Always some of the coolest aspects of Capcom's fighting games are the backgrounds. We could simply capture the image itself and be done with it. However, you'd miss out on levels of parallax, details in the background, foreground and more. I decided to go back and capture some of these a better way, isolating each layer as I must.
My first endeavor into this style was the huge Marvel Super Heroes background. This is where I learned the trick to putting it all together properly. Upon looking at my old work, I realized I missed a lot, more on that below.
CPSII games run in 384x224 resolution. Again, it's not as simple as taking a snapshot, and so most images you'll see below are larger, much larger, than 384x224.
To explain how this is all done, let's look at Vega & Chun-Li's stage from Street Fighter Zero as it is the simplest.
First off, you must disable each set of layers. In this case, there are simply two. First, take a peek at the background layers as separate images, and then combined for a larger version.
You'll see here that there is a fair amount of overlay. Merging the backgrounds produces a 575x224 image, not quite as wide as our final product. This is because the back layer of parallax does not move quite as much as the front layers. Due to this, you'll notice that in all of my backgrounds, the back layer is stretched. The moon, for instance, usually won't look circular, but ovular. This is the only way to get a complete image.
Now let's look at the foreground. Again, this stage is very basic and easy. Only 2 images must be merged. Here, however, the width is 733 pixels.
Once these are matched up, we stretch the background layer to fit it and we're done. In this case, the background stretching isn't really noticeable. On other levels, it's easily detectable. Remove the green color (set to that as it's easy to work with), and you're done! Here's the nighttime version as well. Both look great IMO.
Yeah, it's really that easy...sometimes. Here are some other examples. You'll notice my ovular-moon issue in Ryu's stage from SFZ2, but the other two weren't bad. Gouki's level has some flooring problems, read more on that below.
I wish it were all so simple. With the depth of parallax, sometimes there are more than two layers to concern yourself with. In addition, the biggest problem is the ground. Once again, Chun-Li's stage was quick, but most aren't. A good example would be Blanka's stage from Street Fighter II. It shouldn't take you long to see the problem here.
I could edit this easily now that I look at it. This is an old capture of mine. Regardless, you'll see that as you move around the stage, the vantage point from which you see the stage changes. Note how the left side of the stage here has the floor boards pointing inwards, 120° or so, while the right side is at 60°. Finding the solution here is troublesome.
Rather than give up, I've come up with some other ways to hide this. Some work better than others. Note Ryu's three backgrounds (SF2:WW, SF2:HF, and SSF2X). Would you have noticed had I not pointed this out? His Hyper Fighting version turned out the best. As always, I took some creative liberties when creating these.
Vampire / Darkstalkers
Here's Zabel's awesome graveyard background from the original Vampire / Darkstalkers game. This was a pain in the ass, to be honest. The tree and hazy background gave me problems, some foreground items are missing and the floor was an utter mess. I was ready to scrap it when I decided to resize the floor itself. I doubt you notice, but that's the quick fix I made here. It's a cool end result, but the journey wasn't fun.
Then we have Bishammon's stage from the same game. This is the hardest level I have worked on as it came with several layers, a ton of items on screen (chicken, kids, dog), all animated and separate. I took some liberties on the tree, houses in the back and the snow in front of the igloo (can you see where I edited it? I can.) This took a while, but the final product looks great and is one of my favorites.
These were recolored for the sequel, Vampire Hunter, but the new colors weren't nearly as cool. In addition, I had no desire to redo these things entirely.
So, we move on to the third games in the series, Vampire Savior and Vampire Savior 2. Almost identical, each had several items that were exclusive, and the backgrounds themselves were colored differently. After doing one set, I deemed it necessary to do the other. Here are each. Vanity Paradise is my favorite here, but it was a hassle. Note that there are floor issues on all of these and I've finished them to varying degrees of success.
With double-jumping, this means double work. These were mostly done in extra-wide formats as well.
The first is a quick edit of Wolverine's first background (before the whole thing splashes into the water). This is from Marvel Super Heroes.
Then we get to the insanity. Just look at the size of Shuma Gorath's background. It's taller and wider than any before it. That's why it's 1334x320. However, it looks awesome. You'll also see my old edit. Note how much I missed (both in height and items in the foreground)! Also note that because of the added height, the sky didn't have to be stretched so much. Therefore the moons don't look bad like they did in the original.
So That's That
Probably more commentary than you cared to read, but as always, I don't really care. I did this all because I think it looks awesome. Hopefully you'll agree. If I come across anything else I'd like to capture, or if I recapture the inspiration that gripped me over the last 24 hours, I'll post more.
I DID post more, unsurprisingly. Check out a huge update on the Marvel Vs. Games!