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All about Alternate Costumes!

Hey all, we hope all the alt costumes shown so far have you excited about the other possibilities in the next release of Project M! We’d like to take some time to talk about them, answer a few common questions, and establish the rules we've imposed upon ourselves for these costumes.

First and foremost, we'd like to note the differences between our alternate costumes and the commonly used "cBliss," a popular standalone modification for Brawl. cBliss is designed to be a general purpose code, adding maximum costume slots for every character and tasking you with filling them all including miscellaneous assets like Character Select and Battle Portraits. If you don’t, the game will freeze. Additionally, cBliss does not have support for Team Colors with its added costumes.

In contrast, Project M's next release will not have an alternate color/costume for every character or for every available costume slot. However, we will be including as many as we possibly can! Dr. Mario is the first of multiple costumes that is available with team colors. For those curious, you can use Red Mario and Red Dr. Mario together, without any color fading. This will be the case with all alternate costumes that are available as team colors. Not every costume will come in multiple colors though — it may simply be a standalone costume! In these cases, that character could get multiple standalone costumes or even a mix of both.

A couple Work in Progress shots of Dry Bowser and Ocarina of Time Link.

As mentioned earlier, our plan for the next release of Project M and the ones following are to include as many alternate costumes as we can. When it comes to making costumes, there are a few self-imposed rules that we follow for both technical and aesthetic purposes. All costumes will always be the "same" character. This is due to the fact that we cannot change the voices or sound effects of a character on a costume by costume basis on an extensive basis. Mario is an exception to this rule as his file structure just so happened to be set up in a way we could make Dr. Mario work in full capacity. His Fireball projectile is stored in such a way that we were able to make it selectively load based on his costume. Additionally, there are only a few additional sound effects necessary to give Dr. Mario's pills that classic tune, so coding them to work for his costumes was feasible with some clever engineering. Most costumes will not be as extensive as his.

Since these costumes are either the same character or wearing a costume inspired by another, the criteria we use for deciding on Clone Engine characters (that is, already appearing in the game in some way) does not necessarily apply to Alternate Costumes. This all being said, you shouldn't expect things like Daisy over Peach, or Shadow over Sonic as these would break our rules and are just not possible to do at the level of quality and professionalism we strive to maintain.

An early shot of Outset Toon Link. This will be a standalone costume without recolors.

Next up, we're gonna delve into the mind of Pik, one of the many modelers on the Project M Team, to talk about Dr. Mario in particular. Since we first announced alternate costumes in Mario's Turbo Tuesday video, I'm sure you're all are excited about the possibilities we have in store. In this article, Pik will go over some behind-the-scenes decisions that went into Dr. Mario's character model, and how it differs from his Melee design.

Initially, I wanted to go as far away from the Melee look as possible so that it would seem "fresh," and accurate to his original design. My main inspiration was his appearance in Dr. Mario 64 and onward. You can see that with his red tie.

The Project M Art Team does the best it can to stay true to the roots of a character.

Unfortunately, during gameplay (with the camera far away) his pants and coat blended together and didn't look as good as we wanted. It was hard to see what his legs were doing in comparison to the torso. He just wasn't readable from that distance, and having a clear, readable character is important in Smash.

In addition, a co-worker thought that Doc mains would prefer him with darker pants, reminiscent of his Melee appearance. In the end, it just seemed like the right thing to do:

Dr. Mario's final render! His prescription? KOs!

You'll notice his gloves are a shade of blue now, too! They're based on real medical gloves, and are even a tad shiny. It's noticeable if you pause and look closely. Both of these changes were made to make him less monochromatic. The red tie/blue glove combo also echoes Mario's trademark colors. After the model was done, I sent it off to Nanobuds to rig.

Oh yeah, and he was originally going to have this insignia on his back. It was shot down by my teammates pretty much immediately.

The Akira fan in me got a little too excited...

Well, that concludes our look into Mario's alternate costume. It's really just the tip of the iceberg, and the art team can't wait to show you more costumes in the future. 'Til next time!

--The PMBR