Article Why do Gamemaker users settle for pixelated graphics?

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by fxokz, May 2, 2017.

  1. Roman P.

    Roman P. Member

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    i use pixel art in my stuff cause

    1. i'm inspired by nes/mastersystem aesthetic
    2. i'm not an artist. and i know if i put enough time and effort i still can make something that looks acceptable, though not amazing.

    i rather create something that i like and looks half decent to me, than create stuff that looks like a ****ty HD flash game from newgrounds that i wouldn't play myself.

    i started making a sega genesis'esque game (inspired by contra hard corps) and in no way i can create anything that resembles something similar, so i got a friend whos an awesome artist to help out.
     
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  2. Ethanicus

    Ethanicus Ethan L!

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    I'm thinking what's really happening here is that you've realized you're wrong and just keep throwing more inane elaboration at us to cover it. If you want to be an artist, go get paint or pencils (or pixels) or something and start. Telling people art is random, you're born with it, etc. is devaluing the skill and effort put in. I've been drawing for literally since I could hold a crayon, and I STILL am not as good as I want to be. None of your arguments make a lick of logical sense.
     
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  3. anomalous

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    Considering Terraria and Minecraft, the two most successful indie games in the past decade, had very simple graphics? Minecraft looked like a weekend project..

    I'm turned off by the 1st picture graphics. For a book cover or a still shot, it's fine. For something that's interactive and as expansive as I like games to be, it would likely have to be shallow and linear to have art that detailed and still be cost effective. If I want great graphics, I can play some first person 3D game with all the graphics cranked up...(so few worth playing though). Why would I look for an indie styled game that has AAA graphics? It's absurd. I like games that allow you to interact with what you can see to varying degrees. Tons of fancy "backdrops" look cheap to me, it's a facade, it's not interactive, and you can tell immediately.

    Games are abstract by nature. There are many, many art styles of varying degrees of abstractness that look great. When you design, especially solo or small team, the complexity ramps up dramatically as graphics increase. My first game I'm working on is way too good looking (and it's probably a 6/10 on graphics complexity), and because its so detailed the number of positions, animations, the time to get any new content, its just dumb. Graphics are like a book cover, it reels you in, but if the insides are good, you forget and no longer care about the cover. for me anyway.

    Unless you have a huge team or have a talented artist devoted to a project who puts their heart into it, you should IMO avoid anything too complex. You can't compete with AAA graphics and integration, so why try? Make the game quality, fun, polished, and keep the graphics to the minimum needed to express the game. Even with simple graphics, once you animate and polish, and add tons of content, the art time will STILL be huge. If the graphics where 2x better, it would be like 8x the work. Which usually means, it will never get finished...
    That's just my take anyway. Finding a really talented artist who wants to slog through animation frames and scene after scene, AND who knows enough digital art to make them effective AND finding an indie programmer who they want to spend their time helping...this is also fairly rare.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  4. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    as a matter of fact yes, i apply it everywhere and its not logic but intelligence, my personal doctror is incompetent and i havent visited him from 10 years nor have i become sick, and if i am in need of a doctor i go to him and if i find him competent i entrust my health to him. heres an example, i had a back pain, my personal doc told me i cant lift more then 10kg and that i have some deformations, then i went to a surgeon with a good rep and he told me i simply stretched a muscle or somthin(short version).

    i am not arguing against education, im arguin that without the first hand experience, you know nothing of what your doing. there are countless of examples of people not passin an education and yet being good or pros at what they do. in my neighbourhood there are meny people that can disassemble a car and put it back together or modify it in any way they like yet none of them have such education.

    Ethanicus, dont think too much, its bad for your perception of the situation, and yours is clearly clouded. :D
    when you go outside at day can you realise that its night? no you cant, duh, you can realise only true things, that its day.
     
  5. Blazing

    Blazing Guest

    Where has anybody here said you don't need to practice at art to be a good artist?
     
  6. Niels

    Niels Member

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    People will judge your game by it's looks... especially outside gamedev forums.

    Even with awesome gameplay, it will still be a hard sell if the game looks like it's drawn in paint.

    Also people in this thread it seems like people suggest that complex art == good art, which is totally untrue...
    you can make your gameart simplistic, but still look appealing.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
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  7. inkBot

    inkBot Member

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    Maybe those people didn't go to school to learn how to disassemble cars, but that doesn't mean they didn't study how to do it. Someone taught them, or they were self-taught

    You keep talking about first hand experience and how you know nothing without that. Well... I'm sorry to break your worldview here, but, in the field of producing art, studying IS first hand experience. That's what you seemingly don't understand. It's not just reading and immediately knowing how to apply what you just read. It's an iterative process of studying theory, practice and observation.

