• Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  

What modelling tool Nintendo uses.

This topic is 3229 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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 -

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your thread title was asking what modeling tool Nintendo uses. Multiple people answered you, so there is no need to get all high and mighty that your "real question" wasn't answered. Oh, and Pixar DOES use Maya for modeling. Marionette is their animation tool and they use RenderMan for rendering.

You keep saying that you are an "art director". What art have you directed?

Mario's design is largely based on two concepts - technical limitations of the Nintendo platforms (so simplified geometry) and use use of bright, saturated colors for wide audience appeal. His original design was based on color and pixel limitations. For instance, do you know why Mega Man is blue? It is because on the original NES the artists had the widest number of shades of blue to work with.

I have to repeat as I did above, but there aren't special tools used by any of the Nintendo teams. They use the exact same tools and processed as everyone else in the games industry. In fact, the processes aren't much different than Resident Evil 5's, except they didn't have to go through the pains of generating high poly versions of the maps to create normal maps.

Nintendo's choice of colors for the majority of their first party games are based on aesthetic appeal. Blue is very soothing, so they provide a lot of sky view in the Mario games with nice calming shades of blue. Environments use a lot of green, because the human eye has its geatest level of color perception in the green range (well, except red-green color blind folks). It is just basic color psychology.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ok, cool, same processes. Fair enough. That's pretty much all I wanted to know. Because if the process is the same, well their "art" and approach is not.

End of the story, this isn't the right forum to talk about Art. Definitely.

I am a film director in Italy, former advertising industry art director, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It isn't that this forum is not the right place to discuss art (this is in fact the visual arts forum), but your question was incredibly broad. If you are wanting to know every detail behind the art team's approach for say, Super Mario Galaxy, that is going to be impossible to answer. Literally thousands of man hours went into it. You have to realize that the creation of games nowadays is very formulaic and the processes are rigid, because the production resources to create a game such as the latest Mario titles are astronomical.

The only narrow (and thus answerable) question you've asked is what tools they use.
- Max/Maya/XSI, whatever for modeling (they are all pretty much the same)
- Photoshop for texture creation
- Max/Maya/XSI for animation, or possibly MotionBuilder
- NintendoWare Viewer for previewing what the model will look like on the Wii

If you are interested in specific processes or possible motivations behind particular choices the development team made, then ask away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by zer0wolf
Oh, and Pixar DOES use Maya for modeling. Marionette is their animation tool and they use RenderMan for rendering.

I personally know someone that worked on the new Pixar short (Partly Cloudy) and he modeled a bunch of characters for it using Lightwave. Though that might have been a special case considering he was hired freelance and was allowed to work at home on it. (which is a rarity for Pixar in itself)

Not to say they don't use Maya, just adding to your post that no studio really sticks firmly to any one piece of software to get the job done. =)

Anyway, going back to Jeordie's first post in this thread... In my opinion, for an art director, you have no sense of what goes into making art. Which is odd, considering you're an art director... Maybe that title means something different in Italy, but I always thought it meant that the person understood the art making process.

To ask a question like "what tool does nintendo use to make art because it's beautiful" sounds a lot like "I have no idea what I'm doing and I have no idea how art is made". Have you never heard the expression "a true artist never blames the tools"?

You keep saying you want to know what they use by comparing it to wanting to know if "Caravaggio" painted with oil or acrylics to make his art, when the real answer is that it doesn't freakin' matter what he used. A great artist is a great artist. He could have used crayons and his art would be considered great.

The same holds even more true today, as digital artwork is all in the same category. No matter what software you use, you can get the same result as another artist, because it all boils down to a bunch of pixels on a screen.

One artist could create a 3d model of mario, texture it, light it, rig it and pose it and make a gorgeous image out of it. Another artist could draw the same picture pixel by pixel. Another artist could paint the picture in photoshop. Another artist could use only the spraypaint tool in paint and make the same image.

Each of the methods may take a different amount of time and skill but they all end in the same exact result. If you don't understand this, I don't see how you're an art director.

You listed games and said "there's just an appeal" to them. As an art director you should already understand why there is an appeal to them. Not that there "just is one". As others have stated, the appeal is the colors used and the saturation, the shapes, the lighting, the way the objects are textured, and so on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Konidias
Quote:
Original post by zer0wolf
Oh, and Pixar DOES use Maya for modeling. Marionette is their animation tool and they use RenderMan for rendering.

I personally know someone that worked on the new Pixar short (Partly Cloudy) and he modeled a bunch of characters for it using Lightwave. Though that might have been a special case considering he was hired freelance and was allowed to work at home on it. (which is a rarity for Pixar in itself)

Not to say they don't use Maya, just adding to your post that no studio really sticks firmly to any one piece of software to get the job done. =)

Yeah, that was pretty much my point. They use the same modeling tools as everyone else, except since they have uber large production budgets, they can even more easily allow individual artists to use whatever they're most comfortable with and allow the technical artists to deal with the pipeline issues.

Quote:
As an art director you should already understand why there is an appeal to them. Not that there "just is one". As others have stated, the appeal is the colors used and the saturation, the shapes, the lighting, the way the objects are textured, and so on.

Hence my asking why the OP keeps referring to himself as an Art Director. Art Directors have years of experience and are not only able to figure this sort of stuff out themselves, but are able to comfortably direct the art of his team to accomplish said goals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement