From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
M.U.G.E.N's default motif. Many different looks are possible for the engine.

M.U.G.E.N is a freeware 2D fighting game engine designed by Elecbyte, written in C with the Allegro library.


[edit] Project history

The engine was originally released in July 17, 2001. Beta versions of it were made to work on DOS, Linux and Windows platforms, distributed through their website. The engine allows users to insert created characters, background stages, and other game objects through interpreted text files, graphics, and sound compilations to create a functioning fighting game similar to commercial games. While the engine is set up primarily for fighting game development, several other game types have been developed using it, including shooter and platform style games. Officially, Elecbyte claims to have forgotten what the acronym M.U.G.E.N stood for, but the readme documentation states that its meaning referred to the days when the engine was meant to emulate shooting games as opposed to fighting games.[1]

The engine allows anyone to create characters, background stages and other game objects through interpreted text files, graphics, and sound compilations. It supports various types of audio formats such as MP3 and MIDI initially, although it can be configured to play various audio formats via Winamp plugins, such as ADX and OGG, as background music during gameplay or at other points such as an introduction or the select screen. The engine allows for most of the same type of functionality found in most any commercial 2D fighting games, up to and including close recreation of those games' characters and gameplay.

[edit] Version history

[edit] DOS and Linux versions

First released on July 17, 1999, M.U.G.E.N was initially created for MS-DOS. Development of the DOS version ceased when Elecbyte switched to the Linux platform in November 2001.[2] For a time, Elecbyte had posted a request for donations on their site to legally obtain a Windows compiler to make a Windows version of M.U.G.E.N. However, the development group discontinued the project in 2003 and shut down their site. Later speculation pointed at leaks made public of a private Windows-based M.U.G.E.N beta that was provided to donators.[3]

[edit] Windows version and subsequent hacks

The private WinM.U.G.E.N beta contained a two-character roster limit, locked game modes, and nag screens. With the beta leaked and Elecbyte gone, a "no limit" hack that removed most of these limitations was made available in 2004 by Rou Hei, followed by subsequent updates to deal with bugs and other issues. This version of M.U.G.E.N. is functionally the same as the last Linux release, though with subtle differences and unique issues, mostly revolving around proper music and music plugin support. Because of the changes between the DOS and Linux versions of M.U.G.E.N however, many older characters required at least the SFF files to be modified to show palettes correctly (notably on portraits) as well as some changes in how certain CNS script controllers functioned, causing some minor upset and those that could still run the DOS version in some form sticking to that, as well as DOS patches to downgrade characters to be compatible with the older version of the engine.

In May 2007, a hacked version of WinM.U.G.E.N was released by a third party that added support for high resolution stages (like those seen in Guilty Gear X) at the cost of losing support to standard resolution M.U.G.E.N stages. Later that month, another hack was done to add support for high-res select screens. In July 2007 another hack created by Sion and Kung Fu Man based on the last high-res hack allowed for only the select screen to be high-res and not the stages. In December 2007, a hack from an anonymous source allowed both low-res and hi-res stages to be functional in the same build, requiring only a single line of code to be added to hi-res stages.

[edit] Elecbyte's website

In mid 2007, Elecbyte's site returned, though not without some controversy as to the legitimacy of it, as it only showed a single logo with Google ads on the side. On July 26, though, a FAQ was added to the site. This FAQ went on to claim that they would release a fixed version of WinM.U.G.E.N before major format changes in the next version[4], and noted the formatting changes would remove compatibility in regards to older works: "Do not expect old characters to work. At all."

These claims are still being questioned, with the possibility this is a hoax by someone who bought the domain, or someone that hacked it. Although the logo presented on the website is much different than the original logo--which is subject to copyright/trademark laws--further evidence beyond speculation does not exist at this time. However the most recent change to the page, one that states that a new version of M.U.G.E.N would be out "when 2D is back in fashion"[5], the site has been written off as being fake. However, a whois search on whois.net revealed that elecbyte was, in fact, the owner of the website.[1]

[edit] Clone projects

Since development of the engine was halted and no source code has been made available by Elecbyte, several clone projects started to try and duplicate the functionality of the engine from scratch, such as ShugenDo, InfinityCat, xnaMugen and Open Source Mugen. Some of them present online gameplay capabilities, a feature many users have sought after.

