Resolution for VNs?

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Resolution for VNs?

#1 Post by Elta » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:54 pm

Please let me know if I'm doing something wrong, but I get the feeling from other posts it's ok to ask questions here in general discussion.
I don't know how to decide what resolution I should use, so I thought I would ask what others think.

What resolution do you you prefer for VNs?
Last edited by Elta on Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Resolution for VNs?

#2 Post by Matalla » Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:23 pm

I think this preference for larger sizes is getting a little out of hand. For most of the media used in VN's isn't really needed and can endure a reasonable scale up, even to full screen in larger screens.

I have used 1088 x 612 and 1066 x 600 and I can see the assets just fine in my TV screen (larger than most computer screens)

Now, if you use some kind of retro pixelart, it could be too much, but I don't see much problems with drawings or 3D images.

That's just my opinion, of course.
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Re: Resolution for VNs?

#3 Post by felix » Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:28 am

Please consider people with 15-inch business laptops when choosing your resolution. An 1152x720 window (to keep the aspect ratio at 16:10) will fit just fine on a screen of 1280x800, or the more common 1366x768. And there are still netbooks floating around that can only do 1024x600, or for that matter smartphones stuck with 854x480.

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Re: Resolution for VNs?

#4 Post by Imperf3kt » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:52 am

Smartphones also used 800*480, 15:9

Just go with 1280*720 in my opinion. It will scale well enough to most screen sizes and anything beyond 1920*1080 is just a gimmick at this point. Especially if your screen is smaller than 24 inches due to the ridiculous pixel density.

Some studies claim the human eye cannot perceive the difference between 4k and 8k and yet still the world is pushing for 8k movies and television broadcasting.
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Re: Resolution for VNs?

#5 Post by Elta » Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:49 am

Heh, just adding so you know, I'm new to making VNs, it's not that I think bigger sizes are better because of the crispness, it's because I thought that was the only way to have a game full screen on my computer. xD So I'm guessing I'm wrong to assume this? I'm ok with images not being perfectly crisp, I never even notice the difference with HD and blueray and all that. I'll have to really think about this and look in to it more!

Thanks to those of you that replied, and if anyone else has an opinion I would be happy to have more input! I want to make games at a resolution that works for as many people as possible!😃 (I wonder if it might be good to ofter more then one resolution?)

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Re: Resolution for VNs?

#6 Post by felix » Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:05 am

Elta wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:49 am
Heh, just adding so you know, I'm new to making VNs, it's not that I think bigger sizes are better because of the crispness, it's because I thought that was the only way to have a game full screen on my computer. xD So I'm guessing I'm wrong to assume this?
In the preferences dialog of a Ren'Py game, the option to show the game in full screen versus windowed is literally first, in the top left corner, unless the layout has changed since I last started a new project. Of course, if the game has a different aspect ratio from your monitor, that could be a problem. Or if the latter doesn't support a graphics mode with the same resolution as your game window.
Elta wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:49 am
(I wonder if it might be good to ofter more then one resolution?)
Well, if it's not too much work. For what it's worth, I appreciate it when a game leans towards bigger resolutions, because of my eyesight. And the proliferation of 4K monitors is a problem, as Imperf3kt points out. (I know, by the way; still got a tablet with an 800x480 screen.) It's just that small screens also still exist, and they're more common than hardware enthusiasts with money to spend like to believe. For instance, I still have that kind of business laptop, and both desktop machines in my home have 17-inch monitors with a native resolution of 1280x1024.

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Re: Resolution for VNs?

#7 Post by Elta » Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:35 am

felix wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:05 am
In the preferences dialog of a Ren'Py game, the option to show the game in full screen versus windowed is literally first, in the top left corner, unless the layout has changed since I last started a new project. Of course, if the game has a different aspect ratio from your monitor, that could be a problem. Or if the latter doesn't support a graphics mode with the same resolution as your game window.

