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Blastfrog

Are units really supposed to be 5:6?

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I somewhat suspect that the world units were supposed to be 1:1 and that id just didn't care about distortion.

1.

DOOM Bible press release said:

Wolfenstein's walls were always at ninety degrees to each other, and were always eight feet thick.

This would mean that every 8 pixels horizontally in the PC version of Wolfenstein 3D is a foot.

2.

0.4 alpha readme said:

you can't climb up higher than 3 feet

Given that you can only climb 24 units, that would mean that every 8 pixels vertically in the PC version of Doom is a foot.

3.

John Carmack on Twitter said:

@totallymike It amazes me that we tolerate aspect ratio distortion as well as we do. I had asked my older son if he noticed one time. Nope.

Even today, Carmack is of the opinion that people "don't notice" aspect ratio distortion. So it's very possible that he thought this back in 1992-1994 as well.

4. The console ports of Wolf and Doom that were handled by id Software (or their staff) directly don't have any form of aspect ratio correction. EDIT: That's incorrect. id only handled the SNES and Jaguar ports of Wolf, as well as the 32X and Jaguar versions of Doom, though the 32X version was mostly done by a team at Sega with only Carmack overseeing it. Wolf had 8:7 pixels in NTSC without correction, but Jaguar Doom actually had correction to have 5:6 ratio pixels in NTSC with roughly 224 lines of visibility in NTSC. 32X Doom had no aspect ratio correction, leading to roughly 10:11 ratio world pixels in NTSC, and 12:11 in PAL.


SNES and Jaguar Wolfenstein 3D use 8:7 ratio pixels in NTSC and 32X Doom use 10:11 ratio pixels in NTSC. I mention NTSC specifically since it's likely that id would care more how the game looks on their own turf than abroad in PAL regions.

5. The soul sphere, mega sphere, blur artifact, imp fireball and Wolfenstein 1-up are all only truly spherical when viewed with square pixels.

6. Though less relevant since it's "new" id (but still more oldschool than present-day id), the Doom 1 textures recreated in Doom 3 are shown 1:1 instead of 5:6.

7. Quake actually bothered to do aspect-ratio correction, but its player size is the same as Doom's (32x56) and the viewheight is still in the same ballpark (46, Doom's was 41 and could vary from 33-49).

8. The 0.4 and 0.5 Doom alphas incorrectly position the screen, it y-shears down by 19 pixels, which would make it only 1 scanline off from being aligned correctly for a 240-line height screen if going from the bottom up. (picture it like the 200 lines being a selection of lines 39-239 from a 240 line area)

Now, the statusbar face (possibly) and the titlepic (for certain) were designed for 5:6 ratio pixels, however, it seems far less clear for the 3D world itself, and various sources point to it being contradictory to what the 2D graphics were designed for.

EDIT: forgot to add these two:

9. In more recent interviews, John Carmack has erroneously referred to Doom's resolution as 320x240 instead of 320x200. Might tie into point 8, but is probably just a minor lapse of memory.

10. Note the FLOOR4_8 duplicates on the walls. All of the sudden, they are at an apparently different proportion/scale than their floor/ceiling counterparts. If the world really is 1:1, this isn't actually the case.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OCD

Sodaholic said:

Though less relevant since it's "new" id (but still more oldschool than present-day id), the Doom 1 textures recreated in Doom 3 are shown 1:1 instead of 5:6.

Keep in mind that texture sizes are often technology-dependent. For example, when drawing simple panels (such as grey COMP textures) for vanilla Doom, multiples of 8 are the most convenient. Being obsessive about pixel-precise proportions is impractical.

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Da Werecat said:

Keep in mind that texture sizes are often technology-dependent. For example, when drawing simple panels (such as grey COMP textures) for vanilla Doom, multiples of 8 are the most convenient.

Yes, but if they had wanted the big computer tiles to be square in 5:6, they would have made it 64x56 or 64x80 instead of 64x64. Also, they could have easily scaled the application of the remade texture in Doom 3 to a 5:6 ratio. Besides, don't square tiles (quite universal) make more sense than 5:6 tiles which just conveniently happen to be what squares are distorted to in the particular screen-mode they used?

Another thing I forgot to mention: note the FLOOR4_8 duplicates on the walls. All of the sudden, they are at an apparently different proportion/scale than their floor/ceiling counterparts. If the world really is 1:1, this isn't actually the case.

Da Werecat said:

Being obsessive about pixel-precise proportions is impractical.

