Thursday, January 27th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

You can play Super Mario Bros inside Substance 3D Designer

Substance 3D Designer, Adobe’s material authoring software, can be used to create some unbelievably complex procedural materials: a fact reflected in the company’s annual Insanity Awards.

Established in 2018 to promote projects that push the technical limits of the software, the awards celebrate work that is “bonkers, in all the very best ways”.

But even by those standards, the winner of the 2021 Insanity Award is quite unusually bonkers.

Quinton Qu – by day, a technical artist at Chinese game developer and animation studio miHoYo – has created a playable Mario game inside Substance 3D Designer.

A complete playable Super Mario Bros-style screen, created entirely in Substance 3D Designer
The project, entitled Substance Mario Bros, recreates a screen in the style of Super Mario Bros inside a Substance 3D Designer .sbs file. (We aren’t sure if it’s part of an actual level.)

UI controls let the user switch between 1 Player and 2 Player modes, run forwards or backwards and jump.

Colliding with a Koopa – something fairly likely, given that Mario wasn’t really designed to be piloted using slider controls – results in a ‘Game Over’ screen.

According to a Google translation of the ArtStation page, Qu got so excited on having managed to make a playable game using only Substance Designer logic that “I deleted the file by mistake and had to redo it”.

See other mind-boggling materials created in the software
The other winning entries in this year’s Insanity Awards aren’t quite as unusual, but they are still mind-bogglingly complex, many of them taking advantage of the software’s new procedural 3D model graph.

The top ten ranges from a pretty practical procedural door asset to a writhing mass of tentacles, by way of some hauntingly beautiful procedural jewellery. Check them out via the links below.

See the winners of the 2021 Substance 3D Designer Awards on Adobe’s blog

See the entries placed fourth to tenth in the list