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Arannir

8-bit or 16-bit?

35 posts in this topic

Regarding the off-topic conversation about high bit-depths -- yes, most Dx9 cards can render with 32bit float channels (and/or 16bit float channels), for 96bit colour (if you ignore the alpha channel because it's not typically "color"). The PS3/360 are included in this club wink.png

 

I'd say that it's likely very common for PS3/360 games to use 30bit (10bit x RGB), 32bit (16bit luminance + 8bit x 2 chrominance) or 48bit (16bit x RGB) colour as their internal rendering format. This will then get crunched down to 8bit x RGB or 10bit x RGB for output to the TV.

 

The situation is likely still the same on the next-gen consoles and PC's -- there's not much benefit in going up to 96bit colour from 48bit.

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But remember the NES and SMS can do 8x16 sprites, so those characters would only consume 2 sprites per scanline.

No, that's 8 wide by 16 tall. OP's sprites consume 3 hardware sprites per scanline on either machine -- neither of them supported sprite widths of anything other than 8 pixels. Sprite width is typically the limiting factor in real sprite-based hardware -- its the only way for simple hardware to maintain a deterministic speed of execution, different hardware might support wider sprites or more sprites, but there's a fixed budget of processing power available per scanline, and results need to be available in hard real-time.

 

Even the NEO-GEO, which had the most capable sprite hardware of any console (Saturn was more capable, but supported sprites with hybrid sprite-polygon hardware) had sprites of a fixed width  of 16 pixels (although they could be 16 to 512 pixels tall) and the hardware could "only" handle 96 sprites per scanline; interestingly, the NEO-GEO had no dedicated concept of tiles or background layers -- the entire screen is drawn using z-ordered sprites.

 

Some contemporary computers of the day had more-flexible blitter-based graphics (like the Amiga, and its consolized version, the CD32), but that's different.

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I count 11 distinct colors, so strictly speaking one could call it 4 bit graphics (thus, 8 bit is closer than 16 bit).

 

 


Those images have way too many colors (11 colors each) to be practical on any 8-bit console, and the colors used are not appropriate to an 8-bit console's color gambit.

They do, in fact, very roughly approximate the "low-fi" style of 16-bit console games like Earthbound on the SNES, which include certain hallmarks of 8-bit-style art, like hyper-saturated colors and pure black outlines, but within the greater color depth afforded by a 16-bit console.

So, to be clear, does 8/16-bit refer to color depth (256-colors vs highcolor) or word size (NES vs SNES)?

 

 

I've been thinking about this recently... people say look at this 8bit style gfx...

I dont think they mean bit depth I think they classify based on consoles / computers cpu bits

 

On top of that most people say 8bit for nearly anything pixeled that looks like it has a limited pallete.

So if it was more like 16bit, someone will still say 8bit... some of that might even be they forgot the limitations

of 8bit machines.

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It seems there is some confusion here ?

The "bit" aspect of consoles that was so popular back in the days wasn't about the bitrate of Still Images,but a quality of hardware,specifically processors.

NES had an 8bit processor,SNES a 16 bit processor,ps1 a 32bit processor,and N64 a 64bit processor.

 

There is a reason why companies stopped marketing 'bits' for their consoles,and that is because up until PS4 and Xbox One,nothing more than 32 bit CPU was actually needed.

Even the high end computers today,still use either 32bits or 64bits. 32 bit processors are good enough until you need more of 4gb of RAM. 64bit processing is only now starting to become mainstream,as more and more heavy applications are made,and users tend to multitask more. 128 bit processing isn't coming any time soon,as 64 bit processors can use up to 16 exabytes of memory.

 

That basically means that no matter the pixel count of each individual art piece you make,if you want let's say to make a true 16bit game what you should do is to make a game that is limited only to what 16bit processors could do.

 

A limitation of that,is that the game shouldn't need more of 16 mb of RAM to run...

Edited by Stavros Dimou
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It seems there is some confusion here ?

The "bit" aspect of consoles that was so popular back in the days wasn't about the bitrate of Still Images,but a quality of hardware,specifically processors.

NES had an 8bit processor,SNES a 16 bit processor,ps1 a 32bit processor,and N64 a 64bit processor.

 

There is a reason why companies stopped marketing 'bits' for their consoles,and that is because up until PS4 and Xbox One,nothing more than 32 bit CPU was actually needed.