[edit] Gameplay

An example of M.U.G.E.N's gameplay: original character Dragon Claw faces Darkstalkers character Hsien-Ko on the RAW is WAR arena. The skin used for the game is based on Capcom vs. SNK 2.

The engine uses 7 buttons for gameplay along with the directional keys, in order to accommodate six-button fighters, which use three punches, three kicks, and a taunt.[6] However, characters do not necessarily use all seven buttons, nor need to follow a traditional six- or four-button format. At most, two human players can control characters, with others controlled by the engine's AI; including a demo mode where the computer controls all characters. In addition, several gameplay modes are available via the main menu.[1]

The main mode of play is Arcade mode, where a character fights random characters as in other fighter games. There are also three different kinds of team modes: Single, Simul, and Turns. A fourth mode, Tag, is listed in the EXE along with two related script controllers, but was never used. In team mode, either side can use any of the team modes. Single is identical to not having a team, Simul gives that side a computer-controlled partner who fights simultaneously, and Turns uses a different character for each round of play, varying from a set number usually from 2 to 4 different characters in a row. If set, the characters' starting life will be adjusted according the number of players on each side. If one side has two characters and the other has only one in one of the Team modes, the side with two characters will each have half their respective normal maximum life values. Pre-WinM.U.G.E.N versions of the engine could have this feature adjusted or disabled via the options screen or the config file, but due to the nature of the hack, the option has not yet been reactivated.

Team Co-op is similar to Simul, except both human players fight on the same side at the same time.

In Survival mode, there is an endless stream of opponents, fighting them either one by one or two in a simul match. The objective is to beat as many opponents as possible, with the game ending when the player's team is defeated. The player can choose to play alone or in Simul or Turns mode, though single player mode gives the highest life and life recovered at the end of each round won. Survival mode was last addition done to the engine. As such, it is not present in any of the DOS versions of M.U.G.E.N.

[edit] Developing content for the engine

Before the existence of many development tools available today, Elecbyte provided DOS command-line utilities to assist in the development, as well as tutorials and documentation. Content produced by elecbyte also included developer comments within the files to be used as guides.[7] MUGEN's coding structure for content is text-based, and can be accessed and modified in any text editor, such as wordpad. The sprite format is in PCX 256-color 16-bit graphics files. Audio for screenpacks and characters use WAV. Both the PCX and WAV files are compiled in SFF and SND archives respectively, and require editing tools to modify the contents thereof.

With each revision of M.U.G.E.N there have been compatibility problems with changes and additions in state controllers, triggers, and with the latest Linux and Windows distributions, SFF's.[2] Due to Elecbyte's disappearance, compatibility problems arising from new versions are nonexistent. Elecbyte never provided an automated updater, citing the impossibility of such a feat.[8] However, they did provide a detailed change log for each version to facilitate updating to a new version of the engine. In response, a third-party tool called SFFextract was created to extract the pcx files of an SFF and produce a txt file to pipe into sprmaker. SFFextract when used properly is able to assist in modifying an SFF file so later M.U.G.E.N versions could handle.

[edit] Reception

Despite its dual status as an engine to make games and a game itself[9], M.U.G.E.N is typically regarded as a heavily customizable game solely by magazines, websites and newcomers to M.U.G.E.N; Eliza Gauger of Kotaku described it as "some crazy mashup game", referring to a video of Godzilla smashing through the first level of Super Mario Bros.[10] Demos of the engine have also made their way into magazines[8] (usually with a mishmash of works from various creators), or by purchasing a compiled game on eBay, a practice heavily frowned upon given the illegality of selling the engine itself and other reasons (see Legality, below), believing that they're purchasing a commercial game only to find it to be M.U.G.E.N. Those introduced to the engine the first time through compiled games tend to be discouraged to further use it, as these game compilations (a combination of characters, stages and a screenpack) tend to be unmodified for balance and gameplay, giving the image M.U.G.E.N is nothing more than a "jumbled mess".[11]

