Quick question about Win KQ6 mouse pointers

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Flo
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Post by Flo » Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:19 pm

It's still a subjective "improvement", and those have traditionally been opt-in, not opt-out.

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m_kiewitz
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Post by m_kiewitz » Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:52 pm

Flo wrote:It's still a subjective "improvement", and those have traditionally been opt-in, not opt-out.
we also play back samples in SCI0/SCI01 games and replace the original sierra save/restore dialog with the scummvm dialog thus increasing the saved game limit from 20 to 100. We also try to fix all the timer-related issues.

Additionally we draw fonts in upscaled hires properly without distorting them - unlike the original interpreter. Movies are also played back differently most of the time (non-interlaced, etc.). Transitions are done slower, so that one can actually see the transition taking place.

For AGI a mouse cursor is displayed, which also doesn't reflect the original DOS interpreter behaviour.

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envisaged0ne
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Post by envisaged0ne » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:31 pm

Just to throw in my 2 cents about the whole changing from the original. I personally don't care for most of the changes done to the AGI or SCI games. I prefer the old styled cursors that were used for Win KQ6. I don't care for having a cursor in the old AGI games. I'd prefer that ScummVM give the users a choice to have the games enhanced. Maybe a lot of people like the enhancements or changes, but I don't think they should be the default option. I do however like the new enhanced save game menu and don't think it really takes away from the authenticity of the game.

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MusicallyInspired
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Post by MusicallyInspired » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:44 pm

Bluddy wrote:Well put. I disagree with you - I love the feature myself - but I respect your opinion in the matter.

I personally think dithering works when you have a high enough resolution such as 640x400 where the eye can't make out the details, but looks rather ugly on 320x200.
That's subjective. And how does your subjective opinion matter over mine or anyone else's enough for ScummVM to make such a different visual change of gaming experience from what you consider to be "ugly" to a default change that portrays the entire game in a way it was never meant to be portrayed? Regardless of what the artists have always wanted for their work, the game and the graphics were optimized for a specific presentation and that should be preserved before all else. Anything else should be optional not forced. ScummVM isn't here to improve these old games, it's just here to let us play them first and foremost.

If people want it and like it then that's great, let them enable it themselves, but for anyone else it's a nuisance and a hassle to have to go and disable it manually when they just want to play the game the way they remember it. And again I throw in the detail that sprites meant to blend in with backgrounds do not blend in with undithering enabled.

At best the feature is a gimmick to make the graphics a little more prettier and pleasing to the eye that has a few fundamental flaws in its design and implementation. It's not the "solution to a problem that should have been fixed years ago".
I emailed the original artist on many of the Sierra games and he said they were really trying to push the envelope when using that dithering technique. The goal, as he put it, was to produce more visible colors, not stylistic technique. They couldn't imagine getting more real colors back then, but I think had they been able to, they would have used more colors rather than using dithering.
Again, regardless of what the artists have always wanted, the game was engineered and produced for a specific optimization. And more importantly, that's the way people remember it when their nostalgia kicks in. Anything other than its native portrayal is a subjective opinion (forced onto the rest of us as a default setting). It just feels very stuck up and sort of "You want it the old way? Too bad, it's fixed now. If you want the old broken mode then you can go enable it yourself......you misguided fool you."

I'm not saying to get rid of the feature (although that would make me happy) as many do like it, I'm just saying the default settings should portray every game supported by ScummVM the way it originally was portrayed when they first came out if at all possible. I realise the Sarien AGI implementation is designed to visually simulate the Amiga interface as opposed to the DOS interface and so the problem therein lies in the very fundamental approach to how its emulation was programmed in the first place. But things like adding the correct PCjr sound implementation for authentic Tandy 3-Voice/PCjr sound replication in AGI games was a very welcome advancement of the (subjectively) inferior Amiga-sounding instruments that it had previously as default. The same approach should be made here for SCI0 games.
I agree that the undithering implementation isn't perfect in scummvm, but in my opinion it comes pretty close, and I think most people enjoy it.
You're basing that conjecture on pure generalisation. I happen to know that quite a great many Sierra fans dislike the feature and wish it was optional to enable instead of being the default. As a result, they use DOSBox instead. I know it's not a competition, but it would just be nice if ScummVM stuck to it's original goal of making the playing of old games possible on new machines and left the aesthetic implementations disabled by default and left for the user to enable at his/her discretion.
I also personally wouldn't mind having it applied to other EGA games in other engines (or even to VGA games).
Then you and others like you should have the option to personally enable such features if you wish. Not the other way around.

