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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Playing with Yoshi's Island
I've been playing Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island a lot lately, and I think I spend equal amounts of time enjoying the game and marvelling at the incredible graphics.  It's still, 14 years later, one of the best looking games I've ever seen.

The technical wizardry behind it all is no less impressive.  The SNES had only four layers of background to work with, but Nintendo managed to trick the hardware into an extra couple of layers by re-arranging their stacking priority part-way down the screen.

Anyway, I was playing the game and wondered how I could simulate the layered effect in a screenshot.  It's tricky to do screenshots that really do it justice, since when it's frozen, the game looks very flat.

So I added blur. 

Here's the original:

[Image: /grafx/games/Yoshi-Layers.png]

and here's the blur version:

[Image: /grafx/games/Yoshi-Layers-blur.png]

Each blurred layer is slightly more or less blurred than the next one, though the effect is often too subtle to notice the difference.  

I like it, but it's too much work to do it for every screenshot.  =(
BLEARGH
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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Putting a little more effort into it, I think I like the effect overall.

This first shot also has some drop-shadow on the vines, 'cause when they're blurred they don't really seem like something Yoshi can interact with.

Also, the layer trick was applied here again.  Not only were the background clouds and the middle-ground fog on the same level, the fog was alpha blended into the image, the clouds were not.

[Image: /grafx/games/yoshi-layers-3.png]

[Image: /grafx/games/yoshi-layers-2.png]
BLEARGH
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Subject: awesome.
this post just made me bookmark you for life.  congrats.
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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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You can see in this image how many layers they made - a total of seven, even though the SNES could only support 4.  The clouds and middle green bush were on one layer, the blue bush and front-most green bush on another.  By changing the layer priority after rendering the bottom-most part of a layer, the graphics below it could be rendered higher than a layer it was below previously.

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/games/Yoshi-Layers-iso.png]
BLEARGH
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