Dragon Warrior Tribute Previs Analysis

It’s been three months since I (finally) shared my EPIC Dragon Warrior Tribute previsualization music video with the world via YouTube, and I’m humbled by the view count racking up since its release. Thank you! All ten of you! The reception, feedback, and praise I’ve received from you is a super confidence booster — so thanks, mom!

In all seriousness, it’s time to give you a glimpse of what went into the thinking behind this project. It’s a tribute video, after all, and all of its content is stolen from the game and put back together again in the form of a fan’s interpretation. What’s more, I wanted the viewer to recognize the things from the game and say “wow! It’s so true to the game!”

Did you play the game, then watch my tribute video, and carefully compare the two? I mean really scrutinize this video shot-for-shot to look at everything? Anybody? Probably not, because who cares to make time for that shit? So let me show you a few things you might have missed.

In the opening scene, our hero, the descendant of Erdrick, is walking along a jagged and colorful landscape. Did you notice the video’s landscape is to the scale of the original 8-bit source, but in three dimensions?

See it now? Let’s move on!

In this terribly pixelated shot of my video, we can see what looks like a familiar place in Alefgard, and though there aren’t any Green Dragons where our hero is walking, they can be found in the swamp just south of him.


I don’t know who “Domi” is, but thanks for making it so I didn’t have to play all the way through to get this graphic

I didn’t bother adding color to the model yet, because I didn’t get to it in time. I had a deadline, ya know! Plus, who the hell is actually watching this? Anyway, how about I do it now for ya in Microsoft Paint.


MS Paint 4 life!

I could keep going, but I’ll let you (not care) to discover the rest! I will say that I really only changed a few things from the original game in my tribute, such as the location of the swamp where you find Erdrick’s Token, our hero not wearing his helmet in the beginning (but that’s because I forgot!), no cape or helmet tassel, and green dragons don’t grow into red ones. You also can’t be disarmed in the game. That’s about it.  

How about I finish this post off with the best “easter egg” in my video yet:

Look at that – it is the same thing you see on the game’s box art! The scenes flowed so naturally that I bet you didn’t even notice I slipped that easter egg in there. Because you didn’t even watch my video, that’s why.

Am I right?

My Dragon Warrior tribute project

Way back in 2005, I was listening to a song and a flood of epic visuals came over me of a young Descendant of Erdrick aimlessly walking the lands of Alefgard, encountering a fierce dragon, being beaten, rising up from defeat with renewed determination and purpose, taking on numerous trials and tribulations that would give him strength and courage, leading him to the ultimate climax of facing the dragon one more time to emerge victorious, with the music setting the emotion and flow of the visuals. Though the song didn’t quite fit, I still couldn’t stop fantasizing about seeing this music video play out in front of my eyes. The time and skill involved in making it a finished project would prove to be too ambitious, but that didn’t stop me from at least creating a visualization of it to just see what my vision would actually look like on the computer screen. This is the result of a few months of painstaking work using computer animation software to create the 3D assets I would need to make this visualization.

 

This project officially began in July 2014 when a friend had offered to take me in as an “apprentice” in exchange for doing work for him and his family. He is a designer by trade and a skilled artist specializing in sculpting, but has extensive knowledge, facilities and equipment to do just about anything involving arts and crafts, digital as well as traditional. He provided me with the software (which cost almost a grand if I wanted my own license), as well as clay to sculpt by hand, which is how I got the reference source to make the 3D dragon.

My mentor gave me useful advice and direction on how to go about a production, as there are many ways one can waste time if one does not have experience with animated video production. So I started with a storyboard on paper and worked out what assets I would need.

Since this is a tribute project of the NES game Dragon Warrior, most of the assets could be obtained by using the game’s original art as a reference, so all I would need to do is create 3D versions of them.

Once the assets were made, I began work on the animation. One month later, this neat music video! And then I decided to never work with computer animation again and became a chef.

The end.