AuthorTopic: Disturbing trend in iPhone games  (Read 20507 times)

Offline eobet

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Disturbing trend in iPhone games

on: May 25, 2009, 09:21:05 pm
I was so looking forward to a game called Zenonia for the iPhone, but when I saw the screenshots I was a bit shocked.

They murdered the pixels:



And this isn't the only game that has done this. Puzzle Quest does it too (even stretches the graphics) and 24: Special Ops uses a horrible scaler. I'm not sure if Crystal Defenders does it, but it looks suspiciously like bilinear filtering, even though they've added horrible ugly borders, instead of drawing proper widescreen graphics.

In short, for me this means that I'm staying as far away from ports to the iPhone platform as I can.

Though some ports choose a different route.

Both Pinball Dreams and Boulder Dash try to update the original graphics, but thankfully, you can choose to have the original pixels via a menu option. :)
« Last Edit: May 25, 2009, 09:27:10 pm by eobet »

Offline Ben2theEdge

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #1 on: May 26, 2009, 01:49:19 pm
That is absolutely horrifying... looks like it was a pretty handsome game too before it was unceremoniously whacked with the billinear ugly stick. Is this a port? Maybe there were no artists involved at all (with most cheap ports there are not, which is a terrible shame.)
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Offline eobet

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #2 on: June 01, 2009, 07:51:42 am
Yes, all games I've mentioned are ports (mostly from mobile phones).

And in Zenonia, someone had to draw the d-pad and the action button, which seems to be sharp and without scaling.

However, this port probably didn't have any artists involved at all:

« Last Edit: June 01, 2009, 07:54:01 am by eobet »

Offline Helm

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #3 on: June 01, 2009, 08:45:38 am
what is this a port of? Seems vaguely x-comish

Offline Akira

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #4 on: June 02, 2009, 05:44:21 am
24: Special Ops. I can't actually find a version that isn't for the iPhone. Sprites appear to be larger than those in X-COM. They created the graphics with the intention of up scaling them with a horrible filter? Or maybe they realized too late in development that the sprites were going to be rather small on the device.
The problem with the iPhone is that it has quite a high pixels per inch ratio so traditional pixel graphics appear puny. Due to the high ppi the graphics probably wouldn't appear quite this ugly on the device either.
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Offline Dusty

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #5 on: June 02, 2009, 06:02:35 am
Wow, the cliffs are so similar to Minish Cap

I had to look it up to make sure they weren't stolen. Can definitely see the inspiration, though.

edit: I realize this seems a bit off-topic from the original point, however.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 06:04:59 am by Dusty »

Offline Dr D

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #6 on: June 02, 2009, 06:03:54 am
Interesting find, they could very well be edits.

Offline Dusty

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #7 on: June 02, 2009, 06:06:06 am
I checked and I don't believe they're edits, probably just heavily inspired. However, the style in the game seems to be all over the place.

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #8 on: June 02, 2009, 07:08:25 am
I especially like how two clouds make a double-shadow :P.

Most likely there was a whole slew of artists under a weak director with very strict ideas about the games he wanted to borrow from but only a vague sense of how to keep things consistent between his desires and among his team.
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Offline Jad

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #9 on: June 02, 2009, 09:29:12 am
Actually it's just a cloud shadow overlapping a piece of dark ground, but the dark ground and the cloud are the same colour more or less : D
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Offline crab2selout.png

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #10 on: June 02, 2009, 10:41:22 am
Anybody really like viewing pixel art on tiny screens? Just wondering, because tiny screen kinda kill my attraction to pixel art.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #11 on: June 02, 2009, 11:11:42 am
Actually it's just a cloud shadow overlapping a piece of dark ground, but the dark ground and the cloud are the same colour more or less : D

Actually in a few pixels there are 2 clouds overlapping as well, where their shadows multiply :B
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Ben2theEdge

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #12 on: June 02, 2009, 01:08:44 pm
Anybody really like viewing pixel art on tiny screens? Just wondering, because tiny screen kinda kill my attraction to pixel art.

No way, tiny screens make the art incredibly crisp (if it's a good screen) but small enough that you see it as more of a cohesive whole. I don't know if I'd say it's *preferable* to viewing on other screens but it definitely has a nice quality to it...

