Parallax scrolling in 2D: revisiting my past

The last time I did parallax scrolling in a game was back in my Amiga days in the early 90s. I had forgotten just how much value for money one could get from the technique. This isn’t just your average forgetfulness, either (although at my age, it could be), it is pretty deliberate. I specifically informed my brain that it did not need to remember such knowledge: 3D had arrived, it had a whole extra D than 2D and we no longer needed to fake such cool effects, we could do it for REAL! Not just one or two levels of parallax, we suddenly had infinite parallax levels. Wooohoooo!

My braaaaaiiiiiiins, braaiiiiiins, helping me remember the past, yesterday.

Then along came the iPhone and it was like going back to the Amiga days from a fun perspective, but with shaders and enough memory and processing power to make the Amiga’s 68000 look like Napier’s bones from a performance point of view.

So, with the help of home made Schnapps, I dredged parallax scrolling out of my aging memory, applied it and was again amazed by its brilliance and simplicity: so much coolness and depth added to a 2D display from so little programming. Then, after adding it as a generalised feature to my engine, I did what any self respecting programmer would do: I turned it up to eleven and added more and more parallax layers until the phone started dropping frames. I managed a good 16 with animating blocks before optimisation. It looked somewhat over-busy with that much going on, but it was pretty good fun.

Some might argue that if I focussed on baking the cake rather than decorating its uncooked gloop, perhaps I’d have more of a game at this point… but, meh, it’s my cake.

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2 Responses to Parallax scrolling in 2D: revisiting my past

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