For my own purposes, I'm just trying to figure out how the world was "supposed" to look in the minds of the creators. Especially keeping in mind that they didn't really "see" their levels except for during runtime, they were simply punching numbers in for sector heights and looking at vertex coordinates in a 2D view when designing.

I know sourceports distort it all to 5:6 for the sake of keeping the visuals the same under the assumption that the 3D world was designed for it, but I want to know what the definitive appearance of the world is.

And yes, I know I'm being OCD about it.

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I guess id just drew the graphics under a normal, isotropic resolution, as circles or squares. They accepted that they'd get distorted a bit while in Doom, but as it turned out, I for example wouldn't notice that anyway. Then, they probably noticed that Doomguy (and maybe some sprites?) looked too stretched vertically, so they compensated them to look right in the final game.

In short: some graphics were probably designed for 320x200 4:3, others were designed to be perfect square and circle.

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printz said:

In short: some graphics were probably designed for 320x200 4:3, others were designed to be perfect square and circle.

This. There's no real way to know how the units are 'supposed' to scale, because the whole game itself is inconsistent for this sort of thing.

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Sodaholic said:

Besides, don't square tiles (quite universal) make more sense than 5:6 tiles which just conveniently happen to be what squares are distorted to in the particular screen-mode they used?

Many of my random wall tiles are square in the editor and 5:6 in the game. That doesn't mean I wanted them to be square. Or 5:6 to that matter. I draw whatever's convenient, whatever tiles better, et cetera.

Another thing I forgot to mention: note the FLOOR4_8 duplicates on the walls. All of the sudden, they are at an apparently different proportion/scale than their floor/ceiling counterparts. If the world really is 1:1, this isn't actually the case.

Resizing requires work. I bet they didn't think that someone will measure everything with a ruler 20 years later. :)

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BaronOfStuff said:

This. There's no real way to know how the units are 'supposed' to scale, because the whole game itself is inconsistent for this sort of thing.

This is kind of what I was thinking as well, at least graphically.

However, my primary concern is the map geometry itself. Completely forgetting textures or sprites, is 8 map units vertically the same as 8 map units horizontally?

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Every now and then I see new sprite artists stumble across the 5:6 scaling issue. At 1:1 various sprites (particularly the player) look way too fat. When drawing a new skin for Zandronum artists typically draw too narrow until they learn that things get stretched in game. Especially when they compare to the stock sprites. So there is some way to argue that the 3D sprites take the scaling into account, especially when it comes to humanoid characters. It seems to me they applied aspect correction to graphics where they felt it made a difference.

Also in Wolf3D the guards look a lot more normal when aspect corrected if you ask me. The walls (doors especially) tend to look more realistic as well when they're taller than they are wide.

As for the floor textures being in a different scale, don't forget that the ratio of the floor texture will differ based on what angle you are facing. ;)

As for point 4. I don't think you have a very solid argument there since it not like the consoles had any power left over in order to perform aspect ratio correction. People probably wouldn't have noticed and it would have just made the game run slower.

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Blzut3 said:

Every now and then I see new sprite artists stumble across the 5:6 scaling issue. At 1:1 various sprites (particularly the player) look way too fat. When drawing a new skin for Zandronum artists typically draw too narrow until they learn that things get stretched in game. Especially when they compare to the stock sprites. So there is some way to argue that the 3D sprites take the scaling into account, especially when it comes to humanoid characters. It seems to me they applied aspect correction to graphics where they felt it made a difference.

Also in Wolf3D the guards look a lot more normal when aspect corrected if you ask me. The walls (doors especially) tend to look more realistic as well when they're taller than they are wide.

I agree that the sprites look better with 5:6 ratio pixels, though the Doom Bible and alpha readme notes suggesting that 8 pixels is a foot in all direction and various sprites being oval and not circular in 5:6 made me wonder just what id's intentions were. It could very well be that those sprites are less appropriate in 5:6 because they were hand-drawn directly on the computer.

Though PSX Doom wasn't handled by id, you may find this trivia interesting: I've noticed that while it draws the world with 8:7 ratio, it seems to draw the sprites at 6:7(?) ratio.

Blzut3 said:

As for the floor textures being in a different scale, don't forget that the ratio of the floor texture will differ based on what angle you are facing. ;)

Is that really the case, though, when looking straight forward? I would imagine the perspective projection to look identical with a 1:1 renderer with sector and texture heights being scaled by a factor of 1.2. Floor textures being scaled up vertically when looking at them with the perspective stretched vertically would be no different than an undistorted renderer simply showing them at a height lower from the camera.

