Retro Pixel Graphics: Which resolution would YOU use?

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Resolution?

Classic GameBoy - 160x144 (B/W or Color)
7
24%
GameBoy Advance - 240x160
3
10%
NES/SNES - 256x240
4
14%
DOS - 320x200
9
31%
DOS (fake) - 320x240
6
21%
 
Total votes: 29

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Jasoco
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Retro Pixel Graphics: Which resolution would YOU use?

Post by Jasoco » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:18 am

Just a fun little poll. Seeing as 8/16-bit graphics are all the rage these days I thought I'd get an idea of what resolutions people prefer when emulating these old game styles. If your game has fixed screen maps (i.e. as opposed to scrolling maps) you'll need to make the tough decision of what resolution to use because each one has a different "tile resolution" and once you set your map format, it's kind of hard to switch to a new size later on as it would require changing every single map and shifting everything around. The following choices allow for really nice emulation while remaining faithful to the system you're trying to pretend you're on.

Classic GameBoy:
Resolution: 160x144 pixels
The small screen resolution of a GameBoy means you have less on screen. You can go with either the classic 4-color black and white (Rather creamed vetable) modes or the updated GameBoy Color modes.
On a game with 16x16 pixel tiles, you get 10x9 tiles per screen.
Some notable games were the Zelda GB games (Link's Awakening and the Oracles)
Aspect Ratio: Almost square. A fullscreen proportional game will have a lot of black on the left and right on any screen including 4:3. Some popular resolutions will end up with perfectly square pixels.

GameBoy Advance:
Resolution: 240x160
A bit more room than the original GameBoy. Many more colors to show off.
On a game with 16x16 pixel tiles, you get 15x10 tiles.
Notable games include all the Mario Advance titles and Zelda Minish Cap.
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen, but not exactly 16:9 or 16:10. On a 4:3 resolution there will be slight bars on top and bottom, but on widescreen, there will be a small strip on the left and right for both of them.

NES/SNES:
Resolution: 256x240 (240x224 effective)
Not quite 4:3. On a CRT TV, the screen was stretched to 4:3 even though in an emulator it is almost perfectly square. Stretching is about 1.25x horizontally.
On a game with 16x16 pixel tiles, you get 16x15 tiles.
Notable games are the SMB trilogy, Legend of Zelda, Dragon Warrior and many others on the NES. Super Mario All-Stars and Link to the Past as well as the DKC trilogy and many others on SNES.
Aspect Ratio: As mentioned, by default the screen will be almost square like the GameBoy. Black bars will be present no matter what unless you force a 4:3 stretch on a 4:3 display.
ONE THING TO NOTE however is that the actual "usable" resolution of an NES or SNES game was actually 16 pixels less vertically. i.e. 224 pixel height. The top and bottom 8 pixels were cropped off by the TV screen. The consoles drew the top 8 pixels, but the bottom 8 were left empty to save on processing power. The left and right edges were also cropped off on standard CRT TV's as overscan which brings the display area that you can actually see to about 240x224.

DOS:
Resolution: 320x200
Aspect ratio is 16:10. In the classic DOS days this mode was used in 256-color mode for many games like DOOM and other FPS games.
On a game with 16x16 pixel tiles, you end up with 20x12.5 tiles. Not quite 13 tiles high, but 8 pixels of extra space if you only use 12 pixels. You could use this for a status bar, or just have half a tile on screen.
Notable games are pretty much any DOS game from the later 80's and 90's before Quake. From 4-color CGA to 16 or 256-color EGA.
Aspect Ratio: 16:10, which is pretty common for widescreen computer displays these days. No bars will be present unless you have an old 4:3 monitor or a 16:9 computer display or HDTV.

DOS (Fake):
Resolution: 320x240
This is kind of a fake resolution because I do not believe any actual DOS games used this resolution back in the day. It was either 320x200 EGA mode or 640x480 VGA mode back then. But many Indie games use this resolution as a convenience.
On a game with 16x16 pixel tiles, you end up with 20x15 tiles per screen.
Notable games are many Indie games, but most notably Cave Story and Spelunky.
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 exactly which is mainly for convenience, but then again when Cave Story came out, 4:3 was pretty common and widescreen was still pretty new.

Image

Personally, I've usually defaulted to "DOS" mode (320x200) when starting projects. It fits perfectly on my MacBook Air screen which is 16:10. But doesn't scale up 100% on my 1440x900 screen like it did on my older 1280x800 resolution. (Scale factor of 4.5x vs. 4x)
Last edited by Jasoco on Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Retro Pixel Graphics: Which resolution would YOU use?

Post by Delibrete » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:31 am

Personally I chose Dos(fake) because it's 640x480 split in half. I also usually make sprites in 16x16 or 16x32 which fit perfectly along this res.

Interesting poll.

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Re: Retro Pixel Graphics: Which resolution would YOU use?

Post by Nixola » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:15 pm

I choose DOS (standard one) 'cause... Ok, I don't know, I only like it more than the others
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Re: Retro Pixel Graphics: Which resolution would YOU use?

Post by josefnpat » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:13 pm

While considering, I think it would also be important to remember the color palette that one *would* be using:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_vi ... e_palettes
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Re: Retro Pixel Graphics: Which resolution would YOU use?

Post by Inny » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:40 pm

My heart goes to 320x240 (QVGA it's called), but I will admit that it's only because it's the same aspect ratio as 640x480 (VGA). I'm half surprised that a 16:9 "retro" ratio hasn't bubbled up to the top yet as the most commonly chose resultion, though the 240x160 (HQVGA) looks to be gaining popularity (and the iPhone almost certainly plays a factor in that).

If everyone looked to me, for some reason, to decide what would become the new standard among all retro game makes, and I couldn't pick QVGA, the next step up for me would be 400x240 (WQVGA), though I've never seen that one used before.

There are these two lists here on wikipedia which show off all of the most common resolutions, and what uses them:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... esolutions
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphic_d ... esolutions

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Re: Retro Pixel Graphics: Which resolution would YOU use?

Post by tentus » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:49 pm

I'm a fan of DOS original flavor, but as the others have said, DOS fake has a number of conveniences going for it. I'd go with one of those two.
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Re: Retro Pixel Graphics: Which resolution would YOU use?

Post by nevon » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:14 pm

320x200, because 16:10 is almost as awesome as 16:9.

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Re: Retro Pixel Graphics: Which resolution would YOU use?

Post by Jasoco » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:16 pm

josefnpat wrote:While considering, I think it would also be important to remember the color palette that one *would* be using:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_vi ... e_palettes
Good point. If you're going to emulate a specific console or display style, make sure to use a proper palette.

I also added a note to the NES/SNES section regarding the "effective" resolution those consoles actually had.
"...the actual "usable" resolution of an NES or SNES game was actually 16 pixels less vertically. i.e. 224 pixel height. The top and bottom 8 pixels were cropped off by the TV screen. The consoles drew the top 8 pixels, but the bottom 8 were left empty to save on processing power." The 8 pixels on each side were also cropped off in many cases. So the real effective resolution not counting all throw-away borders is 240x224 instead of 256x240.
nevon wrote:320x200, because 16:10 is almost as awesome as 16:9.
You can also crop it to 320x192 and make it actual 16:9 if you had to. It's so close.

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