Nintendo Files In-Game Clothing Patent To Help Keep Your Characters Warm

Mario Winter
Image: Nintendo

When we usually report on patents, it’s for controller designs, new hardware, and sometimes even tweaks and modes for a specific game. Today, we’ve discovered that Nintendo has filed something that’s related to the last thing, but will actually help streamline game development for all of their IPs on Switch.

This recently-filed patent is for a process called deformation — this is something that stops clothing textures from seeping into an in-game character model. So, y’know, no awkward lack of cape swishing because it’s blending into Mario’s thigh or something. And no accidental exposed skin in wintery areas. We wouldn’t want Link to get cold in the Hebra region, would we?

Clothing Patent 1
Image: Nintendo / USPTO

In the image above, you can see a very faint outline of clothing on the character model on the left (CH1). This is way too close, which would lead to the kind of stitching you wouldn’t expect on a person. We imagine this is a particular pain for floaty clothes like skirts. This is what a model might look like before deformation. The table underneath the two figures indicates everything stored by the game’s dynamic random access memory (DRAM). And you’ll see that clothes data is there, too.

The character on the right (CH2), however, is the lucky one. No risk of getting a chill because of exposed skin, as the character model has been made smaller, and the clothes are now an extra layer. Previously, devs would have had to make a brand new model to fit the clothes they want them to don. So, this is just like putting a jumper on over your clothes!

This patent has sparked some confusion among fans, however. The patent was filed by Zelda: Breath of the Wild technology supervisor Takuhiro Dohta — who we assume is also working on that elusive sequel. Which has got some speculating that Breath of the Wild 2 will have armour durability as well as weapon durability.

Well, we actually don’t even know if the game will have the latter, but we certainly don’t think that the game will let Link’s clothes waste away as he scouts around. We’ve already got people stripping off Link in the mountains for fun, so we don’t think it’s fair to make Link any colder than he can already get.

So, don’t fret! This is just to help developers make game design a little easier, and not to punish us for fighting Lynel’s and getting charged in the face by them with armour that’s clearly not good enough.