Monday, October 4, 2010

WTF is a Combo Video anyway

As some of you may have seen in my previous posts, the combo systems in Capcom fighting games tend to have a myriad of possibilities.  Though once you understand the core principles behind how fighting games work it becomes much easier to explore these engines.  The two main elements of fighting games are hitboxes, or the areas on screen in which the character can cause and take damage, and frames, the amount of time it takes certain moves to start up and finish animating.  If you know how many frames a move takes to start up and finish you can then figure the optimum ways in which to link multiple moves together.
Hit boxes as seen in Super Street Fighter II Turbo: HD Remix

Once a combo video maker understands these basic principles it is then very easy for them to put a combo together mentally, at which point it is time to figure out which method by which to produce it.  Options were very limited for early Combo Video Makers (CVMs) There were no arcade perfect ports, no practice mode in existing ports, and digital capture was not really an option.  Not to mention that mame and tool assistance from controllers or macros was still a long way out.  With that in mind it is incredible to see what one the original combo maestros, TZW has done in his videos which are demonstrated in the tribute below.

keep in mind all those combos were done by HAND!
Also the absurdly exauhstive testing usually leads to the discovery of glitches which can be used to create combos that otherwise were not possible or simply demonstrate the funny things that can happen when you break a game down to such incredible details.

The more modern approach is generally done by a program pad or macros and edited on computers and are uploaded to youtube.  Classic cvms did not have these options, and as a result many classic combo vids have been lost to time.  Luckily there are a group of very active CVMs and they can cover some very serious ground.  Combo videos for old games are coming out every day.  Here is an example of the tool assited collaboration combo video that was shown at this years Street Fighter world finals

i hope this post has enlightened you on how combo videos are made and how much work and effort go into making this wonderful digital art.  I will continue my discussion in regards as to why their made, and a little more detail on the processes of being a CVM.