The pixel barrier

There’s been so much miscellaneous work to go around that I haven’t had a chance to do much for the… you know, game part of Human Tanks since my last pass over the current translation a few days back. Ran into some obstacles in translating the game setting menus which meant a lot of work down the drain, and after dealing with that I discovered something new to fix:
The game videos.

Ozhan, these videos look kind of pixelated, is it just at my end?”

It wasn’t.

What puzzled me was that I had watched the game opening on YouTube several times, and it looked much better there. Looking more closely at the game’s movie archives, I discovered that the movies in fact look perfect when run in an external player. The game was doing something bad to them.

The cause soon made itself obvious: the movies were encoded in 640×480 resolution, while the game itself runs in a 800×600 window. Apparently the engine did a poor job of up-scaling them.
Another day later, I have re-encoded the game videos in 800×600 resolution and you’d be hard pressed to notice a quality drop (when comparing to the original videos run in a player), and they look much better in-game. Banzai!

Don’t take my word for it, you can check out the difference in this comparison instead:

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When we discussed this with Yakiniku Banzai, they explained that at the time of making the first game they were very concerned about the size of the game movies as they knew there were going to be a lot of them. We feel that this is no longer something that warrants much notice (and actually the new videos ended up only about 20% bigger than original). Their encoding options were also limited due to the oldish software used to make the videos, and this is just how things ended up. We’re all happy about the chance to improve this aspect of the game.