Here's what I mean regarding abrasive and jarring differences in graphics between dithtered and undithered modes.

Quest For Glory DITHERED - Looks quite natural. The colours blend in together to hide the lines on the grass.

Quest For Glory UNDITHERED - Crazy jagged lines everywhere. Without dithering, the colours transition very harshly looking like a kid took a crayon to the forest floor. Looks far less natural and realistic than the original dithered version.

King's Quest I DITHERED - The tree on the righthand side is the focus. The artist used jagged dithered lines on the tree leaves to resemble subtle depth and shading. Looks quite nice.

King's Quest I UNDITHERED - The tree now looks like a bizarre mishmash of jagged lines. Looks nothing like shading.

King's Quest I blending DITHERED - The rock in the center of the screen that you're meant to push blends in well with the background as is its design.

King's Quest I blending UNDITHERED - The rock is glaringly obvious as a game element that the user is meant to interact with. It's also visually jarring. Thus presents the second fundamental flaw in this feature's design.

The feature is flawed and presents the game in a sub-par light. Visually in undithered mode, besides the checkerboard pixels, the graphics do look more polished and work well together with the design of the backgrounds of these game instances and many more like them far more than the currently default (and considered "superior") undithered feature. Please just keep it an optional aesthetic feature and not a default misrepresentative and wholly subjective "correction of a broken game element".
Last edited by MusicallyInspired on Thu Nov 04, 2010 3:48 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by KuroShiro » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:22 pm

MusicallyInspired wrote:
Bluddy wrote:Well put. I disagree with you - I love the feature myself - but I respect your opinion in the matter.

I personally think dithering works when you have a high enough resolution such as 640x400 where the eye can't make out the details, but looks rather ugly on 320x200.
That's subjective. And how does your subjective opinion matter over mine or anyone else's enough for ScummVM to make such a different visual change of gaming experience from what you consider to be "ugly" to a default change that portrays the entire game in a way it was never meant to be portrayed.
Whoa there, I think you need to cool down a bit. He specifically stated that he respects but disagrees with your opinion, not that his opinion matters more than yours.

I personally disagree with you too, and prefer the undithered graphics, even in the screen shots you showed meant to demonstrate why dithered graphics are superior. That doesn't mean I think you are patently incorrect or something, just a difference of opinion.

That said, I'm not entirely sure whether or not the changes and enhancements done in ScummVM are strictly in the spirit of preserving old games in their original form -- for that reason, even though I like the enhancements I *do* think they should be "opt in" rather than "opt out", though possibly by a slightly simpler method than a command line switch.

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MusicallyInspired
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Post by MusicallyInspired » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:04 am

KuroShiro wrote:Whoa there, I think you need to cool down a bit. He specifically stated that he respects but disagrees with your opinion, not that his opinion matters more than yours.
Firstly, I'm not upset and am quite cool :). I'm just debating here. If I sound heated please feel free to not take text on the internet in any way you feel without verifying it. Secondly, I believe him, but if that were entirely true of him or any other ScummVM devs than ScummVM wouldn't use undither as the default option. It's just a safer route to make it dithered like the original by default instead of changing something that people have known for too long. It's better to have a feature to enable to fix something you don't like than for an annoying feature to remain pompously enabled as the "superior setting" even for people who don't like it.
I personally disagree with you too, and prefer the undithered graphics, even in the screen shots you showed meant to demonstrate why dithered graphics are superior. That doesn't mean I think you are patently incorrect or something, just a difference of opinion.
And that's great. Variety is the spice of life, etc.
That said, I'm not entirely sure whether or not the changes and enhancements done in ScummVM are strictly in the spirit of preserving old games in their original form -- for that reason, even though I like the enhancements I *do* think they should be "opt in" rather than "opt out", though possibly by a slightly simpler method than a command line switch.
Well, you can set the option to remain disabled in the ScummVM config file as was mentioned elsewhere a few times. But my main point is the same thing you just mentioned; that it should be "opt in" not "opt out".

