Thursday, July 28, 2011

An homage to sweat effects

We all like realism, right? And we all love being able to emulate our sporting heroes, imitate our favourite characters and get as close to the action as we can? Recent years have seen so much time and effort invested in assuring that virtual reality is as plausible as possible, allowing you step into the characters' shoes and score that winning goal, basket, home run, whatever...

Game reviews are forever waxing lyrical about superb graphics, sublime motion capture and advanced facial scanning. Hell, in most cases, besides a rejigged fixture list, it's largely only the aesthetics that are really changed in each annual update of a sports sim.
Appearance is pretty much everything in the world of the humble sports sim and the FIFA, Madden, NBA, NHL titles have really upped their game in the past decade. In some cases, games and the characters within can look almost as good as the real thing (if you squint a bit)!

But let's not forget another vital element to the sports sim: sweat effects. Yeah, yeah, I hear you grumble - whatever! But hear me out. Remember the first time you saw Kobe Bryant booming down the court just before pulling off an absolutely amazing dunk? Amid all that crowd noise, thumping music and that excitable commentary, you must remember the camera panning round for the close up of the triumphant Bryant? Some of you must surely have been wowed by just how damn accurate the sweat looked as it gathered across his brow??? No, only me then? Anyway, here are a few picks of some of the best and worst sweat effects in gaming (an article many of you thought you'd NEVER see)...

UFC Undisputed 2010

Sure the blurb on the box talked about "Enhanced Combat" and the extensive "Fighter Customisation" but that paled into insignificance against with the awe-inspiring perspiration that appeared after a few seconds of fighting! Who could argue that those beads of sweat didn't add greatly to the proceedings - without them the overall package would have been somehow less realistic, less complete. Anything that makes a gamer forget that they're gaming because it looks so damn real, is a great addition in my book.

NBA 2K11
Basketball is a fantastic, fast-paced sport. And what better way to capture the speed and absolute exhaustion of the players than capturing those beads of sweat dripping off their heads?!? Man does it looks impressive that the players actually appear more tired as the timer ticks down.

Fight Night Champion

EA Sports games are benchmark for sweat effects, don't you think? Pretty much every game on their schedule features the often forgotten bodily fluid spilling from some of the characters. Take a look the picture below - sweat at its very best!

Virtua Tennis 4
While the perspiration effects in this game are certainly not worthy of praise - afterall, they do make some of the superstars of tennis look like they're either melting or an extra in a zombie movie - they are a fairly prominent graphical attribute. What's more, the effects on screen - no matter how awful - reflect the tiredness of your thumbs after a particularly gruelling match against the seemingly unbeatable cap-wearing champ, King!

...and last but not least, it may not be sporty but sweat plays an important honorable mention goes to...

L.A Noire

Now here's an inventive way of incorporating sweat effects into a game. These little beads of perspiration actually play a purpose and determine whether you'll send someone to the slammer or let them get away, quite literally, with murder! The Motionscan tech is pretty impressive during the interrogations; shifty eyes, twitching and sweat all helping to establish someone's guilt. Inspired.