Begone, polygons: 1993’s Virtua Fighter gets smoothed out by AI

Enlarge / “Sarah” from Virtua Fighter gets an AI makeover because of Stable Diffusion and a fan named Colin Williamson.

In 1993, Sega’s Virtual Fighter arcade sport broke new floor with absolutely 3D polygonal graphics, a primary for a preventing sport. Thanks to a Twitter thread from an artist named Colin Williamson, we are able to check out what these unique boxy characters would possibly seem like with their angles smoothed out.

To create the photographs, Williamson took classic Virtua Fighter sport graphics and fed them by way of an “img2img” mode of the Stable Diffusion picture synthesis mannequin, which takes an enter picture as a immediate, combines it with a written description, and synthesizes an output picture. (In explicit, Williamson used the “AUTOMATIC1111” launch, which comes with a pleasant web-based person interface.)

Stable Diffusion does not work magically, so it may well take some trial and error, and a eager eye to determine out prompting to get worthwhile outcomes. Still, Williamson loved the method. “Just describe the character, and img2img does its best,” Williamson instructed Ars. “Though the hardest part was simply figuring out how to describe the characters’ clothes.”


  • “Akira” from 1993’s Virtua Fighter gets an AI graphical enhance from Colin Williamson

  • “Jeffry” from Virtua Fighter gets smoothed out by AI.

  • “Wolf. Dude’s always had a killer widow’s peak and the AI isn’t respecting that,” says Williamson

  • “Kage” from Virtua Fighter gets smoothed out by AI.

  • “Jacky. The algorithm really isn’t sure what to do with spiky hair,” says Williamson.

  • “Lau” from Virtua Fighter gets smoothed out by AI.

  • “Pai” from Virtua Fighter gets smoothed out by AI.

  • The boss character “Dural” from Virtua Fighter gets a shiny AI graphical redo.

“Once I found a good prompt, I’d do a batch of around fifty and cherry-pick the funniest ones,” provides Williamson. “I tried this thing called ‘negative prompting,’ where you tell the AI stuff like ‘please don’t draw messed-up-looking hands,’ which does a excellent job in that now your characters have only six fingers instead of seven.”

Last month, we reported on an MS-DOS sport fan that used an identical approach to “upgrade” EGA graphics into extra detailed representations. In each instances, we have discovered that the artists doing these AI makeovers are nonetheless followers of the unique graphics, and the remakes are all in good enjoyable—not an try to exchange or overwrite historical past. After all, you’ll be able to see how the Virtua Fighter characters look “smoothed out” in later video games.

“I’m happy to stand on the backs of giants and harness millions of dollars’ worth of AI research to make some dumb pictures that make people laugh,” says Williamson. “I need to fire up the Sega Saturn and see what else I can find.”


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