While looking into files in the Super Mario 64 ROM, ProjectRevoTPP noticed another texture oddity, similar to the Koopa wearing pink underwear bug mentioned in Ukikipedia News Week 1. The texture in question is the smoke that comes off Mario while he is running around after being burned by fire:
It turns out that this texture is actually corrupted. SM64 mainly uses two different types of textures: RGBA16 and IA16. RGBA16 textures store a red, green and blue value for each pixel, as well as an alpha value (a transparency value). IA16 textures only store a brightness value and an alpha value, and are therefore black and white. Most IA16 textures are given a hue, so they can be any color. For example, the hills surrounding the castle grounds and the edges of the bridge over the moat are actually the same IA16 texture, colored differently. The smoke texture in question is an IA16 texture of a generic-looking smoke cloud. However, SM64 programmers made the mistake of reading the texture as an RGBA16 texture. Because of this, the texture comes out looking completely corrupted. This would be a lot more noticeable if not for the fact that the texture is given a dark-grey coloring after being loaded, making it look like actual smoke. Without the coloring, the texture interpreted as an RGBA16 texture is a lot worse looking and looks a lot more like a generic “glitch” texture, with random colors.
After this discovery, ProjectRevoTPP changed the texture loading command to load the texture as an IA16 instead of an RGBA16 texture to see what the intended result looked like. This was the result:
It is very interesting that a blunder this obvious was left alone. Unlike the Koopa wearing pink underwear, the burn smoke is a lot more fundamental to the game. There are two likely possibilities: either the testers believed that the corrupted smoke texture was intentional and never mentioned it, or Nintendo decided that the corrupted smoke texture looked better than the intended texture and kept it in. Either way, this is a very interesting find and we can only hope that more great finds like this and the Koopa underwear are discovered as a result of more thorough code searches.
In Other News
- An extremely anticipated ROM hack of SM64, Star Revenge 3.5: Vacation of Cursed Dreams was released by BroDute this week. This hack is the 18th entry in the Star Revenge series and aims to be a full remake of Star Revenge 3: Mario on An Saoire, one of BroDute’s earliest hacks, with a lot more additional content. The hack has a total star count of 132, which is amazing considering that the original Star Revenge 3 only had 65 stars. The latest download can be found here.
- The 23rd task of the TAS competition finished this week, with the first place going to Krithalith! Congratulations to all those who participated, and good luck to everyone participating in Task 24!