What's the best thing about being able to deconstruct something that you really love? Well, for me it's taking bits of it that you like, isolating them, and using them yourself. Like nuances in someone's writing, artistic style, or... visual effects!

One thing Lone Survivor has always had that I've always wanted is its beautiful pixel shading and lighting style... and as of today I finally have both.
It didn't take me long to figure out how it does its static effect (turn up the gamma in the demo version by pressing S), the way the fog works was fairly similar, the lighting wasn't TOO hard... and the other day I finally went through all the images in the demo version and found the image it uses for a screen overlay. Previously I had thought the game employed some form of GPU shading, but it turns out a simple image suffices for it. With all this I could create a convincing Lone Survivor web-comic! Why? BECAUSE I CAN, DAMN IT!

Looks pretty convincing, no? That took me a good hour to create. It's not the best, though.
For precise comparison, here's a screenshot from the actual game:

The way Lone Survivor's graphics work is very weird, actually. The game's sprites are all made for a 160x120 screen, half of the typical 320x240 or 640x480 a lot of 4:3 retro/DOS games inhabit. So how come the game's native resolution is 640x480? Well, put simply: upscaling. The game nearest neighbour upscales the 160x120 screen 4x (up to 640x480) after it's done drawing the lighting, and then adds a number of filters to the screen. It seems like it adds the big overlay, and then the randomly moving static effect. It creates a very pretty and detailed look for an otherwise extremely low-res game. I believe the game does have a few shaders, like when you go through a mirror the screen bends to the side in a manor that I'm not sure how you would achieve otherwise. (Maybe some surface redrawing?) Maybe I'll have to ask Jasper...

Maybe I should just make a fangame? It seems like I could replicate Lone Survivor very easily at this point - aside from porting NPC AI - and then use that as a platform to make mods of it. But... when you can get to that level of imitation, you can really just start producing your own original works from the ground up in a similar style, diverging from your source material as you feel necessary. For instance, I like the aesthetic of Cave Story's per-character text scrolling, but also admire the readability of Lone Survivor's per-word scrolling; so I decided to combine them by having text scroll extremely fast, but pause between every word.

Were you enjoying the post schedule then? ... pff! Trick question - I know literally nobody reads these, haha. Don't worry, I have the analytics. But I'm going to be posting every 4 days instead of every 2 from now on, and eventually every week if I have less to say later on in the game's development.

Thanks for reading,

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