...that is when the art isn't all squished and stretched and filtered. :mean:
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Offline eobet

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #13 on: June 08, 2009, 09:17:33 am
Oddly enough, I haven't been able to find unscaled images of Zenonia (even though it is labelled as a "classic" mobile game, and even on the iPhone, has zero touch controls apart from the d-pad and button [yes, even menus have to be traversed with the virtual d-pad]).

But here are two 24 images which are unscaled (though compressed). Comparing the resolutions to the above, it looks as if the iPhone is nearly twice the size of the largest image, which is probably why the devs who ported it chose to slaughter the graphics like that... (again, not sure if adding horrible borders like SquareEnix did with their Final Fantasy tower defense game for the iPhone is the right solution either)

« Last Edit: June 08, 2009, 09:20:00 am by eobet »

Offline Helm

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #14 on: June 08, 2009, 11:28:40 am
man I pretty like this (the 24 game). Does it play well? Is it worth a look?

Offline ter-o

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #15 on: June 16, 2009, 08:08:55 pm
24 demo plays ok. Graphics looks like filtered with 2xSaI.

What comes to Zenonia, one can hardly even see that the graphics are blurred pixels. The iPhone screen is relatively small to actually notice it when playing and the game is great, so I can't complain :)
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Offline Conzeit

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #16 on: June 28, 2009, 01:14:40 am
man those filters blow....if there's one filter I'd accept for them to use is that AlienSkin BlowUp...there's really nothing else like it. though it'd probably only work with something that has a painterish style...

I wonder if they've ever even considered using scanlines and filters emulated the RGB decomposition in the edges of sprites that happened in CRTs..like that Atari page someone posted a while ago...I'd much much rather they used something like that.

Offline DigiDigi

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #17 on: July 17, 2009, 01:06:12 pm
I checked and I don't believe they're edits, probably just heavily inspired. However, the style in the game seems to be all over the place.

A little bit based on, at least.



Hard to see with all the re-sampling. :x
« Last Edit: July 17, 2009, 07:18:05 pm by DigiDigi »

Offline eobet

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #18 on: August 04, 2009, 09:31:27 pm
Seems the screwed the Tyrian port over with the same blurry scaler as well, instead of increasing the view area or something which actually takes effort. Sigh...

Offline Atnas

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #19 on: August 04, 2009, 11:36:19 pm


That's enough proof to convince me that they're edits.

Offline AdamAtomic

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #20 on: August 05, 2009, 03:47:05 am
wow yea, go go copy paste.  that's awful :(

our next iPhone game should be out in a month or so and uses real, honest to god pixels, i swear!

Offline monteboyd

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #21 on: August 05, 2009, 11:18:14 am
Sounds great Adam, any hints as to what style of game? Or screenshots?  ;D

Offline AdamAtomic

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #22 on: August 05, 2009, 07:45:54 pm
Should start "marketing" or "buzz" or whatever for it in a few weeks I hope.  It's going into beta this weekend finally, been on it for a long time...but it's starting to look like a real game!

Offline SWOT

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #23 on: August 06, 2009, 01:47:24 am
You should tell toucharcade about it all they post up is about upcoming iphone games.

Offline eobet

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #24 on: August 16, 2009, 12:53:52 pm


Rick Dangerous seems to have been released for the iPhone too now, complete with blurry graphics, and an absolutely horrible UI which looks like it was drawn by someone in 10 minutes using bevel filters in Photoshop!

Also, I recognize those graphics from a mock-up posted on a forum somewhere. Did those graphics actually make it into a retail release on the Gameboy or something, or is this the first time a Rick Dangerous game has been released with this coat of paint? Can anyone enlighten me as to who did the graphics and perhaps find a post with an original screenshot?
« Last Edit: August 16, 2009, 12:59:07 pm by eobet »

Offline TomF

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #25 on: August 16, 2009, 01:08:46 pm
I think there was going to be a GBA version, but that got cancelled. Found a few screenshots of when it was pure pixels.

EDIT: Rosse found some better screens below.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2009, 04:04:14 pm by TomF »

Offline Rosse

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #26 on: August 16, 2009, 01:15:05 pm
There was a GBA remake of Rick Dangerous by Spoutnick Team. But I think there were some copyright problems, so the remake was cancelled and a custom christmas version was made.

remake:









xmas:



I'm not sure if that's the same company as behind the iPhone remake.

