Here Is What Happens When You Try To Create A 3D Pokémon In 5 Minutes

A five-minute Pokémon render looks something like this fruit, I’d guess.
A five-minute Pokémon render looks something like this fruit, I’d guess.
Image: Nintendo

Here is the number of important things I can do in five minutes: zero. There are zero things that will truly matter to me or anyone else that I can do in five minutes. This is probably true for a lot of people, but it hasn’t stopped Pokémon fans from trying.

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But Natalie, you might say. You can brush your teeth in five minutes. You can meditate in five minutes. You can update your to-do list in five minutes, according to this lovely productivity article.

But nothing you can do in five minutes will make or break your life. It takes several five-minute lapses to either maintain or screw up your teeth. It takes several stretches of five minutes to become mindful, or to actually do the things on your to-do list—or, in my case, make several more to-do lists instead. Here is another thing you can’t do in five minutes: create a competent 3D model for a video game in 2019. Namely, for Pokémon Sword and Shield.

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But there are some people who disagree, fueled, like many great minds, by hubris and shoddy math. Following the reveal that not all Pokémon will be available in the upcoming Pokémon Sword and Shield, one fan apparently speculated that adding them all would only take five minutes each. People rose to the challenge, trying to prove that they could create an entire competent model for a current-gen, fully 3D Pokémon game in, you guessed it, five minutes.

Because creating 3D models in five minutes is a silly idea, the internet internetted and demonstrated exactly how that would look to prove a point with the hashtag #5MinutePokémonRenders. Hilarity ensued.

Nightmares also happened. This Golbat is my nemesis.

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Here is a Politoed, or a reasonable facsimile!

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Here is a Nidorino that I think was made with Nintendo Labo.

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It seems this Cubone took not only its mother’s skull but also her face! Adorbs.

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Here is Torchic with, in my head canon, its Blaziken parent. “Motherhood got you stretched in a million different directions?” Yes, indeed!

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Here’s a picture my niece drew of me of when she was little.

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And here is my fifth-grade class picture where I tried Afro puffs for the first time.

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Ahh! Real Pocket Monsters.

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Here is a lovely casserole dish.

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And do you remember those Wonder Ball candies?

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SO MANY ORBS.

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Also, blue pupper Riolu. Uh oh.

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And hey, another cameo from my worst nightmares, or maybe a rejected Devilman Crybaby design.

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This Gastly is actually not bad, if you consider the fact that gas isn’t always visible, and—

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Here we have a cameo from Kimba the White Lion.

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And my seventh-grade ink pens.

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Some of these are actually good, like these models of the various forms of Porygon, a Pokémon based off of the idea of what competent modeling looked like in the ’90s. So hey, maybe that person was right after all!

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This thread is a pretty cool process log, showing the creation of a Sceptile model in five-minute intervals.

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Some of them are just cute.

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Jokes aside, it would probably take me at least an hour to even get my software ready to do all this, and another several figuring how to uncrash my computer. So I respect these artists for helping us learn a little more about their work. For my part, I’m just going to ask Mr. Mime to help me reconfigure my to-do list.

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Natalie Degraffinried is a senior editor for Kotaku.

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DISCUSSION

tillmandesign
Randy Randerson

In that original shitty commenter’s post saying that each should only take five minutes, giving them the absolute benefit of the doubt would translate that to “I’m sure that Game Freak, a skilled and experienced developer, has the pipeline developed that could take a lower poly 3ds model meant only for a tiny screen up to the standards needed for HD resolutions in only a few minutes each through a mostly automated batch process.” But even that reading of it is naive bullshit. It would probably take a team weeks to develop any kind of a semi-automated conversion process that’s even somewhat functional, and then they would still have to review and troubleshoot each and every monster’s model to ensure that the process hadn’t left any janky artifacts (very common in conversions like these, in my experience). This isn’t even accounting for adjustments to rigging and animations, recreating and upscaling textures or effects for higher resolutions, etc. Add the actual gameplay facets and rebalancing of all those extra Pokemon into the mix, and that’s at the very least months of work for a dedicated team that’s solely focused on that task, along with oversight from art and game directors. I’m also tired of hearing that the models are all good enough because they look fine in an upscaled emulator - that’s not how that works in a development process on a different console, and there’s no such thing as a “future-proof” character model in gaming.

I’m so incredibly tired of all the whiny children and their entitled “BUH-BUH-BUT THE ORIGINAL GAMES SAID GOTTA CATCH EM ALL, HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CATCH EM ALL IF I CAN’T CATCH EM ALL IN THIS ONE GAME, EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVEN’T ACTUALLY BEEN ABLE TO CATCH EM ALL IN A SINGLE SET OF GAMES SINCE MAYBE THE SECOND GEN, BUT I’M GOING TO SELECTIVELY AND LOUDLY IGNORE THAT FACT TO INSTEAD TWIST THIS INTO AN ISSUE ABOUT DEVELOPER LAZINESS AND INTEGRITY, EVEN THOUGH I LACK ANY AND ALL TECHNICAL INSIGHT OR PROJECT MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE NECESSARY TO MAKE SUCH CLAIMS AND THIS ISSUE REALLY ONLY AFFECTS A TINY PROPORTION OF THE PLAYERS OF THIS GAME.” We’re getting a console-grade Pokemon game after two decades of dreaming of that possibility, with big changes from previous generations. If that’s not enough for you, then too bad.