Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

You can talk about almost anything that you want to on this board.

Moderator: Moderators

93143
Posts: 1194
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:31 pm

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by 93143 » Tue May 26, 2015 3:05 pm

Myask wrote:It bugs me, as it appears to be a cut corner. Someone will have to make(show) a work where it is used thusly that does not suffer for it, I suspect.
Do the Touhou fighting games do that? The pixels in the character sprites are considerably larger than the ones in the backgrounds, and I don't imagine they snap to the coarser grid, but it's hard to get motion (as distinct from animation) slow enough to tell...

Pixel art and "retro" game design are really two separate things. And if you're not trying to be retro, I don't see that pixel art needs to adhere to any particular set of artificial rules as long as the result looks good.

...

But if you are trying to be retro, that sort of thing seems lazy. EDIT: deleted perfectionist rant.
Last edited by 93143 on Fri May 29, 2015 1:00 am, edited 2 times in total.

Revenant
Posts: 442
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:47 pm
Location: FL

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by Revenant » Tue May 26, 2015 3:15 pm

Myask wrote:It bugs me, as it appears to be a cut corner. Someone will have to make(show) a work where it is used thusly that does not suffer for it, I suspect.
Both Hotline Miami games feature both subpixel movement and gratuitous rotation, but the games are also so heavily stylized (in completely separate ways from the pixelated look) that it doesn't really seem out of place when you're in the middle of it.

Or maybe that's just my inner fanboy talking, but I can't think of any other games that have such well-done aesthetics in spite of violating the rules of "authentic" pixel art.

Sik
Posts: 1589
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:43 am

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by Sik » Tue May 26, 2015 8:42 pm

Relevant to this thread
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=p ... 0wxo#t=155

Nice way to use scaling =P

Also this reminds me of how the C64 can mix both low resolution 4×8 tiles (with 4 colors) and high resolution 8×8 tiles (with 2 colors). Sprites are similar (you can have both types simultaneously too).

User avatar
Myask
Posts: 965
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:04 pm

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by Myask » Thu May 28, 2015 1:33 pm

Revenant wrote:Both Hotline Miami games feature both subpixel movement and gratuitous rotation
The pixels are also quite a lot larger than the display pixels. Hotline Miami does look good.
C64-notions, well, you've still got the underlying half-size display grid, so it doesn't look too out of place (the seagulls look a little odd, I'll admit, but it doesn't seem to clash. Also, they were on CRTs...)

93143
Posts: 1194
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:31 pm

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by 93143 » Thu May 28, 2015 3:34 pm

A few seconds of watching Hotline Miami on YouTube gives me the impression that while the pixel art is there to help provide a "retro" feel, it does so in the sense of evoking associations with a certain time period (as do other design elements such as the phone graphic) rather than in the sense of trying to emulate the limitations of older hardware at a whole-game level. Accordingly I think modern elements such as subpixel motion are perfectly legitimate artistic choices.

If you're attempting to make a game that looks like it was made on older hardware, though, I tend to think you should stick as closely as you can to the limitations of a specific machine, ideally developing on actual hardware. I realize others don't take quite as hard a line on this as I do, but in the case of pixel-by-pixel motion (or half-pixel if you're imitating a platform that can do it) it never looked all that bad unless the developer screwed up somewhere, so not bothering with it really does come across as needlessly inauthentic IMO.

...yes, I realize this is mostly just a slightly wordier version of my previous post in this thread. I'll shut up now, until such time as further posting is warranted.

Optiroc
Posts: 129
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:15 am
Location: Sweden

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by Optiroc » Fri May 29, 2015 2:43 am

Being a huge fan of Sega's "super scaler" tech (and similar) since it was invented, I've always been fond of games/hardware that defy the pixel grid and go crazy with its sprites and backgrounds. Hotline Miami was a perfect psychedelic loveletter to that aesthetic for me.

But I agree that modern pixel games that just go half-way – like, 3x/4x zoomed pixel assets, no particular zoom/rotation effects but 1x scrolling – make an unintellectual impression and often just looks fake and sloppy.

Sik
Posts: 1589
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:43 am

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by Sik » Fri May 29, 2015 9:07 am

Superscaler games never defied the pixel grid though =/ Also the appeal of them was making objects out of sprites and have them look 3D-ish (usually this meant multiple sprites for stuff like buildings or walls so perspective worked on them), while that faded out with proper 3D rendering it's definitely something that could be done with modern hardware without even having to resort to pixelart (high resolution sprites with texture filtering, anyone?)

