So you want your game to look like a DOS, NES, SNES, or even Atari 2600 game? Well this is the article for you!
(1) Picking the feel
Before you start to create your old school-ish-ness, we have to decide what kind of system we want it to look like.
To ensure that your game looks most like the system, you should take into consideration of what kind of limitations that
system had in graphics and sounds. Here are some specs of what the systems could handle, but first I have to explain
As almost all of us should know, the palette is what colors you can pick from to use in your game. But unlike Klik games,
the Nes, SNES, and Atari and other similar systems didnít use bitmapped sprites; they had tile-based sprites. Their sprites
were made up of 8x8 pixel tiles. so your character wouldnít be 57x83. It might, however, be 64x80.
Now, back to palettes. Each game had palletes of certain colors. But how many colors depends on the hardware of the system. There are a limited amounts of palettes available.
The Nes typically can have 8 sprite palettes and 8 BG palettes at a time. On the Nes, each
palette can have four colors. On sprites, the first color is always transparent. So lets say we want to make a Mario sprite. Given the sprite from the NES Mario games it would be 16x32, when heís big. Now, Mario would use 3 basic colors, Red, Tan, and Blue, and transparent.
So to imitate palettes, make false palettes, each with a limited amount of colors.
Note, however, that the paletteís colors can change, so if you flickered between two palettes, they might blend to form another color.
The Snes, by the way, and the genesis, can have tons of palettes, each with 15+ transparent colors.
A trick to do on nes style games, is to have two sprites overlap to create the allusion of having six colors and transparent.A
So you get the Idea, the graphics do play a big role.
(2) The sound and music
Now hereís where hardware limitations come into play again. Each system has a certain amount of channels able to play sounds at a time. The Nes has 2 square waves, 1 triangle wave, 1 noise channel and 1 sample channel.
The SNES works like .itís and .modís, it takes samples and manipulates them to create different notes. That is why it is easy to convert .Spc snes music files to .it format.
The Atari could have 3 channels, 1 noise, and 2 square waves.
The style of music- up to you.
Now hereís a good example of what a NES/DOS style game could look like; I have 2 sprite palettes, and 2 background palettes. I decided to only use the default 16 colors in the game to make it look very DOS. I also used no transparency.
And thatís seriously all I used. I had some big sprites to overlap some backgrounds to make it look like it had more colors.
You didn't really need to go into tiles since nobody has to bother limiting their objects to that.
But the palette info is good.
You may want to add more systems into the mix too since there are a lot of computers out there with their own limitations.
It's not all Nes and Atari you know.