It's common for budding game developers to utilise Nintendo games as a source of inspiration when learning their craft; the Kyoto company is regarded by many as the finest game creator in the industry, after all. Sometimes these efforts lead to impressive imitations, albeit running the gauntlet of takedown notices in the process.

We rather hope this doesn't happen to Unity programmer Roystan Ross, who has crafted a 3D platforming engine and created a version of the opening stage of Super Mario 64 to show it off. The HD aspect is charming, and the character models are actually from Super Mario Galaxy, as explained in the blog excerpt below.

All the art and animations were done by myself, with the exception of the Mario, Goomba and Power Star meshes, which are ripped (without animations) from Super Mario Galaxy. A large portion of the sounds are from existing Mario games, while the ones I found and edited myself are from freesound.org. If I've used anyone's work and missed a citation, please tell me in the comment section (or message me through the Unity forum). The UI elements were painted by me, based on the original Mario 64 user interface.

It's an admirable effort, which you can see below, and those with the Unity browser plugin can actually play it by following links from Ross' website.

Interest in this has spiked, especially since Kotaku picked it up, prompting the developer to have to toughen up his web hosting service. As the cat is out of the bag Nintendo will no doubt become aware of it, but as it's a free experiment (of one stage) that's not intended for sale, it could be left alone.

It's quite impressive, in any case, so let us know what you think of it.

[via roystanross.wordpress.com, kotaku.com]