So many pixel art games

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by Taylord1, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Taylord1

    Taylord1 Member

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    I've been looking at popular gamemaker games and i've noticed that a lot of them use pixel art as their visuals. is that just a popular art style? or can game maker really only handle pixelly sprites?
     
  2. Dmi7ry

    Dmi7ry Member

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    It's just a popular art style. Especially indie developers love it, because usually it needs less resources (time) to create. But you're free to use any style you like.
     
  3. Smiechu

    Smiechu Member

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    It's only popupart art style, don't know why, I think it's a kind of nostalgy. I find it a little bit stupid, becouse, yeah from one side it's easier to do, but from the other it's realy very hard to reproduce the real pixel perfect art style, and most of the games look just strange in the end...

    Other thing is... lower sprite and surface resulotions give more headroom for graphic performance...
    Currently I'm making a game in FullHD resolution and it's a real pain in the a$@ with GM to obtain a decent FPS on weaker machines.
     
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  4. True Valhalla

    True Valhalla Full-Time Developer GMC Elder

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    Pixel art has always seemed more popular with developers than players. Unless it's executed to an extremely high standard, pixel art can easily come across as amateurish.
     
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  5. Niels

    Niels Member

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    Nostalgia and pixelart kinda screams "indie-game!"

    Also I think pixelart has a pro that high res art lacks: " that due to its low detail it makes your imagination fill in the blanks" which I really like.


    Because of the popularity of pixelart in indiegames we see it evolve into new types of pixelart (hi-bit, games that go even lower res than the NES, voxels, etc) which is really cool IMO
     
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  6. Smiechu

    Smiechu Member

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    Most of the classic old games are lo res becouse of the technological limits of the hardware from that days...
    What is funny, game makers always tried to push the limits of the available hardware... not go backwards...
    And I bet that most of the old games would be made hi-res if they would be developed nowadays...

    There is of course the other side, if the gameplay / story / mechanics / game idea is a crapp than it doesn't matter what the graphics are...
    I remember when first Unreal was released and all ware so exited about the graphic engine... but the game/story was boring to the limits. I've never finished the game... instead I've hat more fun playing through for 1001 time whole Duke Nukem 3D...
     
  7. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    So can vector and "normal" raster art. Maybe even moreso than pixel art. "Looks like a ****ty Flash/Newgrounds/iOS game" is a very common complaint from players and devs alike.

    If your art is bad, it's going to look amateurish, no matter what style you're using. Pixel art is actually probably the most forgiving art style new artists can use, as long as they stick to low resolutions and limited palettes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
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  8. JackTurbo

    JackTurbo Member

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  9. MishMash

    MishMash Member

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    I personally opt for pixel art because it is a very convenient style to work with. Whilst we have paid for art, we have a very very very limited budget, and thus have to often "fill in the gaps" ourselves. Pixel art is very easy to manipulate (For example creating variants of graphics with cracks/moss/re-colour), and thus it serves us well. For me, as far as style goes, I quite like the style of pixel art games, though I like any style so long as it is executed well.

    The one difference I try to make with our game is that I want things to look and feel smooth, therefore certain components such as the water, the lighting, particle effects etc; don't use pixel-art style graphics, but instead just general smooth graphics (and are scaled to match the resolution, so lighting remains smooth, no matter what resolution you play at). I quite like the result this gives us, and find that it enhances the pixel look, though others may disagree. If it were the case that we had all the budget in that we could ever need, then getting more high resolution pixel art would be a priority. As it stands, the one downside of pixel art is that it gets proportionally harder to work with when you bump up the scale.

    (This is a video of our game if you are interested: )
     
  10. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    PixelArt is just easier. Well smaller art is easier. 16 x 16 vs say 128 x 128. Take a guess which one is quicker to make. :)

    A few of my friends tell me to get away from the pixel art and go to digital art so in the past 2 months I've started to do that. One bluntly told me something like "my games would look like they're worth buying if I ditch the pixelart."

    I'm sure one of the mods can swoop in and deliver non pixel art. Its entirely possible.

    While I'm here...

    * cough non pixel art *

    Digital painting.

    [​IMG]

    The larger craft was hand drawn on a standard sheet of paper.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  11. estherfanworld

    estherfanworld Member

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    i think undertale is very amazing pixel art games :D
     
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  12. Kiskara

    Kiskara Member

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    What art style you use depends more on your artist I guess.
     
  13. Niels

    Niels Member

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    But is also one or the ugliest commercial pixelart games:)
     
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  14. Geoff Jones

    Geoff Jones Member

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    Good highres graphics are very hard to get right. Good low res graphics are a lot easier to get right.
     
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  15. CMAllen

    CMAllen Member

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    Generally, speaking, yes. The larger your graphics are, the more detail they can convey on their own, the more skilled your artist will need to be to create all that extra detail. And, of course, the larger your assets are, the more time it will require to produce them (thus cost). These are hard limitations to get around without a decent sized team.
     
