Optimal Project Resolution?

Parallax Panda

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I hope this topic belongs in this part of the forum, Anyway...

Using VxAce has it's limitations when it comes to the screen resolution and playing games in fullscreen, but there are a few scripts that can improve it slightly. I'm curious as to what other people consider to be the "ultimate" settings though?

VxAce Default resolution: 544x416.
Using Scripts you can increase it to: 640x480 (as well as decrease it below 544x416).

Taking into consideration that most monitors today has a 16:9 (or 16:10?) aspect ratio, VxAce's 4:3 aspect ratio isn't ideal since it'll leave you with black borders on both sides even if you scale it up to the max allowed 640x480. For anyone who has made a commercial game in VxAce "recently", this ought to have been something you've struggled with. Because you wouldn't want your commercial game on Steam be plagued by huge black borders or a blurry fullscreeen, right?

So what to do about it? I'm asking for advice since I assume people have struggled with this for years and someone should've already come up with the best possible solution(s) by now. Given how limited the options are. We probably can't get it perfect, but some ways are probably better than others.

Might as well mention that my current method is to downscale the resolution to 512x288 using Yanfly's Core Engine since this is the only allowed resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio that is also dividable by VxAce's tile size (32x32). I'm also using Zeus81's Fullscreen++ script to get the game to play in fullscreen.
That being said, despite this I can't say it looks super crisp. It's actually rather blurry. Also, using such a low resolution does introduce a few other problems with menu scenes as well as some scripts. You can also only see 4 tiles above/below the player position (since the screen would show 16x9 tiles) which limits how you'd have to map certain locations.

I'd be happy to use other scripts instead of, or in combination with, those mentioned if it would improve the results. Or change my resolution if anyone has a better idea.
 

bgillisp

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I've found that 640 x 480 actually upscales pretty well to today's monitors, as 1920 / 640 = 3 and 1080 / 640 = 2.25. Its better than most ratios you'll get for most other resolutions, and what happens on mine is it upscales to 1080 in length and gets some bars on the sides only.
 

Parallax Panda

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Hm... I actually get pretty huge black bars on the sides with that resolution as it's a 4:3 aspect ratio and for some reason the fullscreen++ script won't perfectly scale the game to fullscreen either.
 

bgillisp

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You're going to get something either way as sadly 1920 / 32 = 60 and 1080 / 32 = 33.75, so you will probably never get it to divide both nicely, especially with 32 not a divisor of 1080, but 32 is our tile size.

I honestly had more issues with fullscreen++ than without it, so I got rid of it myself.
 

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I’ve quite recently stepped back from MV to VxAce after a long time (to make a game with 32x32 tiles) so I don’t know about what “must have” scripts and solutions there are.

Is there any alternatives to the Fullscreen++ script mayhap? Or another resolution you’d recommend as an alternative to what you or I are using?
 

bgillisp

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Sadly I know of none. I just found 640 x 480 the best compromise overall, and I've had more black bars on Netflix movies than I got with my game at 640 x 480 so I went with it.

You *might* have some luck at 32 * 16 and 32 * 9 but since 1080 / 32 is not an integer even that will be limited in success. Though it might work to try say: 1920 / 3 and 1080 / 3, so it is an even 3 all around. 1080 / 3 will not be a whole number of tiles though on screen so keep that in mind!

Edit: That would be 640 x 360 if you did that BTW. But 360 is 11.25 tiles on screen which some say has other issues. Also keep in mind these tricks will only work well on 1980 x 1020 and some still use 1600 x 900 and 1366 x 768 too, so you'll never get a perfect one for all resolutions.
 
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Parallax Panda

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@bgillisp
I'd say that in a way what you did has it's upside. You went with the max possible resolution you could, even if it had an 4:3 aspect ratio. I suspect that might've minimized the blur effect when scaling to most modern resolutions compared to if you went with something lower.

I know that 32 is not very good tile size for scaling up to what modern monitors use but that's something we can't change. It is what it is and the only reason besides nostalgia that I'm using VxAce is that I wanted to use some 32x32 assets that I had since before.

I've also been considering the 640x360 alternative. It has the perks of being the largest possible resolution possible that's still 16:9, like you said. But it does give you those 11.25 vertical tiles. I've not heard of this being any problem though so I'd love to know what you've heard about it? I know it doesn't look good (and slightly amateurish to be honest), but does it have any technical implications as well? Maybe because of how VxAce draws tiles?