[edit]
Looks like the iPhone Developer is French, just like the Spoutnick Team. And the Pistol on their website looks very similar to the GBA Remake (XMAS). It's very likely that these are the same developers. http://www.magicteam.fr/RickDangerous.htm
« Last Edit: August 16, 2009, 01:25:31 pm by Rosse »

Offline eobet

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #27 on: August 16, 2009, 02:55:31 pm
So, the copyright issues have been resolved now then, we might guess..?

Still, it seems that the original artists left years ago since the new UI has zero integration with the game graphics and perhaps even were just quickly thrown together by a developer...

But damn, if they are the original devs, they would have the source material to use the tiles to expand upon the play area. Also, they could have come to this forum and hired someone to draw a nicer control pad and buttons for them!

Offline Gil

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #28 on: August 16, 2009, 03:51:57 pm
The buttons are clear and uncluttered. They look simple, but so what? I don't think the buttons matter at all.

Offline big brother

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #29 on: August 16, 2009, 06:53:02 pm
Uncluttered is fine, but the buttons don't match the motif.

Offline Gil

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #30 on: August 16, 2009, 07:04:17 pm
They're buttons, you hold your thumbs over them 90% of the time, it's not something a developer wants to pay money for.

Offline blumunkee

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #31 on: August 17, 2009, 02:06:59 am
Don't defend shit art. Ever.

Offline Corsair

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #32 on: August 20, 2009, 10:58:50 am
I don't think he's defending it so much as pointing out that it doesn't really matter.

Offline Gil

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #33 on: August 20, 2009, 05:14:33 pm
I don't need my toilet to be an artistic masterpiece of architecture, because I spend 5 minutes a day in there to do dirty business. I will never defend it and say it's a beauty, I just generally don't care.

Same with this. It's art images I'm not going to look at. It's completely irrelevant if it looks good.

Offline big brother

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #34 on: August 20, 2009, 07:44:49 pm
My point is: someone spend time drawing bullets, a red button, and a generic d-pad when they could've spent the same time drawing something that relates to the game's theme. Every visual element, even those that don't matter, should be subject to the art direction. This separates professional work from that of amateurs.

If you look at an interior design magazine that addresses remodeling bathrooms, you will find that there isn't just one generic toilet. Even if you only spend five minutes a day doing your dirty work on it, a toilet is like any other element of the bathroom. It can fit the motif, resulting in a harmonious look and giving anyone who walks into the bathroom a positive impression. If someone hired you to remodel a bathroom and gave you $250 in the budget to spend on a toilet, you wouldn't spend that money on something non-matching because "it doesn't really matter." In the same way, someone paid money for this ugly GUI, and I don't see how we're out of line to criticize that decision.

Offline Dusty

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #35 on: August 20, 2009, 09:01:37 pm
I highly doubt they even paid someone to make the GUI. Probably the work of some programmer or something, or some other person where art is not a strongpoint.

Offline big brother

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #36 on: August 20, 2009, 10:26:28 pm
In my industry experience, programmers and other non-artists get paid, too.

Offline Dusty

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #37 on: August 20, 2009, 10:41:21 pm
Indeed, however they're probably not going to be getting paid as much as an experienced artist would to make the GUI when they're probably just getting paid to do it off on the side of the actual programming. Or they just paid whoever, be them artists or not, as little as they had to, to get as little(but functional) GUI as they could. Either way, I doubt they went much out of their way in terms of time and money for that final outcome of a GUI.

Offline CharlesGabriel

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #38 on: August 21, 2009, 04:05:57 am
I really have not compaints at all when it comes to iphone games, since I don't even play games on my phone... I wouldn't really bother much judging if graphics are proffesionally well done or not... after all the screen is just too small for anyone to really notice those issues... my point of view over this is simple, as long as it looks good for the gamer's eye it will do the trick... if you weren't an artist, you'll all probably think this is at least an allright game, visually speaking...

Well, from my artist point of view, I think the filter was unnecessary, things could look just fine without that filter lol... I also agree with big brother, even though the gui isn't as important as an entire character sprite sheet, it still should be handled under the art team, not just having your coder take on the job, specially since it's not their strongest point like in many cases, as you can probably see in here with some of those screenshots.

Offline monteboyd

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #39 on: August 21, 2009, 12:37:31 pm
Check out the screenshots from C64 on the iPhone to see how much nice interface elements can add to the product. The C64 app is awaiting approval by Apple after initially being rejected but you can check out the video to see how wonderful it is.

Offline eobet

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Re: Disturbing trend in iPhone games

Reply #40 on: December 09, 2009, 09:59:01 pm
For completeness sake...