Even the high end computers today,still use either 32bits or 64bits. 32 bit processors are good enough until you need more of 4gb of RAM. 64bit processing is only now starting to become mainstream,as more and more heavy applications are made,and users tend to multitask more. 128 bit processing isn't coming any time soon,as 64 bit processors can use up to 16 exabytes of memory.

 

That basically means that no matter the pixel count of each individual art piece you make,if you want let's say to make a true 16bit game what you should do is to make a game that is limited only to what 16bit processors could do.

 

A limitation of that,is that the game shouldn't need more of 16 mb of RAM to run...

 

There is no confusion, terms like 8bit to describe artwork  etc. have become seperated from any technical meaning.

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It seems there is some confusion here ?

The "bit" aspect of consoles that was so popular back in the days wasn't about the bitrate of Still Images,but a quality of hardware,specifically processors.

NES had an 8bit processor,SNES a 16 bit processor,ps1 a 32bit processor,and N64 a 64bit processor.

 

...

 

That basically means that no matter the pixel count of each individual art piece you make,if you want let's say to make a true 16bit game what you should do is to make a game that is limited only to what 16bit processors could do.

 

Yes and no -- Certainly most of the early consoles were marketted as "bits" of their CPU, but regardless of whether the word-size of the CPU was tied to the graphics capabilities or not (mostly not), there's still a strong correlation to the display chips that were available and innexpensive at the time -- The graphics chip in the NES, Master System, Genesis, and some of the contemporary 8-bit home computers were all relatively similar in capability and some of them were within the same chip family. When people say "8-bit graphics" they don't mean an 8-bit graphics processor necessarily (and really, it doesn't even make much sense to speak of the graphics chips of the day themselves in terms of bit-ness), they mean "graphics typical of consoles with 8-bit CPUs".

 

Definately, though, 8-bit graphics are about the feel -- the NES color palette is probably the strongest example -- When you see a screenshot of an old NES game, you know its NES because of the somewhat odd palette, look at a Master System game from the same time period and you're not sure -- it could be a master system, or it could be an early EGA/VGA PC game just as easily. Then there are limits on the use of colors -- 4 colors in any 8x8 pixel tile -- which affected the overall aesthetics of the full-screen images.

 

And 8-bit games are about the feel too -- Take a game that is otherwise faithfully 8-bit, but allow for perfect sprite rotation -- completely breaks the 8-bit illusion. Same for having animation that's too detailed, or having sprites that are too large (that aren't static -- some games had large "sprites" that were part of the background, so had the same limitations as the background).

 


A limitation of that,is that the game shouldn't need more of 16 mb of RAM to run...

 

Not necessarily. Getting a retro-looking game to run feasiby on modern hardware in a straight-forward way (e.g. not writing what's essentially an emulator) is going to eat up more memory. The run-time format of your images alone will be 4-16 times larger, and sound effects and music can be many hundreds of times larger (even if compressed to mp3 format) -- modern hardware just doesn't work in the way the old consoles did.

 

The real litmus test is whether your retro game would be feasible to implement on one of those old systems.

Edited by Ravyne
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Do you think we'll get a 128-bit version of Windows 10?


Nah, its going to be a very long time before we see 128bit word-size/address-space in a commodity CPU.

While the transition from 8-to-16, and 16-to-32 bit architectures was driven by both address space *and* computation concerns, the transition from 32-to-64 bit was almost entirely driven by address-space. 32bit math is plenty large for most things (except pointer arithmetic on 64 bit machines), and for everything that's left over, a big-number library is probably a practical necessity anyways. There's no push for 128bit integers, and even large clusters are no where near exhausting a 64 bit address space. I bet google, Facebook, the other top-10 internet sites, and the NSA combined aren't near either.

Perhaps in specialized machines or big-iron, but not in the commodity market.
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Do you think we'll get a 128-bit version of Windows 10?
We're almost past the point of "CPU bits" being not very meaningful.

Modern CPUs can operate on 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit, 64-bit, 80-bit, 128-bit, and 512-bit datatypes, using different instructions and different registers.

Despite that, we'd just call it a 64-bit CPU.

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I'd put them under 8bit artwork rather than 16bit. As 8bit tends to have less detail pixels than 16bit.

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i would go with 8bit from a purely audience expectation perspective. It 'looks' 8bit....regardless of whether it is or not

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