HD and widescreen

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Nevermore
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HD and widescreen

Post by Nevermore » June 13th, 2013, 11:06 am

Will the game's engine supports greater resolutions (for example 1280x800) than Book II's graphics options?

Will be widescreen in order to respect the ratio of 16:9 screens?

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Re: HD and widescreen

Post by Kreador Freeaxe » June 13th, 2013, 3:08 pm

The resolution will not change from Book II. The way the sprite design works, they're a fixed resolution. BW has said that the next game, with a completely different engine, will not have this limitation. But expect Book III to have the same general look and feel and resolution as Book II.
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Re: HD and widescreen

Post by Calathon » November 21st, 2013, 2:19 pm

@ Kreador Freeaxe: May I ask where do you get this information from?

The screen resolution of EB II (not to talk about EB I) is, well, old-fashioned and it really stressed my eyes to play the first part of the trilogy. Now I am planning to buy a new monitor of a bigger size (22") and I fear that at a resolution of 1024x768 I will have the same problem like with EB I.
And playing full-screen is not an option for me since I do not miss the pixel-arcade-style of the games in the early 90s.

So I really would appreciate it if one of the developers could make a statement concerning screen resolutions in EB III. :D
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Re: HD and widescreen

Post by SpottedShroom » November 21st, 2013, 2:55 pm

Calathon wrote:May I ask where do you get this information from?
BW has mentioned this several times, but this is probably the most official source:

http://basiliskgames.com/new-book-iii-s ... ment-34109
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Re: HD and widescreen

Post by BasiliskWrangler » November 21st, 2013, 3:02 pm

Okay, here is the full explanation:

The game engine was originally programmed back in 2005 on 21" CRT monitor. For those of you who know these things, CRTs are 4:3 and can generally handle any resolution well. This was perfect for Book 1, which was released in 2007.

During Book 2's development, it was clear that CRTs were on their way out. In 2008 we got new LCD monitors in the studio, and my first LED monitor was still a 4:3 version because that was very common back then. I was not yet convinced that widescreen support for games was going to be commonplace anytime soon (I was wrong about that of course). Still, we upped the resolution for Book 2 to 1024x768 because it scaled better on LCD screens.

So here we are, years later, working on Book 3 and stuck in 1024x768 resolution. Kreador is right- our sprites are all based on a 64x64 two-dimentional matrix and the engine doesn't really scale well. Moving up to a higher resolution will either make everything look really small, or we'll need to re-render all the elements to 96x96 which will take a lot of time and money. Also, even at 1024x768, we are at the limit of some netbook computers (we get a lot of complaints that the screen is cut off).

The engine simply can't handle changeable resolutions for several reasons. How we actually render the game world is limited by the language we used (BlitzMax) which gave us painless cross-platform support at a cost of some performance limitations. Furthermore, so much optimization has been made specifically for a 1024x768 display that in order to change it, even a little, would require a lot of work.

Still, all hope is not lost. Modern day graphic cards (NVIDIA and AMD) can scale the game crisply and preserve the 4:3 aspect ratio flawlessly. I recently played Book 3 on a HD projector to a 12-foot screen. It looked pretty damn awesome, to be honest.

Regardless of all this, Book 3 is this engine's final performance. It will no longer be used for any internal projects as we will be moving on to a completely new engine for what comes next. I'm not saying we will never return to a 2D isometric tile-based game engine, but if we do, it will be completely rewritten for modern displays and hardware.
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Re: HD and widescreen

Post by Calathon » November 21st, 2013, 3:36 pm

SpottedShroom wrote:
Calathon wrote:
one of the developers
Actually, there's only one developer :)
Wow, that is impressive. I thought Basilisk Games is a game developing studio, I never thought it would be a one-man-show. Makes me wonder even more how to create games like these, with so much passion and feeling for the "right stuff". :)

Oh, and thanks for the link, SpottedShroom!
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Re: HD and widescreen

