video games skies
October 7, 2018 10:21 AM   Subscribe

the art of depicting skies in video games

Insert your own 8-bit zen-feeling music here!
posted by queen anne's remorse (16 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Rad Racer [YouTube] was always one of my favourite NES games and a big part of it was the way the sky/clouds changed as you raced.
posted by Fizz at 10:25 AM on October 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

One of the things that has stuck with me forever, for whatever reason, is the sky from RealSports Volleyball on the Atari 2600. It might have been the first time I noticed that, hey, they’re doing something interesting with the background here that’s not part of the game.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:30 AM on October 7, 2018

Reminds me a little of Powerlines in Anime.
posted by msbrauer at 10:31 AM on October 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Ain't no sunset like an Atari 2600 sunset because an Atari 2600 sunset don't usually have many clouds because of the coarse resolution of the playfield and limited number of player sprites.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:40 AM on October 7, 2018 [14 favorites]

love the colour palette in this one
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:54 AM on October 7, 2018

Here's a more modern SIGGRAPH paper [PDF] written by folks who made Horizon: Zero Dawn, while they were making it.

"In games, when you ask what the budget will be for lighting clouds, you might very well be told 'Zero'" (Spoiler: they wound up spending more than zero GPU and CPU on lighting their clouds)

If, for some weird reason, you would prefer to look at pretty pictures instead of reading a 97 page academic-ish paper, here is a timelapse video from the game.
posted by aubilenon at 12:08 PM on October 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

Needs more Forbidden Forest (1983) on the Commodore 64. As you progress through the levels, the moon moves gradually across the screen; the sky darkens from gray to black; stars appear (and twinkle occasionally); and finally, lightning flashes across the blackness, providing glimpses of a huge demon looming ever closer.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 12:17 PM on October 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

The skies of the original Doom impressed me. Perhaps it was the contrast with frantic carnage.
posted by doctornemo at 12:41 PM on October 7, 2018

Yeah I remember the first time I ever saw Doom, playing on a demo PC at an electronics store, and being amazed at the sky/backgrounds you could see though the windows.
posted by Jimbob at 3:24 PM on October 7, 2018

Nothing compares to an actual dawn patrol in Rise of Flight. The game incorporates an astronometrically accurate sky sim and some impressive cloud-and-light stuff. The first time I was actually at altitude when the sun crept up the vault of the sky, long shadows and glorious color shifts, I actually physically leapt out of my chair shouting in excitement.
posted by mwhybark at 4:29 PM on October 7, 2018

The sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to INVALID TEXTURE REFERENCE
posted by rodlymight at 4:51 PM on October 7, 2018 [12 favorites]

(some examples of RoF skies)
posted by mwhybark at 5:24 PM on October 7, 2018

I scrolled back a bit but didn't find Rygar, with its amazing blood-red sky and massive sun hanging over the mountains on the horizon. So vivid you could almost feel the heat from it.
posted by Hogshead at 5:48 PM on October 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

I had screenshots from Wind Surf Willy taped to the cover of my schoolbooks because I liked to skies so much in that game.
posted by Captain Fetid at 2:18 AM on October 8, 2018

Rygar is one of my favorite skies. I think with the sound track at the beginning, it sets the tone perfectly. I'll bet on my death bed with the tune still going through my head, I think.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:17 PM on October 8, 2018

Heavy Gear is the one I remember watching someone else play, and the first time that I was really enamored with the way the sky looked in a video game.
posted by epersonae at 4:53 PM on October 8, 2018

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