A deep investigation of the spherical planets in Super Mario Galaxy

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/09/29/a-deep-investigation-of-the-spherical-planets-in-super-mario-galaxy.html

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Such a fantastic game!

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Video link for the BBS


I’d wondered about this before, and it is interesting to hear about how the gravity works. Now he mentions it, it does feel like a very Nintendo approach to use simplified, handmade gravity fields instead of the “realistic” model you might expect from some developers. They’re very good at making the technical stuff serve the gameplay, rather than the other way round.

But what I was more curious about was how Galaxy deals with geography, as in, just mapping where stuff is for the purposes of enemy pathfinding AI and such. If the level is essentially a flat chessboard (even a chessboard with hills), it’s easy enough to calculate bearings and distances between characters, but on a sphere you get lots of problems. If you use latitude and longitude, the math breaks down at the poles, and if you divide the sphere into square or triangular chessboards (like a Dymaxion projection), it gets very complicated when you have to deal with objects on different segments.

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