    Who are you to say what does and does not have objective artistic value?

    "The guy that made Star Wars" is a bunch of people, but I'm going to assume you mean George Lucas. This understanding you speak of, where did that come from? Since light sabers don't actually exist? I know I'm gonna just get some nonsense back so I'll answer my own rhetorical question. The understanding comes from taking disparate knowledge (i.e. references and analogs) and applying them to create something new. This process is the same when you're drawing something new as well.

    It's not a quote unless you actually put in the quote. Not sure what that had to with the discussion at hand though.

    Do you know what we call it when we draw something over and over so that we learn? It's called a study. You don't even know how wrong you are.

    I'm inclined to believe he's taking the piss.
     
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  8. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    practice and experience are not the same, stop perverting what i say with your misunderstanding.

    ink, read what i write carefully, then mention me, k? i dont care to argue or prove anything, i know what i know, and its clear you dont know what i know, so why bother?
    you and others are arguin against a simple and undenyable truth, if you havent been to Everest, you dont know whats it to be there. say w/e you want you wont change nature`s laws, any medie you 'experience' everest throu dont count, thats mental masturbation, not real experience. and substantial art comes from real experience, i will not use quality cus im sure you wuld think, w/e fits the market standarts. also im not arguin against anything, im focusing on what ive alredy mentioned which doesnt negate or decline(bad english) education, it simply doesnt support it.
     
  9. Blazing

    Blazing Guest

    1. No, practice and experience aren't the same, but you don't get experience without practice. How else do you think your neighbors learned every square inch of their cars?

    2. It would help if your grammar and word choice wasn't so muddled and obfuscated. You say we don't understand what you're saying, then make what you're saying understandable. That's on you, not us.

    3. I still don't get what's so terrible about art education. You say it's fine but then turn around and go on a rant about it.
     
  10. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    Dude, you say yet again, that i say, that theres somthing wrong with education, i never said anything against education, and i made that clear in my last post. What i say, is, that you need experience to actually know somthing, wether you get that experience throught education, or on your own, its irrelavent.
    And yes, you cant get experience without practice, but you can and meny people do, practice without experiencing. And thats what i meant when i was talking about fanart and the people who simply have a good technique but no experience in drawing. Drawing as an experience is capturing what you see on the paper, thats all. To capture somthing, you need contact, and to establish a contact, you dont need a theory or knowledge, you simply need to be open and unbiased. For instance, you walk on the road, a kid runs, a car hits it, kid is helpless on the road and dying with broken bones going out of the skin. A good artist will see the pain, the helplesness, the confusion, the strive for the parents to remedy the situation, the conditioning that dissapears, the unawareness which kids have of theyr bodys, the kid`s maturity, if the fading of the kids senses is a relief to the kid or a loss. Overall unbiased facts that are true but not neceserly obvious. A bad artist will see a disaster, misery, cruelty, Overall biased conclusions that people come to.
    This is the difference betwean real art, that tends to be censored, and pseudo art. To actually know the things that i wrote in the first part, you need experience in the human being, and its functionality, to know the things in the second part, you dont need anything, disaster, misery, cruelty are mental conclusions, not facts.
    A good artist for me, that id reccomend for any1 thats involved in art, is Dostoyevski. And i forgot what im talkin about or replyin to, and it got too long, so yea. :D
     
  11. inkBot

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    @blacklemon You've done nothing but argue against things this entire time.

    Yeah, I don't know what it's like to be at Everest, not really enthused about the idea either. But that is irrelevant to me depicting it and studying photographs and maps in order to do it. Why is this such a contentious issue for you? I take it you have visited multiple castles for that castle game in your sig? Otherwise, well, your game just isn't real enough then.

    "Drawing as an experience is capturing what you see on the paper, thats all."
    That is a very one-sided way of seeing it. Drawing is using lines and shading to convey the illusion of shape and form. You can use that to depict what you see, or to create something entirely new. This stuff: "To capture somthing, you need contact, and to establish a contact, you dont need a theory or knowledge, you simply need to be open and unbiased." is just woo.

    I think I'm homing in on the issue here. You can't separate the practice of art (the how) from the philosophical side of art.

    Arguing about "real art" and "pseudo art" is completely fruitless, because you can argue with someone until you're both blue in the face, and at the end of the day, both of you will be equally wrong.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
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  12. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    Ink, bro, are you tryin to make me laugh or somthing.. :D When you draw somthing, you draw only that which you know, if youve never been to everest, you can draw as meny mountains as you want, you will not capture in those mountains anything that everest can show you.

