8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than colour?

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Spector
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8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than colour?

Post by Spector » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:43 pm

I remember reading an interview from about ten years ago where an ex-Amstrad programmer recalled Jon Ritman arguing with him back in the day that resolution was more important in games than colour. He at the time disagreed but said that looking back now, Ritman may have been right. A good example is Bomb Jack on the Amstrad: great colour, but a much lower resolution than the Spectrum version, making the backgrounds look indistinct compared to the Speccy's monochrome but brilliant Sphinx and Los Angeles nighttime screens. On the other hand, you look at Chase HQ, where the loss in resolution makes no difference to the brilliance of the amstrad version, which with added colour wins out here over the (also great) Speccy port. When push comes to shove though, I agree with Ritman, but only just.

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Re: 8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than col

Post by Prof Mango B Coconut » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:00 pm

I guess it depends on the game. Frame rate can also be important for some games. Generally, though, I think I prefer higher resolution and speed.
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Re: 8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than col

Post by Spector » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:04 pm

Prof Mango B Coconut wrote: Generally, though, I think I prefer higher resolution and speed.
In that case, you've knocked the Amstrad out twice!
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Re: 8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than col

Post by nokgod » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:09 pm

Yes. I like the best picture possible on whatever tv games are running on. I spend a lot of money on decent cables...so resolution is the winner here. Besides, being a speccy kid in my youth, why should i be worried about colours? :lol:
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Re: 8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than col

Post by adippm82 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:11 pm

Spector wrote:
Prof Mango B Coconut wrote: Generally, though, I think I prefer higher resolution and speed.
In that case, you've knocked the Amstrad out twice!
Agreed! When I first played Knight Lore on an Amstrad, for a few seconds it was nice to see the hi res graphics, with a decent splash of colour, but when a room got even slightly busy, it slowed to an absolute slide show, yes the Speccy and MSX versions might have been monochrome and slowed down, but this was something else.

I would say Mr Ritman was just about right as well, playing the likes of the Filmation games and Head Over Heels, the lack of colour never bothered me, when the game looked that good.

Of course though for a good racing game, it mattered far less, much better to go for frame rate there.

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Re: 8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than col

Post by r0jaws » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:32 pm

I would say resolution was definitely more important to me, but then I had a spectrum so I was just glad to be able to tell what was going on. A monochrome game that's playable and had identifiable sprites was preferable to a blobby, but colourful, mess.

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Re: 8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than col

Post by Antiriad2097 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:15 am

My computer gaming life started on a black & white telly, so resolution was far more important than colour to me.

This really depends on the quantity of colours and resolution available. Up to 320x200, I'd generally say resolution is more important as the extra detail tends to give better defined characters and backgrounds. Once you hit 320x200, you can often achieve more with a splash of colour, though at that point we usually have per pixel colour available (or at least less clash than the Speccy's 8x8 cells). Then its a balancing act again, as I'd opt for 800x600 over 640x480 since the colour available tends to be the same regardless, though I'm happy with 16 bit colour over 32 bit in those cases.

On the old 8 bits, res tends to win though.
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Re: 8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than col

Post by psj3809 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:50 am

After growing up with those tv games which were mono, seeing my cousins Atari 2600 (not exactly full of tons of colours) and even having a black and white tv in the early years of a Speccy i was never too fussed about colour.

In an ideal world it would have been great but back then i liked nicely defined sprites rather than the blocky C64 graphics, but of course the C64 had far more colour in their games.

I was never too fussed about colour, to be honest when i switched to the Amiga it was quite strange seeing so much colour on screen !

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Re: 8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than col

Post by Matt_B » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:09 am

To be fair to the Amstrad, Knight Lore isn't the best game to judge it on, as a lot of isometric games did a much better in terms of speed; I recall something about the Stampers being sticklers for the people doing ports sticking to their algorithms rather than optimizing for the hardware, which might explain things. Games like Head Over Heels and Batman play just as fast as the Spectrum versions though, and also offer four colour graphics at similar resolutions. On the whole, I'd think it's the best of the 8 bits for those sort of games, at least so long as the developers put the effort in.

In more general terms, I'd think that the sweet spot of 8-bit resolutions is the one that gives you the squarest pixels, which is usually going to be something in the 240-320 region horizontally. Graphics rarely look better for being built out of obvious rectangles, no matter how much more colourful they may be.

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Re: 8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than col

Post by slacey1070 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:35 am

On the ZX81, you didn't get colour OR high resolution..... an option was a luxury.
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Re: 8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than col

Post by psj3809 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:49 am

slacey1070 wrote:On the ZX81, you didn't get colour OR high resolution..... an option was a luxury.
I think its great many of us started with the 8 bits or earlier. As i really do appreciate many more things in games nowadays, price of games, quality of graphics etc. Of course the classic 8 bit games had a ton of playability which is the most important thing (not all granted, i havent got rose tinted glasses on, there was a ton of crap as well).

As we've mentioned before as a kid having quite an imagination helped when you had a cover of a game which was a drawing of an adventurer battling a dragon, you load the game up on your ZX81 or early Speccy and you're an asterisk fighting a 'D' !

Just makes me appreciate many more modern games much more now

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Re: 8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than col

Post by Matt_B » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:57 am

slacey1070 wrote:On the ZX81, you didn't get colour OR high resolution..... an option was a luxury.
That's not strictly true. You could get high resolution of a sort by mucking about with the video routines. Have a look at the games Booster, Forty Niner and Rocket Man for some good examples.

Getting colour graphics out of a ZX81 generally does involve some soldering though.

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Re: 8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than col

Post by killbot » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:26 am

On Spectrum games like Final Fight look remarkably close to the arcade but imn monochrome. On thr C64 they look like Lego models. So I'd go for resolution.
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Re: 8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than col

Post by big-byte » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:56 am

Resolution definitely. Compare Head over Heels on the Amstrad PCW to other versions. Due to the monitor having twice
as much resolution as the 'gaming' 8-bits. you could see a lot more on screen

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Re: 8 bit query:Is resolution more important to you than col

Post by pforson » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:25 am

In agreement with everyone else, I'd have to say that Resolution (assuming speed is acceptable) is always the most important factor. Especially on the 8-bits, but also thereafter. Personally I much prefer the monochrome high-res graphics of the Speccy compared to the other 8-bits.

In the PS1 era I was predominately a PC games player (and still am, but to a slightly lesser degree). One of the reasons being that nearly all multi-platform titles looked way better in SVGA (640x480) on the PC rather than in VGA on the Consoles of the time. Technically the PS1 could also output in 640x480, but hardly any games used that mode and most games just looked a bit like a garbled mess (to me at least). I feel that it was this particular era, more than any other, when the benefits of a PC really told (naturally accepting the difference in cost).

Getting back on-topic... What resolution(s) did the BBC Micro run in? - I always found the graphics on the Beeb to be both detailed and colourful.

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