It’s no secret that Super Mario Sunshine had its problems in the eyes of Mario fans; consider the often-uncooperative camera and the infamously difficult pachinko level. One thing that many people agree on, however, is that Sunshine had gorgeous environments for its time. From the crisp shore of Gelato Beach to the vivid and grassy heights of Bianco Hills, there was a lot of character in each area of Isle Delfino that players were able to explore. But have you ever wondered how developers made the rolling waters look so nice? A new series on YouTube titled How Did They Do That!? discussed and broke down the development process behind creating the water physics in Sunshine.

The technical components used to make the water visuals and physics were summed up in five main parts. First, the texture of the water is mapped through the use of a computer-generated graphic in black. Then comes the UV mapping process: two separate UV layers are mapped, and each moves in different speeds and directions. The next and “arguably the most important” part is MIP mapping.

There are five MIP maps; each takes the black from the texture maps and makes it transparent, and the whites become an even brighter white. Each MIP map is layered on top of the other; the first and closest map has only a little bit of white, the one after that has slightly more, and the maps that follow have progressively less and less white to them until finally the water looks “invisible”. Following the MIP maps is vertex painting. This makes the water have its greenish-blue color, which looks brighter when the player is above the surface while the color is darker and more saturated when they are submerged. The final piece of the water physics puzzle is the motion of the water. The use of an undulating water surface model is what causes the water to roll rather than remain a flat surface.

But what does all of that mean when you put it all together? Indie developer Rob of RAWTalent93 noted, “This method is genius, because it’s light enough on system resources to be used all over the game without dropping the framerate or showing any obvious tiling.”

Source: ClassicGameJunkie

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Kendra Robinson
My first introduction to video games was through my parents, both were avid fans of JRPGs. When I was a toddler, I'd watch my father play Final Fantasy VII on our PlayStation for hours and hours. I was enamored by all the sights and the music that the game had to offer. Shortly thereafter, I got the first video game I could call my very own: Pokémon Blue Version. It was through Blue-- with the help of my older siblings, who each had a copy of Red Version-- that I started to learn how to read... as well as come to learn just how much I'd love video games. Since then, games have become a very large staple in my life. I began to learn Japanese so that someday I could play games that weren't available in North America. I started playing piano and clarinet in sixth grade so that I could learn to play the video game music that I'd come to love so much--with particular fondness towards Koji Kondo's work in the Zelda franchise. Now I'm a college student with an instrument repertoire made up of 16 different instruments, and I sometimes write my own compositions in my spare time. Outside of Koji Kondo-san, my musical influences (in no particular order of preference) are composers Nobuo Uematsu, Yoko Shimomura, Hiroyuki Sawano, Keiichi Okabe, Motoi Sakuraba, and Hideyuki Fukusawa. Based in the Greater Vancouver area of Canada, I plan to do my best to bring the latest news in the video game world so that people like me can be brought together by a common interest-- or rather, passion. Hope to see you around!

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