And if you're pointing to engines like GZDoom, I don't think that applies because it does the perspective projection all wrong and id never laid a finger on that codebase.

Blzut3 said:

As for point 4. I don't think you have a very solid argument there since it not like the consoles had any power left over in order to perform aspect ratio correction. People probably wouldn't have noticed and it would have just made the game run slower.

True. Still, they could've scaled their wall textures to 24x32/96x128 in the SNES/Jaguar versions of Wolf 3D, which would've led to an aspect ratio much closer to the PC version

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Sodaholic said:

Still, they could've scaled their wall textures to 24x32/96x128 in the SNES/Jaguar versions of Wolf 3D, which would've led to an aspect ratio much closer to the PC version

I'll repeat again: resizing requires work. In case of MS Paint-style resizing everything would look like crap. Judging by certain PSX Doom "art" assets, that's the method they'd most likely employ.

Besides, are you sure that it's trivial to make the engine support non power of two widths?

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Da Werecat said:

Besides, are you sure that it's trivial to make the engine support non power of two widths?



Today: yes. Back in the 90's: most definitely not!

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printz said:
I guess id just drew the graphics under a normal, isotropic resolution, as circles or squares. They accepted that they'd get distorted a bit while in Doom, but as it turned out, I for example wouldn't notice that anyway. Then, they probably noticed that Doomguy (and maybe some sprites?) looked too stretched vertically, so they compensated them to look right in the final game.

Yeah, rather than the team nitpicking on exact aspect ratios, the artists likely worked more intuitively and took care of essentials and everyone just said "it looks good" and moved on. Perhaps only humanoid figures were deemed evident enough to "squish" so they looked well in the final aspect ratio, given development time constraints. For instance, the supercharge may not look spherical in the game, but it still looks good because it has a face in it and heads tend to be taller than they are wide.

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My rule of thumb is that the marine is about average height for a man (*), which makes him 1.75m tall. He is 56 units tall in the game. 56/1.75=32 units per metre vertically. 32*6/5=38.4 units per metre horizontally. I do all of the detail in my maps according to this scale and it looks right in relation to the humanoid characters, although the sprites are a bit bulbous and cartoony.

(* i.e. shorter than me. I have to mentally adjust when I play computer games as short characters.)

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Actually having studied Jaguar Doom more closely now and not jumping to dumb conclusions, it appears that the units are indeed meant to be 5:6 even by 90s id's standards.

It performs aspect ratio correction to very-nearly 5:6 under the assumption of standard 10:11 NTSC pixel ratio. If the Jaguar uses anything like NES/SNES or SMS/Mega Drive video timing, it's technically closer to 32:35, but such a standard was likely intended to very closely mimic 10:11. At max screen size with the status bar enabled, both the PC and Jaguar version will have an approximately 202 line viewing area when scaled to 240 lines.

All 2D art is left alone and is thus incorrect relative to the PC version, but is still somewhat notably taller/narrower than square. I don't take PAL's 1.2x wider pixels/shorter lines into account because the game was never designed to take PAL into account AFAIK (I could very well be jumping to dumb conclusions again without properly researching this). I'm still pretty certain that SNES and Jaguar Wolf 3D uses 8:7 ratio, at least from looking at the game in action and still screenshots.

It seems that Wolf 3D and Doom likely use different scales. If id actually was PAR-conscious to start with, they wouldn't be using the same units horizontally and vertically. Thus, 8 pixels vertically in Doom is a foot, and 32 pixels horizontally is a meter. In my arrogance, foolishness and lack of foresight, I now declare this to be the true scale by which all user-made maps should follow.

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Sodaholic said:

Thus, 8 pixels vertically in Doom is a foot, and 32 pixels horizontally is a meter. In my arrogance, foolishness and lack of foresight, I now declare this to be the true scale by which all user-made maps should follow.


Adopting this scale would make most maps unplayable because the player would be a whole metre wide and therefore wouldn't be able to squeeze through most doorways. Even the less extreme scale I use is punishing in that respect.

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cs99cjb said:

Adopting this scale would make most maps unplayable because the player would be a whole metre wide and therefore wouldn't be able to squeeze through most doorways.

Most doorways aren't designed to accommodate a person wearing body armour and carrying seven guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. ;)

More realistically, the doors and hallways on Phobos and Deimos would need to be large enough to allow a spacesuited person through, in case of a loss of atmosphere, and spacesuits are even bulkier than they look, which is saying something.

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