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Prerelease:Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)

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This page contains changes which are not marked for translation.

This page details one or more prerelease versions of Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64).


Development Timeline

  • 1995
    • November - The Nintendo 64 (then known as the Ultra 64) is patented and later unveiled at the first-ever Shoshinkai show, along with two prototypes, one of which was Super Mario 64.
    • December - Initial anticipated release date.
  • 1996
    • April - Second anticipated release date.
    • May 16th - A playable prototype is present at E3 1996.
    • June 23rd - Super Mario 64 is released in Japan.
    • September 26th - The game is released overseas, in the United States.

Concept

Development Process

Mario64-SFX.jpg

Shigeru Miyamoto, contrary to popular belief, didn't conceive the idea of Super Mario 64 from seeing the capabilities of the Super FX Chip. The chip was codenamed "Super Mario FX", but a build was never developed for SNES hardware.

  • According to Miyamoto, the Mario head on the title screen was taken from a "prototype for Mario Paint 3D", a game which was never released but may have become Mario Artist Paint Studio for the 64DD. A picture of the model in the making can be seen in a Dengeki Super Famicom article for an "improved Super FX chip" that was intended to have a Mario Paint-like software tool. It also seemed that Mario's expressions were apparently motion-captured.
  • The developers spent about half of their time working on the basic game system. Course design was done closer to the end, and many levels were almost "thrown together" (this may reflect the nature of level layouts like Whomp's Fortress or Lethal Lava Land, as little changed of them between the Shoshinkai build and the final game). Levels were made using the Nintendo 64's Z-Buffer feature, and most of the design work was done directly on the computer hardware - only a few concept sketches and notes were made prior to jumping into the program. Level designers started with basic geography, then added more details as time went on.
  • Yoshi was intended to be implemented for some part of the game, but the developers were dissatisfied and they took out the feature. In order to not waste their work on Yoshi, they put him atop of the castle. Unused data such as a Yoshi egg can still be found in the game's files, implying that they cut Yoshi very late in development.
  • Luigi was removed in February 1996 due to memory issues. The team wanted to put him in a Mario Bros.-type minigame instead, but the fact that the Nintendo 64 was sold with only one controller factored into his total removal.
  • Initially, the developers worked on a "deceptively simple" test level. It consisted of a basic room that was made of blocks similar to LEGO (or, given Nintendo's history, N&B Blocks), where Mario and Luigi could test out basic 3D platforming and controls. It is unknown whether this relates to the unknown level seen in a later build.
  • Originally, there were nearly 250 different animations for Mario, but roughly 50 were removed or rejected from the game prior to its release.
  • The crouching trip kick (Z + B), present in the final game, was intended to be for attacking short/small enemies (presumably, the enemies from Tiny/Huge Island), but the developers never added any enemies that were specifically targeted by that move.
  • Mario was originally able to throw MIPS the rabbit, but this was removed. Developers also wanted to create an animation where Mario throws him by the ears, but this was never added in time.
  • There were once more monkeys in levels that could be chased around. A group of three would have taunted Mario, and he was able to throw them off of cliffs in turn.
(Source: shmupulations)

Concept Art

A few pages of development notes and concept art from various Mario games were published in the booklet that came along with the Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary Collection, released for Wii on December 12, 2010. Though the developer notes were translated into English, this Super Mario 64 concept art page was not.

SM64 conceptart.jpg


Climbing/Dismounting Ladders Rolling Stone Flooded room
(Animation used in free climbing) (A device used in dungeons) (Camera switches to water mode)
Clockwise Millstone Rotation Walking Over a Piano Bombs
(Push) (Sound stuff) (Defeat enemies with bombs)
Wire Mesh Action Wall Slam
(Free climbing) (Dash)

These ideas were presumably scrapped, but some were likely implemented in later games in the Mario franchise:

  • The piano idea would resurface in World 6-3 of Super Mario 3D Land.
  • A concept sketch of Mario swinging on a hanging bar would be implemented in Donkey Kong for the Game Boy.
  • The "Wall Slam" idea would be reinvented as Wario's signature Dash Attack.
  • Even though Millstones were never put in use for the player, they can still be found in both Donkey Kong Country's Millstone Mayhem, and Super Mario Galaxy 2's Clockwork Ruins Galaxy.
    • Millstone Mayhem was also likely inspired from another concept sketch with Mario being chased by a giant boulder.
(Source: GlitterBerri.com - Translations)

November 22, 1995 Patent Build

A total of six images from Super Mario 64 are seen in the patent for the Ultra 64, showcasing the castle grounds. The level map is mostly identical to the final, with changes mostly focused on the castle's appearance.