  16. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    I think it's one of the best looking, actually. Being simple looking doesn't mean it's ugly. Undertale has a lot of great art.
     
  17. Ladi_Pix3l

    Ladi_Pix3l Member

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    ehh. . . .


    EDIT: ehh. . . .
     
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  18. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    Have you played Undertale? The art and music create a very nice atmosphere, I think.
     
  19. Ladi_Pix3l

    Ladi_Pix3l Member

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    I'll agree to the music. It definitely sets the tone. however, the art might be a bit. . . . hard to chew (lack of better terms)
     
  20. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    Ah, you have played it then?
     
  21. Ladi_Pix3l

    Ladi_Pix3l Member

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    Yes :)! dipped my toes in it and swam for a bit. I enjoyed the feeling. but the pool looked sickly and I almost said F*** it
     
  22. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Do those really qualify as "sickly looking" to you? X'D
     
  23. Nocturne

    Nocturne Friendly Tyrant Forum Staff Admin

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    I have to agree, tbh... I really don't like the art in Undertale. It's all over the place! In those screenshots, the one with the bedroom the perspective is just wrong (in particular the bed when compared to the shelves), in the shop/inn screen, the trees are lovely, but the chest and some other areas look like they were drawn by a 3 yearold. Just two examples from those screenshots, but that's my biggest problem with the game... inconsistent art. Some areas are amazingly well done, but others are amazingly badly done, some areas are detailed and others aren't, etc... It seems to have a bit of a mishmash of styles and personally I think that makes it ugly.
     
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  24. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    I think I value the overall feeling of pieces over their details a lot more than most people do. It's something that worries me when I'm working on my own game, too. :x
     
  25. CardinalCoder64

    CardinalCoder64 Member

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    Undertale's art may not be all that consistent, but at least the style gets the point across. I do agree that the art can look rather horrific at times but I feel Undertale keeps an impressive balance during the experience. You can cringe at a poorly drawn sprite yes, but something else is bound to make up for it. For example, I can not stand Frisk's sprite no matter what angle I'm looking from, but I can look past it with the gameplay and the music because they are more fully fleshed out. Plus I think the "bad" art is what inspires artists to make the art look "better" from their perspective, hence way I believe there is so much fan art based around the game. If something looks ugly, it's natural for an artist to make it look better or to draw it the way the creator had originally intended. At least, that's how I perceive it anyway.
     
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  26. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    Popularity is all that matters.
     
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  27. RangerX

    RangerX Member

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    Ok. My opinion about this topic has been said already. I will add that I love pixel art. There's never "too many".
     
  28. The Sentient

    The Sentient Member

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    Check out Unity. So many 3D games. :p
     
  29. sebbl

    sebbl Member

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    Oh yeah.
    It's amazing when you see what kind of depth some ordinary pixels can create.
     
  30. BlessHayGaming

    BlessHayGaming Member

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    Well, he is not really talking 2D vs 3D - you can achieve lots of different styles with either. It would be much more fair to say "Check out Unity. So many voxel-art games" (if that were the case, and don't believe it is) :) 2D and 3D are perspectives, pixel art is more of a style - or a group of styles.

    That being said, I do believe a lot of Unity games have similar trouble, however more based in the floatiness of the controls, as a lot of people are using the default values for gravity, weight, friction, etc..

    But I digress, I understand it was a joke :)

    More on topic, as I said, a lot of pixel art styles exists. Hi-bit is slowly becoming a thing, which means pixel art games can be hi-def too.
    But I believe the reason most people choose pixel art is simply because it is very approachable - it is easy to learn (but as with many other things: Hard to master).
     
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  31. Famine

    Famine Member

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    I choose whatever because as long as it looks attractive, high quality, and the game play is fun, it really doesn't matter. Minecraft proved that to everyone when it hit critical mass in a time when so many people judged it on graphics alone. While it's true, graphics alone gets consumers picking it up, if you're gameplay is fun, word of mouth will spread like wildfire regardless of the graphical style.
     
  32. Felipe Rybakovas

    Felipe Rybakovas Member

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    Sometimes I realize that 2D graphics standarts for today is pixel art. People don´t even bother to change that.
    And I´m not saying that I´m not a fan of pixel art... But for me is like... "Keep doing in that way... it´s confortable for everyone"
    And then... all games looks the same. And it´s confortable for the audience because they don´t need to "learn" something new.
    But take the example of the Darkest Dungeon graphics... It´s really great. I would love to see more games on that graphic style....

    Also just take a look at this forum... 90% of them is pixel art.... And all the succesful games here(forum likes) are pixel art.
     
  33. 0.Bytes

    0.Bytes Member

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    Pixel art is "kinda" easy to do, looks good and it is nostalgic to some people, I think that those are some of the main reasons on why it is so popular
     
  34. Guest User

    Guest User Guest

    ....Death's Gambit looks nothing like Undertale and only 12 out of 29 games on the first page of the Gamemaker Showcase have "visible pixels", with pixel art becoming less and less common on further pages. where's the fire? o_O
     
  35. Anomaly

    Anomaly Member

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    I grew up on old arcade/8/16 bit / sierra games etc.. Love well done pixel art games..
    Its actually the reason I wanted to get into making a game...
    So I got game maker planning to make one.
    I can't stand "puppet style" vector animated games. Just seems lazy and talentless...