Well, if it's not too much work. For what it's worth, I appreciate it when a game leans towards bigger resolutions, because of my eyesight. And the proliferation of 4K monitors is a problem, as Imperf3kt points out. (I know, by the way; still got a tablet with an 800x480 screen.) It's just that small screens also still exist, and they're more common than hardware enthusiasts with money to spend like to believe. For instance, I still have that kind of business laptop, and both desktop machines in my home have 17-inch monitors with a native resolution of 1280x1024.
Yeah, I saw the full screen, but because I don't now much about programs, I guess I assumed all the games that stretched to fit my full screen where the full size. Silly I know, but while I know a lot about art programs, I've never really thought much about programs in general until now. This is a whole new world to me!xD I have played other games of other types that have low resolution, and even when you put them to full screen they stay at the set size and the area around it is just black blocking out the desktop. So that's what I thought. 😅 Now that I know that, I bet some of the VNs I have played where lower res and I just didn't know, because like I said, I never notice quality differences much. I'm glad to understand more now! 😊

Oh I believe it! Up until recently I had an ancient old machine and it had a much smaller resolution! I couln't really download games because the OS was too old as well, but I know a lot of people can't afford to upgrade computers/monitors even if they have a newer OS. I only have a new one myself because it was a business expense. I do digital art and graphics for a living, and it was just too hard to keep going with my old one. Phones are becoming more of a thing too, so small screens are a huge thing.

1280*720 sounds like the place to start at least, most people seem to use that from what I'm seeing... but I still need to look in to it a lot more.

I'll look into different resolutions. It doesn't seem too hard to change the resolution of the games, all I have to do really is edit my images to fit, and change a few number in my codes. However I'll have to see, as I bet it gets harder with the GUI to make more resolutions... It's something to think about anyway! Thanks again for your input! 💕

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Re: Resolution for VNs?

#8 Post by felix » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:12 am

Elta wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:35 am
Yeah, I saw the full screen, but because I don't now much about programs, I guess I assumed all the games that stretched to fit my full screen where the full size. Silly I know, but while I know a lot about art programs, I've never really thought much about programs in general until now. This is a whole new world to me!xD I have played other games of other types that have low resolution, and even when you put them to full screen they stay at the set size and the area around it is just black blocking out the desktop. So that's what I thought. 😅 Now that I know that, I bet some of the VNs I have played where lower res and I just didn't know, because like I said, I never notice quality differences much. I'm glad to understand more now! 😊
Well, there are at least three different ways to achieve full screen in a modern operating system:
  • having a window the size of the screen, without decorations, on top of every other;
  • "true" full screen where the game is handed over control of the graphics card and monitor;
  • as above, but it also changes the resolution to something the game specifies.
And of course each of these options can be handled differently, with the image either stretching or pillowboxing (is that the right word) to fit, with or without scaling, either in hardware or software. It's enough to give people headaches!

That said, glad I could help! Do what you can, most people will understand.

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Re: Resolution for VNs?

#9 Post by Elta » Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:04 pm

felix wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:12 am
Elta wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:35 am
Yeah, I saw the full screen, but because I don't now much about programs, I guess I assumed all the games that stretched to fit my full screen where the full size. Silly I know, but while I know a lot about art programs, I've never really thought much about programs in general until now. This is a whole new world to me!xD I have played other games of other types that have low resolution, and even when you put them to full screen they stay at the set size and the area around it is just black blocking out the desktop. So that's what I thought. 😅 Now that I know that, I bet some of the VNs I have played where lower res and I just didn't know, because like I said, I never notice quality differences much. I'm glad to understand more now! 😊
Well, there are at least three different ways to achieve full screen in a modern operating system:
  • having a window the size of the screen, without decorations, on top of every other;
  • "true" full screen where the game is handed over control of the graphics card and monitor;
  • as above, but it also changes the resolution to something the game specifies.
And of course each of these options can be handled differently, with the image either stretching or pillowboxing (is that the right word) to fit, with or without scaling, either in hardware or software. It's enough to give people headaches!

That said, glad I could help! Do what you can, most people will understand.
Oh, thank you for explaining a bit about it! I'm quite interested to keep learning, I'm finding the coding and such just as fascinating as the writing and drawing side to Ren'py. I was worried I might find it impossible to enjoy, but I'm even starting to gain some interest in trying to learn more about computers and programs in general. It will be a long time before I really learn all that I have taken for granted, but I think I'll start learning what I can over time for fun, thanks to the internet there are endless opportunities to learn!😊

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Re: Resolution for VNs?

#10 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:41 pm

I guess I'll continue this trend of 'inception' quoting of myself. It seems the resolution thing comes up every few years and what I've said before on the topic remains very relevant.
LateWhiteRabbit wrote:
Sat Sep 21, 2013 11:53 am
This has come up before in a very extensive thread worth reading here: Game Resolution Thread

I'll just quote myself from perhaps my most important post in that thread:
LateWhiteRabbit wrote: There is something very important to consider, here. Picking a resolution for your game is essentially doing market research - i.e. what resolution is going to make the most player's happy? (Presuming you only pick one to go with.)

