Monday, 1 October 2012

Concept Devlopment: Timeline, game history and console specs

Sonic timeline

1991 – Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit) released for the master system

the processing power of the console gave the following limitations for the art:
  • Up to 32 simultaneous colors available (one 16-color palette for sprites or background, an additional 16-color palette for background only) from a palette of 64 (can also show 64 simultaneous colors using programming tricks)
  • Screen resolutions 256×192 and 256×224. PAL/SECAM also supports 256×240
  • 8×8 pixel characters, max 463 (due to VRAM space limitation)

 1992 – Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit ) released for the sega mega drive/genesis

The processing power of the console gave the following art limitations:

Display palette:
512 colors (3:3:3 RGB)
Onscreen colors:
64 (normal) or 183 (shadow/highlight mode)
Maximum onscreen sprites:
80 (320-pixel wide display) or 64 (256-pixel wide display)

1994 – Sonic & Knuckles (16- bit) for the sega mega drive/genesis

Same console limitations as above.

Games from the sonic series move away from 2D pixel art and onto 3D some games such as Sonic Generations and the episodes go back to a 2D art but not pixel art focused.

Mario Timeline
1985 – Super Mario Bros for the NES (nintendo entertainment system)

console limitations:
The system has an available color palette of 48 colors and 6 grays. Red, green and blue can be individually darkened at specific screen regions using carefully timed code. Up to 25 simultaneous colors may be used without writing new values mid-frame: a background color, four sets of three tile colors and four sets of three sprite colors. This total does not include color de-emphasis.[61] The NES palette is based on NTSC rather than RGB values. Normally, every group of four tiles (in a 2x2 square) must share the same colors, but one mode of the MMC5 relaxed this to one palette per tile.
A total of 64 sprites may be displayed onscreen at a given time without reloading sprites mid-screen. Sprites are 8 pixels wide and may be 8 or 16 pixels tall, although the choice must be made globally, as it affects all sprites (Contra and Super Mario Bros. 3 for example use 8x16 mode). Up to eight sprites may be present on one scanline, using a flag to indicate when additional sprites are to be dropped. This flag allows the software to rotate sprite priorities, increasing maximum amount of sprites, but typically causing flicker.[61] Because of the small size of NES sprites, games use multiple ones for larger moving objects.

1994 – Donkey Kong for the Gameboy

Color Palette: 2-bit (4 shades of "gray" {light to very dark olive green})[31]
sprite size (8×16).


So today I spent my time researching into two game icons that have been around from pretty much the start when pixel art was common practice, I chosen Segas Sonic the hedgehog and Nintendos Mario as I knew more about them the timeline was mainly so that I could analyse what the requirements were for each game, how many pixels and colours could be used for each.

Which has given me a better understanding of the medium,

I also have formed somewhat of a research question, 

" how exploring the old 2D technique of pixel art could help breathe a new look into the realism focused work in games and animation today?"

Its atleast a start, i orginally did not have a clue but its something im interested in now atleast. 

-David M

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