Users of the engine itself have decried flaws of it. Without CMD optimizing and other tricks to boost the attack frequency, Mugen's AI is very weak compared to commercial fighters, offering not much in terms of competitive gameplay, and raising the engine's difficulty level has little effect on difficulty. To counteract this, character creators have scripted their own workarounds via AI scripts and activation of said scripts within the character's CMD file (the one regarded as most reliable thus far being by creator Winane, who compiled many reliable methods into one working one). Stage interaction and character transformation are two other major items for players that are missing, though workaround methods using a stage's formerly obsolete starting z-axis positions have been used to give stages an 'ID' for player characters to detect, though not without limits. Errors in the documentation have led to issues regarding comprehension of key features, and the placement of required sprites has been cited as tedious. Regardless of these shortcomings, M.U.G.E.N creators have been creating content for years, pushing the engine beyond the application of fighting games. Other game types possible include arcade-style shooters or platform games, such as Bane84's Xtreme Theme Shooter Machine (a game featured in the December 2006 issue of the magazine Hardcore Gamer), KGenjuro's J'Dar II (a vertical shooter akin to Solar Striker), or Falchion22's platformer, a tribute to the game series of the same name. Many genuine full fighting games also exist of course, such as Bia's SF2NES, the King of Fighters Zillion project, Babel Sword by Tatsu, and Card Sagas Wars project.

As a game, M.U.G.E.N receives mixed reviews due to the content available for it. Many characters due to poor coding, an emphasis on graphics instead of gameplay, and/or highly overpowering a character leave for a very unbalanced battlefield. Scripted AI to overcome mugen's shortcomings tends to be of one extreme or another, and in most cases tear apart the majority of characters that lack AI. The biggest decry against the game however seems to be the unavailability of some content due to various reasons. Not everyone agrees with "community ethics" that a significant amount of individuals enforce, which involves prohibiting distribution of engine content without the author's consent, and thus become frustrated that they can't get what they would like to play with. To counteract this some forums run request services to exist for person-to-person content distribution via email or PM, notably the largest service of this sort being Mugen Museum.

However, despite these flaws, some people enjoy M.U.G.E.N. The idea of seeing and playing their favorite characters and having them fight other characters that they normally wouldn't fight is enjoyable. For example, Homer Simpson vs. Mario, Ryu vs. Goku, Terry Bogard vs. Onslaught, or Sonic the Hedgehog vs. The Joker. As a result, there are quite a lot of M.U.G.E.N videos on YouTube as well. There have also been many unusual crossovers made from the game like:

M.U.G.E.N has appeared on television shows more than once, notably seen on G4's "Attack of the Show", as Peter Griffin from Family Guy fought Sakura Kasugano from Street Fighter in Gato's stage from Garou: Mark of the Wolves. The show's hosts believed it was a hack of Marvel vs. Capcom and stated such, but it has been proven to be a video of M.U.G.E.N gameplay [2]. Later it was featured on a VH1 internet countdown.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b Elecbyte. "M.U.G.E.N "Read me" Documentation". 
  2. ^ a b Elecbyte. M.U.G.E.N changes documentation
  3. ^ Rou Hei. "History of WinMUGEN". No Limit WinMUGEN Patch. http://unofficial-winmugen.jpn.org/. 
  4. ^ "We plan to make minor maintenance fixes and release an uncrippled build of WinM.U.G.E.N. This will be the last release of the engine before major format changes."-Elecbyte new site FAQ
  5. ^ Elecbyte website FAQ as of August 2007
  6. ^ Elecbyte. "Kung Fu Man character's CNS and CMD files". 
  7. ^ Elecbyte. "How Do I...? A M.U.G.E.N primer". Elecbyte. 
  8. ^ a b Elecbyte. "M.U.G.E.N F.A.Q Documentation.". Elecbyte. http://randomselect.i-xcell.com/mugenfaq.htm. 
  9. ^ Section III of the readme file accompanied with the engine
  10. ^ Gauger, Eliza (2006-10-17). "Godzilla: "Fuck Yo Mushroom Kingdom, Nigga"". Kotaku. http://kotaku.com/gaming/godzilla/godzilla-fuck-yo-mushroom-kingdom-nigga-208332.php. Retrieved on 2007-02-14. 
  11. ^ ShugenDo...THE Mugen Replacement? - Shoryuken

[edit] External links

Personal tools