User avatar
tokumaru
Posts: 11757
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:43 pm
Location: Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by tokumaru » Fri May 29, 2015 11:58 am

One question: if the thread is about modern platforms, what the hell is it doing in the SNES forum?

psycopathicteen
Posts: 2937
Joined: Wed May 19, 2010 6:12 pm

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by psycopathicteen » Fri May 29, 2015 12:38 pm

I was thinking about asking the same question.

tepples
Posts: 22017
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 11:12 pm
Location: NE Indiana, USA (NTSC)
Contact:

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by tepples » Fri May 29, 2015 12:46 pm

Because it was split from another topic in SNESdev forum. Moved.

User avatar
rainwarrior
Posts: 7824
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:03 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by rainwarrior » Fri May 29, 2015 1:08 pm

Optiroc wrote:Being a huge fan of Sega's "super scaler" tech (and similar) since it was invented, I've always been fond of games/hardware that defy the pixel grid and go crazy with its sprites and backgrounds.
Ah! Yeah, that's actually a pretty good analogue. Stuff like Blaster, Afterburner, or Space Harrier were full of pixel-size mismatch and sometimes rotation in a way that a lot of modern "pixel" games do. Of course, they probably saw it as a defect of not having enough memory for higher resolution sprites, though, not an aesthetically valid solution. ;P Sik makes a good point that it was purely in the service of 3D rendering.

User avatar
mikejmoffitt
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:43 pm

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by mikejmoffitt » Fri May 29, 2015 7:32 pm

I think not respecting the pixel grid, either through half-pixel movement or pixels not lining up, looks not just like lazy art, but lazy design sense in general. The only reason I can think of someone being okay with that situation is that they don't know a lot about pixel art and don't have the ability to look at their game and see that something looks screwy. It makes shitty looking pixel art, and contributes to the pile of games that just take low-res graphics and shit all over them that way. Flappy Bird is a particularly popular game that (in my opinion) makes poor use of pixel art.

I am skipping pedantic examples like scaling up sprites, as those produce uneven pixels, but the (admittedly ugly) result still respects the platform's constraints. Pixel art doesn't have to look like a specific platform, but the style is about restrictions of some sort and the pixel grid is probably the only one that is universal across all pixel art.

I would like to congratulate Towerfall: Ascension for having almost all of its in-game graphics respect the pixel grid, yet not feel like the player's movements are restricted as a result.

User avatar
Drew Sebastino
Formerly Espozo
Posts: 3503
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:35 pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by Drew Sebastino » Fri May 29, 2015 7:40 pm

mikejmoffitt wrote:Flappy Bird is a particularly popular game that (in my opinion) makes poor use of pixel art.
I think you mean to say was.

tepples
Posts: 22017
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 11:12 pm
Location: NE Indiana, USA (NTSC)
Contact:

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by tepples » Fri May 29, 2015 7:48 pm

It's still out there on *cough* certain APK archives. Besides, Splashy Fish has the same problem. The unofficial NES port of Flappy Bird corrected this.

User avatar
thefox
Posts: 3141
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 10:36 am
Location: Tampere, Finland
Contact:

Re: Subpixel movement of pixel art on modern platforms

Post by thefox » Fri May 29, 2015 8:10 pm

I'm a bit torn on this issue.

After playing Shovel Knight on 3DS, I was surprised to hear that it doesn't respect the pixel grid (sprites don't line up to the background pixel grid). I really couldn't tell on the small screen. Looking at a video it's quite obvious from how smoothly the sprites move. I can say that generally I prefer authenticity (whatever it means in this case), but don't know how critical I can be about it if I can't even notice that something's off... It's certainly a fair decision to prioritize the smooth movement, and not to apply artificial restrictions to specifically prevent it.

(OT: I was also slightly surprised in Shovel Knight's ending credits to see that they used an actual physics engine (Box2D) for the game. Clarification: I'm not saying that it's somehow more manly to not use one, but my experiences with using "real" physics engines for platforming engines haven't been so great.)
Download STREEMERZ for NES from fauxgame.com! — Some other stuff I've done: fo.aspekt.fi

Post Reply