AuthorTopic: Can someone explain the use of non-square pixels?  (Read 3674 times)

Offline gamingjustin

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Can someone explain the use of non-square pixels?

on: October 12, 2008, 03:54:24 pm
So, as my name denotes I like to play games. For years I have been playing arcade games via MAME and emulation, but never questioned until now the pixel aspect ratio of many of these games. A good example are ones for the CPS2 (Capcom Play System II). On the left is Pocket Fighter's native resolution at 384 x 224, on the right is Pocket Fighter mashed into a 320 x 240 resolution.

Despite the distortion and the ugly bicubic filter, I think the picture on the right looks more correct. The native resolution makes everything look wide. How come so many older games used unusual resolutions? Was it a trick to simulate higher detail when squished on a screen? Was it the nature of the technology they used to draw the graphics? I've tried looking into this and I've seen these kinds of pixels (in CPS2 games) described as being "oblong." Other resources I've found were a bit too technical, never really explaining why non-square pixels were used. Seeing how it's all about pixels here I figured this would be the place to ask. ;D If anyone knows feel free to share, I'm pretty curious. Thanks.

Offline Beoran

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Re: Can someone explain the use of non-square pixels?

Reply #1 on: October 14, 2008, 07:38:18 am
Basically, it has to do with the hardware. Some hardware or software modes for that hardware had rectangular pixels because the aspect ratio of the resolution is not fitting that of the screen. For example, standard mode 13h on a PC compatible computer is 320 x 200 and has rectangular pixels.
Kind Regards, Beoran.