Ooo, pretty…

So I was screwing around with some random bits of polish in the game and realised that I havn't tried fullscreen since I got my shiny new widescreen monitor a few months back. Unfortunately since the game is always rendered at 800x600 (and therefore a 4:3 aspect ratio) it looks a bit rubish when streched over a 16:10 display.

An hour of hacky tinering and it's running at the native res and aspect ratio, and the results are rather pretty I think:

(click for full size version)

I was surprised to find that only a few things were resolution-dependant. The HUD was the most obvious, since it used hard-coded positional values, so it now uses relative offsets from the screen edges. The menus are all borked too, since they're hardcoded to 800x600 so end up huddled in the bottom corner, I'll worry about them later.

The problem is that I think it breaks the gameplay - searching and exploring the map is a large part of the fun and challenge, and you don't get that when you can see half or a third of it on screen at a time. In fact it makes some maps laughably easy. But visually it looks so good I'm not sure I want to let it go.

Decisions decisions...

9 Responses to “Ooo, pretty…”

  1. Dave TZ Says:

    Yeah, I’m not sure if 2D native full screen resolution can work from a gameplay perspective if you’ll keep seeing more of the game world as resolutions go up. You’ll get a different game depending on what monitor you play it with.

    The only way I could see this work is if you scale the sprites to fit the new resolution. If they’re vectors it could be possible to redraw them at each resolution. That’s something I’ve had on my to do list for a few years and have never got round in implementing myself – must get round to doing it this year!

  2. JC Says:

    At this point in the game I really don’t want to change the sprites to be higher res. Firstly because most of the sprites aren’t vectors and so would need redrawing (including the landscape and building sprites which are carefully hand-pixeled). But also because there’s a lot of metadata associated with each sprite (such as offsets, bounding regions, spawn positions etc.) which would have to be redone as well. And at the end of it all I might end up making the game unplayable for people on lower spec computers.

    I’ve got a solution in mind though, which I’ll be posting about in a bit.

  3. iliak Says:

    Just make a something like fog. the player can see that a certain distance.

  4. M2tM Says:

    Maybe some kind of “fog of war” type system would allow you to display an arbitrary resolution while maintaining the exploratory aspect. Either that or instead of displaying an arbitrary resolution scale the display maintaining aspect ratio and black-box the remainder of the screen.

  5. M2tM Says:

    One more comment, the tech involved in arbitrary resolutions is something that is more cheaply done from the get-go. This isn’t to chastise you, but to remind myself for my current project to focus on this right now.

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