Beyond EMBM: How to achieve better bump / normal mapping on Wii

Definitely something this complicated. High Voltage Software and its engine demo Quantum3 and later, highlights games that took this engine, and put the possibilities, virtually the most:

  • 2011 Conduit 2
  • 2010 Tournament of Legends
  • 2010 Iron Man 2
  • 2009 The Conduit

The real problem of the “bump mapping” of the Wii hardware is that it only affects the environment map or map / Specular channel. He called EMBM (Environmental Bump Mapping) is an algorithm that simulates was the DX6 flat specular reflections. No to the lighting points or texels textures. The approach to this texel lighting effect is achieved with a bump emboss, classic from the Voodoo. For which you must use one or more textures to achieve the effect, depending on the quality you get. Which applies full texture, not by points.

The Conduit distorts light, forming a cube map, with light / dark areas or color there on stage. The classic way to use the EMBM. Creating the dark side would touch about texture. As Slave Zero gets PC. In this I am not clear that it is an effect GPU or CPU. But change does not occur in real or adjusted to changing points of light time.

Wii chip like the GC has units called TEV (Texture Environment Unit) that has the ability to mix in last pass of the rendering pipeline of the GPU, the texturing. This is similar to the pixel shader unit, but nowhere near its flexibility, complexity and efficiency. With everything from NGC could get shaders, effects of complex texture: Rogue Squadron, Mario Sunshine, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess or Starfox Adventures. And in the Wii with The Conduit, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Mario Galaxy 1/2 and / or Metroid Other M, these make use of this TEV, many effects thereof yy Hardware EMBM accurately. To recreate textures with bump mapping, reflection, refraction, fresnel or specularity levels as older sisters, less lighting per pixel bump mapping.

Let’s see, would be possible to achieve an illumination pixel combining EMBM with emboss bump mapping and a reflex cubemaps room with lights is at that point bakeados in real time unless resolución.Esto frames and would have been as close the DOT3 pixel shader 1.0 or contemporary Xbox1 of the NGC, but had penalized much on performance or the variety of textures loaded scene. O forcing slicing levels by the graphics load. Since lugging in the VRAM of the GC or Wii a cubemap each x area lighting recreate those changes in static or dynamic objects, it would be a very valid solution but brute force. Force the engine and programmers, control and scale use of this. It is understood that the simplified algorithm DOT3 all this, plus it was more realistic to the point of illumination and also could add the map of environment and speculate. With three passes [multitexture] make it. This will also depend on whether forward or differed rendering rendering engine used in the drawing. In the case of the Wii need some more, you can get to 16 passes, but it would be an atrocity concentrate these countries in many objects on screen.

For this later he came to the solution of the pixels shaders, which is a simplification and rationalization of all this. It tries to achieve the same with a pass. Winning time calculation GPU, memory usage of VRAM and main CPU time and RAM. Because in the end these effects multitexture relied heavily on the GPU driver and therefore complementary CPU instructions.

But it is noteworthy as a real breakthrough in the graphics in video games, streaming data. The day we introduced the original Xbox into the console HDD concept, and as the Xbox360 is really exploded textures and textures to recreate information materials, grew exponentially. It is true that the processing speed, to spin and versatility of programmable shaders are critical in this development, but it would be unthinkable these really, without hard drives on consoles. It is true that the 360 ​​had many games without this requirement, at first. But it is true that the quality and speed of steaming and DVD use improved a lot.

We could conclude that The Conduit is about the highest and best done in a videogame. And technically Quantum3 motor show. In terms of technical solution that is the way. Obviously lacks the entire budget that was behind a Halo, for instance. With more art work and programming, we could see had insurance 90% of the quality of a Xbox1 on Wii. Understanding the differences in such large Hardware. Nintendo set up a GPU at the time. But just then everything was changing everything, Nvidia was giving the jump in PC.

Again, that The Conduit is very good but it could have been more to see. Bigger as game and even better finish.

If this engine also had standardized SDK Nintendo, Xbox Unreal as even more likely to see these effects seen in more quantity and more quality titles. But it was late.

Add that Metroid Other M, Team Ninja shows they know the technique of “Normal Mapping” Retro or better than Nintendo, and get the same as The Conduit, perhaps with less (in total Scene) “Normal Mapping “It is EMBM that The Conduit, but very well introduced. Especially when used less, you can enter as many polygons on screen.

You might conclude that The Conduit, Metroid Other M and Mario Galaxy, which also uses EMBM. They are games that use the Wii better. And the whole of the NGC Hardware.

With this post I conclude any reflection on the limits of Wii or NGC. Especially the search field of photorealism in its ability to generate graphs.

Wii EMBM reference images:

Quake 1 changed, EMBM in all textures:

Super Mario Galaxy, enemies (lips …) Ground and others:

On Wheels:

Starfox Adventures: Wood, water and hair:

Rogue Squadron: Water, Xwings, ground…

Other M Metroid: Samus helmet Hud, Allied Armor…

Other M Metroid: Samus Armor, enemy…

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles: hair, clothes, walls …

PC EMBM reference images:




Slave Zero:


Documentation and links used:

Interesting discussion forum on the subject of EMBM in Quake 1 changed:

Nvidia documentation:

Report DX6 bump Gamesutra:

EMBM Patent Law:

Pixel Pixel Shading Nvidia doc:

Bump Mapping and Environment doc:

Nvidia ReflectiveBumpMapping Doc:

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