action.