AuthorTopic: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island  (Read 19146 times)

Offline ptoing

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Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

on: August 01, 2006, 12:12:02 pm

Due to popular demand we will have Nintendo's classic Super Mario World2 - Yoshi's Island as CC. Go ahead and disect it.









I personally have not much to say about this game as far as pixelling goes, it's all about the style.

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #1 on: August 01, 2006, 09:46:41 pm
Ok, I did not expect this one bit, honestly I would've prefered EWJ, but YI still has things to say despite the propaganda.

I belive the style choice has everything to do with pixeling, and it is quite a good reason to talk about this game, I agree it might not allow for a lot of pixel-perfect examination to go on, but I think it did open up a space for new natural media inspired look in pixelart, that is still being progressed in games like the Boktai series.

I think I will start with a tiling trick directly related to the style choice. it might not be the holy grail of tiling, but it's worth noting.

if you watch carefully you'll see that every pine tree is mirrored at the middle, yet the highlights are on the opposite sides in each side of the tree.

I think the brush (or marker) strokes style used in drawing the trees, allows for the same degradation to be used for shadow and light.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2006, 09:57:18 pm by Conceit »

Offline .TakaM

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #2 on: August 02, 2006, 03:48:50 am
Im not quite ready to jump in yet. in the mean time I found some png screenshots from YI2, could help with some people's theories:
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Offline Sohashu

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #3 on: August 02, 2006, 07:21:22 am
I noticed a change in shading techniques.  In the back ground, the strokes are more stroke like. in the foreground, level with characters, the style is smoother and easier to make out details.   


Back from hiatus, just remembered how excellent this community is at forming technique in a fledgeling artist of any kind.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #4 on: August 02, 2006, 08:10:11 am
hmm, YI2 doesnt really seem to expand on the style, rather it is taking back from it, it doesnt look like it'd fit with the older screens but it also isnt proposing a new style, just broken up YI.

I think it will not measure up to the original in terms of style atlest

Offline Akira

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #5 on: August 02, 2006, 08:20:41 am
Colourwise, everything is pretty high sat which makes it hard to distingiush foreground from background. they appear to have used the black outlines to combat this though in many situations it just makes it appear a little dirty imo :'(

spritewise i think this game is ugly. does anyone have any sprite animations?

some wikipedia stuff on the graphics:
Quote
The game's unique graphical style is said to have resulted from a conflict with Nintendo's internal evaluation committee; impressed by the recently released Donkey Kong Country which sported pre-rendered graphics, they ordered the game's producer, Shigeru Miyamoto, to move the visuals in this direction. Shigeru, who did not particularly like Donkey Kong Country, instead altered the graphics to look as if they had been drawn with crayons and felt-pens and resubmitted it to the evaluation committee, who admitted their mistake and passed the game. Some of the cut scenes do, however, show pre-rendered graphics, done in a rather different form that looks more like the gameplay graphics.

I agree with conceit about YI2. it's lost the style nearly completely.
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Offline Xion

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #6 on: August 02, 2006, 08:54:01 am
Back to the original YI, I noticed that the bgs aren't all consistent from level to level.
ie.

In the first one, the shading seems thick and somewhat pillowshadey. In the second, the strokes are less definitively even, and taper towards one end. There's also greater contrast between shades, which makes the shapes seem less silky smooth and delicious. In the last image, the background looks more like a pencil scribble than a crayon or marker sketch. Much thinner strokes and lighter colors make it seem less heavy than the first image and less solid than the 2nd.

I may just be making up pointless things to point out, but I thought I ought to say something since I didn't in the past few CCs.


As for the YI2 graphics, yes, I am wholly opposed to the new style. I mean, it's nice and all, but I would have much preferred the original drawn style, or something close to it.

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Offline snake

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #8 on: August 02, 2006, 02:06:23 pm
Speaking of animations. One thing that has to be noted when it commes to Yoshi's Island is the was they used the Super FX chip. This enabled the SNES to do scaling and 3d sprite rotations and made it possible to make games such as Starfox / Starwing.

YI used the chip in unique ways. One of them being to animate sprites by rotating and scaling sprites. You can see that in a lot of the animations fil_razorback linked to, their limbs are slightly rotated. If you were to jump on an invincible enemy in YI, it would scale to create a bouncing effect. The Shyguys and a lot of the other enemies feet and limbs are just rotated blocks as all their walking and jumping was handled real-time by the chip. This is something that is used in Flash animation today, the only difference being that YI is not using vectors, but pixels. I would think that the black outlines helped the rotation in YI because when you scale pixels (like for example in ms Paint.) it gets messy. Since the style was already made with messy black outlines, you wouldn't notice as much.

