Widescreen support for games with scrolling backgrounds?

General chat related to ScummVM, adventure gaming, and so on.

Moderator: ScummVM Team

Post Reply
fischkopf
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:08 pm
Location: germany

Widescreen support for games with scrolling backgrounds?

Post by fischkopf » Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:55 pm

I asked myself this for a while: Why do adventure games in ScummVM with horizontal scrolling backgrounds still have black bars at the sides, when you could just extend the background area without any stretching to a 16:9 display... Would it really be that much coding effort to realize this?

There are quite a lot of horizontal scrolling screens in CMI for instance (hell, even Monkey Island 1 and 2). It would be so nice if you could extend all those ultra-wide scrolling areas across the whole screen without stretching them...

User avatar
eriktorbjorn
ScummVM Developer
Posts: 3315
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 7:39 am

Post by eriktorbjorn » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:42 pm

That sounds like the kind of thing that could easily cause a lot of unforeseen glitches. I'm just speculating here, but for instance, if a non-player character enters the scene, he might not even exist beyond the original edge of the screen, or it could mess with the composition of the scene.

One example that comes to my mind... Spoiler warning for Broken Sword 2.






... is the scene where you come across what at first looks like pirates attacking a fort, but which turns out to be a movie set. The director walks into the scene from the left, yells at you for ruining the shot, and walks off the screen again. When you walk over to the left, you see him sitting in his chair.

I don't know how this scene is handled internally, but I doubt there is any animation of him sitting down in his chair - at least not in this particular scene - and that he either just teleports from the edge of the screen to the chair, or that the sitting director and the walking director are two entirely separate objects. If the shot was wider, it's possible that we would see them both at the same time.

fischkopf
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:08 pm
Location: germany

Post by fischkopf » Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:20 pm

eriktorbjorn wrote:That sounds like the kind of thing that could easily cause a lot of unforeseen glitches. I'm just speculating here, but for instance, if a non-player character enters the scene, he might not even exist beyond the original edge of the screen, or it could mess with the composition of the scene.

One example that comes to my mind... [...]
I just checked the scene again and I think the director's chair is still outside the 16:9 area (i still get your point, though): https://youtu.be/gOSfHTPI-N0?t=319

For special cases like this, if there's no other solution, you could force the background to be 4:3 for the duration of the cutscene. Not a perfect solution of course, but better than no widescreen support at all, I think.

User avatar
eriktorbjorn
ScummVM Developer
Posts: 3315
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 7:39 am

Post by eriktorbjorn » Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:13 pm

fischkopf wrote: For special cases like this, if there's no other solution, you could force the background to be 4:3 for the duration of the cutscene. Not a perfect solution of course, but better than no widescreen support at all, I think.
Which may be easier said than done, since the game logic is stored as compiled scripts in the data file. Figuring out exactly what happens where, and how to modify the behavior, is pretty tedious. I know that much from adding a couple of workarounds for script bugs in Broken Sword 2. (I know of at least one such bug that I gave up on because I couldn't figure out a reliable way of dealing with it, and it was just an animation glitch anyway, not a game-breaking bug.)

Of course, if someone thinks that sounds like an interesting challenge they can go ahead and submit a patch for it. (Or, if the patch is rejected, fork their own version of ScummVM, though that's less than ideal.) I'm not going to bother with it myself because I'm the kind of person who prefers pillarboxing when something was originally created for 4:3 screens. But I know there are people who disagree with me on that.

Post Reply