Sprite proportions in ID games?

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Sprite proportions in ID games?

Postby DoomN00b » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:21 pm

Yeah... figured it might be interesting to have a thread specifically about this.

ID games in general have a very specific sort of feel to them, when it comes to how the characters actually look - as in, everything is very chunky, muscly and wide! Almost chibi-like - if any of you remember the He-Man toyline, then that's the general feel I get from their FPS-games. (3d fps as well) (one could argue their platformers all use similar proportions as well, I suppose - except even more extreme, actually chibi / superdeformed)

A real-life generic human usually has the proportions of being about 7 heads tall, but that is not the proportions ID prefer! In Wolfenstein 3D the enemies appear to be about... 4 heads tall, while in Doom, I always got the impression that they are slightly less squished... more like 5 heads tall.

Quake uses about 5.5 heads proportions, I'd say, and Quake 2 uses more varying ones, from 5-6 heads tall. Quake 3 and onwards is when the more realistic proportions started happening, theoretically because of the zeit-geist and fan-demands of the time, for strictly realism in 3D-games.

I've just started work on a Wolfenstein-mod for Doom (my first mod! hopefully something will come of it...) and this is one of the things I'm asking myself... what proportion do I make the characters? 4 or 5 heads tall? I'm leaning towards 5, since I prefer that look, and it feels more Doom.

But what say you? Am I correct in my observations of the proportions of ID's characters?
Who first came up with this, in ID, and why did it start changing? Should they go back to a more chunky style? For at least one game, just to see what it would be like?
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Re: Sprite proportions in ID games?

Postby wildweasel » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:49 pm

It's important to note that the original screen resolution of id Software's games up to Quake was 320x200, on a 4:3 aspect display. Pixels are not square at this resolution and aspect; they are slightly taller than they are wide (IIRC, to a proportion of 1.2:1 height:width). So zombies are in fact not supposed to be that chunky. ZDoom generally tries to correct in-game pixel aspect to match those proportions.

More information can be seen here: https://doomwiki.org/wiki/Aspect_ratio
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Re: Sprite proportions in ID games?

Postby DoomN00b » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:42 pm

wildweasel wrote:It's important to note that the original screen resolution of id Software's games up to Quake was 320x200, on a 4:3 aspect display. Pixels are not square at this resolution and aspect; they are slightly taller than they are wide (IIRC, to a proportion of 1.2:1 height:width). So zombies are in fact not supposed to be that chunky. ZDoom generally tries to correct in-game pixel aspect to match those proportions.

More information can be seen here: https://doomwiki.org/wiki/Aspect_ratio


HMM! Rather interesting, and something I had never considered... I need to start using aspect correction when playing vanilla then!

Still, Wolfenstein does appear to have a more stylized look than Doom, even disregarding this phenomenon - does it not? Which might also have something to do with technical limitations I suspect, but only to a degree - everything appears quite blocky in Wolf, mirroring the map-design.

So, Doom is actually much closer to Quake1-2 in design in reality then, eh? I suppose the logical thought is then to still go with 5 heads high, since there does appear to be a difference in proportion between Wolf and Doom, but Q1 still has that chunky he-man-like design.


Interesting note how that design-sensibility made a short comeback about 10 years ago, Epic's Gear's of War was the big one there, which then inspired the likes of Street Fighter 4, which was then somewhat controversial.
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Re: Sprite proportions in ID games?

Postby Cherno » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:59 pm

Like chibi styled low resolution characters, Doom's sprites need to show a good amount of detail in a very small amount of pixels (a humanoid enemy is only around 56 pixels high). If realistic proportions would be used, important areas like the head/face would become a mass of unrecognizeable pixels, so certain features were made bigger to show an Imp's glowing red eyes and fangs, a Shotgun Guy's frown, and so on. The similar bodies for later model-based enemies are due to the low poly counts the engines demanded so extremities which in the case of arms often had only four or five sides were modelled very thick in order to not look like sticks.
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Re: Sprite proportions in ID games?

Postby Amuscaria » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:43 pm

I have a related question. How do I turn off the Tall-pixels in the console. I remember doing this years ago, but forgot how.
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