    Ironically... The game I ended up making, is NOT pixel art.. And uses vectors hah!... BUT traditionally 2D animated...not tweening puppet characters.
    In actually only interested in showcasing fun animation and satisfying game feel and addictive puzzle play....
     
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  36. The Sentient

    The Sentient Member

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    Yes, but the point I was getting is that all games tend to look "[insert_engine]'y".

    You can generally pick a GMS game a mile off.
    You can generally pick a Unity game a mile off.

    It's the unique looking games that tend to catch my eye.
     
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  37. Ladi_Pix3l

    Ladi_Pix3l Member

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    I can somewhat agree to this. But like. . .idk. . . .Like I didn't know Hotline Miami was made in game maker. I definitely couldn't tell at first glance
     
  38. JackTurbo

    JackTurbo Member

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    That is generally not an issue with the engine, but with the devs... Most engines are capable of delivering multiple types of art direction if the Devs are so inclined. I get what you're saying overall, but the issue is with the dev team's artistic vision, not the engines capabilities.

    How about this? Does this look GMS-y?




    Does this look Unity-y?

     
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  39. RangerX

    RangerX Member

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    You can't really tell an engine by the games.
    There's tons of games that look the same over all engines and tons of games that looks different.
    What one can do though is associate certain types of games or quality standards to an engine but this is on you. Its just perception and more often than not, its false perception.
     
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  40. The Sentient

    The Sentient Member

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    @JackTurbo - exactly what I mean there are a 'few' gems out there where you couldn't pick the engine. But on the whole, 'most' games look samey. (FWIW Swords of ditto does look GMS'y to me. Maybe a better example would have been Orphan)

    @RangerX - agreed to an extent. But, does this look like GMS to you?

    [​IMG]

    Not starting an engine war here whatsoever, but there is a limit to the graphical style that GMS can physically produce. This is partly the reason GMS is 'pidgeon holed' as mainly pixel art. I say 'mainly'. As we know there are exceptions to the rule.
     
  41. JackTurbo

    JackTurbo Member

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    I wasnt actually trying to refute your statements about things looking same-y. My whole point was that its not the engines fault that so many gms games look similar. The engine absolutely is capable of a wide variety of art styles and directions.

    It is our fault. The devs'. The community's.

    There is this hegemonic effect where certain styles or decisions become the norm in a community. Where deviation from these conventions isnt encouraged and I personally do believe we're guilty of this.
     
  42. The Sentient

    The Sentient Member

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    @JackTurbo I agree 100% with what you are saying :)
     
  43. RangerX

    RangerX Member

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    I think you perfectly understand what I mean.
    Looking at 3D war game like this, you can't really tell which 3D capable engine did that game. Not just from the game itself. You need to know what is the dev or publisher, see a logo on the game or box, etc.
    Its the same if you look at 2D game. You can't tell which 2D capable engine did it. If you associate "crap 2D game" and "gamemaker" then its on you.
     
  44. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    i think what the guy was asking is does game maker handle other graphics as well as pixel graphics. and i wuld say no. im sure if some1 puts effort in it he can get 3d unity like graphics, but at what cost? even games with pixel graphics require a monster pc these days to run normally. which is not normal. and please dont start with, oh its for compatibility. no its not. perhaps you can pull a retro 3d in game maker but nothing too fancy. and i mean efficiently.
     
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  45. RangerX

    RangerX Member

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    This is obviously the case. GameMaker purpose and mission is making 2D games. Anybody that thought otherwise was wrong.
     
  46. The Sentient

    The Sentient Member

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    So you are now saying that GM does strongly push you down the pixel art street?

    This is precisely what the OP, I, and others are saying.

    With the pic I posted earlier, are you saying this wasn't made in GMS? If so, that assumption is 'on you' and you are no better than the rest of us. :D
     
  47. Smiechu

    Smiechu Member

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    I must agree... graphical inefficiency of GM makes it challenging to work on hi-res 2D projects... not impossible but way, way more challenging.
     
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  48. Guest User

    Guest User Guest

    2D game =/= pixel art game.
     
  49. The Sentient

    The Sentient Member

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    Very true.

    What would you personally say the main graphical style is when looking at GMS based projects? (Be honest now)

    [edit]
    Don't get me wrong. I love pixel art style games. It is amazing what creators can do with just a few pixels. Just stating the fact of the matter, the engine of choice strongly pushes you towards a certain style. There's nothing wrong with this. It is just a simple fact.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017
  50. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    Gotta agree. GM is a great engine for 2D pixel/grid based games. If my game wasn't pixel art, I'd probably take at least a quick look at other engines.
     

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