What is Foliage

Foliage is plants in games, from trees, to flowers, to grass, almost every game uses foliage. its also an extremely important part of environments in video games, especially if set in a wood or a forest.

As the hardware has progressed, so has limitations of consoles, and with limitations being over come foliage has also progressed. starting as 2D sprites becoming 3D models. and with more polys it can be smoothed out more and the textures can be more photo-realistic.

Evolution of Foliage in Video Games

Legend of Zelda (1986) to Legend of Zelda: Wii U (2016/2017)

zelda1NESLegend Of Zelda (1986)

Nintendo Entertainment System/ Famicon

Tree’s were small and was used for decoration, only uses three colours due to limitations of the 8-bit console.


zelda l2tp

Legend Of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991)

Super Nintendo/ Super Famicon

Tree’s are now a lot larger and uses more colours and tones, much more smoother but still pixelated due to the limitations of the 16-bit console.


Ocarina-of-Time-great-Deku-TreeLegend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (1998)

Nintendo 64

Trees are now 3D models using polygons, textures are now mapped on the model to give more detail than before, leafs are now separate plains instead of part of the same sprite. each tree now looks different or very few look similar due to limitations of console the tree is jagged.


zelda_tp_hyrule_fieldLegend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006)

Nintendo GameCube

Trees are a lot smoother yet are slightly jagged, Textures are more detailed and fewer trees look similar, leafs are still separate plains attached to the model.


Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011)skyward sword tree

Nintendo Wii

Trees are models are slightly more smoother and textures are slightly more detailed, not much difference but art style of the game has changed in to a more toonish feel, effecting the look of foliage.


wii u zelda (unrealist)Legend Of Zelda (no Title yet) (2016)

Nintendo Wii U

Trees are a lot more smoother and looks a lot more Photo-realistic compared to previous installments, textures are more vibrant and detailed. Game has not yet been released so not final design.

Foliage in Video Games VS Real Life 

Video Gametumblr_n0gssxJ5H11t1kdcio1_400

Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD (2013)

Palm Trees – One Plane for each leaf with a cartoon feel.



Real Lifepalm-trees-maldives

Palm Trees – More fuzzy looking leafs and a thinner trunk.





From this task, i have learned how foliage in video games has improved over the years and how similar they look to there real life inspirations.