Pioneer? Innovator? Discussing again the design charm of Super Mario 64

This article comes from the answer by the user Ping Zhao Nangong Secretary about the topic “How is the status of” Super Mario 64 “in the history of the game?”, Authorized by

(Because Ma 64 has an official translation of iQue, but it is not common, all the card names and texts are marked with the official version supplemented by the US and Japanese versions)

The status of Super Mario 64 is basically chewed content, real 3D operation logic and real 3D lens control. But if you only stay on this, then Ma 64 can only be a pioneer.

Some people may think that the operation and lens are mainly due to the progress brought by the innovation of the handle. But on the one hand, it is better to say that the N64’s handle and the Ma 64’s operation complement each other; on the other hand, it is also the N64 game, and few of them have such a mature operating system.

Generally speaking, the other side of this topic is “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”, although the entire basic framework was highly perfected at the time of Ma 64 (Ma 64 was released in 1996, and Ocarina of Time was released in 98) , But because platform jumping games and action-adventure games have different core content due to differences in categories, objectively speaking, the guiding significance of Ocarina of Time, at least that of the public, will be greater than that of Ma 64-after all ARPG / AAVG is everywhere. In addition to the still quite mature logic of operating the lens, the applicability of “Z lock” and aiming angle of view is really too great. But the 3Dization of the 2D platform jump, to be honest, only Nintendo can also achieve such a status for 3D horses.

Nintendo ’s best is not from 0 to 1, but from 0 to 9 or even 9.5. The 2D and 3D of the three series of Masai Silver are almost all completed in a series and even the category of the frame, and “Super “Mario 64” is one of the most remarkable works, so if you want to ask the reason for this status, you need to know in detail that under the general “innovation” description, Ma 64 has hardly had the design charm of its opponents.

Basic control of N64 handle and Mario 64

Action design

At this time in 2019, there are not necessarily many people who have played in the domestic horse 64, but “Super Horse Odyssey” should still be more familiar. The special ability of the series with the hat in the Odyssey is put aside, and the list related to platform jumping is :

  • Walk, run, jump, squat;
  • Three-stage jump, drop hit, physical attack (actually, flutter), side jump, back jump, long jump, wall kick

With such a series of basic actions and derived rich actions, I believe players who have played Odyssey can appreciate the simplicity and fluency of these actions-these are actuallyIt was all defined as early as the era of Ma 64(Skipping is not the beginning of 64). At this time, the 2D horses have not yet arrived in the new horse series. Of course, there is also a reference for this. For example, the fall is similar to Yoshi, and the kick wall is very Mittrod ’s design, but from 2D to 3D, the jump system is so rich at once, it is quite difficult Imagine-after all, platform jumping is just some basic jumping plus various props and ability expansion. And there is no particularly complicated control in this, all can be completed only by A key and Z key (individual need to use B key).

This set of jumping movements has been almostNo additions or deletions have been used to this day, The result itself also shows itsLean and richThe characteristics, and these actions can be seamlessly connected, which makes a qualitative improvement in platform jumping in pursuit of viewing and fluency.

Triple jump

The design of the three-segment jump in 3D Mali is the simplest but quite quintessential. The high jump is selected on the third rhythmic jump, which is a short-term instant positive feedback. The jump is the core of the platform jump, and the jump is higher Farther is naturally comfortable. This most practical action runs through the entire game. It will not interrupt the horizontal continuity under rhythmic control, and can seamlessly keep up with many subsequent actions in the air (it can also start the flying cap).

Long jump

In a space where it is difficult to accurately determine the distance in 3D, far and high are relatively stripped. Players can choose to operate in a high or far direction, but also to expand the design ideas-after all, in the jump of 2D, “far “” And “high” jumps are often consistent. The long jump was born in this way.

Side jump and back jump

The far representative is the long jump, and the high representative is the two. The difference between the two actions is also an excellent design. The effect of horizontal jump and back jump in the game is almost exactly the same. The operation requirements of horizontal jump are relatively high, but it can be used under the condition of uninterrupted lateral fluency. Jump back. The distinction between fluency and ease of use is to lower the threshold and increase the upper limit of the game.

In terms of operation and movement, Ma 64 is almost impeccable,In the first work of 3D, it gave almost perfect design. Although it is slightly inferior in lens control, it is also a general achievement.

Lens control

In the lens control, Ma 64 uses 4 C keys to operate alone, the up and down C is the zoom lens, and the left and right C is the angle of change. Because the analog stick groove of the N64 handle is eight, the player will use these eight directions to move more, so the transformation angle of the left and right C is also 8-way instead of 360-degree seamless rotation. Ma 64 realFully independent control of lens control and motion controlThis is actually the biggest revolution. Considering that the lens design that Ma 64 can achieve under the limitations of technology and hardware is almost impeccable, most of the time it can ensure a horizontal orientation, reducing the burden of the player’s first contact with the lens.

Of course, compared with the almost unchangeable motion design, the lens control is obviously not the best at the beginning. In addition to the 8-way limitation, Nintendo failed to think of a reasonable solution for the lens to hit the wall in the era of Ma 64. Program.

They are not unaware of this. In most cases where the angle of view hits the wall, the 8-direction that the C key can control will be restricted, and it is not even allowed to use the C key to zoom to close the angle of view so that the camera is leaning. wall. This is of course also the first time that the player has been exposed to the real 3D lens, but after that, a way of handling the camera into the transparent wall was indeed born.

But it is more regrettable that when walking on a narrow road with a single bridge and a wall behind it, it is clear that the best camera position is to project forward from behind, not a 2D-like horizontal lens in most cases. Although there are not many cases like this, examples can be cited, such as underwater ruins (Wet-Dry World / み ず び た シ テ ィ ー).

Can’t use the C key to control the lens behind (underwater ruins)

And if the C button is not available, using the R button to switch the second angle of view of the lens can often be switched to the back position. From this standpoint, of course, I can’t judge whether this is a deliberate or inevitable contradiction left by the development team.

But even so, Ma 64’s lens is extremely good. Except for the time and technology factors, the main reason is that today ’s 3D action games hardly make mistakes in the camera position. In contrast, the lens switching of the Ma 64 born in 1996 is simply incredible, as everyone knows. The Dark Souls series, I believe that every player has had a very uncomfortable time when the lens is polished, and even Black Soul 1 has a quite famous shortcut to the perspective of the ancient city of Sain. In such a small environment in the Ma 64 castle, the lens can maximize the experience of not hitting the wall. It can be done at the beginning of the 3D game, which is also awesome.

Shot control of chasing rabbits in the castle

But when it comes to the lens, then the subject that is often talked about by fans still has to talk about it even if it is chewed, that is, at the beginning of the game, Zhu Gaimu will take the camera and fly around in the princess peach castle. Behind Mario. This is a very interesting design that allows players who jump from 2D platform to 3D to understand the source of this lens when they first touch a 3D lens such as Mario-by the way, it can also explain why it is hitting the wall. Time limit the control of the C key to the lens (laughs).

Zhu Gaimu design explaining the origin of the lens

You can also see this interesting design in front of the mirror

Of course, most people may still think that this is an underestimation of the player ’s adaptability, so itsCreative composition is greater than practical valueAfter all, players who have entered the pit through various 3D games instead of Ma 64 have never seen Zhu Gaimu. But I don’t think it is the case-after all, this is the first 3D game in the true sense, and thoughtful thinking is definitely not a bad thing. What’s more, from today’s perspective, this may be an idea that only Nintendo would think of.

Until now, there are not many platform jumping games that can do well in 3D,Create perfect motion design and excellent lens control, but just lay a frameThe designers of Ma64 also need to face the dilemma of 3D. The difficulty brought by one more dimension is not from the level of 2 to 3, but it is completely rejected.

Destructive strike with precision

I personally think that the most difficult part of the 3D transformation of 2D games is that Mitterode and almost all the elaborate core elements of “Galaxy” are all built on the 2D map, which is why “Metroid Prime” can put “Super Mittrod 》 The sense of design is fully 3D, the reason why people are so shocked. If you count down further, platform jumping is also difficult in 3D.

In the bouncing game world, 3D is more than just one dimension more difficult than 2D.

The 2D game is intuitive enough. The pixels on both the horizontal and vertical axes can be very accurately located to any place. It is naturally inseparable from the jumping of the platform. The producer can accurately locate the two elements of “jump” and “platform”, and players can also know their position on the horizontal and vertical axes at once.

But when it comes to 3D, it is completely different. It is not possible to position and measure the distance with the imagination of one more Z axis. The content displayed in the space changes at any time with the change of the position of the person and the angle of the camera. Nothing can be taken. The content of the fixed impression directly leads to the fact that in all cases, the player must estimate the position of himself and the target that needs to move and jump with the help of changing reference objects. And now with the help of analog sticks, you can turn 360 degrees even moreA devastating blow to accuracy.

The easiest thing to think of is walking on a narrow and oblique platform, not to mention the platform jump of Mario 64 such as 20 years ago. Even if such a scene appears in today’s games, most people have difficulty accurately positioning their actions. Track. Therefore, in Ma 64, the requirements for jumping are naturally reduced from all aspects.

The first isManeuverability of jumping. Jumping in a 2D horse is almost entirely determined by the state of the jump, and in 3D, Mario can still control the direction after the jump, and the controllability of the forward and backward directions is greater than the left and right directions-because the horse 64 ’s lens and level are more What is needed is the judgment of the jump pitch, not the adjustment in the approximate direction of the left and right.

