Wait! I’m upscaling a 1993 game?! (Part 1)

Its more an obsession at this point

I have a weakness for mucking around trying to create HD art packs for games. The bulk of them don’t get completed, partially for technical reasons, but sometimes because something else catches my eye. Others are technically “done” but just aren’t up to my personal release standards. I can’t help it and my ADD frenzy usually kicks off when I see low resolution or blurry artwork in a game. Blake Stone by Apogee is a perfect example of that. I am not the biggest fan of pixel art, so it was an ideal candidate to be upscaled.

I forgot it even existed

I should note that before this, I never played Blake Stone or even remotely desired to play it. I had barely even remembered it because Doom overshadowed everything at that time. But I stumbled upon a source port for the game. The project called BStone, an open source port for Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold and the Planet Strike sequel, is a windows port for the DOS game.

Wait it does what?!

As I love game engine ports because they usually bring features and Quality of Life improvement to older games, I couldn’t resist checking it out. A quick search revealed that I actually owned both games on the GOG platform (I have over 2000 games…so….whoops). So using the BStone, I gave the loaded up Aliens of Gold. While tweaking the settings, I saw a few interesting options. First, you could use image filters which are OK but tend to just make the game look blurry to me. Second, the “upscale filter” applies an XBR filter that looks pretty nice for what it does, however there are limitation to how good pixel art can look that way. Last, there was an option to turn on “External textures” and…the fuse was lit. I knew that by just “merely” replacing the images, I could make the game look so much better and my obsession was triggered.

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