  • A black compass design is present above the doorway instead of Princess Peach's image. The upper-right quarter of the compass seems to be a lighter color.
  • The brick textures are simpler, and the windows are not vaguely mushroom-shaped like in the final game.
  • A large, flat "cloud" separates the lower half of the castle from the tower.
  • The sprites for the trees are missing, but their shadows are in place.
  • The bridge is fairly simple, it is made of the same bricks as the castle, and curves. It is connected to the main landscape by stone posts instead of guardrails.
  • The rusty metal door in the moat is missing.
  • There is land behind the castle, which is not present in the final game. The outdoor area containing the entrance to Big Boo's Haunt is likely a remnant of this idea.

Shoshinkai '95 Demo

Information about Super Mario 64 first leaked in November 1995, and a playable build was presented days later as part of the world premiere for the Ultra 64 at Nintendo Space World. At this point, the basic controls had been implemented and the game was reportedly 50% finished, featuring 32 courses, although about 2% of mapping was complete.

Being the first unveiling of Super Mario 64, these were the first assets available to the general public. Graphics-wise, this version of the game has little in common with the retail release, but several levels and key gameplay features are set in stone. Players could control Mario freely in each stage and explore the castle, as well as use a stage select that used early names for levels (for example, one of the boss levels, "Bowser in the Dark World" was originally named "Koopa 1").

According to the developers, many players at Shoshinkai described Mario's 3D controls as "wobbly" or "slippery", or "less responsive to the button inputs". It is unknown what exactly was changed, but it could be due to the major change in controls by the final release.

General Differences

Title Screen

Nov. '95 Final
Sm64betatitle.png MarioMiniSM64.png
  • The game starts with a simple blue Nintendo logo.
  • The "Press Start" and "Game Over" messages on the title screen use a more basic orange and black font, rather than the custom font used in the final version.

Gameplay and Physics

  • When Mario enters a level, there is a trail of sparkles (like in the special triple jump you get for getting all 120 Stars) as he falls from the sky.
  • Mario's triple jump causes him to twirl instead of doing a mid-air somersault.
  • Mario does not pause in the air when he performs a ground pound. The camera does not slow down or focus on Mario when he does a ground pound, either, unlike the final.
  • Mario does not cover his head with his hands when he crouches.
  • While running, instead of slanting forwards towards the direction he is going, Mario runs completely straight.
  • Mario doesn't jump when hit by fire.
  • When Mario enters a level, the camera doesn't approach the painting.

Power Stars

Mario64 Shoshinkai3.png
  • Power Stars are two-dimensional animated sprites in this build, with a design similar to how they looked in Super Mario RPG. Both that game and Super Mario 64 were developed in parallel, so they might have shared the same base model. The Stars here are also similar to the smaller 2D silver and red stars that float around Mario's head in the final title screen, and were also used in the design of the big sliding doors in the final as well.
  • The Stars are free-floating in certain areas within the four available levels, without any puzzles to solve in order to obtain them (other than completing the slide in Cool Cool Mountain).
  • Collecting a Power Star causes Mario to do the Star dance and exits the level, but it does not count towards anything, nor are any menus pulled up once Mario has exited the painting.
  • Collecting a Power Star, the camera doesn't moves away from Mario or approaches his pose, staying the same as before collecting it.

Coins

SM64-Maximum24.png

The coins also differ from the final. Instead of a star insignia, they have a rectangular indentation consistent with past Mario titles (such as Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World), as well as their design in most modern Mario games.

Audio Differences

Hmmm...
To do:
Find more source sound files. About 3 distinct jumping sounds are missing, as well as that of Mario picking up an object, penguin walking, "whoosh" entering the slide, Mario saying a different "yahoo" at the title screen, etc.
  • Mario's voice clips are the most striking difference, featuring samples from Warner Brothers' SFX library. Those were most likely placeholders until Charles Martinet performed Mario's lines.
Description Early Final
Mario exclaiming "Yahoo!"
Mario exclaiming "Yippee!"
Mario taking fire damage.
  • Bowser's roar is played at a higher pitch than in the final:
Description Early Final
Bowser's roar.
  • When Bowser is hit by a bomb, the same voice clip used in SSBM as taunt is played.
  • The coin sound effect is higher-pitched compared to the final version.
  • The music in Dire, Dire Docks uses slightly different instruments.
  • The title screen music has a different drum beat pattern:
Description Early Final
The title theme.

