Mr. Bill's Adventureland
Why Full Screen Was Not Used In 'A QUIET WEEKEND IN CAPRI'
by Giuseppe Savarese
There were several reasons:
1. The pictures from the camera all have the same aspect ratio, but some are horizontal (long side at the base) and some are vertical (short side at the base). For example, if you start the sightseeing/cultural tour from the Piazzetta, you go straight for 3 clicks with horizontal images. But then as you continue to move forward, you enter and walk in Via Longano with 9 vertical images in a row. The following 10th image is horizontal again because you get to a square. Having both horizontal and vertical pictures gives a great sense of depth and realism to the scenes. This is very important because in Capri all streets and alleys are very narrow, and so a vertical image for a small street gives the impression that it is really there. In the game there are 1000+ pictures shot vertically. Now it is not possible to fill the screen with a vertical image because the PC monitor screen is horizontal. As a consequence, because we needed to respect the same aspect ratio for horizontal pictures, the screen is also not filled for horizontal pictures. It was a clear design choice to give priority to the realism of the scenes instead of completely filling the screen.
2. Once we decided to have black areas around the pictures for the sense of realism, we took advantage of this situation. We placed all of the buttons needed for the game in a bottom row so that they are immediately available to the user. Since the territory to explore is huge, it is very handy to have all of the navigation buttons available with no additional clicks necessary and with the scene always present. And the buttons are not superposed on the pictures, so the pictures are kept intact.
3. The side black spaces available have also been used for other accessory functions, the most important one being the text of the translations. The memorial tablets and other signs cannot appear in English if in the real world they are in Italian. The space for the text is also very useful in the Italian-English sibtitles version for all of the customers outside the U.S. who do not understand well spoken English, but perhaps understand written English better. Think of Japan, for example. The text now always appears beside its associated picture.
4. In order to have 4500+ high quality images to cover the entire pedestrian area of Capri crammed into no more than two CD-ROMs, we had to limit the pixels used for each picture. For a given number of pixels, the larger the area of the image on the screen, the less crisp the image. A good trade-off is to reduce the screen area to not entirely fill the screen.
In short, we couldn't fill the screen with the pictures without sacrificing a sense of depth and realism, handy availability of the navigation buttons, superposing the text on the images, and reducing the precision of the images.