Sunday, 12 February 2012

How not to HD

Hey Allie, great news! Our beloved Ace Attorney series is getting a high resolution remastering for iOS devices. This means people will be able to enjoy the series with new and improved visu-

Sometimes there are grey areas within the legal system.

Oh that's right bitches! We need to talk. We need to talk about HD remakes. In particular, up-rezzing pixel art style games. It's all the rage to be porting old games to the ipad, console downloadables, etc. and for some reason they think people are going to need to redraw the graphics to make them fit the new resolution. That's fine... unless you do it really poorly. So that it looks tons worse than the original. 

At least they gave you more Dominic Armato. <3
It's not like we have anything against HD 2D games. I think we can safely say that we both love 2D art, regardless of the resolution and there are tons of absolutely gorgeous examples out there. It really pains me to see things that could only been the work of dark voodoo magic and the blood sacrifice of any nostalgia you might have had for a property.

Actually there are plenty of ways to achieve this: automated filters and re-drawing software, or good old fashioned cheap and half-assed manual labour without any art direction. Because, hey, its all already there right? You just need to basically fill it out with more pixels, like how they inject water into meat to make it bigger.

Unfortunately, sprites are optimised for their purpose; meaning they'll be charicaturised in funny ways to fit the blocky constraints, and the anatomy doesn't work so well when it's all zoomed in on. 

Exactly. You don't approach a piece of art the same way if your workspaces are 24x32 and 144x192 in size. The canvas of the HD remaster-sprites are often as large as the entire screen of the original games they are basing it on! And let's not even get into how "HD" iOS games aren't technically even HD yet.

Of course, with a lot of these HD versions they keep the number of animation frames the same. So the graphics might look like the latest uncharted game, but it'll still move like a space invader!

Help, I have back problems.
All this proves is that high res art isn't inherently superior. Even if the individual elements are competently done, like in the case of the Final Fantasy remake, seeing those assets in motion is pretty nasty. You have larger, detailed sprites that still have the same chugging 2 frames of animation. When your size and amount of detail increases, your animation needs to follow.

Let's just make a new rule to say that if you can't make it look better, why not just keep it the way it was? It'll save you a bunch of extra work and development costs.

Hello there, stock photoshop texture on the walls.

Man look at this shit. The line quality, the half-assed background. 
You're not doing it right if your 256x192 assets stretched out to the far corners of the world look better than your HD remastering. The texture that's on the walls and the little statue he's holding are practically the same too! Not to mention there is practically zero depth in there because of it.

This is a Capcom game, folks!

Aran out of ideas.
Here, I did my own 5-minute attempt at a sprite remaster as an example. See how the anatomy just doesn't work any more when you stick to proportions of the old sprite. Samus' head has no reason to be this big any longer and that arm blaster looks all dinky and weird when it's this short.

Actually, I think that looks pretty good! I kinda like it.


Maybe this is just an example of how easy it could be to do a good HD remake if you just put the effort in?

;o; But I DIDN'T put effort into that!

So you made an ugly game, but why do Allie and Tobi consider that to be such a terrible crime?

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