Super Metroid Redux update: Metroid model started

Posted by Eric on Friday, May 29th, 2009 in 3-D / Art

Ok, so this is a Metroid, the star of the Metroid series of video games for numerous Nintendo consoles (like you didn’t already know that...) :

Metroid enemy from Super Metroid
A Metroid as it appears in ‘Super Metroid’ for the Super Nintendo.

Now, normally one might think it would be extremely easy to sculpt something like this in 3D; at least as someone with 3D experience might. Throw some spheres together to represent the nuclei, throw that into a larger sphere, add some claw-tusk-lookin’ things and you’re set! Here’s the problem: that image and it’s subject are two dimensional, and that means there’s no cheating and turning him around so you can see him from different angles. I’ve run into a few problems in doing this...

Problem 1)
In all the references I could find where a Metroid was brought into 3D by Nintendo, there are no consistencies between any of them. Here’s an example:

Metroid renders
A render from Metroid Prime | A snapshot of a Metroid from Smash Bros. Brawl | A snapshot of the Metroid trophy from Smash Bros. Melee

Problem 2)
The game I’m rebuilding doesn’t give a strong indication of what it might look like in 3D. The two sets of claw-tusk-lookin’ things seem like they might be side-by-side, but then it also looks like there are two near the front and two near the back.

Anyway, I started modeling and really hated what was coming out of it. The geometry didn’t flow well, my polygon count was way higher than I wanted (I want to keep it around 500 like Samus), and I just wasn’t digging how it looked overall. I sat on it for a couple days, and finally hit it again tonight and here’s what I ended up with:

Spaghetti Oh's Metroid model

Right now the model sits at around 454 polys, which gives me around 50+ to play with when I model the rest of the underside (not shown). The other thing, too, is that in order to get the poly count that low I had to remove a lot of unseen geometry. This isn’t really an issue, since the camera constraints will forbid anyone from seeing what’s missing, but if I ever wanted to use the model for a full blown animation where I show angles other than what’s seen in the game, I’ll need to model it back in there. Here’s what the back currently looks like:

Metroid model back

One more thing...this was just too weird not to share. I had to import the Metroid into the level I’ve been building so I could get an idea of what I could remove that wasn’t seen by the camera and here’s how it can see Samus on the elevator, and she has no idea..........:


Head on over to the project page to see some background on this life vampire.

Speak your mind!