512x288, the resolution I currently use has it's problem with the menus being "crushed" (you might be able to script you way around this). It is fairly close to what you'd expect out of a SNES game though. Not in that the aspect ratio or resolution is the same, but that you'd see 16x9 tiles on screen while I think a lot of SNES JRPG's showed something like 16x13 tiles on screen unless I'm mistaken.

But, those extra vertical frames matters a lot in how you'd be able to map out stuff like cities. I mentioned this in the original post but just 9 frames is borderline too few since your player will stand in the middle of the screen which means you'll only see 4 tiles up and down. If we take into consideration how houses are mapped in traditional JRPGS with walls and roof tiles it's fairly obvious that you could run into some problems here with the player not getting a good view of most buildings. The screen will also feel slightly claustrophobic (could be a plus or minus depending on the game I guess).

So unless someone has a better idea or a good reason not to, I might give 640x360 a try. But I'm still willing to experiment. While fullscreen blurriness is still a thing, I think going with a 16:9 resolution will eliminate (or at least minimize) the black bars and give the game a more modern look.

It's impossible to cater to all possible screen resolutions unless the software itself can force the computer to change the actual resolution of the monitor when you run the program. But that's not something VxAce can do.

That being said, in todays age I think the most important resolutions to cater to is still 1280x720 and 1920x1080 as that's still "standard" and will likely remain so for the time being.
My own laptop has a max resolution of 1366x768 though, and I'd probably take that into consideration as a third possibility too. But future laptops (even cheap ones) will probably offer something closer to HD.
 

bgillisp

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There is one perk to 640 x 480 I forgot to mention too. Windows has compatibility mode where you can force the entire game to run at 640 x 480. That's another reason I picked it as someone could just do that and then there is no issue as the entire monitor is set to 640 x 480 while it runs your game.
 

Parallax Panda

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@bgillisp
That is a nice bonus, although I suspect that's not something your average gamer would think of without having it explained to them since most would just expect to launch the game and it be automatically setup for them to enjoy. It is still a good thing though, as it's something you can give as advice while giving tech support to players.

I tried 640x360 btw which was nice in a lot of ways. Way more room for menu and mapping compared to the 512x288 resolution I had before, but there is a graphical glitch that's present only with "high res" (in regards to VxAce) widescreen settings that clips in a few pixels from the top of the map at the bottom.
I found a script that's supposed to fix it but it didn't work and gave me an error msg on line 21 when I tried to launch the game with it. This script: https://rpgmaker.net/scripts/238/

So I'd need help from someone else (who knows RGSS3) in order to get that mess to work. There is also the issue with showing the extra .25 tiles, which is not optimal, but it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. I'm still not sure if there's some problems in regards to performance though?

Meanwhile, I've gone back to 512x288. In-game it looks like this:

Resolution test.png
I'm not sure if this is good (large) enough? The buildings in this test map is almost identical in regards to design but the style is different as one uses the common 2-tiles tall wall design and the other, the not as often used, 1-tile tall wall (chibi style, one could say) look.

If the character would be standing one tile down, which he would have to do if he wanted to stand in front of the house, then not much of the larger building would be seen. It wouldn't be a huge problem for the "chibi-styled" house though. Like I've said repeatedly, it's a bit cramped but I guess the feel of the map will also depend on how you map with this low resolution.
While 640x360 only means one more visible tile up and down, it still makes a significant difference. But alas, there's that visual glitch which cannot be forgiven and would have to be solved.

****************

[EDIT: After testing some more I'm now considering 640x352 as a possible contender for the "best" resolution. It's very close to the highest possible wide-screen settings you can do (640x360), but it's dividable by 32 and only leaves very minimal and barely noticeable black bars on the bottom and top of the screen if your monitor uses a "normal/modern" resolution.

Furthermore, With your player in the center of the screen you can see 5 tiles above and below, much better than my previous 512x288 resolution, and because it's closer to the default screen size most menu scripts won't need a lot of optimization. I had big problems fitting everything in the "Status" and "Equip" scene before, but now most menu scripts are plug-n-play.

Another important thing is that unlike 640x360, using 640x352 does not show any weird graphical glitches on the bottom of the map. Probably because this resolution is dividable by 32.

The only real drawback seems to be that it in fact is not a REAL 16:9 resolution, even if it's close.
]
 
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