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Author Topic: Creeping Graphical Sameyness  (Read 20420 times)

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« on: September 10, 2011, 05:10:52 AM »
First, I'll quote that post I made in another thread:

The M&L in-game art has been feeling a bit off to me lately. I guess everything just feels unnecessarily big and spread-out in BIS. Sprites are high-res, but with no added detail; they're just big. The sprites and the map layouts in SS felt much tighter and less clumsy.

I also don't like how the series has become less stylistic. In SS, everything was drawn in an original style, but in PiT and BIS, all the sprites feel like they're just traced from the 3D renders.







It's also noticeable in the color scheme -- M&L had a rather distinct palette, giving it a coherent, unified theme, while PiT and BIS just use the big bright official colors for everything, and it's just kinda all over the place.

For some reason, though, PiT and BIS turn Luigi blue. But the dancing is still good.

Hopefully a sprite-based console version would get them thinking more stylistically again.

You know, I'd really like to see a game (maybe an RPG) based on the cartoons and comic books. Except good.

I was reminded of this when I saw just now that Paper Mario 3DS is now apparently changing the Dry Bones to look more like they do everywhere else. Observe:





This probably shouldn't annoy me as much as it does, but it does. I mean, is it just me, or are all the Mario games starting to converge a little too much?

Compare the Koopalings in Superstar Saga to their unused sprites in Super Princess Peach (which, incidentally, is possibly the most graphically generic Mario game yet):




Or how Yoshi's Island DS smoothed out all the pixels and made things just too smooth, largely removing the pen-and-ink-and-crayon motif. Kinda like when they try to restore old black and white movies to put them on DVD using algorithms to find and erase all the dust on the film, and the algorithm goes too far and ends up erasing all the film grain too and it doesn't look like film anymore, it just looks like overly smooth, generic video.









In addition to the standard enemies all looking the same, Bowser's Inside Story, Super Paper Mario, Yoshi's Island DS, and Super Princess Peach also all seem very proud of the fact that they are at higher resolutions than SNES games, and therefore can make bigger smoother images without pixelization. And so that's all they do is make stuff that's not pixelated. I miss pixels.

It's in the 3D games too. When Galaxy came out, I liked that we had a 3D Mario game where everything looked the way it was supposed to, but now, I'm actually starting to miss Sunshine's uniqueness. And I've never like Sunshine's graphical style. But at least it had a style. And is there any more generic-looking Mario game than NSMBWii?

I'm overreacting a bit, but back me up on this, guys. Isn't it all starting to look too standardized? Too samey?
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2011, 08:21:33 AM »
Another game I'm reminded of that I've noticed this with is Mario Kart. Compare the mushroom item in MKW to the mushroom art from Double Dash.




Sorry, I can't find a decent screenshot of Double Dash with the mushroom, so I'll just add this, which is actually what it looked like for both Double Dash and MKDS.



Also, may I just say that I miss these little guys?

« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 08:27:02 AM by pikmaniac »

« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2011, 08:47:09 AM »
In a similar vein to the Dry Bones pic in CE7's post,

>:(

I never cared for Buzzy Beetles' NSMB design, but changing the PM design to match it is indeed going way too far.
If she is indeed genetically mutated such that she has an eye in the back of her head, then I guess that she is genetically mutated and has an eye in the back of her head.

BP

  • Beside Pacific
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2011, 11:11:23 AM »
I don't think there's anything wrong with the Galaxies or News but

@Paper Mario: wat.

Wat.

"But BP weren't you saying you wanted something new instead of Paper Mario"

Yeah, new, not a combination of two olds
All your dreeeeeeams begiiin to shatterrrrrr~
It's YOUR problem!

The Chef

  • Simon Cowell
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2011, 11:54:18 AM »
I guess Nintendo's trying to make the Mario franchise graphically consistent for the sake of it's newfound "casual" audience.

'Course it still bugs me. I want MORE unique looking Mario games, not LESS. ALL the spin-offs should have their own graphical style! Look at Luigi's Mansion! Look at Super Mario Strikers! We need more of THOSE!

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2011, 12:56:14 PM »

RIP, cute Buzzy design. *snif*



Oh, look, it's NSMBW World 1.


And World 5.


And World 6.

Compare the Goombas in an early screenshot to a more recent one:


Because we simply can't have people thinking Goomba's eyes are slightly bigger than they're supposed to be or that their skin is a slightly lighter Pantone shade.
Also notice that in both shots, the enemy Koopa Troopas are not wearing sunglasses.

Look at Spinies:




Look at the blocks! Apparently after E3, the development team got a memo that their blocks were too different, and people would get confused.





