Hello all! We have decided to start posting occasional GM blogs in order to provide a bit of transparency to what happens behind the scenes. As well as just for fun!
Today's topic will be about our new HD resolution update.
The primary goal of MG2 is to provide a nostalgic experience. However, we believe that there is a difference between nostalgia and inconvenience. There are a few things about the game that we feel could do with some modernization, and today's victim is the game's resolution!
It's true the game's default 800x600 resolution is how everyone played back in the day. However, back then, CRT monitors were very much the norm. Meaning most people usually had a monitor with a resolution of 1024x768 at most. Despite the game having a resolution of 800x600, it still took up the majority of the screen's real estate. Meaning the game ran at a perfectly acceptable resolution for the time! However, in the year 2020, where many people now have 4K monitors, or at the very least 1080p, we feel that 800x600 is no longer an acceptable resolution. Even on a game experience that is meant to be nostalgic.
Back in the day, you also didn't have the option to play in windowed mode. Which was fine with your 4:3 CRT monitor. However, nowadays, the standard monitor aspect ratio is 16:9. Which means if you were to play in fullscreen, the game would be stretched and ugly.
We were initially apprehensive of the idea of changing the game's resolution due to the intention of keeping the experience as close as possible to the original. However, most of us just ended up dissatisfied with how tiny the game window is. Personally, on my 4K monitor, the game is the size of a post-it note! We began experimenting with different resolutions as a way to see how we felt about the idea. Pretty much instantly we decided that 16:9 would be the aspect ratio we should aim for, as that's the current standard for computer monitors. 1920x1080 was the first thing we tried, and we immediately knew this wasn't the right choice. With how zoomed out everything was, the majority of maps no longer had any camera scrolling at all which to us, just didn't feel nostalgic whatsoever. Our next choice was 1280x720. While this looked miles better, we felt the game window was still a touch too small for a modern monitor. From here on, we played with many resolutions. Including various non-standard aspect ratios, many of which we really liked. However, we couldn't shake the feeling we should stay as close as we can to 16:9, and use a commonly used resolution. Which lead us to 1366x768. While not as commonly used nowadays, we felt this resolution was perfect! The game was just zoomed out enough to not look awkward, yet zoomed in enough to still be able to tell what you're doing.
Now we had picked our resolution, we had to deal with the game's UI. The main thing to worry about was the statusbar. Also known as the big bar at the bottom of the screen with your HP/MP/EXP. We wanted to keep the design of the statusbar as true to original as possible, while also not making it ugly. Our decision was to widen the bar to fit the screen, while retaining as much of the original bar's experience as possible. While we very easily could have made use of the extra screen real estate for extra buttons, or just moving the quickslot out of the way. We felt keeping it looking original was the best compromise for having changed the resolution!
Once the UI in the game was all touched up, a lot of the maps and backgrounds in the game weren't looking so good. It took a lot of effort to touch those up, and we made sure they look perfect in both screen modes. Some maps have objects (like small islands) on the edges of their background, and we had to make sure those still lined up with the edge on the screen in both 800x600 and 1366x768. They now scale dynamically with the resolution of the game, we think they look wonderful now, and can't wait for you to see it.
The resolutions that will be available are the old 800x600 and the new 1366x768. In the future we might provide more options, but we want the experience to be immaculate before we do! When v0.3 lands you will be able to change your resolution with the "Screen Option" button in the game menu (the same menu where you also quit the game).