Author Topic: About backgrounds in LucasArts adventure games  (Read 1394 times)

cat

  • Mittens Baronet
  • AGS Baker
  • Now investigating MonoAGS
    • cat worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      cat worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: About backgrounds in LucasArts adventure games
« Reply #20 on: 19 Apr 2018, 19:48 »
You could also try IrfanView's color reduction.

Snarky

  • Global Moderator
  • Mittens Earl
  • Private Insultant
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: About backgrounds in LucasArts adventure games
« Reply #21 on: 19 Apr 2018, 21:40 »
That really shouldn't matter, any more than it should matter what application you use to flip an image horizontally: nearest-neighbor scaling is a simple and precisely defined operation with only correct result for a given task.

I have to correct myself here. There is one undefined aspect of nearest-neighbor that different apps might implement differently: What to do if a pixel in the scaled image falls in the exact middle between two (or four) pixels in the original image. This gives you the option between all the various rounding methods (up, down, random, bankers...), or of taking the average of the adjacent pixels; and all these variations could give a noticeably different look to the output under suitable conditions.

Kweepa

  • Mutated Guano Deviser
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2009, for his modules and plugins
    •  
    • Kweepa worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: About backgrounds in LucasArts adventure games
« Reply #22 on: 20 Apr 2018, 00:30 »
(Nearest neighbour should never take an average. That would defeat the purpose - which is generally to not introduce new colors or blur the image in any way.)
Still waiting for Purity of the Surf II

Snarky

  • Global Moderator
  • Mittens Earl
  • Private Insultant
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: About backgrounds in LucasArts adventure games
« Reply #23 on: 20 Apr 2018, 05:18 »
It could make sense for upscaling, e.g. if you want to scale up an image to 6.5x.

Which is not to say that it's a good choice for a standard implementation of the algorithm, just mathematically valid in principle.
« Last Edit: 20 Apr 2018, 05:59 by Snarky »

Re: About backgrounds in LucasArts adventure games
« Reply #24 on: 20 Apr 2018, 11:29 »
I also disagree pretty vehemently that Photoshop looks best. It's better than the GIMP, but it's still afflicted with dithering pretty much covering the entire image – and what's worse, single-pixel dithering. Pixelator has a much more pleasant look to my eyes, though it feels a tad too soft. Playing with curves and contrast to get stronger outlines like in the original screen (which I think still looks better than any of these - just check out the sky in the top right, for example – presumably due to manual retouching and/or palette optimization) before downscaling and color reduction would probably have helped.

PS: Quite interesting to notice how in the game version they blurred elements of the foreground digitally.

Agree on all accounts.
Unintentional, unordered dithering of any sorts looks awful on modern LCD screens. The same goes for rogue (magenta, green, especially white) pixels. It's the fact we were looking at crappy old CRTs and that we knew no better that made it so awesome. The cheaper the monitor was, the better pixel shader it had. :tongue: In those circumstance, there was no dithering, there was just a smooth gradient between colors and rogue pixels were erm... artistic accents. It all looked good then, that's the reason they left it in, in the first place.

There are quite a few areas where these MI2 backgrounds were retouched by hand, to add more detail to edges and stuff like that.

In this day and age I see little to no reason to downscale traditional art. Either go hi-res or do it digitally, either as pixel art or digital painting.
But if I had to take the downscaling route because, let's say, it makes character animation less demanding, and that's the biggest pro I can think of - I would take some extra time to separate the original scan into layers and then downscale, color correct and index each layer separately. Just imagine, in 1991 you probably had to have a Graphic Workstation (anybody remember those?) to do stuff like that. Nowadays any netbook with GIMP installed can do the trick.

In any case, IMO, Monkey 2 had the worst fitting backgrounds of all Lucasarts games. Not that they're artistically bad (they're great!), it's just like the art direction was slightly lost, trying too hard to be Sierra-like. While in fact it was Sierra and their blurry, muddy VGA backgrounds who were wrong all along (hindsight 20-20). DOTT and Sam&Max proved that, and then some.
« Last Edit: 20 Apr 2018, 11:31 by doimus »

Danvzare

  • The Man with No Name
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • I can help with play testing
    •  
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
Re: About backgrounds in LucasArts adventure games
« Reply #25 on: 20 Apr 2018, 11:33 »
I also disagree pretty vehemently that Photoshop looks best. It's better than the GIMP, but it's still afflicted with dithering pretty much covering the entire image – and what's worse, single-pixel dithering.
Well there was more than one option for Photoshop (and GIMP). Most notably to take off the dithering. Photoshop also had an option to use a patterned dithering, which made the whole image look like a checkerboard. I just put up the ones that I thought looked the best.
But from your response, I'm starting to think that maybe I should put up the others.

You could also try IrfanView's color reduction.
And try out IrfanView's colour reduction while I'm at it. Which is yet another art program I already have on my computer. (laugh)

EDIT:
Here are the other settings for colour reduction.
Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
Photoshop without dithering


Photoshop with diffusion dithering (the one I used in my previous post).


Photoshop with pattern dithering.



Gimp without dithering.


Gimp with Floyd Steinberg (Normal) dithering.


Gimp with Floyd Steinberg (reduced color bleeding) dithering (the one I used in my previous post).


Gimp with positioned dithering.



Pixelator (the one I used in my previous post)



IrfanView without dithering.


IrfanView with dithering.



Having looked at all of these, I am absolutely gobsmacked at how good IrfanView looks. I actually had to double check to see if it was indeed 128 colours (it is).
That being said, I think Gimp with positioned dithering has a certain type of charm to it.
« Last Edit: 20 Apr 2018, 14:48 by Danvzare »