HUD

Nov. '95 Final
Mario64 Shoshinkai1.png
Mario64hudfinal.png
Minimap A minimap is present in the upper-right corner, similar to the one from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It can be toggled on or off. The larger view of a level seen when paused replaced the minimap later on in development.
Lives Mario's head is a flat, stylized face in profile with a comically large nose closely resembling his sprite from Paper Mario (which was released four years after this game). In the Shoshinkai demo, the number of lives is expressed with a single digit, while footage from an earlier build would use two digits.
Stars Like Mario's head, the Star counter is also represented by a flat sprite, located at the center-right of the screen.
Coins Located directly below the Star counter instead of beside it. This placement makes room for the minimap.
Font A very standard bubble font with the numbers being different colors. The Xs are small and yellow, as opposed to silver in the final game.
Health Mario's health is displayed in a clock-like object. His remaining health is also shown in numerical form, similar to prerelease screenshots of Super Mario Sunshine and the final release of Super Mario Galaxy. At this point of development, Mario's health regenerates automatically if he is not underwater. It's also a bit transparent, and sometimes you can see the scenery behind the bar.
Camera There are no visible camera options in the HUD yet, but players can still use the C buttons to move the camera.

Levels

Castle Grounds

Mario64 ShoshinkaiBeta2.png

The player begins at the castle and is greeted with this text:

Text Translation
ようこそ
マリオワンダーランドへ
ぼうけんずきのひとは
めのまえのおしろへどうぞ
Welcome to
Mario Wonderland.
If you're the adventurous sort,
pay a visit to the castle ahead.
  • The bridge has changed since the patent screenshots, adding guards and removing the stone pillars from the beginning. It still has a noticeable curve.
  • The "cloud" above the castle appears to have been removed.
  • The black compass is still present above the entrance.
  • The brick texture is noticeably simpler than it would be in later builds of the game.
  • No wooden fencing surrounds the moat.
  • Some trees have a different position.
  • The flags of the castle were different and hadn't any animations. it's hard to say because of the poor quality of the footages, but it looks like the flags have the old Mario icon on them.

Castle Interior

SM64 clockpowermeter.png

Upon entering the castle, this text appears:

Text Translation
このおしろは てんじかい
せんようです。
いろいろなせかいと
つながっているので
さきのとびらを ひらいて
ぼうけんして ください。
This castle is
exclusive to the show. 
It's connected to a
variety of worlds, so
open the doors ahead
and get adventuring.
(Source: GlitterBerri - Translation)
Nov. '95 E3 1996 Final
SM64-Beta19.png
SM64-E3 1996 Castle.png
SM64-Castlefinal.png
  • The walls are dark blue with a star and moon on them.
  • The stairs are simply made up of two platforms.
  • A simple blue-to-orange color gradient decorates the bricks.
  • Doors to stages display white numbers (1-4) instead of red numbers over stars. These numbers correspond to the level select and do not appear to be Star requirements yet.
  • The room with the Bowser/Peach portrait has cracked stone walls instead of brick castle walls in the final.
  • Level placement is not final: the entrance to Cool, Cool Mountain is in the first door on the left (where Bob-omb Battlefield would be in the final version), the entrance to Lethal Lava Land is in the second door on the bottom-right (where Whomp's Fortress would be later on), and the second floor door leads to the first fight with Bowser.
  • Two platforms led to the double door, and the rest of the walkway (to two other doors in the final, nonexistent themselves in the prototype) on the second floor do not exist yet.
  • The paintings for Whomp's Fortress and Cool, Cool Mountain are not yet in their final forms.
  • The basement is not in this version, and the two doors that lead to the courtyard's hallway only lead to the courtyard's hallway.

Mountain (Whomp's Fortress)

SM64-Whompbullet.JPG
SM64 EarlyThwomp.jpg
SM64 EarlyThwomp 2.jpg

The layout of Whomp's Fortress is similar to the final version, except that the appearance is fairly different.

