More retro inspiration: there's something about how the shading softens the hard pixel lines in Tibori Design's Dotter Dotter series that makes me almost lust for either a next-gen game done up with the renderer or — fire up your 3D printers — figure playsets of each. Nintendo's already essentially done the latter nearly spot on with their Super Mario Bros. dioramas, so it's up to somebody now to do the former.
I'm quite fond of the Legend of Zelda series, and these Dotter Dotter renderings were particularly inspiring:
Coincidentally I'd recently been experimenting with 3D modelling and rendering using NewTek Lightwave (version 9!) and since I'm a sucker for any NES nostalgia, I was compelled to try my hand at recreating something in this vein.
As a superfan of the Metroid series, it was a natural choice to adapt a classic location:
Comparing the file-creation dates on all related source files, apparently I spent nearly eight weeks on this, though I never published the result. I remember lots of intense modelling sessions, and I wrote a bunch of custom code as a Lightwave plugin to assist with the pseudo-voxel modelling process. Everything was pumped through an ambient occlusion renderer module (running on a Pentium 4), then composited in layers.
Though I vaguely recall working on multiple scenes, this image is the only finalized render I have from this effort. I took some minimal artistic license with the block placement, but each cube face is pixel- and colour-accurate.
Behold, my 3D interpretation of NES Metroid: