Live blog of the GDC Smash Brothers postmortum


The attendees at this panel <3 Masahiro Sakurai a bunch of them were taking pictures of him. Sakurai playful pulled out his digital camera and snapped a photo in response. The panel is getting underway with a video of the intro and there will be some confidtential information so stay tuned!


@10:39 – Sakurai starts by singing the opera vocal track in a playful way. Mentions plenty of copies for North America. Sora is a freelance company with 2 members, it was not created specifically for Smash Brothers even though Nintendo helped them out.


@10:41 – Brawl team includes many members from GameArts (Grandia).


@10:43 – Character Selection: Brawl roster had cuts, but Sonic was a last minute addition. He was added in 2007. An emphasis in character individuality. Clarifing what each character can do in battle is very important. Highlights Ike's mighty howling blade, Snakes firearms, Metaknight's keen dancing blade and Zero Suit Samus' martial arts.


@10:47 – Closing the stylistic gap between characters from different universes. Adding the feel of denim as an accent to unify them, but primary colors are the same. Mario is red and Link is green. Shows previous Smash Brothers and Brawl to contrast the feel. Did you know Mario's overalls are cobalt blue? Ah that's the reason for the new DS color!


@10:50 – Nintendo allowed the Brawl team to add details to Smash Brothers Brawl Mario like his denim Jeans. Olimar's suit needed to be approved by the creator. Pit underwent serious changes. Shows classic Pit to new Brawl Pit. Planned to modernize him in one giant leap. Used Link's evolution as an example (earrings, shield details, etc.). Imagined a similar sequence for a new Pit with the creator's consent. Added a golden laurel headband and gave him golden armbands. He looks "earnest". Scarf material different from Toga. Clothes are underneath the toga. Added halo armbands on the left arm. Made his wings come out from his shoulders. The armbands become sights for his arrow of light. Upper string intentially left out. Two sword formation one hand regular grip the otherhand in reverse. When put together he can spin his blades kind of like Darth Maul. Boots given a fuzzy trim, "they look kind of cute".


@10:59 – Animations to Smash and most fighting games can be broken down to four phases: standby, windup, strike and follow-through. Uses Link's standard attack as an example. It's weak, but fast. Standby is th original pose. Mid-air actions use a separate falling pose for the base. Windup animations slightly exaggerated to givethe opponent a visual cue so they can dodge and the player executing the attack realizes the command was input. The strike motion is wen hit detection is in effect some motions pause the action. Follow-through occupies the most screen time, made the animation look very different from the standby phase to make it obvious for players. Fox's strong smash attack takes less than 3/4s of a second to complete. We created all the animations with no motion capture. Everything was done by eye.


@11:03 – Used a microman action figure to pose attacks. Visualizing the attacks made it much easier. Around 30 pictures were taken. Seeing a slide with poses of the figure adjacent to frames of animation from Wario. Looks well recreated. Sonic shown with a faithful attack from Sonic and the figure minus proportion differences. There is a picture of an action figure rolled in a ball, similar to Sonic's spin dash. Pit's weapon was made of twisty ties. Zero Suit Samus' range of motions exceeds what is humanly possible. For Snake expression of weight was important. The crawling motion is less authentic than Metal Gear. One of his shoulders is raised, in Metal Gear Snake has both shoulders on the ground. Snakes four jump kick attack has four figure poses. Animators used these as a reference. Dedede's weapon was made of a wire hammer. Metaknight was also a figure.


@11:10 – Do appendages for characters extend out in a clear appropriate fashion? Questions like this were examined during the side view of fighting. Made minute adjustments to movement/jumping parameters to tweak the game. It's unglamourous work, but may be the most important thing. Mario and Samus jumps compared. Mario quickly falls to the ground Samus kind of floats to the ground. The answer for the difference is not because Samus takes place in space. In Metroid the player needs to be able to fire at enemies atany height. If she fell too quickly it would be hard to hit enemies at mid level.


@11:15 – Sonic is thought of moving really fast that is because he feels slow inand then suddenly moves fast. Demo of Sonic, Pit and Snake. We made his legs a bit longer than the Sega model. Sonic's punch combo inspired by Virtua Fighter's punch-punch-kick combo.


@11:18 – Snake is probably the smallest character, but his strenght makes up for it. The more you play Snake the better you get with his weapons. Showed an explosive butterfly bmb attached to Pit's face. Demo of Pit. His bow brakes and reforms depending on the attack.


@11:25 – Getting the Word Out – The dojo has 230 updates to date. At its peak it had 1 million hits in a single day. Translation handled by the localization team. Lots of characters so posting screenshots for media and fans was fun. In the busy times the Dojo was still updated because this built buzz. Active efforts to supply information to make the game known.


That's all!

Siliconera Staff
Sometimes we'll publish a story as a group. You'll find collaborative stories and some housekeeping announcements under this mysterious camel.