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Super Mario Odyssey Coin Models Are Much Simpler Than Galaxy's

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Super Mario Galaxy is arguably one of the best video Games of all time. Launched in 2007, the Wii classic is a Nintendo tour de force, showing the design and direction genius of Shigeru Miyamoto and Yoshiaki Koizumi. The outer space setting and gravity-based Gameplay, with Mario platforming on planetoids and worlds, was a marvel.

Skip forward ten years, to the Nintendo Switch classic Super Mario Odyssey, and certain things have progressed. And a particular aspect of this progression was highlighted that stunned many fans. On Twitter, Supper Mario Broth, who looks at obscure Mario details, decided to delve deep on the coins used in both Games.

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While the gold coins in Super Mario Odyssey look more sophisticated and realistic than Galaxy's, as you'd expect considering the 10-year difference, Supper Mario Broth pointed out that the coins in the more modern Game are actually far simpler and use much fewer polygons.

As shown in the wireframe view, the coin from the Wii's Super Mario Galaxy is fully modeled, with each ridge present as a polygon, inside and out, and the coin has 268 triangles. In contrast, the coin from the Switch's Super Mario Odyssey is "a simple flat disc" as Mario Broth points out, with neither the inner ridge or rectangle actually modeled.

However, how the coin is rendered on the more modern Game reveals just how important lighting is. The more realistic look of the Odyssey coin is achieved by "simulating the flow of light" and alternating how it appears via whether the surface is matte or glossy, giving the coin that deeper appearance.

Mario floating in Super Mario Galaxy

"By applying both of these [the direction of the light and the surface "texture"] to a flat disc, detail can be 'faked' in such a way that the polygon requirement is drastically reduced", and this is true, as the Super Mario Odyssey coin uses 96 triangles, nearly two-thirds fewer than Galaxy's.

It goes to show that Game design is not just about brute force, like using more triangles, but finding ways to be more efficient so resources can be used for other things. And the Switch, despite being "underpowered", continues to offer a platform for developers to create impressive titles.

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