Understandably though, Norbert appears to make do without scaling at all, using 4 patterns as-is. In truth, at 256x192 resolution 21 frames of animation of exploding particles is overkill, and half the frames would probably look the same anyway. The shrapnel bitmaps, like the other objects, are confined to 16x16 pixels and likely don't render quite as large as the shrapnel on the original, but it's not noticeable at all except perhaps for the number of frames each pattern persists for. Either way it doesn't affect game play in any way.
Throughout the original animation, the global scale is changed in 6 steps from 11 thru 15 and finally to 0. What I do is simply ignore the shrapnel pattern number and instead use the global scale to display pattern 0, 1, 2, 2, 3 & 3 since the latter scales are displayed for more frames (somewhat realistically the explosion slows down).
|Kaboom! A saucer hits an asteroid.|
Next I'll look at the (saucer) shots, and see if they can be unambiguously identified in the display list... perhaps via their brightness and/or vector length??? If not, it's time for some 'less benign' changes to the original code!