  • The path before the Pirahna Plant at the top of the fortress is a red carpet.
  • The background features an overcast sky.
  • Many of the floors have circular stone textures.
  • Thwomps have a darker blue color and angrier faces.
  • The Star by the tower is not in a cage.
  • The rotating platforms with red coins have not been implemented yet.
  • The pole near the tower is closer to the Star and on the other side of the tower.
  • The elevator leading to the top star has an unknown red figure on it.
  • The course's painting appears to show a picture of a field with two mushrooms instead of showing a picture of the course itself.
  • Whomps looked completely different.

Fire Bubble (Lethal Lava Land)

SM64-LLLshoshinkai.png

Arriving in this level, the text box reads:

Text Translation
みぎにいくか ひだりに
いくかは あなたのじゆう
Cボタンをうまくつかって
しんちょうに はやく!
Left or right?
It's all up to you.
Make good use of the C buttons
to move quickly but cautiously!
(Source: GlitterBerri - Translation)

This map is nearly complete - several final features are present such as Mr. I, the sliding puzzle, collapsing and tilting platforms, and the volcano exterior.

  • Mario starts on a path that is positioned to the right of the arch, instead of on the left.
  • Bullies only have one spike atop their head instead of two horns, similar to the Chill Bully enemy in the final game.

Snow Slide (Cool, Cool Mountain)

SM64 EarlyCCM.jpg
SM64 earlypenguin.png

Level intro text:

Text Translation
かぜを かんじたいひとは
ひだりの あなに とびこ
んでみるといいです。
すっごく きもちいいです
If you want to feel the wind
at your back, try jumping
in the hole on the left.
The sensation can't be beat.
(Source: GlitterBerri - Translation)
  • Mario begins near the top of the mountain, which is made of ice and a white stone texture on its side. The entrance for the slide is a hole atop a trapezoidal polygon with an igloo texture, similar to a cannon hole. One penguin is present.
  • The lower part of the course is composed of a white brick texture, intersecting with a stone pyramid structure behind the penguin area. These textures are later replaced by the cabin and other wooden structures. The flat area of the level resembles the final version essentially, with penguins, an ice pool, and a floating Star in roughly the same location as the one in Little Penguin Lost.
  • Mother Penguin and her baby, Tuxie, have different designs than they do in the finished product: their eyelids are droopy, and their torsos are thinner. A total of three baby penguins can be seen in the demo. Mario can pick the baby penguins up.
  • The music for Bob-omb Battlefield plays in the level. When Mario enters the slide, the music restarts, as both maps share the music.
  • The slide area seen in this demo would later be re-purposed for Tall, Tall Mountain in the retail release.
  • The course's painting appears to show a picture of some snowy mountains instead of showing a picture of the Headless Snowman, a Mr. Blizzard, and a tree.

Water Land (Dire, Dire Docks)

  • The whirlpool hasn't been implemented yet.
  • There is a small platform at the beginning of the level.
  • Instead of sharp rocks, the background texture in the entry area is bricks layered on top of lighter stone.
  • The Water Mine object that went unused in the final version is used throughout the level.
  • The framerate drops heavily in the area around Bowser's submarine.
  • The chests at the beginning of the level do nothing but release bubbles. This object behavior is present but unused in the final game.

Koopa 1 (Bowser in the Dark World)

SM64-Bowsercoins.png

As we previously mentioned, Bowser in the Dark World, was originally named "Koopa 1". Despite the level design being unchanged from the final build, there are still a few changes from the earlier build:

  • The start of the level immediately takes Mario to Bowser's arena.
  • The skybox is changed to a dark blue sky texture.
  • Bowser's shadow disappears when Mario catches him by the tail.
  • Bowser shrinks, then drops coins and a Star when he is defeated, as opposed to shrinking and spinning, then dropping the Bowser Key.

Earlier Build (Shoshinkai 1995 Promotional)

SM64-POWmeter2.png

Little information is available about the specifics of this build and its relation to the Shoshinkai build, but footage of it was interspersed with the Shoshinkai demo footage in promotional video tapes for the event that were given to visitors. More levels are available, and graphical tweaks have been made. This build may show a more realistic view of how Super Mario 64 was developing at the time, instead of the demo, which was tailored for being playable by the audience.

