AuthorTopic: Commercial Critique - Pokemon Red/Blue  (Read 44919 times)

Offline buddy90

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Re: Commercial Critique - Pokemon Red/Blue

Reply #40 on: May 29, 2013, 02:33:02 am
Here is my technical 2-cents.

In red/blue, all pokemon and trainer sprites, both regular and back sprites, are compressed. Don't feel concerned then about taking up too much space,
as there are techical ways around it. Also, the back sprites were particularly bad, but in my opinion it appears as if these were pixeled in a small resolution,
and then blown up later. It could have been they already drew all the backsprites in a small resolution before deciding it to make it a higher one, and to save time
they just resized it rather than redraw every single one.

Offline Arne

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Re: Commercial Critique - Pokemon Red/Blue

Reply #41 on: May 29, 2013, 01:57:37 pm
buddy90> The tiles were compressed because of space concerns, perhaps (why else would you compress stuff?). At any rate, it makes things difficult since if a replacement sprite has more information at maximum compression (than the original), then it can't write over the original since it would also write over other data. It needs to be placed at a different location and pointed to using the pointer in the Pokémon's data chunk, and this is a bit of a hassle. There are tools for it however.

Ryumaru> I'm just talking about "ROM" (i.e. the file. All the data of the game, graphics and code and music is stored there) and "RAM" (specifically, the memory for tiles).

Gameboy games litter the gfx all over the place in the "ROM", but the game program collects the stuff into one place when it is to be showed on the screen. However, the hardware can move gfx data into the video memory so fast that the effect can be used for animation, and maybe extra intermediate (flicker) colors. I think this is done between screen updates though.

At a minimum, it seems you have 256 tiles of space in video memory. As I understand it, sometime during the screen update the hardware can move the tile table pointer 128 tiles forward, giving you 128 old tiles plus 128 new ones.

Let's try to imagine how many tiles we need for the battle screen:

7*7 for opponent.
4*4 for back/self. (Edit, looks like 8*8 or baked in 2X, and stored twice!)
8 for HP bar animation +2 for ends
About 45ish for CAPS font with nums and symbols, and 26 more for small letters (apparently usable at top of screen in names too, not just in the dialog box at the bottom). Edit: Also some apostrophes and accents. 96 total with some unused, and maybe 32 blank chars excluded.
About 10ish for GUI trinkets.
Spawn and attack effects, no clue. Perhaps not all kept in ram at once.
6 for GUI box (which occasionally is used higher up on the screen so it's probably not benefiting from the +128 trick either).

I get <200 for that that stuff (Edit: True if not counting the weirdness going on), so they probably don't do a lot of swapping out unused stuff (Edit: e.g attack splash effects). Anyways, looking at the tile table in an emu would perhaps show the layout and economy.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 07:07:48 pm by Arne »

Offline YellowLime

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Re: Commercial Critique - Pokemon Red/Blue

Reply #42 on: May 29, 2013, 04:17:10 pm
The version I associate with 1st gen is Yellow, since it's the first I owned and played.

Just want to point out that while it obviously adheres to the official designs of the Pokemon, the sprites have their lines rendered interchangeably with black and color, creating this "discontinuous line" effect which I personally find annoying (take a look at Weepinbell or Voltorb to see what I mean).

Also, Wigglytuff was looking pretty bad in Red/Blue, but in the Green version it's ridiculous. :o

Edit: And hey, sorry for changing the topic. You guys can keep talking about/dissecting the graphics and game data now :crazy:
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 04:32:49 pm by YellowLime »

Offline Arne

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Re: Commercial Critique - Pokemon Red/Blue

Reply #43 on: May 29, 2013, 06:36:51 pm
I was wrong of course, regarding the back sprite being 4*4. The GB can't do 2X so it probably just decompresses to 2X.

Managed to take a peek at the PKMN Y tile tables during play. You can see the 2X sprites actually being 2X, so they take up twice the space. They are no doubt stored as 1x when compressed though. Maybe the original Pokémon games had much less ROM/File space and were forced to compress. Or maybe compression is due to some file transfer protocol which needed to be tight.



Unused tiles are not cleared from memory, just written over. The Trainer and Pokémon are never shown both at once so they write over each other. A lot of battle splash effects are kept in memory, but they are only streamed in once used, writing over the NPCs (the entire batch appeared once I used thundershock). When exiting combat, the NPCs write over the same space. The font is kept in the shared space in the middle. Space left over might be due to Japanese->English being less characters. Some residual hiragana and katakana can be seen. The game is using variable amount of tile space depending on location, so that's another reason for the unused space.

In battle mode, the top part of the backsprite is temporarily drawn as a movable sprite so it overlaps the opponent during the sideways movement, but everything else is background tiles. I see pikachu's 2X tiles twice... might be related, I dunno.

The indoor terrain chunk is kept almost exactly the same as in the ROM. The difference I could spot is the animated flower (in the dragon statue's head). This tile has several frames and is probably streamed in from elsewhere.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 06:44:14 pm by Arne »

Offline Dusty

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Re: [DRAFT] Commercial Critique: Pokemon Red and Blue

Reply #44 on: May 30, 2013, 02:18:47 am
[Pokemon Yellow Sprites]
So many amazing sprites in my opinion. Such a clear difference in quality from Blue and Red... and then there's Golem.

