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The case against aspect correction of Monkey Island
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rsn8887



Joined: 23 Jan 2016
Posts: 8
The case against aspect correction of Monkey Island 

I remember that Monkey Island had a big black bar at the bottom when I played it back in the day on the Amiga, e.g. it did not run in 4:3, but in some aspect ratio closer to 16/10.

To check if Monkey Island 1 should be played with aspect correction, I took two screenshots of it running in ScummVM. The first one is with aspect correction off and the second one with aspect correction on.

Aspect correction OFF:


Notice the round moon in the above image.

Aspect correction ON:



Notice the distorted, stretched moon in the above image.

Looking at the moon in these images, it is obvious that aspect correction off gives the "correct" result: a round moon. With aspect correction on, the moon is vertically stretched and looks like an ellipse. This just looks wrong to me, as does the rest of the game when aspect correction is on.

I would say this shows that the artists working on Monkey Island 1 probably intended it to be played without aspect correction. Otherwise, why would they draw an elliptical moon? I think many other Lucasarts games are similar and should be played with aspect correction off. Luckily the option can easily be turned on or off in the ScummVM settings.

As an added bonus, turning off aspect correction makes many games fill a modern 16:9 display much nicer.

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Post Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:39 pm 
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Serious Callers Only
Got a warning


Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 151
 

Without also makes Guybrush look like a 6 year old toddler - albeit with a mullet - because of the fatty body proportions and short limbs.

There might have been some kind of art mixup...

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Post Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:52 pm 
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LogicDeLuxe



Joined: 10 Nov 2005
Posts: 373
 

If square pixels were intended, why didn't they just use a 320x240 resolution? It is a valid VGA resolution (same timing as 480 lines), yet it was rarely used for some reason. Not even Deluxe Paint, which was used for making this game, has this resolution. It can do 640x480 in VESA mode, though.

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Post Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:31 pm 
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tsoliman
ScummVM Developer


Joined: 19 Jan 2011
Posts: 353
Location: Waukesha, WI
 

Good thing that it is an option that can be toggled on/off for each game individually by the user Very Happy

That way people can agree to disagree and choose whatever they prefer.

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Post Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:06 am 
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CaptainJei



Joined: 15 Jun 2011
Posts: 183
 

No kidding. I love having all the graphics options in ScummVM, canonical or otherwise.

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Post Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:44 am 
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Osprey



Joined: 25 Aug 2017
Posts: 11
 

The drawback to aspect correction being off is that it produces a blurrier image, as you can see in the top screenshot. The pixels aren't as sharp because they're being stretched horizontally to approximate the width that they were meant to be.

If you care more for the image having the proportions that it was meant to have, as the OP does, then leaving aspect correction off is probably better for you. If you care more for the image having the sharpness that it was meant to have, though, then turning aspect correction on is probably better for you.

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Post Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:14 pm 
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The_cranky_hermit



Joined: 04 Aug 2007
Posts: 14
 

Monkey Island was originally EGA, and converted to VGA later. The EGA version doesn't have any moon in the sky, but there are other circular objects usable as reference points.




Both of these look better to me with correction than without. Also, Loom is similar, it was originally EGA, and converted to VGA later, and the EGA is clearly meant to be 4:3 corrected.





But there are also games that look better without aspect ratio correction.



Side note, even 16-bit console games are subject to aspect ratio shenanigans. The SNES's most commonly used resolution has a native aspect ratio of 8:7, but your TV would display it stretched to 4:3. Some games look better with the correction, some look better without it. Weirdly, most of Nintendo's games look better uncorrected! The Genesis gets even crazier with a "native" aspect ratio of 1.43:1, and some multiplatform games look better without the correction to 4:3.


quote:
The drawback to aspect correction being off is that it produces a blurrier image, as you can see in the top screenshot. The pixels aren't as sharp because they're being stretched horizontally to approximate the width that they were meant to be.

You have it backwards. With aspect ratio correction off, the pixels are displayed as-is, untouched by any sort of stretching. Aspect ratio on stretches the pixels vertically, to simulate what a CRT would do. But the pixel sharpness/softness really has more to do with the scaling filter used than the aspect ratio. Here's an unfiltered, aspect ratio-uncorrected shot of the VGA version:





quote:
If square pixels were intended, why didn't they just use a 320x240 resolution? It is a valid VGA resolution (same timing as 480 lines), yet it was rarely used for some reason.

There's two theories that I've read, both of them seem logical. One is that it made support for CGA, Tandy, and EGA a lot easier; you didn't have to mess with the pixel count, you just had to reduce the color palette. Another theory is that a 320x200 frame with 256 colors is very convenient to address and index; it fits in a single 64KB segment, with each byte neatly representing a single pixel, and the whole screen can be addressed with a 16 bit register. With 320x240, you need 76,800 pixels, which isn't so easy or efficient to address at any color depth.
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Post Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:30 am 
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