Ever notice how your favorite video game characters wear close-cropped ‘dos, shave their heads, tie their locks back in a ponytail or just wear head dressings? They may be doing it for style, but they’re also conveniently hiding the difficulties of rendering lifelike video game hair.
This isn’t a new revelation, but the issue came to light again this week when Fight! Magazine learned about the exclusion of big hair in an Ultimate Fighting Championship video game. Fighter Clay “The Carpenter” Guida’s hairdo is so massive that the developers of THQ’s UFC Undisputed 2009 had to exclude him due to clipping and collision detection issues. Reportedly, THQ even offered Guida money to cut his hair, and he refused.
Earlier this week, I wrote about photorealism in games, and how one developer thinks video games could accurately depict thousands of facial bones in 10 to 15 years. But what about the tens of thousands of hair strands that adorn human heads? Apparently, gaming is pretty far off from nailing the art of beautiful, flowing locks.
For fun, here are a few other facts about video game hair:
- Mario, famously, sports a cap because designer Shigeru Miyamoto didn’t like creating hairstyles and wanted to save his programmers the trouble of animating the hair during jumps.
- Electronic Arts’ chief visual officer, Glenn Entis, said in 2005 that hair and facial expressions would be a focus of graphics in the HD gaming era, calling hair “such a communicator of style” and referring to past efforts as “laughable.”
- Even the latest graphical advances simulate less than a couple hundred strands of hair. A real human could shed that amount in a day.