TSM Episode 110: Voice Acting by Gilbert Gottfried

We are given to understand that The Legendary Jafar does not much care for the presence of Gilbert Gottfried *or* his tiny penis. How sad.
Zoltan and Gilbert spend some quality time together.

Download: Produced 2013.07.28

Lusipurr (voiced by Gilbert Gottfried) assembles a panel consisting of SiliconNooB, Blitzmage, The Legendary Zoltan, and Mel (all voiced by Gilbert Gottfried), to discuss Denis Dyack, Don Mattrick, and Stephane D’Astous (all voiced by Gilbert Gottfried).


  1. Best Podacast Ever.

    Oh, and Shadow of the Colossus is amazing. That ought to start a lively conversation.

  2. (All these comments are voiced by Gilbert Gottfried)

  3. In terms of Gamecube RPGs there were also two Baten Kaitos games. Aside from some bad voice acting they were both pretty good and had fairly compelling battle systems.

  4. Jafar IS wrong. Shadow of the Colossus is spectacular.

  5. I don’t think anyone would deny that SotC excels at spectacle.

  6. I played Baten Kaitos 1. That was a unique and fun and probably the best 2D graphics available at the time. Excellent soundtrack as well. Lusipurr would hate it because you have to fight with cards. Haha.

  7. Yea, pre-rendered backgrounds are not 3D for the most part. Games like DK Country would be wholly 2D I imagine, while games like Baten Kaitos would probably utilise a crude 3D mesh with the 2D background layered over the top, which allows the character models to properly interact with the backgrounds, and become lager or smaller depending on the frame of perspective.

  8. A 3D background is not necessary for character size changes and perspective, all of which can be done even with a 2D flat background, as in FFVII.

  9. Baten Kaitos is pretty good looking in most parts, and BK2 deserves a mention. I also liked playing both of those games. But I would give the best pre-rendered background award for the Gamecube to Resident Evil 0.

  10. @Lusi: Are you sure FFVII’s backgrounds had no 3D elements?

    I’m not familiar with the production of VII’s pre-rendered backdrops, but I do know that the PS1 Resident Evil games use crude 3D backgrounds for collision detection etc., and extrapolated that to mean that this approach served as the defacto method used for all games using similar technology [3D on 2D], since it seemed like the most intuitive way to have character models behaving consistently within the pre-renderedd environments.

    Of course, accurate collision detection is a whole lot more important for an action game like Resident Evil, so perhaps this approach wasn’t required for an RPG like VII? But I still would have thought that the resizing of characters would have been more straight forward with 3D information underpinning those 2D renders.

  11. You are confusing the background (which you see) with the world interface (which you do not see) that characters interact with.

    The background is a 2D image. It is not ‘modeled’ or ‘draped’ on top of anything. It is simply a picture behind the world in which the characters move.

    The characters move in the world created for them which gives the appearance that they are ‘interacting’ with elements of the background. But this is, in fact, not the case. It is an illusion created by the image which lies behind the world–the world itself being entirely invisible.

    You could turn the background ‘off’ as it were, and the characters would still continue to move in and out of the frame, to interact with stuff, etc. But there would be nothing there.

    The point, of course, is that the background is *purely* a flat, 2D image. It is not ‘modeled’ on top of anything. It is like a portrait behind an invisible jungle gym which gives the impression that the jungle gym is situated in, say, a factory, or a field, or a house.

  12. Ah, I can see how what you describe would be a perfectly viable method for creating the pre-rendered backdrops. I’m sure VII was done in the way you say, as there is little about the game that you don’t seem to know.

    You are confusing the background, which you see, with the interface which the character interact with.

    Not really, I just didn’t consider the fact that FFVII might have been designed using some other kind of depth information. I didn’t mean to imply that the background art of these games is in any way perceptually 3D in its appearance to the player, just that some of them have a 3D mesh over which the 2D image is projected, as is described here and here.

  13. @SN: What is described at those links is not how FF7 is actually programmed, but how it might be recreated by modern developers. The first link deals with other games, and even then it points out that the 3D mesh is not rendered. The image is behind it. This is how collision detection is generated. The second link deals with a guy trying to recreate it without knowing how, and coming up with the solution of multiple layers as a result (in reality, character position can be connected to occlusion; multiple layers are not necessary, though multiple layers are probably best and are what is used in FF7 in any case).

    Final Fantasy VII doesn’t use 3D meshes with 2D images ‘draped’ over them or modeled onto them. It solely uses flat 2D backgrounds with a virtual ‘playfield’ in front of them. The characters interact with the invisible playfield and visible interactable objects (i.e. doors and chests) against the background, which is a flat, 2D, static image.