  • Mario's health had a more basic and linear design with a pie chart-type meter that would be implemented in the final version. There are two iterations of this power meter: one that says "POW" with the number of health pieces left overlaid onto the remaining health pieces, and one with a simpler texture with the text "POWER", only seen used underwater. It is possible that the meter changes in appearance while underwater, unlike the final game. As health decreases, the color of the health meter changes from blue to red, similar to how the final meter will work.
  • The power meter decreases clockwise, unlike the first and final meters, which decrease counterclockwise.
  • This build shows a HUD with two digits instead of one.
  • Bowser had blue eyes.
  • An early, less detailed sunken ship is present in the game, most likely in an early build of Jolly Roger Bay.

Courtyard

SM64-POWmeter.png
  • Boos are present, but their face textures have an earlier design and do not match the final version. Their early faces seem to resemble the face of a Boo from Super Mario RPG and all other Mario games after this game.
  • The castle courtyard is accessible, although the fountain is textured differently, with dark bricks instead of light-gray stone. The brick texture of the fountain became the walls of the courtyard in the final game. There is no star statue in the fountain, either.

Unknown Areas

Unknown Area 1

SM64-mysteryarea.png
SM64-mysteryarea2.png

Footage exists of a location that does not match anywhere in particular in the final game maybe the invisible cap room. The footage was bundled with other footage from this second demo.

  • Mario stands on a brick platform with a stone wall behind him. Inset in this wall is stairs. To the right of Mario is a lower floor with a dark pillar-like platform farther away.
(Source: YouTube)

Unknown Area 2

Mario64-boopunch.jpg

A strange hallway-like room with a watery floor seen here. There appear to be platforms slightly above the water on either side of the wall, and a third wall is at the end. The textures for both the walls and the water do not match up with any other textures in the game. This is most likely an early version of the basement in Big Boo's Haunt, due to the presence of Boos.

E3 1996 Build

SM64-EarlyBOB.png

The game is almost finished. Almost all of the game is accessible, and most of the final changes to be made are aesthetic.

  • The minimaps are gone, with the star and coin counters being moved to their final positions in the HUD.
  • The Star, Mario, and coin icons are virtually unchanged from earlier demos.
  • The health meter is in its final iteration in the shape of Mario's head.
  • Coins still have rectangular imprints instead of stars.
  • Mario makes a slightly different noise when he jumps.
  • The Star selection screen is present.

Castle Grounds

  • The compass seen above the castle entrance has been replaced with the stained glass image of Princess Peach that would be present in the final build.
  • The castle's windows and brick textures have been updated, and wooden fencing has been added around the castle moat.

Castle Interior

While the castle interior resembles more of its appearance in the final game, there are still a few changes to it:

  • The main staircase to the second floor is still missing, though the platforms in its place are wider and thinner than they were in Shoshinkai '95.
  • Toads are not present.
  • While the castle wallpaper is the one seen in the final game, the brown brick texture by the entrance is still different.
  • Fencing has been added to higher platforms in the castle.

Bob-omb Battlefield

SM64-bobspire.png
  • There is a rock spike atop the mountain.
(Source: 1)
  • When King Bob-omb is defeated, he immediately explodes into a Star.
  • The 1-Up in the block at the beginning of the level is completely stationary.
  • There is a ring of coins at the base of the mountain after the pit of cannonballs.
  • Chain Chomp sounds different.
  • Goombas have a slightly different face texture.

Big Boo's Haunt

SM64-booearly.png
  • A Boo is shown with a key inside them instead of a Star. This key matches the unused key in the final game, along with an icon for displaying the number of collected keys, unseen in prerelease footage but left over in the final game.

Hazy Maze Cave

  • Scuttlebugs have three-dimensional bodies instead of sprites and have angry eyebrows.
    • It's unclear why they were given a different design in the final build, but it may be possible that their earlier design looked obscure to most players, so Nintendo gave the Scuttlebugs a much more simplistic design.
SM64-EarlyScuttlebug.gif

Shifting Sand Land

Fine weather we're having.
  • The Pokeys' faces are different.

Near-Final Build

Almost there! Contains a couple differences since the last build. Documented here and here.

  • The icons are the same as the previous build.
  • The spike atop Bob-omb Battlefield has been removed.
  • Boos still have their initial face texture.
  • Pokey's face has been altered to its final version.
  • Mario's jumping sound is slightly different from the previous build and the final.
  • Falling asleep after standing idly has been implemented.
  • The Big Bob-Omb explodes immediately upon defeat and a star appears, spinning rapidly as it arises from the ground.

Resources

Footage

Images

Info

Interviews

Patents