– IN DRAFT –
This started with just a quick analysis of Bubsy 3D, but that bobcat hole just kept going!
Instead, turning into why Bubsy 3D and most early Playstation games look the way they do.
Bubsy 3D comes up as one of the worst games in the Playstation’s library.
In it’s defense, it was among the first ‘open world’ 3D platform games created.
Sure tank controls (Up/Down: moving & Left/Right: rotating) are horrible now, but it was common in early 3D games.
And the fixed camera was also very common, the L2 button controls the camera, this was a time before dual analog sticks.
The design of the game is pretty limited, Bubsy can jump, shoot, run (or swim in water levels), climb and glide.
The level features are interesting but stark, moving platforms, helicopter switches and a rail system.
For it’s lack of design and features, it does have a lot of gameplay with 18 levels (some large), 4 bosses and repeatability in that collecting all the pieces of the rocket gives you the “good ending”.
However, it’s always criticized for it’s (lack of) visuals and often compared to Crash Bandicoot and Super Mario 64.
The only thing they have in common is that they came out weeks apart from each other.
A few reasons, the game runs at the PlayStation’s highest resolution, which is in interlace mode.
This resolution on the Playstation was mostly for low CPU GPU tasks like rendering static images (ie intro & menu screens) or videos (MPEG).
Very few games run at this high resolution in game and in 3D.
It forced the fastest display refreshing the TV & Playstation can perform, (PAL:60 NTSC:50 frames per second).
And well, flat coloured polygons is what the hardware can render the fastest! (NB: lines aren’t polygons).
Perhaps the original concept was to make Bubsy 3D similar in style to what 3D games were already out in 1994.
Like Sega’s early 3D “Virtua” games which are mostly flat shaded, but unfortunately very dated for the end of 1996.
I personally like the style, it’s reminiscent of the late 80’s and early 90’s 3D.
So with very little textures, I guess it made sense to use the largest amount of VRAM for resolution.
Lets be honest, this is abuse, it’s targeted hate speech towards the developer (FYI, Seth didn’t sell his studio).
It’s not a “negative review” nor is it a “comment about the game”.
It doesn’t mention the game at all, just a lack of online players ( and in my day, we BYO’ed friends😁)
And not being updated (again in my day software was finished when it’s burnt to physical media).
He finishes up with a death threat at the end.
This isn’t acceptable, yet it’s tolerated and normal in today’s online world!
The TL;DR version is:
Firstly, I’ll start by saying, I’m no indie, I’m just an old hobbyist, so take all this with a grain of salt!
Also, if it’s not apparent by my (Playstation) site, I’m not a Nintendo FanBoy, but there’s a lot that impressed me with the 3DS!
But to “Do the Math”
The Atari Jaguar slogan “Do the Math” is very apt here, with over 70+ million original 3DS units in the wild and with only about 15 new games being launched per month, it’s a financial “no brainier” to be on 3DS!
When visual style is one of the distinguishing features of a game, it is important to recognize that an ad hoc approach is not a sure way to execute a strong visual direction. There are less than a handful of cases where such an approach has worked and usually there is a strong vision to begin with that helps guide the direction. The typical game development approach involves floundering around in hopes that a direction will magically appear; this naïveté can be the death of an original project and is easily remedied. If you know where to look, and know how to plan, resources are available that can help jumpstart the creative process and actually save production time.
As the scope of game projects attempt to match the entertainment value of feature film productions, game companies are specializing, adding new departments that mimic film production models, adopting a more disciplined approach to pre-production. This approach is not just necessary for monster budget games, but also for competitive more moderately budgeted games and game companies will look to feature film animation professionals and CG film professionals to help answer the call.
Using Crash Nitro Kart released for the Game Cube, Playstation 2, XBOX and GameBoy Advance, as an example of an approach to visual development, this article highlights some of the challenges faced and processes used by visualization teams at Vicarious Visions in Troy, NY and Animation Academy in Burbank, CA to bring a game vision into focus for a cartoon-style racer.
Original post and comments from Atari Museum’s facebook group here
I dislike facebook and wanted a snapshot of this.