Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sub-cell resolution - a blessing or a curse

While not planned for the libtcod 1.4 release, there is already a working prototype of the sub-cell resolution module in TCOD. This might be a rather controversial module. With true colors and customizable bitmaps fonts, we might already wonder if libtcod still produce text-mode games. With this module, the question is even more justified. Of course from the technical point of view, we still only print fixed size characters from a set of 256. But from the gamer point of view, distinguishing between games using libtcod and full graphics games is more and more difficult. Of course using the sub-cell toolkit to do an actual graphical game would be stupid. It's only there to improve the game look to make it more appealing. Look at those early screenshots from TCOD (title screen and death screen).

Now look at the new version, using the sub-cell resolution. It looks like real graphics uh ? And yet it only uses 7 special characters (see this post). Zoom on the picture and you'll see that every console cell always contain only 2 colors (foreground/background). While being highly unoptimized, the sub-cell toolkit is already fast enough for fullscreen animation with the 80x50 TCOD console as you can see on the youtube video below. The question is... Is sub-cell resolution evil ? Maybe I'm pushing too far the visual limits and in the process, TCOD may definitely lose its mind as a text-mode game... Should I really add this in libtcod 1.5 ? I'm waiting for your comments / votes on this subject.