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

Enlarge / “Sarah” from Virtua Fighter gets an AI makeover thanks to Stable Diffusion and a fan named Colin Williamson. (credit: Colin Williamson)

In 1993, Sega’s Virtual Fighter arcade game broke new ground with fully 3D polygonal graphics, a first for a fighting game. Thanks to a Twitter thread from an artist named Colin Williamson, we can take a look at what those original boxy characters might look like with their angles smoothed out.

To create the images, Williamson took vintage Virtua Fighter game graphics and fed them through an “img2img” mode of the Stable Diffusion image synthesis model, which takes an input image as a prompt, combines it with a written description, and synthesizes an output image. (In particular, Williamson used the “AUTOMATIC1111” release, which comes with a nice web-based user interface.)

Stable Diffusion doesn’t work magically, so it can take some trial and error, and a keen eye to figure out prompting to get worthwhile results. Still, Williamson enjoyed the process. “Just describe the character, and img2img does its best,” Williamson told Ars. “Though the hardest part was simply figuring out how to describe the characters’ clothes.”

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