Then modifyPenalty and attack mechanism. It is no longer the case of 2D Mali villain dying when touched, replaced by the blood volume system, except for directly falling into the pit, the rest of the punishment is only the loss of blood volume, and the setting that the gold coins can restore also allows the game process Not so worried. And Ma 64li added an attack system, so a set of punches and kicks against non-invincible enemies is natural and avoids the situation of not being able to step on the enemy accurately.

Come againMap design. Thanks to the extra direction in 3D, many maps are from bottom to top. In this process, there are very few deep pits. The punishment for stepping on the air is often only started from a lower place. And the first level bomb kingdom (Bob-omb Battlefield / ボ ム へ い の せ ん じ ょ う) of the entire Ma 64 is completely without pits, and it will not be encountered in any way.

I have analyzed so many of them just to mitigate the negative effects brought by the loss of accuracy. Making a 3D game interesting is that the additional dimension brings more design difficulties.

Repeated but not monotonous

Most of the platform jumping games have no big plots, no multi-tasking, and can only rely on the card design. The content that can be filled almost determines the quality of the game. Apart from the relatively small 2D design space, various designs are also very mature, but in 3D, due to the reasons explained above, there are many contents that cannot be copied directly or even completely unsuitable.

In the 2D level, in addition to the platform structure,Enemies and institutionsIt is also the simplest and most effective way to control the overall progress difficulty rhythm, but it is also very different in the 3D Ma 64. Enemies that have to be trampled / dodged no longer need to take risks to deal with, most of the time only need to bypass, which makes most of the design of Ma 64You cannot rely on this simple method of working.

But Nintendo designers still have various ideas

In addition, the creation of maps and models brought by 3D is also started from 0, plus technical limitations and construction requirements, which makes it necessary to reuse a lot of each level in the creation process To allow players to explore a level repeatedly. So there are 15 levels in the finished product of Ma 64, each level will have 7 stars. This is an extremely difficult design for platform jumping. After all, there are no galactic city class props and early map restrictions. I want players to target an area.It ’s too difficult for a strongman to repeat exploring multiple times without being boring and monotonous.

Since it is repeated exploration, it must have the motivation to explore and a different sense of each exploration.

Motivation is not difficult. Stars as the goal of this work, in addition to being a step-by-step restriction on the difficulty, also requires players to explore the map multiple times on a certain level. And one of the seven stars is to get 100 gold coins in the level, which is also a big motivation for players to repeatedly explore a single level. But on top of this simple mechanism, it can also be done more ingeniously.

For example, in the high mountain range (Tall, Tall Mountain / た か い た か い マ ウ ン テ ン) level, there are no 100 gold coins collected on the entire mountain, which makes people explore the hidden levels and get the remaining gold coins.

Hidden Challenge: Mountain Trail

The repeated use of the map mainly depends on the exquisite box layout. I believe that many players who have experienced the Odyssey can understand the meaning of this description without explanation, which is also Nintendo ’s unrivaled skill. Just looking at the overall picture of these maps can understand their subtlety. As shown in the following picture of the “Whomp’s Fortress / バ ッ タ ン キ ン グ の と り で” level, the entire map is accessible, and the challenge of red coins and 100 gold coins can also urge people to obtain dynamic experiences in different directions. The way of vision and height, placing rich elements in a small map is indeed amazing.

Second level: Bang Bang Fortress

The repeated exploration of the essence of the Ma 64 map is far more than that,The entry of several levels in different situations will directly affect the content of the levelNow, it is difficult for these designs to be surpassed by other works.

  • Underwater remains (Wet-Dry World / み ず び た シ テ ィ ー)

The entrance to the underwater ruins level is on the canvas on the second floor, and the water level in the level will be directly affected by the level of the canvas.

Canvas of underwater ruins, the level of entry affects the level of water

  • Little country big country (Tiny-Huge Island / ち び で か ア イ ラ ン ド)

This level has two canvases with the same content: Xiao Ku Li Bao on the left and Da Ku Li Bao on the right. So the left side of the two canvases is the little country, and the right side is the big country. After entering, it is like the 4-6 level of Super Mario Bros. 3, which is a very interesting level.

Canvas of Little China: Little left and right

  • Tick ​​Tock Clock (Tick Tock Clock / チ ッ ク タ ッ ク ロ ッ ク)

The entrance of this level is the clock behind the big star gate on the third floor. When you enter the level, the time displayed by the clock will affect the internal organs of the clock. Stop near 12 organs, 3 will rotate slowly, 6 will move at random quickly, and 9 will be faster.

The entrance of the swinging ancient clock: closely related to the four times

I believe that these three ideas alone can be astoundingly creative, and in the first real 3D game more than 20 years ago, Ma 64 has already completed this amazing idea. . I think today’s players see such level design and entrance creativity, and they can’t help but sigh that they can reuse the level to achieve this level of subtlety.

Author: Zhao Ping Palace · Secretary of State
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