For many, many years now, I thought that GIF was completely useless to everyone apart from web developers, because GIF usually throws away 98% of the image and makes it look ugly. It also causes aliasing and has a stupid name. “Graphics Interchange Format”… what the hell? But, of course, the upside to all this crappery and melted retinas is a much smaller file size.
But just now… I’ve found why I’d want to use it.
In Dragon Storm, I was planning to do three different dragon appearances. Each of these appearances has its own image in the Customisation screen. I was also thinking of making a special cutscene at the start of a new game, and another after every five missions or so, starring the main character (your dragon). These cutscenes would need multiple poses, and I’d have to render each pose with each of the three dragon appearances. Now, each of these renders comes out at around 300-400KB when saved as a PNG, which is the awesomest file format ever (in most situations ), because it’s lossless, has alpha channel support and they use up a retardedly small amount of space for what you get. But, multiply that 300-400KB by six (that’s about the number of poses I need for the first cutscene), then multiply the result by three (the number of dragon appearances)… you’re looking at 5,400-7,200KB PER CUTSCENE. And that’s not even including backgrounds or other characters in these scenes. Sure, there won’t be MANY cutscenes, but this is (SPARTAA!) an indie game – it’s supposed to be downloadable.
As a last ditch attempt to save space, I decided to convert my PNG-format images into all the file formats Photoshop could spit out. Then, as I was going through them, I immediately noticed that the GIF format had cut the space required in THREE, which was more than any other format. 100KB an image is MUCH more realistic; it’s only ~2MB for an entire cutscene rather than ~6MB.
“GIF. HA!” I said, mockingly. “Sure, I’ll use this piece-a-shit file format. I won’t wreck Dragon Storm in the slightest(!)”
But… when I replaced an image in Multimedia Fusion just to test it out…
…I couldn’t notice the difference unless I looked REALLY closely – there’s a loss of colour in his eye and on his horns, and there’s aliasing around the edges of the image. But that’s all. Those three tiny quality hits for a third of the file size? Yeah, please.
So, basically, Dragon Storm is not gonna be as huge (filesize-wise ;)) as I’d first expected, thanks to the power (or lack of ) of GIF. I’ve replaced two images and already saved 400KB. Now to replace some of the others and see what happens…
Oh yeah, and in other news… great start for Virgin Media. The bloke was supposed to be here today at 2:00PM… and he never arrived. Shows you how much more I’m looking forward to their actual service if the guy that’s supposed to sell it to me FORGETS TO FECKING ARRIVE… Wish I could’ve gone with O2, but it’s Virgin Media’s phone line, as well. They’ve basically monopolised this place.
Ah well… maybe he’ll turn up later on.
Just replaced the huge, problematic SHHHORRYYUKEN anime-attack-style background effect image in Dragon Storm with a GIF equivalent. (DAMN, that’s a mouthful. ) It WAS 6MB, now it’s 1MB. A SIXTH OF THE SIZE AND I NOTICE NO DIFFERENCE! HOLY MOTHERFU…!
GIF. Well, I wouldn’t use it for anything apart from game development and web design, but still… .
Yeah, the Virgin Media guy turned up. Only five hours late…
But never mind – I’ve bought the Internet now, and it should be arriving in the mail on Friday. Then all I need to do is plug it in and THE WORLD IS MYINE!!!