Post by Calathon » November 21st, 2013, 3:45 pm

BasiliskWrangler wrote:Okay, here is the full explanation: [...]
Thank you very much for the detailed information. I do not have too much knowledge about programming, in fact I do not have any. So I thought it would just be a matter of "checking boxes" in order to get a higher resolution. I own a 19" CRT monitor right now, but what I do not understand is how you can have a "pretty damn awesome" image on a 12-foot-screen? I mean, did you play from 4 metres distance? So did I understand you correctly that a larger monitor (even if it is not a 4:3) should not be a problem with EB III ?
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Re: HD and widescreen

Post by BasiliskWrangler » November 21st, 2013, 6:02 pm

Calathon wrote:...but what I do not understand is how you can have a "pretty damn awesome" image on a 12-foot-screen? I mean, did you play from 4 metres distance?
Nope, about 6 feet away. The projector and graphics card scaled everything nicely, making the image have a nice sharp pixely (retro) look and kept the colors bright. It was cool to see everything so large, filling my entire vision, and it put me more inside the game. The surround sound speakers did a great job too.
Calathon wrote:So did I understand you correctly that a larger monitor (even if it is not a 4:3) should not be a problem with EB III ?
My everyday work monitor is a 24" 16:9 LCD. Book 3 looks great full-screen with a proper locked aspect ratio.
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Re: HD and widescreen

Post by Calathon » November 22nd, 2013, 3:05 am

BasiliskWrangler wrote: [...]
My everyday work monitor is a 24" 16:9 LCD. Book 3 looks great full-screen with a proper locked aspect ratio.
Ah, that is good to know! One reason less to not buy a new monitor. :wink:
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Re: HD and widescreen

Post by Kreador Freeaxe » November 22nd, 2013, 7:14 am

BasiliskWrangler wrote:Nope, about 6 feet away. The projector and graphics card scaled everything nicely, making the image have a nice sharp pixely (retro) look and kept the colors bright. It was cool to see everything so large, filling my entire vision, and it put me more inside the game. The surround sound speakers did a great job too.
I think I speak for many of us here when I say "I WANNA PLAY BOOK III ON A 12 FOOT SCREEN! NOW!" ;-)
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Re: HD and widescreen

Post by Calathon » December 28th, 2013, 4:51 am

Father Christmas was kind to me this year, so I am now the proud owner of a 22" LCD monitor - goodbye, old times of CRT monitors. :wink:

Now comes the interesting part of this post: one of the first things I did was playing EB: II in fullscreen and I have to admit: it really looks great! I feared that I would not be able to see a coherent image because of all the giant pixels, but fortunately I got disappointed. Except for the map in the upper right corner I cannot spot any pixels without a spyglass, everything looks really smooth.

I think this will make the EB:III experience even better. :)
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Re: HD and widescreen

Post by Vroqren » December 28th, 2013, 11:19 am

I too had this fear when playing in full screen for the first time, as I always chose the windowed option. Like you though, I was pleasantly surprised.

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Character: here
Book I: here

Book II: here
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Book III: here
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Re: HD and widescreen

Post by aratuk » February 3rd, 2014, 11:59 pm

Hmm, it would be nice if the windowed mode could scale using something simple like a nearest-neighbor filter, for high-res screens. I found a thread discussing the implementation of this in BlitzMax: http://www.blitzbasic.com/Community/pos ... opic=92770.

Sounds like fancy scaling algorithms are probably too slow, but nearest-neighbor might work for many people. (Not to mention that people with high-res screens probably have pretty substantial machines to back them up.)

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Re: HD and widescreen

Post by trinsic » May 2nd, 2014, 1:32 am

For Book III isnt there a way to fix the aspect ratio? the resolution is fine, but the letter boxing is really killing the experience for me. I dont want to strech it across the screen.

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Re: HD and widescreen

Post by raverdave2k » May 2nd, 2014, 3:17 am

There should be an option within your graphics cards settings, usually in the section about scaling, to force aspect ration for full screen programs, with this turned on all of the Book's run in a normal 4:3 ratiowith black bars down the sides
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