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Super Mario 64 - Render96 Ray Tracing + Level Showcase

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman

Render96 is a free-to-play fan modification for Super Mario 64. The goal of this project is to match the promotional artwork used for the game during the late 1990's. Every model and asset was 100% recreated using images found online from the Nintendo 64 era. The Render96 team does not condone the use of piracy or any other illegal action that may directly harm Nintendo or its intellectual properties.
 

Alexios

Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
As bad as the original now looks, this manages to look far worse, much like most texture mods out there. The best content in it is the models that are basically spheres or ripped from other games. Folks praising it be blind and shouldn't be trusted over the critique of the aesthetics of anything 🤦‍♂️
 
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SCB3

Member
Looks impressive considering its a 1996 game. These huge companies like Nintendo should release their classics like this, and not the shit they actually deliver.
Hmm, theres something to be said about keeping a rerelease similar to the original game with some light touch ups, bug fixes and res bumps tbh
 

SkylineRKR

Member
Hmm, theres something to be said about keeping a rerelease similar to the original game with some light touch ups, bug fixes and res bumps tbh

Absolutely, if they do it right. But the 4:3 etc... I thought it was a lazy port. But YMMV.
 

nkarafo

Member
Doesn't look great. Just like most similar fan made projects, the textures have a "stock photoshop presets" look. The colors are also too dark/intense and it also looks way too clear, the original had a subtle fog effect in the distance. At least it doesn't use vomit inducing motion blur like most other similar project do.

But yeah, all these fan-made projects always look fan-made. I assume most of the people doing them are coders and people who try to learn how to use Unreal or Unity. But these things also require a proper artist.
 

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
Looks impressive considering its a 1996 game. These huge companies like Nintendo should release their classics like this, and not the shit they actually deliver.
Doesn't look great. Just like most similar fan made projects, the textures have a "stock photoshop presets" look. The colors are also too dark/intense and it also looks way too clear, the original had a subtle fog effect in the distance. At least it doesn't use vomit inducing motion blur like most other similar project do.

But yeah, all these fan-made projects always look fan-made. I assume most of the people doing them are coders and people who try to learn how to use Unreal or Unity. But these things also require a proper artist.
Well that's the funny thing about it, the target here isn't to simply modernize it or make it like new Mario games look, it's to make it look like the 1996 pre-rendered bullshots they used to promote the game. That's the concept behind this.

So there's a lot of early CG jank going on here, where all the materials are a little too specular and flat and plastic looking, but that what early CG looked like. It's called Render96, not Render22.
 
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nkarafo

Member
Well that's the funny thing about it, the target here isn't to simply modernize it or make it like new Mario games look, it's to make it look like the 1996 pre-rendered bullshots they used to promote the game. That's the concept behind this.

So there's a lot of early CG jank going on here, where all the materials are a little too specular and flat and plastic looking, but that what early CG looked like. It's called Render96, not Render22.

Huh, i wasn't aware of that. And now that i re-watched the video, it makes sense.

Though, i remember most of these CG promos being based on "darker" looking areas that look more like Hazy Mazy Cave or Dire Dire Docks or similar.





Maybe that's why Bob Omb Battlefield looks so off to me in the video.
 
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Otre

Member
The original N64 graphics look better.

I don't think modern effects like RT improve oldskool graphics, but rather destroy their inherent oldskool charm.
I can live with both. Especially if the new one has a better framerate. I agree that the old school charm is gone but I dont find anything wrong with experiencing a classic in a new way, especially if its free.
 

Danknugz

Member
funny that the tech to achieve these bullshots finally comes around 25 years later. i still remember thinking cruisin usa would look like the arcade. it was close enough to still be fun but definitely kind of underwhelming. people say we should expect cgi graphics this gen but i still think we're a couple generations away from that (in 4k or higher at least)
 
First video actually looks like crap. Ray tracing doesn't enhance it and instead highlights everything that hasn't been done yet.

Some terrain and textures are not there yet too and need to be improved too. The bridge in the beggining with a light in the middle, Chain Chomp area and the area with the 2 balls rolling around on a loop are the worst offenders.
Second one was looking good until they showed Bowser, I swear it has looked better on some render96 model revision a few months ago. They never nailed it 100% though.

The low poly mode looks bad.

That said, Render96 sure is awesome.
I absolutely despise the "render 64" models, plain awful....
Me too :) they should deprecate those, they don't look like N64 models due to the skinning used, but they don't look like anything past Dreamcast/PSP either. Kill them with fire I say.

Low Poly Bowser looks like a mix between angry birds and a Conker's Bad Fur Day version, but underdeveloped.
 
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The grass and sand/rocks are too shiny it looks strange.

Also, patching high resolution textures on such low poly environments it not always such a good idea... but it obviously does look better in some ways, it would be nice if it felt like a coherent whole.
 

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
The grass and sand/rocks are too shiny it looks strange.

Also, patching high resolution textures on such low poly environments it not always such a good idea... but it obviously does look better in some ways, it would be nice if it felt like a coherent whole.
The plasticky materials are obviously a design choice to look like retro CGI, but it's true that the environments low poly geometry is at odds with what they're going for.
 
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amigastar

Member
How much finished is this Render96 Ray Tracing mod for Mario64. I mean how many levels are in the mod?
 
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Looks fantastic, they nailed the N64 magazine ad aesthetic.

This thread is a great test to find all the zoomers who are too young to even remember.
 

PSYGN

Member
There is something somber about this, I think it's the less vibrant color palette which I know is intentional.
 
Hmm, theres something to be said about keeping a rerelease similar to the original game with some light touch ups, bug fixes and res bumps tbh
Too bad Nintendo couldn't even bump up the res or framerate right in their little emulation boxes.

Come on, do Zelda noww
Did Zelda have a lot of that SGI workstation pre-rendered CG to base such off of? I mostly remember anime art being used for promotional material.
 

SCB3

Member
Too bad Nintendo couldn't even bump up the res or framerate right in their little emulation boxes.


Did Zelda have a lot of that SGI workstation pre-rendered CG to base such off of? I mostly remember anime art being used for promotional material.
yea Widescreen alone would've been great, the N64 games being stuck at 20fps, sometimes sucks
 
Did Zelda have a lot of that SGI workstation pre-rendered CG to base such off of? I mostly remember anime art being used for promotional material.
apart from the pre-rendered backdrops, not really.

But it did have better character models and slightly better textures at some point during development:







Hat is more rounded detailed and long, probably didn't help framerate.


There's certainly an aesthetic they could go for that even OoT 3D failed to capture. But it's a lot of work and a fine line to walk.

They would have to improve everything but make artistic choices look dated against more modern Zeldas, as they should be.
 

Business

Member
Makes you appreciate art direction. Just adding modern graphics features to an old game doesn't necessarily make it look better, in fact in the majority of cases like the many unreal engine fan 'remakes' or this very SM64 in the OP, games look like total ass.
 
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ClosBSAS

Member
Did Zelda have a lot of that SGI workstation pre-rendered CG to base such off of? I mostly remember anime art being used for promotional material.
Oh sorry, i was speaking more in terms of a PC port with rtx, ultrawide, you know...all the bells and whistles.
 
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