Also, didn't Red and Blue have different sprites from Green, despite being the same game? Is there a reason they decided to redo the sprites? I'm assuming it's the Kirby Eye thing, but in my opinion they took a step to the side in the sprites of R/B rather than forward. Many designs still looked quite silly/wonky, rather than "Americanizing" them. So I'm a little interested in something like this, when 150+ sprites would be redone, which would probably be very costly, and as far as I know Pokemon hadn't quite had its popularity spike to warrant it like it was when Yellow can around?

Offline Crow

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Re: [DRAFT] Commercial Critique: Pokemon Red and Blue

Reply #45 on: May 30, 2013, 07:06:43 am
Also, didn't Red and Blue have different sprites from Green, despite being the same game?

As I said earlier, Red/Blue are sort of a 1.1 release. The original Red uses the same sprites as Green. I believe both Red and Green were also re-released in Japan, or rather, new cartridges thrown onto the market.
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Offline Ryumaru

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Re: Commercial Critique - Pokemon Red/Blue

Reply #46 on: May 30, 2013, 08:08:29 pm
I was wrong of course, regarding the back sprite being 4*4. The GB can't do 2X so it probably just decompresses to 2X.

Managed to take a peek at the PKMN Y tile tables during play. You can see the 2X sprites actually being 2X, so they take up twice the space. They are no doubt stored as 1x when compressed though. Maybe the original Pokémon games had much less ROM/File space and were forced to compress. Or maybe compression is due to some file transfer protocol which needed to be tight.



Unused tiles are not cleared from memory, just written over. The Trainer and Pokémon are never shown both at once so they write over each other. A lot of battle splash effects are kept in memory, but they are only streamed in once used, writing over the NPCs (the entire batch appeared once I used thundershock). When exiting combat, the NPCs write over the same space. The font is kept in the shared space in the middle. Space left over might be due to Japanese->English being less characters. Some residual hiragana and katakana can be seen. The game is using variable amount of tile space depending on location, so that's another reason for the unused space.

In battle mode, the top part of the backsprite is temporarily drawn as a movable sprite so it overlaps the opponent during the sideways movement, but everything else is background tiles. I see pikachu's 2X tiles twice... might be related, I dunno.

The indoor terrain chunk is kept almost exactly the same as in the ROM. The difference I could spot is the animated flower (in the dragon statue's head). This tile has several frames and is probably streamed in from elsewhere.

Thank you very much for the analysis of these screens. The issue of the back sprite becomes even more complex knowing that it's stored in that tile bank at 2x. While we may think it a copout to a "real" answer, time and budget restrictions could very well have contributed to their reasoning for them being how they are.

I wanted to ask you a question about tile rotation and mirroring. Is there any advantage to having assets that are completely symmetrical in this way? Does the game treat it as the same tile, or a separate one all together? I think a lot of interesting things could be done with asymmetry and lighting if there are treated as different tiles anyway.

Offline Arne

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Re: Commercial Critique - Pokemon Red/Blue

Reply #47 on: May 30, 2013, 09:07:57 pm
I honestly don't know a lot about the gameboy hardware, I'm just making guesses based on my superficial hacking experiences and reading. Sprites can be flipped, because there are flip flags specifically for sprites. I don't think there are any for background tiles. For the background tiles it seems like they had a budget for each zone about the size you see above.

Here's some more info, if you scroll down to Sprites:
http://fms.komkon.org/GameBoy/Tech/Software.html

It seems that the palettes are set per sprite (8*8 or 8*16), not per group or something, so Dusty's hair thing should be possible. Never seen any game do it though *shrugs* The system was active from 89 to 98 or something, so I expected to see some more crazy stuff towards the end but...

Anyways, the page says tiles are loaded from the early part of the table, so I thiiink this confirms my idea that the extra copy of the backsprite there is used for overlaying the opponent tiles (which is terrain) during slide-in. However, only the very top is drawn as sprites. Here I've set the colors to clarify.


« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 09:09:54 pm by Arne »

Offline PypeBros

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Re: Commercial Critique - Pokemon Red/Blue

Reply #48 on: June 02, 2013, 08:28:55 pm
All this remind me of Kirby Kid's someone's chat about pokemons, and how it could be interesting to have strength, velocity and other properties visually illustrated on-screen... like longer legs for velocity, stronger shoulders for strength, etc.

I fail to retrieve the illustration about that, though. Could it have been by Arne ?

edit: @conceit: stands corrected. Sorry for the noise.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 07:40:07 am by PypeBros »

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Commercial Critique - Pokemon Red/Blue

Reply #49 on: June 03, 2013, 05:02:59 am
@PypeBros I just skimmed over that...what I can gather is he's talking about the player's skills...but I dont see anything represented visually. Do you just mean the bulbasaur evolution chain image he posted there?