I’ve found something that you, game engine guys, may be really interested in.
It’s an in-depth graphics analysis of one of the best looking game to date: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
The OP (warby) used the Dolphin emulator, which emulates the Nintendo Gamecube system and features a lot of debugging options “like wireframe vertex/pixel light freecam and … dump textures 0_0 i couldnt resist and had to try all of this”. He ended up writing a fantastic post, which I very strongly recommend you to read!
It’s really quickly read and understood, as he posted a lot of images:
“Zelda: Wind waker Tech and Texture Analysis” by warby: http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=104415
I saw this on Twitter, I think, and on Polycount. It’s a very informative read - super useful.
In fact there’s a lot to learn from old games, even from way back the psx and nintendo 64 era. believe it or not I have discovered bump/normal mapping on nintendo 64 games (or at least in one of them, Blast Corps, the metallic part of the truck uses a bump map to avoid unnecesary small 3d details).
Personally I like how they manage to use extremelly small textures to achieve the correct mood and scene designs and achieving good results (despite the blur/big pixels because of the low resolution). There are also a big amount of clever tricks to achieve some special effects, like in the cut-scenes of Vagrant’s Story (psx). Not all of them practical, usable or needed nowadays bit still interesting to know.
Its certainly one hell of an under-rated game in terms of the technical details. The first time I saw that ocean/beach I had to stand there for a bit in awe (mainly just looking at how the water actually left a mark on the sand as the waves receded)
Its those smaller details which can really make a game for me.
I wanna play wind-waker again.
Great read. In another 10 years Wind Waker will still look good.
Halo Combat Evolved on the other hand…