It's Prime time for some developer insight
Metroid Prime’s 20th anniversary falls on November 18th, 2022, which is just a bit over a week away. We have no idea if Nintendo is going to celebrate the occasion in any way, but at least a developer who worked on the game is sharing some truly interesting insight.
Ex Retro Studios dev Zoid Kirsch worked on Metroid Prime, and he’s got a ton of intriguing stories about the game’s development. Kirsch is sharing one tidbit each day leading up to the 20th anniversary, and we’ve gather some of the tidbits he’s revealed below.
- The reason some doors in Metroid Prime take a long time to open is because the game is still loading the next room. At most, Metroid Prime only ever has two rooms loaded at the same time.
- The static that you sometimes see on Samus’ visor was originally causing a big issue with memory use. To get around the issue of saving space, Retro used the memory holding the Metroid Prime code itself. This means that the electrical “noise” you see on Samus’ visor is actually the bits and bytes of the Metroid Prime’s code being rendered on-screen.
- When rooms are streamed in behind Metroid Prime’s doors, the game initially loads a compressed copy of the room–geometry, textures, models and game data. Retro licensed an open source decompression library that allows allocation of a single decompressed sized block, then loads the compressed copy into the upper section of the memory block and decompress it in place, overwriting the compressed copy. This allowed Retro to create much bigger rooms.
One of the best bits that Kirsch shared was a Metroid Prime poster that the dev team signed when the game went gold. Kirsch says no one signed on Samus herself out of respect for the character.
Again, Kirsch is going to be sharing a tidbit a day about Metroid Prime until November 18th, 2022. If you’d like to follow along with Kirsch’s stories, you can find his Twitter account here.