WORLD END ECONOMiCA HD Development Diary #1
Leslie here with the first HD version development diary.
As one of the first steps to bring the WORLD END ECONOMiCA series up to HD quality, we have been itemizing each episode's art assets and bringing the artwork used in episode.02, which will be the first of the episodes to get the HD treatment, up to necessary resolutions. In just episode 2, there are 79 background images, 41 event CG images with a total of 104 variations, and a whopping 496 character sprites, which are all being painstakingly remastered in HD.
It should be no surprise to WORLD END ECONOMiCA fans just how stunning the CG artwork looks, but I think one interesting thing that most of us haven't had the chance to look at is how these event CGs used to look like before they were cropped and scaled down, and I would like to take the opportunity to share with you just how they looked behind the scenes before they were prepared for the final game.
In general, WORLD END ECONOMiCA's event CG artwork were drawn at UHD resolution with a smaller region (the brighter, 16:9-boxed area seen in the picture above) used in the final game. Often, multiple versions of the artwork exist, each from a different stage of the drawing process. As you can see in the above picture, occasionally there are also some handwritten instructions left for the colorists that explained different aspects in further detail.
To prepare the image assets used in our upcoming HD edition, our team needed to first crop the image down to 16:9 region that was used in the original version and then scale the result to the full HD resolution we are using for our HD version. Many of the CG images in WORLD END ECONOMiCA include multiple variants to accurately depict the characters' emotions and so the Photoshop and SAI images frequently contain numerous layers for different facial expressions, line art, color, props (such as sunglasses and teacups), and effects for each variant in the final game. To accurately reassemble the event CG images for the HD version, each of these layers had to be enabled and disabled as they were used in the original versions. Because of the sheer number of individual pieces that some of the more sophisticated CGs have, we often had to close out of Photoshop after preparing just two to three sets of CGs to keep the computers from running out of memory (even for those with 32GB RAM!).
Aside from the work on the images, another aspect our team has been working on is preparing the codebase that we previously created for The Orchard of Stray Sheep to support WORLD END ECONOMiCA. One of the features that we implemented for Sheep that we will be introducing to WORLD END ECONOMiCA's HD versions is multi-language support and the ability to switch between languages on the fly. Although episode.01 originally shipped on Steam with the ability to play in either English or Japanese, this is a feature that is missing in the current versions of episode.02 and episode.03 and one that is frequently requested by international fans. I am happy to introduce Japanese support to these episodes so that players may experience the game in its original language. Likewise, to ensure that English readers will get a consistent experience, the team responsible for episode.03's localization has been hard at work going over episode.02's translation.
Again, thank you for your support, and I look forward to sharing even more about the HD version's development in our next update.