A Brief Block History


Paper Mario

Paper Mario 3DS




Superstar Saga

Bowser's Inside Story




Everything since 2005

Hmph. I need to go play TTYD again.
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

BP

  • Beside Pacific
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2011, 02:26:58 PM »
I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that "it's something we don't like so it must be the casuals' fault" but [darn] is Captain Bad Ideas directing this or what

Also to be perfectly fair, not all enemy Koopas in SPM wore shades
All your dreeeeeeams begiiin to shatterrrrrr~
It's YOUR problem!

« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2011, 02:30:45 PM »
I prefer enemy Koopas without sunglasses, to be honest. But otherwise, I completely agree with CE's qualms.
YYur  waYur n beYur you Yur plusYur instYur an Yur Yur whaYur

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2011, 02:38:05 PM »
I think in SPM the thing was that Bowser's Koopas didn't have shades and Bleck's Koopas did. Or something. Although I think Bowser's Koopas still attacked Bowser if you went back to those levels with him, which would be an uncharacteristic lapse of attention to detail for the series.

I kinda like them better without shades too, but it seems to represent a larger disregard for the previous games' art style, as well as a growing unlikeliness that Mario will have partners that are actual characters (see: the generic Chain Chomp partner in all the screenshots). And really, for me, that was always the best part of PM and TTYD -- feeling like Mario's world is an actual place with actual people in it, hinting at all the interactions and issues and the details of day-to-day life in a world with sentient Goombas and Koopas and Bullet Bills.

It's one thing to change the art style from the way things looked in the SNES and N64 games, where you could argue that between technical limitations and lack of standardized looks and lack of communication between development teams, they weren't really supposed to look like that. But you can't make that argument to change the way things look from SPM. There was no technical reason that SPM couldn't have had Dry Bones with Koopa-shaped heads and yellow eyes, and Intelligent Systems had no lack of access to the big box of 3D models and renders and standard-bearing diagrams that show how Dry Boneses look. It was fully a conscious artistic choice in 2006 to keep the Dry Boneses looking like that.

I don't think Nintendo really thinks grannies are going to look at Dry Bones in Super Sluggers and then look at Dry Bones in SPM and go "WTD? I AM CONFUSED ARE THESE THE SAME CHARACTER? IF THEY ARE THE SAME WHY DO THEY LOOK DIFFERENT I DO NOT LIKE THINGS THAT ARE DIFFERENT THIS DOES NOT SQUARE WITH MARIO CANON!"

But I guess they just want everything to look like NSMB so that everyone who bought that will get tricked into buying all the other games too.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 02:55:21 PM by CrossEyed7 »
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2011, 03:08:41 PM »
Also:


Dry Bones in Superstar Saga


Dry Bones in Partners in Time




Tanoombas in Superstar Saga and Partners in Time


Tanoombas in 3D Land
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

Turtlekid1

  • Tortuga
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2011, 03:10:12 PM »
I have mixed feelings.  On the one hand, I like consistency with character designs; but on the other hand, I also like unique and stylized designs like what one finds in the spinoffs.  So... I don't know.
"It'll say life is sacred and so is death
but death is life and so we move on"

BP

  • Beside Pacific
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2011, 06:23:26 PM »
The Koopa Troopas in the Galaxies are a mystery here
All your dreeeeeeams begiiin to shatterrrrrr~
It's YOUR problem!

« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2011, 07:35:59 PM »
This, in my eyes, justifies the need for a Mario game that does something completely new and original with the visual aesthetic. It could just be a one-off or whatever, but I'd love to see a grittier, more realistic Mario game, maybe with a different starring character and a more involved story but still a distinctly Mario feel (eg: not Brawl's strangely unsmiling Mario). Not saying that Mario should go down the Shadow the Hedgehog or Final Fantasy path, but it would provide an invigorating change for a series that is becoming visually and conceptually stagnant.
If my son could decimate Lego cities with his genitals, I'd be [darn] proud.

« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2011, 09:36:51 PM »
Next Level GAmes should handle a Mario platformer sometime. They've already done a pair of spinoffs and are a doing a 3DS sequel, so let's see how they would do with a platformer.
Kinopio is the ultimate video game character! Who else can drive a kart, host parties, play tennis, give good advice and items, and is almost always happy??

BP

  • Beside Pacific
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2011, 06:44:16 PM »
They should make Mario wear his old blue shirt and red 'vralls again. For an entire game, except when using color-changin' power-ups. With no given explanation.



For the curious, this image (from Brawl) is the result of a very VERY minor vertex mod I made to change the shape of Mario's mouth and the angles of his eyebrows (which I went on to make multiple recolors of), an animation mod I made that makes him open his mouth much more often. For the uncurious, GO AWAYYYYYYYYYYYY
« Last Edit: September 11, 2011, 06:47:49 PM by BP »
All your dreeeeeeams begiiin to shatterrrrrr~
It's YOUR problem!

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