Akira mentioned that the backgrounds are hard to separate from the foreground. I never had a problem with this as I was playing it, mainly because all stages had paralax scrolling and sometimes multiple backgrounds. Notice that for stages where the background does *not* move, like here:
and here:
, there is a very clear difference between the Player sprite and the background. The latter image also has a triple paralax star background for the black areas.

There is also a discussion wether the backgrounds were made in 'pure pixel' or if it was hand drawn and then converted into the game. I've found a few hand drawn wallpapers from YI that are pretty much identical to the backgrounds of the game, but I'm sure this documented somewhere.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2006, 02:08:01 pm by snake »

Offline Rox

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #9 on: August 02, 2006, 06:13:33 pm
Yeah, the parallax thing was something I instantly felt the need to mention as soon as I saw these. They look very cluttered when still, but every single scene that has those cluttered backgrounds in-game is also very dynamic. There's never any doubt about what's what when you're playing it. The fact that it's much much more zoomed in makes it easier, too, with the thick outlines, say... three-four times the width than we see them now at 1x.

Insanely good use of of the SFX chip, too, like Snake said. That game has some of my favorite bosses ever. Especially the one where you're chasing a giant bird around a moon, with exactly everything spinning around smoothly to keep Yoshi in the middle of the screen all the time. It looked amazing.

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #10 on: August 02, 2006, 06:15:40 pm
This game is a testament to the idea that being pixel-perfect is not always necessary to be visually pleasing.  in many cases, the textures are created by simple shapes and even what appears to be pen-tool scribbling.  seasoned pixel-pushers will notice that pixel-art techniques are not present.  they simply arent.  there is no AA, no real dithering except by accident, no shared color ramps (in fact, no real attempt at conservation in any way, these guys used and abused the snes's color abilities).

why then, should we look at this game?  it stands for everything that is widely considered evil among pixellers!  why, we ought to be burning it for heresy rather than evalutaing it!

because this game works.  it cut everything we tend to consider a corner and came out shining like a new dime, especially on the tv.  a few months ago i played this game for the first time and my girlfriend at the time got mad at me because i kept trying to understand why such seemingly novice graphics looked so friggin good (especially on the tv where everything is smoothed together).

the lesson that i would take away from this is simple :
sometimes, simple and sexy like yoshi's island is the way to go. you'll save time and you can still make something that looks great without reworking it for weeks
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Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #11 on: August 02, 2006, 07:13:42 pm
Whereas I don't disagree with any of that, I'd like to point out that in this case the game works because the pixelling style is befitting of the art direction. If a similar tech-free approach were to be applied to a realistic dark and gritty spy game or a flight simulator, the results would be... interesting, but not applicable in any case.

It's truly a sorry state that videogames have gotten to be so homogenized in terms of style that the moment my brain considered the frankly disastrous 'crayon painted flight simulator' I went "hmm, at least it'd be novel!" instead of thinking it would suck. We are truly starved for clever styles to support good gameplay.

And that, YI does very much.

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #12 on: August 03, 2006, 01:10:20 am
If a similar tech-free approach were to be applied to a realistic dark and gritty spy game or a flight simulator, the results would be... interesting, but not applicable in any case.

thats a good point.  though actually, FarCry2 : Yoshi's Island might actually sell embarassingly well
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Offline crab2selout.png

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #13 on: August 03, 2006, 10:44:36 pm
I think the brush (or marker) strokes style used in drawing the trees, allows for the same degradation to be used for shadow and light.
I really like how they pulled this off. Not obvious in the least, and actual requires some up close inspection and tile flipping to be certain. Shows how important the middle transition tiles can be and how exploiting them is key to effective mirrored tiles.

Some more screens I captured recently










Included some lemons in there. I really don't understand how some of these fugly tiles and BGs were included. They are such a stark contrast to the other levels.

I really like how they did flashlight areas in this game. It stimulates a darkened area very well and doesn't look the least bit cheap as an alpaha mask would. I'd be interested if anyone could explain how this effect is acheived so well. Are the darkened tiles purposefully indexed that way and then re-indexed when Yoshi approaches them with some alpha effects overlayed? Or is the reduction of colours in dark areas simply a well executed use of SNES colour limitations when applying darkening manipulations in real time?

