Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

More beta skin updates: pixelated backgrounds
Staff2021-07-22 19:29:16 [Permalink]
Hey folks, as I'm sure you're aware the weather is getting PRETTY HAIRY OUT THERE, and at the same time I'm updating my website (which up until very recently weighed in at under a hundred kilobytes) to use great big massive high-def graphics, each of which has its own tiny carbon footprint which when multiplied by tens of millions of pageviews per month adds up to... well, I hesitate to use the term "crime against humanity," but put it this way, there's room for improvement.

So, given that the Beta skin's page background graphics are more to provide a general "feel" than to be looked at closely, I'm experimenting with using much lower resolution images and letting the browser resize them up to big.

Up until fairly recently, putting a small image on your website and telling the browser "make this big" resulted in a horrible blurry mess. Now, we have a method to tell the browser not to make it a horrible blurry mess, but instead resize it the way an old console game would resize something - just make the pixels bigger.

This works great on some skin variants, and not-so-great on others, but by converting our background images to pixel-art-esque low-res versions, we go from around 200kb of images to around 30kb, a massive reduction. So far I've made alternate versions of the jungle, pub, outpost walls and dark stone variants - dark stone and outpost walls work well, jungle and pub not so well. So in the coming days I'll be looking for better source images for variants that don't convert well to a pixelly form. Keep an eye on the beta skin for updates on that front.

Have fun,

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