PannenKoek's Mario 64 Videos
March 9, 2018 11:34 PM   Subscribe

So it's "Mar10 Day," har har. How better to celebrate it than by looking at what PannenKoek, aka Scott Buchanan, the "A button challenge" guy (MeFi), has been up to lately? The channel to watch for that sort of thing is UncommentatedPannen, where you can find a pair of awesome videos detailing how SMB64's platforming collision detection works, the complete details of when characters blink their eyes, the internal units the game uses for its coordinate systems, everything about SM64's random number generator, the limits of SM64's floating point representation, what is pause buffering, the nuts and bolts of held items and the circumstances in which Mario will fall asleep. Meanwhile, the mobile versions of Google Maps will feature Mario in a go-kart for the next week.

There's a lot more from PannenKoek, here's a few things that I decided to save for below the fold: And there's other stuff besides more directly related to the A button challenge thing in that YouTube channel.
posted by JHarris (9 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Great post.

I feel like you could write a great fantasy novel by borrowing the "feel" and vocabulary of speedruns and exploitation of old video games for a system of magic. I can think of things that have gotten close, like video game-themed creepypasta, or in Time Bandits, where the fact that the universe was a "rush job" that they only had seven days to finish enables them to get around the way they. But there's an uneasy, arcane feeling to, say, the "limbo" described in the video for held items, that somehow isn't quite like anything else.
posted by Rinku at 12:00 AM on March 10, 2018 [5 favorites]


Case in point, from the RNG video: "Now, the concept of RNG can seem elusive and mystical, but really it's completely deterministic and systematic, and it can be precisely controlled."

It's hard not to imagine that being typed by someone wearing a long, star-embroidered cloak and an elaborate headdress of chicken bones.
posted by Rinku at 12:08 AM on March 10, 2018 [5 favorites]


I feel like you could write a great fantasy novel by borrowing the "feel" and vocabulary of speedruns and exploitation of old video games for a system of magic. I can think of things that have gotten close, like video game-themed creepypasta, or in Time Bandits, where the fact that the universe was a "rush job" that they only had seven days to finish enables them to get around the way they. But there's an uneasy, arcane feeling to, say, the "limbo" described in the video for held items, that somehow isn't quite like anything else.

The Sburb Glitch FAQ is basically what you described, but in the Homestuck setting. It's very good.
posted by value of information at 2:57 AM on March 10, 2018


Happy Mar10 Day! I'll be celebrating by jumping back into Super Mario Odyssey. I've been ignoring it and I still have so many moons to collect.
posted by Fizz at 6:23 AM on March 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have said this before but: high-end glitch abuse in these well-explored games reminds me of Ritual Magick. Do these things, in these precise orders - never mind that they don't make any sense - and the world will change.

Sam sat down in the lotus position. She set her mind to spiraling around the singular non-thought she had spent untold hours learning to not think; her hands began cycling through the prescribed sequence of mudras. Nothing happened for some time.

Approximately four and a half hours later, Sam intoned the Ritual of the Bornless One, with all prescribed vibrations. 75% of the sixteen observers were immediately seized by a need to empty their bladders, which left them while waiting in line for the one bathroom in the lab.

Then, without any fanfare, she rose approximately sixteen centimeters off the ground, vibrated briefly, and vanished. The high-speed cameras trained on her during this entire demonstration barely caught her moving; our calculations suggest that she was moving directly away from every camera at an appreciable fraction of the speed of light.

Six days later, the stars began to go out.

posted by egypturnash at 11:03 AM on March 10, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'm a bit sad that there's so few comments and favorites on this, because these are some of the best videos on YouTube I think. They make a variety of computer science topics easy to understand. PannenKoek has a real gift for explaining things.

Also, they reveal what a weird beast a 3D platformer is. There's all these individual routines in Mario 64 for detecting things. The game splits the terrain up into floors, walls, ceilings and "Out of Bounds," and each has its own unique ways of interacting with Mario and making them seem solid.

Nintendo reused the Mario 64 engine for lots of things throughout the N64 era, like the N64 Zelda games. I wouldn't doubt that there's parts of it (recompiled, of course) still in use in current-day Mario games up to and including Odyssey. I'd greatly like to know how current Nintendo 3D game engines match up to Mario 64, how they changed, how the game's various assumptions and techniques have evolved over time.
posted by JHarris at 6:45 PM on March 10, 2018


I'm a bit sad that there's so few comments and favorites on this, because these are some of the best videos on YouTube I think.

These are great videos, but a little bit disappointing compared with the epic A-Button Challenge video about Quadruple Parallel Universes because 1. WTF QPUs!?! and 2. most of these other videos are just text with no voice narration but PannenKoek's voice is so damn charming in the Watch for Rolling Rocks video. I could listen to him talk about clever quirks of Mario 64 for hours, I think.
posted by straight at 12:21 AM on March 11, 2018


The whole "Parallel Universe" thing is just an example of the artificialness of Mario's world. It's not a real place, it's a construction that the software goes through a huge amount of effort (as demonstrated by the Walls, Floors and Ceilings videos, all basically an homage to how damn difficult platforming collision detection is) to make seem real.
"Parallel Universe" is just a subculture name for how the nature of the collision detection coordinate calculations is cyclical due to high bits getting cut off, a side-effect of a code optimization. Mario 64's rendering uses versions of those numbers without the bits cut off, hence the parallel universes are invisible.

If you want to get really galaxy-brained, think: our own universe is barely less constructed. Matter only feels solid because of the strange forces in all those mostly-empty atoms pushing against each other keeping up a rigid lattice, and only looks solid because it reflects light (a very small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum) that our eyes can perceive. Our universe is also pretty darn abstract compared with our understanding of it. What we think of as our world wasn't constructed by a programmer but by the millions of years of evolution that gave us biological systems that enable us to interact with it.
posted by JHarris at 12:02 PM on March 11, 2018


> I could listen to him talk about clever quirks of Mario 64 for hours, I think.

Seconded! I like these videos (even though for some reason Mario 64 music creeps me out - I must have died too many Mario deaths as a child) but I like them a lot better when he's narrating and explaining everything.
posted by invokeuse at 12:14 PM on March 11, 2018


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