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What modelling tool Nintendo uses.

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I wonder why is it so difficult to get to know how Super Mario Galaxy has been modelled. Does Nintendo use proprietary tools or what? If so how is it called? Or 3D Studio Max? I'm dying to know. I would die to open the original Mario model on my computer with Max. So, does anybody here know anything about this. Apart Mario, other games that interest me are: Metroid Prime Corruption Zelda Twilight Princess There's just an appeal in Nintendo's visuals, and I don't care if they're not the best technically - they're beautiful. Therefore I want to know the tools used. I know Lightwave was the tool of choice for Ico. But Nintendo development is enveloped in mistery, to me. Anything you know about Nintendo's development process and graphics production, please spit it on the table. Cheers!

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There isn't a single "Nintendo" games studio producing all of those games. There are many internal studios, and some external ones, and most of those studios are further subdivided into teams. Each team may use a different modelling tool, or many modelling tools, according to their needs. There is no single tool employed.

I have no doubt that at least some of those teams will use the common tools -- Max, Maya, perhaps XSI, et cetera. They may augment those tools with internally developed tools to help tweak particular effects or marshal particular game-specific data.

Thing is, it doesn't matter. The modelling tools aren't what make the visuals for those games great. It's the sum combination of all the tools, the underlying game engine technology, and (most importantly) the skill of the artists and asset developers involved.

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I just recall seeing magizine ads a long time ago where SoftImage XSI was used to create the 3d models in Mario64. Other than that it's not like the specific package makes a difference in the outcome of the visuals. That's just art direction.

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I know tools don't matter as much as the mind, but me, as an art director, when I see something I like of course I want to know how it's been accomplished and what tools have been used, to eventually do it another way - it's a learning thing. So I still legitimately want to know.

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Original post by Jeordie Duckpucker
I know tools don't matter as much as the mind, but me, as an art director, when I see something I like of course I want to know how it's been accomplished and what tools have been used, to eventually do it another way - it's a learning thing. So I still legitimately want to know.
I'd guess it was either Max or Maya. But it really doesn't matter what they used, you're not going to be able to get the source art to find out.

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I'd guess it was either Max or Maya. But it really doesn't matter what they used, you're not going to be able to get the source art to find out.


Oh, it would be so amazing to have the source art. It must have leaked somewhere. Or you must be able to find the art director and get stuff. I don't think anything is impossible -

Anyway I still think I'd find it cool to know - I don't think anybody is getting anywhere without knowing what others are doing and how, what the standards are - and those are MY standards.

But guys you are all developers, I'd need to talk to artists about this, forgive me - it's a forum for art directors too, right?

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By the way going to the sources of "masterpieces" and knowing all you can about them is an obvious excellent way of learning, apart from satisfying obvious curiosity, therefore I'm not buying it's "useless" or it "doesn't matter". It's an extremely useful learning process (for me). It matters if Caravaggio used oil or acrylics - dammit, I want some art people to talk to -

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Original post by Jeordie Duckpucker
I would die to open the original Mario model on my computer with Max.

Not sure why you think the Mario model is so great... It's a pretty simple model when you think about it.

There are many more aspects that go into a game model than what software was used. First there is the modeler's talent. Then there is the reference... which obviously there is plenty of in Mario's case. Then there is the texturing, lighting, rigging...

I think you're more fond of the game as a whole than you are with the model in particular. I'm positive that if you actually did obtain the mario mesh and opened it up to look at it, you wouldn't be as impressed.

Here's some wireframes of mario models I found with a quick search... Some of these aren't from Nintendo, obviously... but you can still get the idea of how simple the mesh really is.





There's also a bunch of 3d mario fan art here which is fun to look through:

http://www.deviantart.com/#order=9&q=mario+3d

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Original post by Jeordie Duckpucker
Oh, it would be so amazing to have the source art. It must have leaked somewhere. Or you must be able to find the art director and get stuff. I don't think anything is impossible -

Anyway I still think I'd find it cool to know - I don't think anybody is getting anywhere without knowing what others are doing and how, what the standards are - and those are MY standards.

But guys you are all developers, I'd need to talk to artists about this, forgive me - it's a forum for art directors too, right?

I think everyone is pretty confused on what you're asking here. All of Nintendo's games have been produced by different studios using different tools. There isn't one tool they use .... they use many. There is no secret formula behind it. Their processes are the same as anybody else's.

And yes, there are artists who frequent here. I studied CG in school, though I'm now working as a game designer. I also have worked on a couple of Wii and DS titles. Really, there are no secret tools.

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Yes, there is some confusion, I'm not getting my point across.

My thread's title is not appropriate for example.

I don't care much about the modelling tool in itself, but I care about the global process for those games. With "modelling" I wasn't literal, I meant to include everything that makes the MODEL, lighting and textures...anyway it was more conceptual talk, not technical. I am an art director and a director that happens to be interested in games as form of artistic and conceptual expression. My interest in technicality is relative to that.

Pixar doesn't use Maya for what I know, they use proprietary tools, Marionette I think it's called. So I was wondering if the Mario or Metroid teams (I know they weren't done in the same way by the same people) had something like that, since I enjoy the final visual product, I am interested in knowing how they were done; exactly in the same way I'm interested in knowing if Caravaggio's paintings where done with acrylics or waterpainting or oil. It's exactly the same kind of educative curiosity.

If I could see Caravaggio while he paints, even though he uses the same tools of other painters, I still want to see HIM painting and not another guy, I'm not interested in oil painting, I'm interested in Caravaggio while he paints with oil, because he uses it differenty. But first, I need to know it's oil paint that he uses, and not acrylics.

Metroid and Mario inspire me, as pieces of visual art - Resident Evil 5 doesn't. I want to collect all info I can about how they were done - the concepts, the modeling, the lighting, the tools used, the game design, the programming, the biographies of the artists involved - everything about those games interest me, I find it to be quality learning. So I thought of popping in the forum in in case somebody knew something. That's all.

I'm definitely a noobie in "game development", and I'm interested in making games that are ART. Maybe I should underline this. I'm not interested in technical advancement. I know Mario's model is not the most technically impressive, but I'm still more interested in seeing that than Resident Evil 5's. Art is style, not polygon count. If it's not the right forum for an Art with capital A in games talk, sorry, I tried, I couldn't know.

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