    And, i am talking ONLY about the practical part of art, what your talking about is just theory. I mean, i alredy said ive never been into an art school, nor do i study on the net, how can i know the theory of art... :D its a very illogical assumtpion your proposing here.
     
  13. Nux

    Nux Member

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    This sort of over analysis is what really annoyed me in my art course; it's often used to formulate an excuse for abstract art, such as: A canvas which is covered in pure gold leaf, or a urinal with a jokers name on it - but it is the experience that makes it art.

    For the record, why does any of this matter?
    You can have all the experience in the world, but if you don't know how to use a pen, your art will be bad. Likewise, you can have all the skills, techniques, and theory at your disposal, but without any knowledge as to how things work or are structured, the most you'll be able to produce is a colorful arrangement of mixed media. One does not take priority over the other; they go hand in hand.
     
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  14. inkBot

    inkBot Member

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    You keep telling yourself that, buddy.
     
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  15. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    I emphasise on experience becouse when you practice without any purpose you create the bad habbit of 'making things look good' which also destroys any chance for your actual technique or style to develope. But yes, ofcorse you need both, the car and the driver.
     
  16. Ethanicus

    Ethanicus Ethan L!

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    I've come to the conclusion that either your definitions are completely muddled, or you have no idea what you're talking about in terms of the words' relation to one another. Literally nothing you have said has made sense and you keep shifting the goalposts and throwing unexplained metaphors in that just confuse your point.

    Experience is the state of having experienced things. Not some philosophical thing. I have experienced drawing. I haven't experienced going to Everest. I can't tell you what it's like up there. That doesn't mean I can't draw a good picture of Everest.
    Practice is doing something over and over while slowly phasing out mistakes and honing in on correct aspects. I have practiced art for over a decade.
    Purpose is literally just the reason you do something. I have the feeling you're talking about teen girls duplicating crappy anime archetypes.
    Technique is nothing but the way you do something. Good technique, yes, comes from practice and experience.

    I think what you're REALLY saying here is that experience influences execution, style and technique come from practice, and something I honestly just cannot make out for the life of me. I'm trying here, I really am. You're just confusing everyone and are coming off like you're saying NOTHING is art.
     
  17. GMWolf

    GMWolf aka fel666

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    All in favour to disregard @blacklemon, his artist elitism and his irrelevant anecdotes and metaphors?
     
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  18. mysticjim

    mysticjim Guest

    From a creators point of view, pixel art is very accessible and easy to create. And it has scope - it can be almost childishly simple or breathtakingly beautiful.

    And it does have an enduring popularity.

    From a nostalgia point of view, i.e. purely looking back to days gone by, it can be used to stir fond memories in people who were, well, 'there' back in the days of those primordial but significant games.

    From a retro point of view, i.e. taking something obviously influenced by classic designs, but bolting those images onto a streamlined modern game that runs smoothly with modern functionality - it ticks all the boxes. My 7 year old can absolutely emotionally identify with the challenges of a basic 16x16 pixel character just as he can with a character rendered in near photo-realistic 3D. The art style may not have changed too much, but what you can make those characters do has been expanded - it's a modern gameplay experience, and a lot of people don't mind how it looks - some adore how it looks. :)

    So, I don't think it's a simple question of people settling for pixel art. Indeed some people will use pixel art due to functional necessity - i.e. time, money, artistic or technical ability constraints, etc. But some will do so out of the love of the pixel art. Probably most do a little bit of both.

    I love pixel art. And I love the fact you can use it in great games :)
     
  19. GMWolf

    GMWolf aka fel666

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    I think the aesthetic of pixel art really is an interesting thing to discuss though.
    First, we should realise that pixel art is not only used in games, Peopple make still and animations in thi style too.
    This is often done to emulate a video game, but it can also be done because of its looks.

    When it comes to video games, ITs easy to think that the art style is used just to look retro. But i dont think thats always the case.

    One of the most important reason pixel art works so well for games, In my opinion, is that it makes it much easier on the player:
    The simple shapee,s and thinker outlines make it easier for objects to be identified, and things like facial expressions are much more easily represented.

    As we move towards more high resolution, and possible photo realistic art styles, items tend to fade into the environment, as an increasing amount of detail is introduced/
    As for faces, etc, you start entering the uncanny valley, where successful animation will require much more work.
     
  20. Ethanicus

    Ethanicus Ethan L!

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    Hitboxes and such are also a nightmare, and you really have to compensate outside of pixel art.
     
  21. Cpaz

    Cpaz Member

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    I'm afraid I'll have to agree here. While I'd love to see more variety in GM art, anything not pixel often doesn't look that great. I blame programs like spine for making weird animations look normal.
     