I cleaned up the Top Web Resolutions chart and made it easier to read.
Image
Keep in mind that these are the resolutions of the people that browse the Internet, not necessarily gamers. Also, a VERY important thing to note is that this chart includes the resolutions of MOBILE DEVICES that are accessing the web. So using it to reach a decision might give you a skewed perspective unless you are planning to make a browser based or online VN.

Here are the Top Steam Resolutions, set up like the chart above. Notice the drastic changes in majority when you are counting just the resolutions of those that play a lot of games.
Image
Note that the sample size for the Steam resolutions is over 5 million users, so the results are just as highly accurate as the web resolutions chart above. These are the resolutions other 2D game developers are looking at, like Popcap, when they make their new games. The latest Bejeweled, though entirely 2D, had many different resolution options available.

Look especially at what happens with the 1024x768 resolution, and the 1920x1080 resolution between the two charts. 1024x768 looks very viable as a choice based off the web chart, but falls to only 5% of users on the Steam chart, while 1920x1080 looks unimportant on the web chart at a measly 5%, hardly worth bothering with as a choice, but becomes the #1 screen resolution gamers are likely to have when looking at the Steam chart.

I also took the liberty of marking those resolutions that are widescreen aspect ratio. If you take nothing else away from this comparison, it should be that your VN DEFINITELY needs to support widescreen formats and aspect ratios. 72% of people browsing the web have widescreen monitors, and 85% of gamers have widescreen monitors.

If you MUST pick only a single resolution to make your game in, 1366x768 looks like the best compromise that is likely to make the most player's happy based off pure numbers.
EDIT: Oh, almost forgot ... All Glory to 1920x1080! Ahem.

Oh, and an update from the Steam 2013 hardware survey from just a few months ago:
Users of the 1920x1080 resolution jumped to 32.30%
Users of the 1366x768 resolution jumped to 21.57%
Users of 1280x1024 resolution fell to 7.79%
Users of 1680x1050 resolution fell to 7.67%
Users of 1024x768 resolution fell to just 3.18%
If you are curious how many gamers on Steam (which remember, is a sampling of over 5 million gamers, including ones that play a lot of indie games) use the 800x600 resolution, it is 0.10%

So in just one year, you can see the trend is definitely towards higher resolution wide-format ratios.
Now, jump ahead to 2019, and here are the results of Steam's hardware survey on primary monitor resolutions:
Users of the 1920x1080 resolution jumped to 62.46% (!!!)
Users of the 1366x768 resolution fell to 12.48%
Users of 1280x1024 resolution fell to just 1.85%
Users of 1680x1050 resolution fell to 2.40%
Users of 1024x768 resolution fell to just 0.56%

800x600 didn't even rate high enough to pull out on its own.

So nearly 2/3rds of gamers use 1080p displays. If you are going to target dedicated gamers, that's the resolution I'd aim for. If you are targeting Smart Phone users - I'd still target 1920x1080. Because 21.76% of smart phone displays in the U.S. are that resolution. 32.73% of smart phone displays in use are a HIGHER resolution than 1080p.
Matalla wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:23 pm
I think this preference for larger sizes is getting a little out of hand. For most of the media used in VN's isn't really needed and can endure a reasonable scale up, even to full screen in larger screens.

I have used 1088 x 612 and 1066 x 600 and I can see the assets just fine in my TV screen (larger than most computer screens)

Now, if you use some kind of retro pixelart, it could be too much, but I don't see much problems with drawings or 3D images.

That's just my opinion, of course.
Keep in mind viewing distances. Resolutions can be lower on TVs because you are viewing them from farther away. At 3 to 6 feet away, pixels don't really stand out. But at 15 inches (the normal viewing distance to a computer screen) the artifacts and blurriness can really start to stand out.

Also, at least think of future-proofing your own work. I don't plan on releasing a 4K visual novel anytime soon, but I make sure my assets can support that resolution. There is a game I was waiting to get translated and ported FOREVER, and when it arrived finally, it felt pretty bad - because it had originally been made in 800x600 resolution - but with beautiful, water-color style illustrations. What was sharp on old screens was a pixelated garbage fest on an HD monitor and the developers had no way to support HD without redoing everything from scratch.

Think of it like those old TV shows shot on film (which supports 4K resolutions) versus the TV shows in the 1990s shot on tape (which is only SD). Old TV shows that shot on film are making lots of money for rights holders on streaming services, while old shows on tape are streamed far less often and make little money. Just food for thought. You'll have a bigger resolution monitor someday.

