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Mario Artist: Polygon Maker Preview

Publisher - Nintendo
Developer - Nintendo
Platform - N64DD
Release Date - January 1999
Type - Drawing

Mario Artist Series is a number of "programs" (they aren't really games), that are basically a big upgrade to the SNES Mario Paint. Don't let the name fool you, this is no kiddie game, infact it's being compared by some to be at level with some of the more proffesional computer programs. The collection of creation programs offer gamers a chance to make their own games, or at least partially. The four components include Picture maker (a 2D paint program), Polygon Maker (a simplified version of 3D Studio), Talent Maker (a program which lets you mix and match body parts for entry into a game), and a yet unfinished sound program. You can control the pointer and tools on screen with the analog stick, or a new accessory, the n64 mouse.

It looks like Nintendo is going for an approach like no other. To compete with the next next gen systems (Dural, PSX2, ect.) they're going to go for something those can't offer. Nintendo is trying to even entice the non gaming crowd. The Mario Artist Series will make customization standard in DD games. All four of the programs can exchange data freely, and also exchange data with other games. In the future you will be able to create your own characters, backrounds, textures, and as close as possible to your own game. There is also a possibility that Mario Artist will be compatable with the (rather inexpensive) Gameboy pocket digital camera, and the gameboy printer.

Picture maker has a simple pictorial interface, and basically an enhanced MS Paint. With the DD's disk space, you can choose from a wide variety of colors and pre made textures. Nintendo has even included some of the more professional features, such as filters and different types of brushes. For a good time, plug in four controllers or mice (did someone say multiplayer apping....) and every one can paint at once. When you are done with your drawing, you can test it out in Movie mode. In movie mode, a herd of dinosaurs march around the screen with your texture on them. This is actually the remnants of the now canceled Creator program. Of course, you can also enter the texture into a game such as Sim City. And don't forget about the capture cartridge. The capture cart is a cartridge with RCA style audio and video inputs and a microphone jack on the back. You can grab pictures from your TV, VCR, stereo, or even a digital camera; and then stick it in your game.

Miyamoto is proud of Polygon maker, and he has good reason to be. At spaceworld he said it was the one DD game he was working the hardest on. It is the one that really shines above the others. In this program, which was co-produced by Nichimen, you can design and render 3D objects. You can use different shaping tools to build and shape a lifelike polygonal creature, and stick it in whatever game you like. You can even take a texture that you have designed in Picture Maker, and add it to parts of your 3D model. Imagine making your own enemies for Zelda DD, your own buildings for Sim City, your own levels in Mario or Quake.

Talent Maker is a strange body customizer. The user enters attributes for height, weight, skin, hair, nose, ears, and other variables. As this is done a 3D character on screen reflects the changes in real-time. The wide verity of presets however can't match using the capture cartridge to put yourself in. Just take a picture of your face with a digital camera, and Wahoo!, you can be in a game. In Talent Maker you can watch your animated character walk, run, or dance around. You can also have him play a little mini game. And of course, you can enter the data into another game.

The fourth title is a yet untitled sound and music maker. Because of the concept of the 4 apps working together, there is the possibility that they may be bundled. The programs will retail for less than games, because of the fact that you have to buy so many. The expected release date would make it a launch title for the DD.