Monday, October 31, 2016

Kickstarter Update #61: Halloween Greetings

This month's Kickstarter update is Halloween themed as might be expected, with a colorful original illustration by Kenji Miyawaki.

Happy Halloween illustration
The illustration on the update page is entitled "Witch Shenhua and Pumpkin Patch Chai"
(That sounds a bit cute, how about "Devil-Zombie Chai")
Yu Suzuki is also shown sitting somewhat self-consciously signing one of the Reward illustrations.

Yu Suzuki signing an illustration
"Let me know when you've finished taking the photo"
Signed illustration
A better look at the illustration

Kickstarter Update #61: link to official site.

Thoughts on This Month's Update

A short but sweet update this month, with little in the way of development news. However, looking ahead we have the Playstation Experience event coming up in just over a month (December 3rd and 4th in Anaheim, California) and there is a strong possibility there may be something Shenmue 3 related there - hopefully something that will blow our socks off! Leave your thoughts in the comments on what this might be...
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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Two Fan-made Shenmue Videos Not to Miss

Two remarkable high-quality fan-made Shenmue videos have been released recently: "Shenmue: The Movie Remastered" and "Shenmue 3: A New Journey".

Shenmue: The Movie Remastered

The first is an HD-quality remaster of "Shenmue: The Movie", released to YouTube by Mr .357 earlier this year. It has already garnered an impressive 21,000 views and counting.

Shenmue: The Movie - Goro

The original "Shenmue: The Movie" was an official 90-minute film consisting of a compilation of the main cut-scenes from Shenmue. The intention was to bring purchasers of Shenmue II up to speed on the events of Shenmue. It was released as an actual movie in theaters in Japan in early 2001 and on DVD, being bundled with Shenmue II on the Xbox, a console on which the original Dreamcast-exclusive Shenmue had not been released.

Shenmue The Movie DVD cover
Japanese DVD cover for the official Shenmue: The Movie
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Map of Langhuishan - Shenmue 2 Unused Asset

Unlike Shenmue I where Ryo is comfortable and familiar with his hometown environment, in Shenmue II Ryo is a stranger in a strange land. Fortunately he has some options available to find his way around.

One of these are the handy map stands dotted around the city areas that Ryo can purchase for $10 a pop (if Ryo hasn't spent all his cash on capsule toys). Buying a map results in it being superimposed in real-time on the screen.

Ryo at the map stand
"Buy a map... or buy capsule toys..."
Ryo purchases a map of Workers Pier
"Guess I've got enough capsule toys for now."

Workers Pier map on the HUD
Real-time map on the HUD
Clearly it is the city areas where a map will be most useful, but I came across a very interesting finding when browsing the image files on disk...

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Shenmue Realism: Yamanose Shrine

The little shrine located in Yamanose is a familiar spot for Ryo being located just a minute away from his family home. And players of Shenmue are introduced to it early on in a cut scene where Megumi shows you the kitten whose mother was run over by Lan Di and his cohorts as they sped away in their black vehicle on "that day".

The shrine itself is a detailed example of an Inari shrine, a type of Shinto shrine found commonly through-out Japan in all sizes, from fairly small ones like in Shenmue to much larger structures. Inari (or "Inari Daimyojin" with a respectful suffix) is one of the principal deities of the Shinto religion and is the god of foxes, agriculture and industry among others.

Ryo pays a visit to Yamanose Shrine
in the evening.
I have made some comparisons below using photos I've taken of shrines in the Yokosuka area which highlight how well the details are portrayed in the game.

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Saturday, October 8, 2016

"Especially Since You Bought Merchandise." (Unnatural Utterances at the Tomato Convenience Store - Part 2)

Today we'll dive into the real meaning behind a phrase from Shenmue I that has been quoted with affection by fans throughout the years. Like the "This..." case examined previously, it's one that can come up when Ryo shops at the Tomato Convenience Store.

"Especially since you bought merchandise."
Caution! This phrase may bring your conversation to a stop
if used without adequate supervision.

The Scenario:

This time, Ryo selects a packet of potato chips to buy from the well-stocked shelves of the Tomato Convenience store.
Shenmue Potato Chips
Shenmue 'Potechi' Potato Chips from SEGA.
"Crispy & delicious. 94% potato. Flavor: gradually grows salty."

After Ryo has paid for the item, the shop assistant invites him to draw a raffle ticket. Ryo plucks one out from the box and unfolds it eagerly.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ryo performing Victory Pose from Virtua Fighter

It's well-known among Shenmue fans that Ryo's character derives from the character of Akira in Virtua Fighter. But digging among Ryo's move animations in What's Shenmue reveals just how close that relationship really is.

Virtua Fighter 2 characters, ready for action

Ryo's Animations

Ryo's general animations for walking, turning, crouching and so on are stored in their own motion files in the Shenmue games. While most of these are used, there are also animations that are never used in the main game. With some small change to values in memory while the game is running (in an emulator), these hidden animations can be revealed.

One motion contained in What's Shenmue is named "AKI_WIN_312" and proved worthy of investigation.

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Shenmue 3 Dev Team Expanding! Leaflet Translation

Quest for the Leaflet

Today (1st October) I want along to a single-day event in Yokohama for Unreal Engine put on by Epic Games, with the venue being Pacifico Yokohama, the same conference center where Yu Suzuki held the Shenmue Premiere so many years ago.
Pacifico Yokohama
Pacifico Yokohama convention center,
where fans once lined up for the Shenmue Premiere
A number of talks on developing with Unreal were held through-out the day by companies such as Capcom and Square Enix, as well as exhibition booths and even a stall selling Unreal stickers and other merchandise.

Unreal Fest banner
It's the "Unreal Fest"
But the main reason I was there was for to get my hands on the Shenmue leaflet that the grapevine (tweet-vine?) indicated was being distributed at the event.

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