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envisaged0ne
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Post by envisaged0ne » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:58 am

I was looking through the files for ScummVM. Where can you go to enable/disable the dithered screens?

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MusicallyInspired
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Post by MusicallyInspired » Thu Nov 04, 2010 3:14 am

It's pretty unintuitive, but if you're on Windows (2000 and XP, anyway) you have to:

a) Go into your Documents and Settings folder
b) Click your user name folder
c) Open the (hidden) Application Data folder
d) Open the ScummVM folder
e) There's a file there called "scummvm.ini". Open it in a text editor
f) Add the line "sci_undither=false" under the "[scummvm]" section.

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Post by Collector » Thu Nov 04, 2010 3:29 am

Welcome to the Sierra community where lively debates are common. no one is upset or angry. Sierra fans are often purist when it comes to their Sierra games and love to have discussions about them.

Regardless of what the artist might have done if they had a wider pallet to work with, their working pallet was limited and they had to work within the constraints of what they had. This means that simply averaging dithered colors does not represent what they would have done had they had the larger pallet.

In the end, though, it doesn't matter how the averaging is done, nor does it really matter what anyone's personal preferences are. The defaults should always be the unadulterated graphics. As MI said, it is not the same thing as having mouse support or Tandy sound as the default for the AGI games. The first AGI game, KQ1, was first designed with the 3 voice with noise channel for the PC Jr. If the mouse bothers any one they need not use the mouse with in the game. A change in the graphics cannot be ignored.

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Post by dreammaster » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:10 am

Collector wrote:In the end, though, it doesn't matter how the averaging is done, nor does it really matter what anyone's personal preferences are. The defaults should always be the unadulterated graphics. As MI said, it is not the same thing as having mouse support or Tandy sound as the default for the AGI games. The first AGI game, KQ1, was first designed with the 3 voice with noise channel for the PC Jr. If the mouse bothers any one they need not use the mouse with in the game. A change in the graphics cannot be ignored.
I tend to disagree. The point of ScummVM isn't to faithfully reproduce the games, it's to provide the best possible playing experience for games. That's why we have additions like the GMM, filters, and even fixes for script bugs. If people want a completely authentic experience then, for Windows users at least, they can always use DOSBox.

I do agree that the current manual editing of the configuration file is somewhat unintuitive. Maybe it's time to resurrect a discussion of whether it would be possible to add the ability for Meta engines to add a game-specific custom options tab into the GUI. That way a user could more easily de-select the un-dithering option if they want to play the games with dithering applied.

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clone2727
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Post by clone2727 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:50 am

dreammaster wrote:I tend to disagree. The point of ScummVM isn't to faithfully reproduce the games, it's to provide the best possible playing experience for games.
Yes, but who decides what the best possible playing experience is?

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dreammaster
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Post by dreammaster » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:56 am

clone2727 wrote:Yes, but who decides what the best possible playing experience is?
Interesting question. In the end, I'd say it's the developers who're actively developing the engine that have the final say on what's best. :D

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Post by clone2727 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:12 am

dreammaster wrote:In the end, I'd say it's the developers who're actively developing the engine that have the final say on what's best. :D
Even when that conflicts with several long-time Sierra fans' opinions? :wink:

Choosing the default is difficult because it's very subjective... Maybe we could just have a box that pops up the first time an SCI EGA game is played that asks the user to choose modes or something? :P (Though, that would probably confuse the hell out of any new players...)

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envisaged0ne
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Post by envisaged0ne » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:36 am

I think the best option is what was already suggested. Have an option added to a new or existing tab that lets you check/un-check dithered. I think the default option should be checked, or turned on.

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Post by Collector » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:03 am

Of course it is the developers that have the final say, but things like bug fixes are hardly in the same category as something as subjective as changing the basic way a game's graphics is rendered. Again, it is not whether or not to have the undithering, but what the default should be. Many, if not most of the traditional Sierra fans, will prefer the original graphics. The Sierra artwork is something of a big deal to many of the fans. The new book coming out, The Art of Sierra, illustrates this.

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