I am so disappointed with those screens for the new YI. I'm going to pretend that there was never a sequel

Offline AlexHW

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #14 on: August 03, 2006, 10:58:35 pm
looks like an alpha mask to me, along with some dithering between alpha values.
I can't help but keep thinking about how much black they used.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #15 on: August 04, 2006, 12:02:19 am
hm, there's 2 things I've always wanted to look at more deeply in YI

the dirt tiles that you cleared with your eggs, I always thought that looked good.

the diamond-ish rocks on cave tiles...already posted a lot of times.

I just remembered, there's a fat shyguy that's very well animated, any of you remember what level he's at so I can give ripping him a stab?

Offline Willows

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #16 on: August 04, 2006, 12:36:59 am
Okay, I'm not careful or confident enough to go in and perform surgery on an actual published game and think my comments have any merit whatsoever, so I'll work with what I know.
There are quite frequently diagonal lines running from top-right to bottom-left. Is there any reason for this?
For example, look at the first screenshot crab2selout recently posted. in the large tiles, there are little lines that run diagonally at a 45 degree angle from top right to bottom left.
In the ice screenshots he posted later, there are predominant gleams that go again diagonally from top-right to bottom left.
The background shading in all three screenshots posted by Xion Knight slope diagonally in the same direction, as do the trees and clouds posted by conceit. Sorry that this isn't technically a pixel art critique, but I'm still curious and if it means something, I'd like to know.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #17 on: August 04, 2006, 02:58:18 am
Kickass Yoshi's Island refference

Artmoney tutorial this is a tutorial for learning how to view every frame of animation in a fighter game, however mostl of the information learnt is applicable to other games YI included.
I think if we had someone knowledgeable on this on board it would be pretty damn awesome for the CCs.

http://www.vgmaps.com/Atlas/SuperNES/index.htm#SuperMarioWorld2YoshisIsland YI full level screenshot rips, mostly of the first world

http://www.vgmuseum.com/images/snes01/01/smw2.html YI VgMuseum screens

http://kirby.classicgaming.gamespy.com/games/dreamland3/screens/ Kirby dreamland 3 screens, as a style precursor to YI I thought it'd be a good idea to have some ref.

Willows

actually willows, that's a very good point. Dont be afraid to just use your cacumen in these threads, it's not necesary to bulrt out a lot of good
words to make a good point, many times people even get themselves blocked up because of all they know, so much they cant see the simplest things, if you see something interesting post it with no fear =)

I fired up the rom and I noticed that repeating theme a lot, it really makes you wonder about how their art direction went.

one of the main reasons must be simply because in any sort of grid, 45 is the easiest diagonal that can be drawn be it a grid of pixels or a grid of tiles.
If you are going for a natural media look in a game, you'll obviously want to break some of the gridness, but still be working within it.
Yoshi's island wasnt Nintendo's first stab at a game with a natural media look.
http://kirby.webcindario.com/juegos/dreamland3.htm
Kirby's dreamland 3 came first and had a much dirtier look so I figure by the time they went with yoshi's island they understood a lot better they still had to think in grids.

from what I understand Miyamoto was starting to think of using a storybook look for his games when he made this one, so they must have been looking at an effect that evoked childhood memories, was good for adaptation of spriting, marker pictures look like a logical conclusion
http://www.csb-cde.ca.gov/Images/taeler_circles.jpg
everybody has made a messy marker picture like that, they just had to organize the pattern and make it look pretty, because of the sheer ease of drawing 45 lines they went with that for most shading effects, and because of the rotation effects they knew they'd use they came up with the flat outlined style for the sprites.

I've noticed something in the game, and it is that they vary the sharpness of the shading strokes to make allusions of texture.
  the grass and mud are smooth so they use an pointillist  for the shading, with predominantly round shapes while the rocks have edgy erratic lines.

the ice is smooth but hard and translucent, so it is still pointillist but the spots are a little less round, and some diagonal lines are introduced to represent translucency.

the foreground rocks here have an use of the outline I figure because they're meant to be very hard, (they have some color cycling to represent their reflectivity, we have to make an animation of that color cycling), the background ones are simply done with diagonal strokes that are extra edgy to represent the hardness.

these statements might not hold true for every texture of the game, but I'm just trying to make the point that they effectively convey diferent textures whitout using any detail specifically related to it, the diferent spreading patterns and shapes they use are enough for you to process that it's suppose to be a diferent texture.

