by Gene Turnbow, Station Manager

Ever wonder how it is that games can be released on multiple platforms all at once and all play and look about the same from one platform to the next? Games haven’t been made by hand in a long time. Until about the late 1990’s, games were still largely being built by hand, with game programmers competing to create the latest, greatest new game engine and the best visual effects. Fast forward twenty years, and nearly everyone is using either Unity 3D, or Unreal Engine 4 to make games with. Between the two of these engines, they’re responsible for more than half the titles made today. They’re also free. Anybody can download them and learn to use them.

Have a look at what animator Aryok Pinera, (“Aryoksini”), has recreated Mario in Unreal Engine 4 as the game engine, and Blender as his modeling and animation tool.

 

Everything you see in the video was made from scratch, or taken from the Unreal marketplace. Some of the visuals are from the various Unreal Engine 4 tech demos. The fortress is a good stand-in for the palace of Bowser, King of the Koopas, and Aryok pretty much perfectly matches the animations and motion of Mario and sets up some coins for Mario to scoop up.

Near the end is some split screen video showing the same moves in both Super Mario 64 and the Unreal Engine version. This is a pretty good comparison of just how far game graphics have come in the nearly 20 years since Mario was first introduced on an unsuspecting world. Unfortunately this is just a tech demo. You can’t actually buy Mario Unreal, but we wish we could. It’s a licensing issue, not a technical one: Aryok isn’t allowed to sell or distribute anything with a trademarked character Nintendo owns.

Aryok did have the advantage of standing on the shoulders of giants. There are a few dozen man-years of programming code in the engine he used. The big message here, though, is that the barrier to entry has been lowered enough that even individuals, unsupported by any company, can make games with high end graphics. What will you make?

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