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Commercial Critique / Re: Commercial Critique - Shadow of the Beast
« on: January 11, 2009, 02:53:50 pm »

Sorry for necro-posting but I thought I'd point out some technical details that could be interesting for anyone analyzing these graphics.

The game uses two layers of 7 colours + transparent in all scenes. This is a hardware limitation and a necessity. You could manually draw 10 layers of 63+t colours if you wanted to, but in this 1985 system it would run in just a few frames per second, and it was always desirable to have your game run in full frame rate. The game does a bit more pushing of limits and a bit less of being sloppy, for necessary reasons.

Most moving enemies are sprites, true hardware sprites with limitations as opposed to the current popular use of the term for just anything that is moving around on the screen. The system has 8 sprites of 16 pixels width and 3+t colours, with the possibility to combine two sprites into a single sprite of 15+t colours. While the system can generate 4096 possible colours you can't select any 3 or 15 colours for your sprites, they are bound to certain ranges in your 32 colour palette, which imposes even more restrictions as this palette is shared with the bitmap graphics.

Where the sprites didn't suffice to draw the moving enemies, they would be drawn into the front bitmap layer, and so they would have to make whatever use they could of the designated 7+t colours for that layer.

Someone mentioned the zeppelin in the outdoor scene. I think it makes an excellent detail, hinting of something unknown and greater than just open plains and distant mountains. I like the overall style of the graphics and environments, but I agree that the shading in some parts wouldn't look good no matter how many colours were thrown on it.

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