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Re: Resolution for VNs?

#11 Post by Autumnotopia » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:54 pm

Oh man, it's only tangentially related (though super interesting I promise!), but here's an excellent video I saw lately regarding resolution in media.

I feel like the main takeaway is that over time, things are going to increase (as LateWhiteRabbit pointed out). Even though it's not a perfect solution to all things, I tend to do art stuff super big so that if I need to do something with higher def art I can (like print, or porting to a different resolution).

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Re: Resolution for VNs?

#12 Post by Matalla » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:55 pm

LateWhiteRabbit wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:41 pm
Also, at least think of future-proofing your own work. I don't plan on releasing a 4K visual novel anytime soon, but I make sure my assets can support that resolution. There is a game I was waiting to get translated and ported FOREVER, and when it arrived finally, it felt pretty bad - because it had originally been made in 800x600 resolution - but with beautiful, water-color style illustrations. What was sharp on old screens was a pixelated garbage fest on an HD monitor and the developers had no way to support HD without redoing everything from scratch.

Think of it like those old TV shows shot on film (which supports 4K resolutions) versus the TV shows in the 1990s shot on tape (which is only SD). Old TV shows that shot on film are making lots of money for rights holders on streaming services, while old shows on tape are streamed far less often and make little money. Just food for thought. You'll have a bigger resolution monitor someday.
Those are valid and interesting points. However, as I see it, there are 2 options:

- The resolution values keep climbing: then your high resolution game will get obsolete too (you'll gain some years, though). But as you already pointed with precise examples, you can't plan in advance how your creation would fit into a technology that doesn't exist yet. Mixing analogic examples with digital ones is cheating a little bit, as you fully know. You can't make an analogic computer game. You can make your drawings on paper, though, and rescan them to whatever resolution is needed in the future (that's the analogy with film), but the container of the game itself at a certain point, the digital program, will get obsolete anyway.

- People will grow tired of this stuff: it's less probable, but not imposible. In audio recording there was a frenzy to record at absurd resolutions some years ago, that passed (to some degree) and now things are somehow settled. Hopefully this is the case, but I can't be sure of it (nor anybody)
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Re: Resolution for VNs?

#13 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:34 pm

Matalla wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:55 pm
LateWhiteRabbit wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:41 pm
Also, at least think of future-proofing your own work. I don't plan on releasing a 4K visual novel anytime soon, but I make sure my assets can support that resolution. There is a game I was waiting to get translated and ported FOREVER, and when it arrived finally, it felt pretty bad - because it had originally been made in 800x600 resolution - but with beautiful, water-color style illustrations. What was sharp on old screens was a pixelated garbage fest on an HD monitor and the developers had no way to support HD without redoing everything from scratch.

Think of it like those old TV shows shot on film (which supports 4K resolutions) versus the TV shows in the 1990s shot on tape (which is only SD). Old TV shows that shot on film are making lots of money for rights holders on streaming services, while old shows on tape are streamed far less often and make little money. Just food for thought. You'll have a bigger resolution monitor someday.
Those are valid and interesting points. However, as I see it, there are 2 options:

- The resolution values keep climbing: then your high resolution game will get obsolete too (you'll gain some years, though). But as you already pointed with precise examples, you can't plan in advance how your creation would fit into a technology that doesn't exist yet. Mixing analogic examples with digital ones is cheating a little bit, as you fully know. You can't make an analogic computer game. You can make your drawings on paper, though, and rescan them to whatever resolution is needed in the future (that's the analogy with film), but the container of the game itself at a certain point, the digital program, will get obsolete anyway.

- People will grow tired of this stuff: it's less probable, but not imposible. In audio recording there was a frenzy to record at absurd resolutions some years ago, that passed (to some degree) and now things are somehow settled. Hopefully this is the case, but I can't be sure of it (nor anybody)
Yeah - the analog example of film is cheating some. Obviously 35mm film doesn't have a resolution as such - but it works for my example, because show creators in the 80s and 90s certainly KNEW that shooting on film would give them better visuals as compared to tape, but went with tape for budget and convenience reasons. (FX were certainly cheaper at the time to do at tape resolutions versus film.)

My point with future proofing for VNs is that we have the ability to make higher resolution assets and games from the start. All profession digital artists create at resolutions much higher than the intended final resolution, because not only is it easy to do, it provides numerous benefits. Mistakes and imperfections are harder to see once it is shrunk down, you have images that will work for print and promotional materials, and you have built in future-proofing for "HD" remasters. Heck, several PC games have already benefited from artists working at higher resolutions, because the studios (like Gearbox and Bethesda and Capcom) can release HD texture packs for PC gamers.