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  22. Ethanicus

    Ethanicus Ethan L!

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    This. People have no idea how to use it correctly, I KNOW it can be used right, people are just too lazy/inexperienced.
     
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  23. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    Ethanicus, if what i write doesnt make sense to you, why do you think about it? Just ignore it. You wont hurt my feelings. :D and i dont like to repeat myself over and over again.

    On to the topic, and to make things more fun.

    Pixel art, is an art, but only for the artist,
    for the rest, its just a practice.

    top that rhyme.
     
  24. mysticjim

    mysticjim Guest

    I was prompted to look up Spline as I'd not actually heard of it before :oops:

    I'm actually thinking I'd love to have a go on that!
     
  25. inkBot

    inkBot Member

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    Spine users kinda face the same issues that 3D animation software users did and still do. Many people learn to animate inside these programs, and thus learn a makeshift method of animation where they're using straight tweens with no easing. For me, Spine is interesting, but for one, I tested the trial and found the features I wanted to use convoluted (assigning mesh weights in Spine is AWFUL), and for two, to create something that doesn't look like a paper cut out doll, it requires at the very least the same amount of effort (if not more) that it would take to just animate it traditionally.

    It didn't rhyme.
     
  26. GMWolf

    GMWolf aka fel666

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    It does if you have an artists vision!
     
  27. Cpaz

    Cpaz Member

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    Yeah! It totally rhymes if you look at it in the morning in the sunlight, wince a bit, and *tilt your head a little. (/s)
    *-apparently, the forums doesn't like the other word used for this.
    To that end, has there been any good example of proper 3d animation in GM yet? I haven't seem any decent example throughout my years with this program.
     
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  28. Ethanicus

    Ethanicus Ethan L!

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    Okay, so you don't want to be understood. That explains everything.
    By that token, why bother trying to explain if you don't care if people know what the heck you're talking about.
     
  29. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    I like watching this thread. May it never die.

    If people don't like the look of a game there are thousands of others they will like the look of. Looks get you in the door to even play the game. Also I dare say its even style over graphics or visual fidelity. A style that evokes something that makes people say "I want to play that."

    I call it the hinged Halloween Skeleton decoration look.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  30. Yal

    Yal GMC Memer GMC Elder

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    So much this. I can't tell you how many modern games has had me literally blinded for the first hour or so because there's stuff going on EVERYWHERE and I can't parse what stuff matters and what stuff is just decorative fluff. Pixel art (and other stylized styles) makes it very clear what purpose something has, making it much easier to 'get into' the game. A lot of modern devs seem to have forgotten the principles of identification, and even devs that usually work on it seem to have done that kind of thing by mistake and it's just sheer chance if they keep doing it. For instance, FROM Software's RPG series Dark Souls has all items you can pick up be shiny orbs so you can instantly see when there's loot on an enemy corpse or at the end of a corridor or stuff, but Dark Souls 3 also has a bloom effect to make things pretty that is indistinguishable from the glow of an item orb at certain distances; the previous two games didn't have that issue.
     
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  31. Niels

    Niels Member

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    I tried playing one of the new Call of Duty's and I stopped playing it after 30 minutes because half of the time I couldn't see what was going on because of all the visual flash that was going on in my screen(and the overuse of flares and shadows)
     
  32. GMWolf

    GMWolf aka fel666

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    I will expand on what I said however:
    High res graphics are not the issue here, I think its developers who do not know how to use it.
    There are plenty of games that use HD graphics and do not suffer from this. For instance, borderlands manages to keep everything popping thanks to its cartoony looks.

    But managing the game design, art direction and more requires to pull this off is not always possible for a small team, often not much larger than 2 to 3 people.
     
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  33. Yal

    Yal GMC Memer GMC Elder

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    I wouldn't touch those games with a ten-foot pole held by someone else :p To give some examples of what games I experienced this in: the Gamecube ports of Twlight Princess and Sonic Riders. (Yeah, it was a bunch of years ago, but that was about the time I started thinking modern visual fluff is going too far... and it's not exactly started to recede yet).
     
  34. GMWolf

    GMWolf aka fel666

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    Modern visual fluff has its place, in games where needing to identify objects in split seconds is not a priority.
     
  35. Desix

    Desix Member

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    Pixel art looks nice.
    Vector art looks nice.
    Painted art looks nice.

    'ts all good.
     
  36. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    Oh my God, its so high def! Perfect graphics!
     
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  37. Galladhan

    Galladhan Member

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    This is one of the (big) reasons why pixel art is an "evergreen", for me: it teases your imagination. Kinda like when you read a book (compared to watching a movie).

