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Waylander

Looking for advice for HD tile-based games

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To be clear, I am just now breaking into the transition between learning to program and creating games.  That said, I have learned a lot but there is still much that I don't know.  So this is a fair warning in case my questions/approach isn't the best way to go :).

 

I am yet another aspiring game developer looking to create a "retro 8-bit" game.  I grew up with them, had a lot of fun, and want to make one of my own.  However I am not going strictly 8-bit.  I am going to take advantage of current processing and graphics power but have the 8-bit "feel" (would this be called "faux retro"??).  So I am not limiting myself on colors or anything like that.  But I am basing my sprite design on the 16x16 system.

 

So here is my question:

 

I am going with the 1280x720 resolution and taking my 16x16 sprites and resizing them to 64x64 (so they can be used in the 1280x720 environment).  Are there any known problems with this system or perhaps a better way to go about it?  Is this a "tried and true" system in which case I could be pointed to some documentation that could help me out?

 

I am just looking for advice to try to minimize the amount of rework I'll have to do down the road during development.  Any help would be appreciated :).

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Well, I'd say in a sense it is indeed a tried and true system.  For example, Cave Story and Spelunky did this.  But, instead of resizing the assets for use directly, you are likely better off resizing at game time, taking advantage of modern systems.  I'd keep the graphics at 16x16 and then upscale them via some sort of screen scaling, either as a render texture, or something else, depending on your game engine.  For example, if you are using GameMaker Studio(or a slightly older version), you can simply use viewport settings to make a 256x192 viewport fill the screen, stretched, or not, either full screen, or a mulitple of the original resolution.

 

There are multiple reasons for this.  One, it is quicker to draw small and upscale then to the size you need.  Also, you are designing for a smaller resolution so it can be ported to mobile, etc... if you wish.  You are indeed winning on performance here.  If you are interested in desktop, you also have access to newer video cards, and so you have access to shaders, etc...  So if you draw your smaller game to a texture, you can then draw that texture full screen(or simply scaled) and apply nice shaders to it in the process, like scanlines, color variation, etc... to get the retro feel.  I actually saw an article that Yu Derek had done, explaining these things you can do.

 

My recommendation is to use a nice game engine of sorts.  GameMaker Studio is great, but you lose a bit of control, and you have to pay for the full(better) versions as well.  You could also use some C++ type engine as well.  The point I'm making is that with this type of game, there are many engines that can make it much easier for you, so you don't have to do things all over again that have already been done for you.

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Excellent!  This is the sort of thing I was talking about.  Resizing at game time sounds like the way to go for me.

 

And it sounds like I am off to a decent start.  As far as resolution goes, it looks like I'll be working with 320x180 (4x smaller than the 1280x720 I was looking at).

 

Also, I am using XNA to create the game.  I am looking at doing it from scratch and using that as a learning opportunity (I need all the experience I can get!!).  I'll check out the names and links that were recommended :).

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