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Smash Bros Creator’s YouTube channel is a game design goldmine

Japanese game director Masahiro Sakurai (the mastermind behind series like Kirby and Super Smash Bros.) is using to post daily footage of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to His Twitter account. It was a project he ran for about three years until he eventually ran out of ideas for the pictures and was announced to be discontinued. It was a sad day, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel as he also announced he was starting a new project, and it wouldn’t be long before we could see what it was. This project turned out to be his new YouTube channel, titled Masahiro Sakurai on creating gamesAnd the man Is that cool!

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The channel is Sakurai talking about the elements of game design while giving tips and advice on each one. He plans to give those interested in creating video games a head start while diving into concepts that are simple and easy to understand for audiences, including people not interested in video game creation. In short, anyone can watch their videos and learn some cool things.

He talks about some of the other games he has directed, such as the first games in the Kirby series, and his philosophy of designing them the way he did. It also provides design documents and architectures used to develop some of its games, including Smash Bros. And his overall goal is, in his own words, “to make games more fun!”

Judging by the appeal the channel has gained, it does a great job so far. A little over a month has passed since the channel was created, and it has already amassed over 2 million views and 430,000 subscribers on his English channel; He also has a Japanese channel with similar numbers. The fact that he doesn’t plan on making use of these videos at all (he even explicitly states that this project will likely cost him a lot of money the longer it goes) is all the more reason to love and appreciate the content he’s willing to provide.

Some of its pointers can seem basic and self-explanatory at first, but when he starts to dig into them a bit, it’s easy to see how complex they are and how useful it is to understand them on a deeper level. One of his recent videos, Draw the Light, Not the Asset, focuses on game graphics. When drawing a video game asset, he recommends drawing the light that the object reflects rather than the object itself. Then he gives an example of copying and pasting several trees across a landscape, transforming it from a boring photo into something really beautiful with just a few lighting tweaks.

His tips and pointers can be compared to other games too, for better or worse. To use the example above, take a look at Pokémon. Their recent games have been heavily criticized for muddying their graphics. This was especially the case for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield’s Wild Area, when fans caught a glimpse of the plants during the Treehouse Live show that led to its release in 2019. If they had painted the light reflected off the trees instead of the trees alone, they would have looked more Beauty and membership. The same can be said for other parts of the wilderness area as well, such as grass and bodies of water.

Comparisons to other games can also be taken from one of his first videos, Stop at Big Moments! In this video, Sakurai explains how pausing movement in major events in a game, such as a fatal blow, can help sell the impact or emotion it’s meant to create.

It also shows how using slow motion effects or screen shake can add to this. You can probably think of many games that have used this expertly. The first example that comes to my mind is the Kingdom Hearts series; I Always Something felt like losing my life or winning a big boss fight, thanks to the slow motion effects and sounds that accompanied the final big hit.

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He did a great job digging deep enough to not only show the intricacies of these concepts on a basic level, but to motivate his viewers interested in game design to delve deeper into themselves. These are all great things for people who play games or are interested in them, but other videos of his cover stuff can apply to other things in life besides video games.

Going back to the video about creating assets, the advice to draw the light that the object reflects rather than the original can be applied to any art form outside of games. If you are an aspiring artist, you can find great value in his videos that focus on graphics. If you’re interested in making movies, short films, and even books, using tips for pausing the action at big moments can help. Beyond that, it’s great to hear Sakurai’s talk. His gentle approach to words sounds like a fable of a chaotic world.

In all seriousness, Sakurai has a lot of valuable insights to offer as a veteran game developer. He’s too humble to say it himself, so I’ll say it to him: Please like his videos and subscribe to his channel.

Next: Masahiro Sakurai on Sora in Smash, Disney, Making DLC, Future Games

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