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Ultima 8

Ultima 8

Below we see the screenshot taken from the scene "execution" of Ultima 8.

Execution - 1 (Ultima 8)

You can't identify the eyes, nose or ears.
But you can realize how hot the blond executioner is!
There are 8 characters.
Each one has its unique look.
Which let's you guess its role.
You forgive the missing details in the faces because the overall image is attractive.

This is the original sprite of one of the positions of the executioner.

Executioner (Ultima 8)

Let's zoom in.

Executioner (Ultima 8) - pixelated view

Small To Natural Size

This article is almost a clone of the same name article of chapter "Tibia".
The repetition is good to bold the importance of this technique.

"natural size" here means the apparent size during the game play.

The main thing to notice is that Ultima 8 sprites are made to be scaled up.

The Executioner sprite size is 27x48 pixels.
No one can play the game with so small sprites in modern screens (high resolution).

Instead of directly place natural size sprites on natural size picture, Ultima 8
1) places small sprites on small picture and
2) scales up the small picture to the natural size, that the player will see.

This system has two important benefits.

It demands less effort from the computer.
When Ultima 8 was born, computers had much less resources.

Scaling up a sprite smooths it.
But Ultima 8 gets an even better smoothing because they scale up the picture.

Notice how flat, rough and squared the boots of the Executioner sprite are.
Notice how good looking they become in the picture!

Tibia x Ultima 8

Tibia and Ultima 8 use the same general paint system (scale up small picture).
Despite this fact the sprites (of creatures) have distinct "flavors".

Tibia sprites:
- have a style that is more to a toy drawing than to photo
- have more definition (eyes, nose, ears, hands)
- (diagonal) height of head is one third of the creature height
- when zoomed in, appear to be Pixel Art

Ultima 8 sprites:
- at first sight, look more polished, closer to a photo
- have faces and hands without definition, heavily blurry
- height of head is one fifth of the creature height
- when zoomed in, don't appear to be Pixel Art, except for the external outline

This is not the moment to comment about different perspective techniques they use.

Big To Small

My guess about how Ultima 8 made its sprites is the following.

They do not paint pixel by pixel a small size sprite.

(very short description:)
They draw/paint a big image (say 250x500 pixels).
After, they scale down the image to the sprite size (say 25x50 pixels).

As the big image is heavily shrinked, there is no need to care about small details.

Think about this:

dimension surface
25x50 pixels 1.250 pixels
250x500 pixels 125.000 pixels

Execution - 2 (Ultima 8)