I think their rendering was mostly done by alternating a pointillism with strokes, and every now and then use a few details or an outline crossing the tile to make the texture.

also, I've noticed the more unique a tile is, the less it is likely to have 45 lines
because these trees are so big they wont repeat a lot of times troughout the level, so their lines are scattered to create a better sense of spontaniety and all the things related with natural media and chilhood.

it's hard to imagine how it became such a recurring teme troughout the game to use the 45 lines even for things that arent strokes, it might have been decided in pre or in emerged spontaneously in production, but in the end I belive it happened because with all the natural media inspired textures on the game it'd be a strong repeating visual theme, so it just fits the picture to keep other effects in a 45 line aswell.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2006, 05:16:26 am by Conceit »

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #18 on: August 04, 2006, 04:50:28 am
45 degree hatching is a common practice in drawing for linear shading, and tends to look better than most other methods.  cross-contour shading really doesnt look good in videogames and though personally i think multidirectional hatching looks best on paper it too doesnt lend itself to pixels as the angles are almost never on fo the 'perfects'
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Offline Conzeit

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #19 on: August 04, 2006, 05:19:42 am
hatching, I guess that's the laymen's term for it...rememberr english isnt my first languge....and bad Adrias, I had a "please dont respond still editing" sing up c.c

anyways, yeah...that's exactly why 45 hatching made sense as their griddy yet natural media-ish shading style.

the hatching tends to become multidirectional in YI backgrounds when it's used on an object that wont repeat a lot, although because it's done with lines of atleast 3 pixel width it still translates pretty well.

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #20 on: August 04, 2006, 06:39:55 am
45 degree needs no aaing, rotates fine, also



I have a problem with this tileset, my brain would interpret it as 'spikes, don't land there'.

also, the constant use of black hurts depth to the point where I'd consider these blades of grass on this one



also to be a gameplay hazard and I'd try to not fall on them.

Yoshi's Island looks very flatplane to me because of the art style, most of the time.

Offline Rox

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #21 on: August 04, 2006, 08:48:43 am
I decided to look for videos to show the awesomely wonderful parallax scrolling in this game, and how it allows the foreground/middleground/background art to be so similar. I found one decent gameplay video of the first level, and a rocking commercial! I think the commercial might give some insight about why the game was designed the way it's designed. (Story-wise, it's easy to see why, since it's an old tale of how baby Mario went on a bunch of adventures on Yoshi's back. Fairytale memories from the eyes of a of a to-be-hero baby.)

I wish I could've found some gamelplay of the waterfall caves, but if you imagine the parallax working the same for those levels, you should see how easy it would be to differntiate the various levels. The commercial also has a brief clip of the awesome bird on the moon where EVERYTHING spins except the Yoshi sprite. I love that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrMA53X8weI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuCDkfjVE5E

Not the best quality, but it's the scrolling I want to put in focus. We've already got pixel-perfect art in this thread. Put the two together in your mind.

Offline crab2selout.png

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #22 on: August 04, 2006, 07:48:00 pm
Conceit, I think I remember seeing fat shyguy in the beginning of the Wall of Lakitu stage. You could also try looking in a gameFAQ for the word fatguy or whatever they are called.

Despite the heavy use of black, they're pretty consistent in limiting its use to foreground tiles and enemies so that different layers don't meld together. Even in that one background with the pipes and grass, the white highlight on the pipes pushes it above the grassy part.

More screenshots. found a couple shots with the clearable dirt tile. Looks like they made two different variations of it. I'm going to try and get a better screenshot of them. Ther's some interesting shading going on in the shadow areas of the pin-striped castle. I don't think I noticed any other places where the shadows have a different tile pattern than the non-shadowed area. I like it, although I'm not sure I understand it.




Offline hawken

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #23 on: September 21, 2006, 02:00:27 pm
what puzzles me... is the linear history:

yoshi's island SNES
yoshi's island 2 N64
yoshi's island 2 DS

frankly, I think the DS looks the worst so far...
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Offline miascugh

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Re: Commercial Critique August: Yoshi's Island

Reply #24 on: September 21, 2006, 02:25:25 pm
I think it is:

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island - SNES
Yoshi's Story - N64
Yoshi's Island 2 - DS