     
  38. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    "Book vs. Movie" is the analogy I use, too. It's true, I think.
     
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  39. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    Try the latest
    I like how they went above mediocre by making it goofy, having a broken skull with a bandage and googly eyes.
     
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  40. Niels

    Niels Member

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    It's also to reason I loved how the isometric bioware games looked(Baldur's gate, icewind Dale and planescape:torment) and I hated the looks of their 3D games(dragon age, neverwinter nights).
     
  41. YanBG

    YanBG Member

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    You mean 3d game engine or models rendered to 2d? I started playing games in late 90s(Diablo, Age of Empires, StarCraft) they all used 2d renders from 3d models(simple because of the scale but with good animations) and i'm trying to do somehing similar in GM now. My animations are kind of stiff but that's because i'll have to work more on them. In any case i think it's way faster than doing it by hand.
    [​IMG]

    Since i want people to buy the game i have to try pleasing them and some of the feedback was "Looks too dated/oldschool", so i think i have to improve onto the 2000s style gfx, i can't imagine late 80s/early 90s having more luck.
     
  42. GMWolf

    GMWolf aka fel666

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    It does look dated, but not necessarily because of the sprites. I think its mostly the UI that needs a bit of work. For the actual game graphics, just try not to make the tiles cut to black. add a few border decoration tiles.
    THough it is an aestetic that isnt used much these days, i think it looks good :)
     
  43. Guest User

    Guest User Guest

    i think this applies to pretty much anything, though. having pixel graphics alone doesn't inherently make things "pop" any more than HD 3D graphics. if you have an incompetent pixel artist behind the art, you can easily get a muddled mess of nonsense. likewise, if you have incompetence in game & environment design, you'll end up with unnecessary, poorly executed "fluff" that distracts.

    ehhhh and tbh it's also probably motivated a tad by the issue of that ever-growing demand for "better graphics" in everything. i mean, hating indie games when they first started getting popular because they considered pixel art to be "bad graphics", no 'if's 'and's or 'but's, was pretty widespread. for a lot of people, 'flashier' and 'more HD' means 'better'.
     
  44. Ethanicus

    Ethanicus Ethan L!

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    Overwatch is ridiculously HD. Blizzard is just a master of composition and it's easy to make out, plus the enemies and projectiles are all outlined in red.
     
  45. mysticjim

    mysticjim Guest

    I think your game looks awesome. I still like the way the Ages of Empires games look now. Prior to playing those I was a sucker for even earlier games of that ilk from the early 90's like Populous, Powermonger and Megalomania - but the shift to the 3D models rendered into 2D sprites really took it up a level from just little pixel sprites to detailed figures with really organic looking animations.

    I think it's a harsh critic who'd say your game looks 'dated.' For sure, it's look is influenced by that era because of the technique you're using, which I guess makes it unashamedly retro :)

    I think the big elephant in the room has to be Minecraft. It's old style looking 3D blocks with old style pixel art pasted on the face of those blocks to create details and features. When it first came out I can remember lots of people being mystified by it's popularity purely based on it's presentation. Now the look is iconic.
     
  46. Blazing

    Blazing Guest

    @mysticjim Quality pre-rendered graphics using modern computers look fantastic now. An old-school strategy with graphics like this (but higher-res) would look like a million bucks and run as smooth as butter on any machine. Somebody should do it!
     
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  47. Desix

    Desix Member

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    You saying other styles are 'better' than pixel art? ;)
    I think some really talented painters, even digital ones, wouldn't be able to master the tricks of pixel art on their first try. It is it's own art form at this point, not a limitation any more.

    But of course, as with any style, it has to be done well.
     
  48. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    A traditional artist would destroy a pixel artist in under a six months of studying pixel art, though. Someone who has only ever done pixel art would still take ten years to become a good traditional artist, unless that pixel artist has been doing nothing but huge pixel art drawings the entire time. Anyone who does only pixel art is almost guaranteed to be terrible at full sized art. There's just so much that tiny pixel drawings will never teach you.

    It shows in these sorts of pixel artist's work, too, but it's very easy to work around or otherwise hide your artistic shortcomings when all your drawings would fit on a stamp, haha.
     
  49. Desix

    Desix Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2016
    Posts:
    434
    Of course you have to be a good artist in the first place. That goes for any style like I said. My point was that pixel art isn't just lazy normal art.
     
  50. GMWolf

    GMWolf aka fel666

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    3,390
    I think this applies to many things.
    for instance, a programmer that has only ever done programming in OO languages, or garbage collected languages would do terrible in languages like C without those features. (I speak from experience).
     

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