Today, we an image editor’s corner from Vodoka!
Hi, image editor for Rance 5D and Rance VI here. I seriously can’t believe that Rance is finally out in English officially!
I’m here today to talk about few different things, like the overall graphic work, special things that went into release, and what I like about these games. Basically just lots of rambling on. Since these games are from early 2000s, we never expected to get blank versions of UI graphics like we do with some other games, so when we only got bunch of BMPs from Alicesoft, it really wasn’t a surprise. What this meant for me was that I got to redraw and recreate whole load of UI graphics and other images, which got particularly taxing in Rance VI, as you’ll see when the in-game map gets particularly busy, like this picture, just with some of the more spoilery in-game locations mosaiced out.
One thing you might have heard about is that Rance VI is being remastered for the English release, running at 2X the original resolution. The reason this didn’t happen with 5D is that it’s running on older version of the system, which has much larger aversion to being modified in any way. Frankly it’s amazing that the game is even being played in English, but let’s focus on work that happened to VI now.
Since Rance VI is very gameplay heavy, it has lots of in-game UI, much of it was remastered. What this basically meant was running the blanked versions of images through few different upscale algorithms, and then piecing together the best parts and redoing the text where sensible. This way things read way clearer than they would if original game was just full-screened, or if the assets were thrown through upscaler without other stuff done to them.
The sprites were actually most straightforward part of the process. We tested few different upscale methods for them, picked the best one and then touched up the sprites where necessary.
In case somebody prefers original pixel-art (I know I do) there’s also option to switch between upscaled sprites and originals. Below, you can see the original sprites on the left, and the upscaled ones on right.
As for backgrounds, we did get some from Alicesoft, but it really was only handful of the hundreds that are in the game.
So while SLC (the programmer) and I were wrestling with other stuff, Doddler stepped in to help with them. What he did is similar to what we did with UI, he ran them through different upscalers, overlayed them, and then then masked out the parts so that best bits were visible.
The most significant high-resolution addition is that we did get straight from Alicesoft is the standing sprites for the characters, they look very crisp now.
But rather than game running in 2X original resolution, best new thing to the release is bunch of different options that SLC added to game. Rather than being limited to arrow buttons, you can now move with WASD keys in the dungeons, the game has auto-saves, you can choose different message-speeds for the battle (so that even while playing with fast animations, battle dialog won’t be too fast to read) and other stuff like that. He never ceases to amaze me.
Despite how easy all of this sounds, the remastering was not all cakewalk. There were lots of technical problems and bugs to overcome. While I was playing through the game close to release getting screenshots for the blog, I ran into some last-minute graphic-bugs that ended up being fixed. If the game was entirely based on 2D elements, I imagine it wouldn’t have been that bad, but there’s quite bit going on with the dungeons.
At one point the minimap was particularly broken, going all over the screen. Here’s an early screenshot, back when we were still planning whether or not to do the upscale and hadn’t added any of the higher-resolution art. On the left is image of finalized game, with high-resolution art added in.
…Oh wow, this really ended up being long. I guess I’ll keep my thoughts about the games to next time!
You can grab your copy of Rance VI + Rance 5D on our website right now!