Looks amazing 😁 forget about real-time raytracing, this kind of style is much better for my taste!

@FrankenGraphics gosh that's beautiful. if you don't mind a silly question, will the game have that aspect ratio, and if so, how are you making an nes game have that ratio?

@bri_seven Thank you!

Oh no it's not a silly question! The NES has a fixed pixel resolution of 256x240; this is something you cannot change.

So when i post level cutouts on social media, it's to fit the viewport of mast/tw, but the game has a 4:3 viewport.

It's hypothetically possible to design an NES game for a modern widescreen ratio; accepting super wide pixels, but this game doesn't do that

Another difference is that NES pixels are actually something like 8:7, not 1:1; appearing wider.

@bri_seven yeah that would totally be possible too. Instruct the user to use a zoom setting on the tv. Then you can maintain the normal pixel ratio.

You can also faux half resolutions and the like with chunky pixel patterns and choppy movement.

@FrankenGraphics i was a little curious about how interlacing would work with a hardware nes and an hd tv- would it be possible to bankswitch the chr rom every other frame, and get double vertical resolution!

@bri_seven It's funny because the NES already does that. It utilizes a "double strike" hardware hack that produces doubled vertical resolution (240 instead of 120) at 60hz. This is why you see moving sprites tear apart mid-pixel on TV:s set to interlace mode (there's a disconnect between what's a software pixel and what's a screen dot).

I think your idea should work. For anyone not using or having access to interlace, it would appear as flickery blur though! Be sure to warn for seizure risk.

@FrankenGraphics I thought double strike was to halve the resolution- not double? cos the natural resolution is 480i, the NES gets 240p with double strike. The SNES works similarly and some games (secret of mana) have 480i modes.

@bri_seven Ah sorry, i messed up in my head while typing. Yes, that's correct, forget what i just said haha.

@FrankenGraphics I feel like a pedantic nerd playing gotcha. Sorreee. I'm just dreaming of cool graphx trixxxxx

@bri_seven Haha no worries! It's good that things blurted out to quickly aren't left unanswered; there's enough confusion floating around the web as it is haha



This "half hidden" look really works, amazing graphics for the hardware.

@FediThing Thank you! Keeping lots of black also helps against sprites feeling too messy against the backdrop. The NES palette was designed so that all colours are in stark contrast to black, by oldschool arcade custom, which means there are no properly dark or semisaturated background colours to choose from.

@FediThing (you can coax a few semisaturateds out of using the emphasis/tint bits to that effect, but it's of a pretty limited usecase and very rare in the wild. Still doesn't give you any functional darks).


Ahhh okay... that explains a lot.

The NES's colours seem a bit weird (subdued?) to modern eyes, but if they were meant to be against black backgrounds that makes more sense.

Certainly it looks nicer against black as you're using it!

@FediThing Yeah, it's a love-hate relationship for me. While it has qualities to sherish, i feel that all i ever try to do is to trick myself around it haha.

To its defense, the palette didn't feel as banale on an old TV with all its colour artifacts and rice grain-shaped phosphor grille.

@FrankenGraphics I was just thinking about this while looking at the art :D You're creating a best-case scenario for the NES palette here, it really isn't great when the dominant/background colour is anything but black. Makes me want to play around with some dark setting too ;o;

It's also neat how there's very little dithering, I guess you expect this to be mostly played on non-CRTs?


If the sales of Project Blue is to go by, it seems the ratio is something like 1/3 digital sales and 2/3 physical (but we haven't released that on switch etc yet).

You actually have to watch out for dithering and be very conservative with it on a physical NES regardless TV; at least an NTSC generatin NES. Checker patterns display very poorly; especially when scrolling, and should ideally be avoided unless it's a tiny border detail

@eishiya this because vertically, pixels are being offset in a staggered 3-pixel pattern, and because as you scroll, the warped pattern will warp, dance and shimmer to a distracting and generally unwanted effect.

@FrankenGraphics Oh, I've not heard of this. Where does this vertical offset come from?

@eishiya It's something with the PPU:s signal generation clock that doesn't quite match up with perfect square pixel alighnment. So if you draw a single pixel width vertical line, you'll see a very evident stagger effect that looks a bit like a warped rope. The pattern repeats every 3rd pixel. This warp will wiggle and worm a bit as you move the camera around, this, plus the positions of the RGB phosphors, create a weird shimmer effect sometimes depending on content.

@FrankenGraphics Huh, neat! I never noticed that, I guess since my only experiences with physical NESes have been through videos of games and not in person.

Thanks for the explanation!

@eishiya It helps explain why you mostly see generous use of perfectly ordered dither patterns in PC games, or in the "wave"/win 3.11-aesthetic-seeking pixel art scene, or else historically, sometimes on the NES from "western" studios that mostly had personal experience with home computers.

You can use it more generously in still screens if you're willing to accept the braid pattern.

I also use it for certain dusty light ray effects because i don't mind that they dance as the game scrolls.

@FrankenGraphics The dusty light ray thing is really clever! I hope I'll get to see how that looks eventually.

@FrankenGraphics Absolutely beautiful! That's the same kind of vibe I want to work towards with Castle Titania too, a stark twilight silhouetted by trees and stained glass

@FrankenGraphics picking up on the colour discussion in the thread, I was thinking of aiming for a sort of SMS/GG/A500 style with my game, with its more unbound 4-bit palette indexes and RGB gamut. have any thoughts on that vs. the NES?

@elfi Basically as soon as you go 4bpp, most "hard" considerations of a retro system are dropped and you can draw nearly "anything" you could want for 2D graphics. It can be hard to meaningfully differentiate free form pixel art from that conforming to a system with 4bit patterns and a definable RGB palette; especially combined with colour cells and subpalette systems, like on the SNES. Which may be precicely what one wants. Gives lots of space to define a framework for oneself.

@elfi I feel an aesthetic "problem" (up to each and everyones' taste really) from those days was precisely that most game studios didn't consciously define an aesthetic profile; much less a colour profile. It was just "the more different colours, the merrier" as a sales argument, without stopping to wonder why.

Some games, like Yoshi's Island, stand out for having a comparatively strong colour profile for its time.

@elfi So, uh.. i think my best tip for a 4bpp styled game is to work very actively and consciously with designing effective, versatile and theme reinforcing palettes.

@FrankenGraphics Yeah, I suppose I'm thinking more about the limitations of having only the one 4bpp palette for each plane in this case--the SMS, GG, and A500 are still together limited to a total of 32 colours. I will definitely have to brush up on my palette studies though, for sure

@elfi I think that if i worked on a 4bpp game right now, i try to be very careful adding too many shades straight away.
You can for example zone in a couple ramps (and decide the colour count in each), one or a few signature colours for specials, leave some slots for animated colours, and some more reserved for special needs that are difficult to know beforehand before the game comes together. Many ways to go about it.

@FrankenGraphics this is so next level I feel like I need a warp zone to get there

@cwebber Thank you <3

Speaking of which, here's the warpzone bug of SMB1 explained and "fixed". Just saw this.


@FrankenGraphics Oh that is beautiful! And super impressive considering how limited the NES was :D

@FrankenGraphics If the game is named "Borscht", power-up items must be named "pampushki".

@dmbaturin MMM tasty!

I honestly have no clue what to call this game properly, but a side thought that may or may not happen is to leave a few recipies in the game as a reward or easter egg, if space permits it.

@FrankenGraphics wow!!! i've never seen an NES game that looks like this, totally amazing look.

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