    When characters appear to be occluded by elements of the background, all that actually happens is that a layer of the background (which itself is just a flat, 2D image) is shifted to draw in front of the character. If you have a grasp of how Photoshop works, where a flat image is in fact made up of a variety of flat 2D layers, you can probably work out how this functions in the game. A railing that Cloud needs to move behind will be a layer on top of the rest of the background, and when Cloud moves to a position meant to be behind it on the playfield, he will appear to be between the two layers of background and railing, giving the impression that he is interacting with the playfield. But this is not a draping or modeling effect. It is, essentially, a set of theatre stage backdrops. A 2D picture of a railing sits in front of a 2D picture of the reactor, and Cloud is for a time occluded by the one. He is not actually between them, of course–but some of the playfield positions have coding that says, more or less, “When Cloud is standing here, then THIS layer of the background has draw priority, and can occlude him.” Yet, it’s still *behind* Cloud in the programming, as it were. The field isn’t a giant 3D box with background elements (even 2D elements) placed forward and backward between which Cloud moves. All of the background elements are together at the rear, with only programming set to determine when some of them are drawn over Cloud, rather than under him.

    I’m not sure how much more clear I can be about this. In all honesty, it should be obvious simply from playing the game if one is paying attention to the way that Cloud moves and interacts with the game world. To be fair, I have also had a lot of experience with green-screening and the like (an analogue to what is taking place in FF7), so perhaps it is simply more noticeable to me.

    That said, it should be patently obvious that the backgrounds in FF7 are pre-rendered, 2D, flat images, and not images which have been draped or mapped onto a 3D wireframe.

  14. I thought my previous comment made it perfectly clear that I no longer disputed your account of how FFVII was programmed?

  15. @SN: Indeed. And then you said,

    I didn’t mean to imply that the background art of these games is in any way perceptually 3D in its appearance to the player, just that some of them have a 3D mesh over which the 2D image is projected, as is described here and here.

    Which is not the case.

  16. I said that I didn’t dispute the way that VII programmed, and then I explained why I thought that VII might have been programmed in the way that I initially supposed. I’m not sure what wasn’t clear about that.

  17. @SN: ‘I’m not sure what wasn’t clear about that.’

    What was not clear is your statement quoted above which contradicted the position you now maintain, reasserting that such games use a 3D mesh with a 2D image draped over them, which is not the case in FFVII or otherwise.

  18. I said that some games use that method, which is why I supposed that FFVII might have.

    I have seen wireframe screens for the initial Resident Evil game.

  19. @SN : The background wireframes you’ve seen for RE ( i.e. something like http://cryrid.com/images/temp/XSI/Articles/MGS4/mgs5_files/im41.jpg ) were used by the devs to render the backgrounds (as in countless other games, hence ‘pre-rendered’ backgrounds). They are not present in the actual game, which uses a combination of pre-rendered backdrops and texture mapped objects, along with the same interactable geometric playfield.

    Draping 2D flat images over a 3D wireframe is a terrible method, because it can only look good from one angle, and it consumes loads of processing if the camera can move. If the camera cannot move, it is FAR easier (and better looking) to use the method described above. Effectively, you are texture mapping the entire 3D world with a giant texture that has to constantly be redrawn, and which has to be created with knowledge of the model’s exact dimensions and particulars in hand by truly exceptional and imaginative artists. It would be far less demanding to make a cube and place 3D polys in it with much smaller textures mapped onto them, many of which don’t have to be rendered at a given moment because they are out of view.

    I do not know where you picked up the idea that PS1 developers were making interactive 3D worlds and then draping a 2D background sheet over them, but this is not the case, which has been my point all along.

  20. Another great episode.

    I need to give it another listen through, because there’s quite a bit I want to comment on.

    But first, I do say that I would enjoy to ‘work’ for Lusipurr.com. If it gives me more chances to belittle Cliffy B and his inflated sense of self importance. And the fact that Lusipurr has fallen for the pretense that I contain some modicum of intelligence, I can spread the pretense that I know what I’m talking about even more!

    I felt that Mr. Fish was a bit wrongfully maligned by a nobody for hits. However, that does not absolve him of his own behavior, which leads me to agree that people like him need someone to speak for him so they don’t come off as completely crazy people (like me!). And I was looking forward to Fez 2, due to its Tron-like aesthetic. Oh well.

    And the whole Gilbery Godfrey gag never got old. One would normally think that such a joke could easily wear out its welcome. But it didn’t here. It worked.

    Finally, it’s the attitudes of many people in the industry who believe that merely throwing more money at any problems or simply thinking that more marketing is the answer, leads me to hope that another crash comes soon. Yes, factor out the unfathomable loss of employment for many, you’ll see more, smaller, companies feed upon the corpses of the larger companies to take over.

    I would love a world, or at least a gaming industry, without the likes of Ubisoft, Activision, EA, and their ilk.

    I mean, for all their faults, at least Valve understands that you have a better chance at getting more business from the same person when you don’t treat them like an entranced magpie with a coinpurse attached to its back!

  21. Random aside (didn’t know where else to put it): I was listening to FancyCast ep 100 and they replayed the Lusipurr poem. I enjoyed it a lot and attempted to find a text transcription but could not. Could we get that posted here somewhere?

  22. I’m making a note here, huge failure.

    That might be why I wasn’t able to find it…

    Nope. I’ll try and get it right next time.

  23. @Dice: I’ve just transcribed the whole thing. It’s a bit long to add to the comments (unless Lusipurr decides otherwise), so feel free to find me on Skype and I’ll send you the text.

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