And that doesn't even get into the benefits of Supersampling - which is just as much a thing for 2D art as it is for 3D.

And yeah, resolution will keep climbing, but at some point it will plateau (at least for a while) and how many steps behind do you want to be when it stops?

I pay for an AI-driven image upscaling software similar to Waifu2x but vastly superior and constantly updated with new machine learning. Topaz Gigapixel AI. It can work wonders with small resolution images. Like goofy stuff you're only used to seeing on crime shows when they shout, "Zoom and enhance!". But it isn't perfect. Except when you feed it 4K images. It has enough pixel information with those that it can produce absurd IMAX resolutions with no problem. So my 4K images can be turned into 8K illustrations with clarity to satisfy even me, should I need to do that in a decade or two's time. And the AI will be even better at that point. (I get a gigabyte learning file update to the software every 2-3 months, and it is startling how much better the AI gets each time. Like a blurry photo of someone in socks, and the AI reproduces the proper folds and texture of the socks in HD, when they were just blurry white in the original - because the AI knows those are SOCKS and white socks are usually cotton and cotton socks have a certain texture. Crazy.)

I've just lived through three decades of computer monitor resolution improvements. I want my stuff and the stuff I enjoy to still look good in 30+ years time and not look like hot pixel garbage. It's like being a painter and not using archival materials. It's just sad.

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Re: Resolution for VNs?

#14 Post by Matalla » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:09 pm

Yes, I understand that. And I agree that assets creations benefits from higher resolutions (I worked a lot of years as graphic designer). And all that technology to upscale stuff seems fascinating too.

But that is not what the original question was. That was about how a VN should be now. And the answer I still think is "not necessarily as big". And that whatever resolution you choose now, could be obsolete in some years.

All the other things you mention is about how you could remake your game when that happens. And that's fine, it's a valid concern if you choose to worry about those things. I don't, I think that videogames are, by its own nature, ephimeral art, and are not destined to survive the past of time, no matter what efforts are made to avoid it.

Also, in 30 years (probably in 10 too) no matter how the monitors are, you'll have a hard time running your 2019 game for software reasons. You'll need to find a windows 10 virtual machine compatible with your system (good luck with that). Also, I'll be dead, so I don't care.
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Re: Resolution for VNs?

#15 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:55 pm

Matalla wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:09 pm
Yes, I understand that. And I agree that assets creations benefits from higher resolutions (I worked a lot of years as graphic designer). And all that technology to upscale stuff seems fascinating too.

But that is not what the original question was. That was about how a VN should be now. And the answer I still think is "not necessarily as big". And that whatever resolution you choose now, could be obsolete in some years.

All the other things you mention is about how you could remake your game when that happens. And that's fine, it's a valid concern if you choose to worry about those things. I don't, I think that videogames are, by its own nature, ephimeral art, and are not destined to survive the past of time, no matter what efforts are made to avoid it.

Also, in 30 years (probably in 10 too) no matter how the monitors are, you'll have a hard time running your 2019 game for software reasons. You'll need to find a windows 10 virtual machine compatible with your system (good luck with that). Also, I'll be dead, so I don't care.
You can't remake your game if you don't plan ahead on resolution NOW, however.

I don't view games as ephimeral art, either. So I guess that's where we differ. Watching kids get excited to play Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, etc. prove that good games can stand the test of time. Sure, game design principles march on, and some choices that were great at the time will seem trite or obnoxious as time goes on, but I believe we are slowly entering a time period in the game industry where good titles will truly last if preserved.

I compare it to the film industry. For the first 30 years or so, movies were decently entertaining, a great distraction, but no one was too concerned with preserving them. They were a passing fancy - consumed and forgotten. Then a generation raised on movies started directing and creating films while new technologies emerged like synchronized sound and constant framerate. A more sophisticated narrative and shot language had developed, and we started getting films that are still enjoyable to modern audiences.

I think we are at about that point in game development history. Sure, 90% of current games may not be played or thought about in a hundred years, but some game is already here or being developed soon that will capture the imagination of gamers decades from now, and be talked about like we do with The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, Double Indemnity (one of my favorite films of all time and nearly 80 years old), now.

Sorry, you cracked me up with the "I'll be dead, so I don't care" line. You sound like my mother. That's her response to anything future based. Maybe it's my military training, but I always try and make things better for the people coming behind me, even if I'll be dead.

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