[Weekly Screenshot] Art of Balance Wii U #3 – Perfect Imperfections

Posted under Screenshots, Weekly Screenshot, Wii U eShop
April 29, 2014 by (@NE_Brian)
art_of_balance-3

As we’ve done for the last two weeks, today we have another exclusive screenshot of the upcoming Wii U eShop game Art of Balance from our friends at Shin’en. They’ll be showing off some genuinely neat stuff this time around, including some changes to the core user-interface and some of the small graphical touches that their known for putting in all of their games. Like before, the following quote comes from Mr. Manfred Linzer over at the developer, and you can look at the screenshot he’s talking about above:

Hi guys! Another week, another screen from our upcoming beautiful Wii U game called “Art of Balance”. This time I’ll show you a screen from the 2nd world.

When creating the Wii U version we thought about how we could make the game feel more ‘real’; a subtle but nice change was how to pick the shapes. On 3DS and Wii, the shapes were simply picked from a 2D HUD Layer and then projected into the 3D screen. On Wii U, we placed the shapes directly on the table, so you can select them with your GamePad or Wii Remote. This feels very natural and gives a more ‘solid world’ feeling.

Also we wanted the game to feel ‘gemuetlich’ as we say in German, so the levels should feel warm and inviting. Besides choosing the correct lighting and props, we figured out that it was important not to have that typical ‘clean’ computer rendering style, so we tried to give everything little imperfections. Just look at the table – all of the little scratches and variations in particular. This is used on every asset in the game. It’s very subtle, but gives that little extra touch we wanted.

Now for some tech stuff. For the plants, we again used our screenspace subsurface rendering to emulate the transparency of the leaves. The far background has a dynamic ‘bokeh’ effect to help the player focus on the play area. From behind warm sun rays shine through the window. To achieve the very soft look, we used a radial blur with 512 samples for each ray. Maybe a bit over the top, but as the sun rays interact with the shapes you move, it was important to have a flawless look.

Another tiny but nice effect is the chromatic aberration in the glass shape. It’s dynamic and simply looks gorgeous when you move these shapes.

To achieve high-quality reflections, we rendered the whole scene three times. The water plane acts as a mirror and so does the table, on the smoother areas. Another option would have been to use “screenspace reflections”, but this would have caused too many artifacts in this case.

For post processing there is a bloom for bright parts of the HDR image. It’s very soft but makes the whole scene more believable. Also some sub pixel chromatic aberration is added on top to mimic a real lens and to further soften the image.

Next week I’ll tell you about the split-screen multiplayer mode and water simulation. Thanks for reading!



  • Nintengoth

    it looks so pretty :)

  • Rinslowe

    It does look pretty organic. Awesome explanation of whats going on, I totally nerded out.

  • CommonSense

    Yeah, with just a table and wall, and such a small view area, I would imagine the scenes limited information would be way too problematic for screen space reflections, there were already a LOT of glitches in killzone sf using screen space reflection, resulting in tons of glitches and artifacts… And that had WAY more on screen information. I bet since its a scene of basically a table top maybe a foot away from the player, that the lack of depth complexity really kills a lot of rays too soon… or maybe some too late? Bet trying to tweak all the artifacts away drove them mad. So they rendered the entire scene again for each angle of reflection XD.

    On a seperate note, Im pretty sure mk8 is using some screen space reflections. Probably the fastest way I can think of to get those real time reflections of particles on karts and reflective race characters (metal mario) like the fireworks on rainbow road 64.

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