Total RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.  

If you've got the capability right now, whether on GameCube, Wii or even PC, go put Wind Waker on. And just look at it. Soak up how a video game released almost a decade ago still looks like it could have come out yesterday.

Once you're done, ask yourself "how did Nintendo do that?". Then come read this.

Indie developer Sönke Christian Seidel, who is one of the folks behind the quietly excellent Pirates of New Horizons, has cracked open the classic Zelda title and broken down, in semi-plain English, exactly how (or in some cases how he's pretty sure) Nintendo made it look so pretty.


The tricks, the tools, the surprises and the silent revolutions, it's all there.

The highlights include a detailed look at Wind Waker's famous ocean and smoke effects, how the game's lighting works and even points out that Nintendo got Link's feet to "stick" to the ground (instead of float all over it) years before other games managed the same feat.

Click the images underneath to expand them; the full set are at the link below.

Zelda: Wind waker Tech and Texture Analysis [Polycount]