Brendan_ wrote:"Non-square pixels" is something I hadn't heard of before. For others in the same boat with me:the lurker's guide to video wrote:A 100 pixel vertical line may be longer or shorter than a 100 pixel horizontal line on a video monitor, depending on the video system.
It sounds like a bad thing, even supposing we've been seeing Daggerfall non-square all these years (I don't know if that's so).
If this is something standard-definition original Daggerfall had, can't high-definition DaggerXL use properly square pixels?
Or were Daggerfall's mighty mighty pixels square and there's some reason Lucius has to unsquare them? I doubt it, but I'm not sure what the situation is.
Since this will affect each and every portrait, it does need to be nailed down so every artist knows how and if they need to compensate. Since the artwork is being done on (I assume) square-pixel displays of the image editor of their choice, it seems much much better if DaggerXL could also use square-pixels.
On modern systems, the vast majority of supported resolutions use square pixels, but way back in the days of DOS, the very popular 320x200 video mode was intended to to fit the common 4:3 CRT displays of the day, even though it sounds like it should be a 16:10 aspect ratio. This wasn't all that much of a problem back then, because artists were using that very same resolution to draw their artwork, meaning they were naturally taking the rectangular pixels into account. But as computers became more powerful and as they made the transition from DOS to Windows, resolutions started getting a lot higher, and the vast majority of those new resolutions were designed around square pixels. Once video accelerators hit the scene, the venerable 320x200 video mode was doomed. Everybody moved on to higher square-pixeled resolutions.
Cut to modern day. As a general rule, it's no longer possible to switch to 320x200, so emulators like DOSBox have to get clever about how they display that video mode. Unfortunately, the default in DOSBox is to use square pixels, so people who play DOS games in DOSBox tend to see an artificially stretched version of the game, because pixels that are supposed to be rectangular are being displayed as squares intead. It is possible to set DOSBox to display 320x200 DOS games correctly, but there's just enough hassle involved that I suspect most people don't bother, especially if they never saw the games running on the hardware they were designed for.
Anyway, this isn't really a technical problem, since Lucius already has a plan for this. He already knows what to do to get DaggerXL to display Daggerfall the way people would have seen it on old 4:3 aspect ratio monitors. The real trick is for artists. Any artist using modern software is working with square pixels, even though the final result needs to be optimized for rectangular pixels. This isn't a hard problem to fix though. It's just a matter of taking the final art and stretching it horizontally a fixed amount. If done properly, the asset will "shrink" back to its original width when displayed with rectangular pixels.