AuthorTopic: The History of Pixel Art  (Read 14021 times)

Offline Cure

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The History of Pixel Art

on: February 02, 2016, 12:21:22 am
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3rd millennium BCE
The first mosaics appear in Mesopotamia. The art form would reach new heights with the Greeks beginning in the 4th century BCE.

A cave canem (beware of dog) mosaic from Pompeii, 1st century CE

3rd century BCE
The date of the earliest tapestries, products of Hellenistic Greece.

A section of the oldest extant European tapestry, the Överhogdal tapestry, created between 800 and 1100 CE, during the Viking Age.

2nd century BCE
The date of the earliest cross-stitching.

Nazca cross-stitch sampler, Peru. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

modern example of cross-stitching: McCall's Pheasants pattern 114-T from the 1970's

c1500 CE
Wampum belts are made by the Eastern Woodland tribes or North America. The shell bead creations were used as a form of gift exchange and certificates of authority, and were later used by Europeans as a form of currency.

Reproduction wampum belts at the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario

c1875 
Colonial American furniture employs a decoration strikingly similar to modern pixel art.

American music cabinet with dyed wood inlays, c.1875, collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts

1886   
Neo-Impressionist movement founded by Georges Seurat, featuring the Pointilist and Divisionist techniques.
 
La Dance by Jean Metzinger, 1906 ; Parade de Cirque by Georges Seurat, 1887-1888

1910   
The first card stunt is performed by students of UC Berkeley during a rugby match against Stanford University, building on fabric stunts between the two teams dating back to 1904. in 1922, The University of California, Santa Cruz performed the first animated crowed stunt.

Example of a modern card stunt at North Korea's Mass Games

-
1927   
An electronic CRT television demonstrated by Philo Farnsworth in San Francisco, based on the work of Farnsworth, Vladimir Zworykin, Boris Rosing, and many others.

Farnsworth holding a Cathode Ray Tube beside an early electric television

1929   
The term “Picture Element” appears in books by H. Horton Sheldon and Edgar Norman Grisewood and is used by RCA researcher Alfred N. Goldsmith.

1957
Russell Kirsch creates the first digital image, a 176x176 px image of his son with a bit depth of 1 bit per pixel. Shades of gray were made possible by combining scans made at different thresholds.


1962
Peg boards for plastic bead designs are patented, popular today as a method of recreating video game sprites.


1964
George H. Heilmeier invents the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). The technology improved and became more widespread in later decades, and pixel artists responded by adjusting their techniques to address the improved picture quality, which made dithering less useful.


1965   
The term “pixel” is coined (picture element) in SPIE Proceedings articles by Fred C. Billingsley of Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and begins propagating within the image processing and video coding field.

1967
Hasbro's Lite-Brite hits toy store shelves.


1972   
Atari releases Pong, the first commercially successful video game


1973
SuperPaint is released, a pioneering graphics program and framebuffer computer system. SuperPaint was one of the first to use a graphical user interface and anti-aliasing, and was developed Richard Shoup at Xerox PARC.


1977   
Atari 2600 debuts in North America

Congo Bongo, 1983

1978   
Taito releases Space Invaders, the first blockbuster arcade video game, responsible for starting the golden age of video arcade games.


1982   
Susan Kare creates Apple icons


The term “pixel art” is coined by Adele Goldberg and Robert Flegel of Xerox PARC.

The Commodore 64, ColecoVision, and Sinclair ZX Spectrum debut

Sword & Sorcery, unreleased 1983 demo

Trantor: The Last Stormtrooper, 1987

Turrican, 1990

Zaxxon, the first isometric game, debuts


Pole Position debuts at the arcade as the first 16-bit video game


1984
Amstrad CPC is released, joining the C64 and ZX Spectrum in the battle for the 8-bit home computer market.

Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior (Death Sword in the US), 1987

1985   
Early demoscene groups form (1001 Crew/ The Judges)

Commodore Amiga, Atari ST released

Flashback, 1992; Shadow of the Beast, 1989


Chaos Engine, 1993, by acclaimed developer The Bitmap Brothers.

DeluxePaint released on the Commodore Amiga. The DOS version would become the standard for pixel graphics in the 1990s.


1986
Famicom (NES) debuts in Japan

Super Mario Brothers, 1985

1987   
TurboGrafx-16 is released, marking the beginning of the 16-bit era of gaming (though the console still uses an 8-bit CPU)

The Legendary Axe, 1988

1988   
SEGA Mega Drive (SEGA Genesis in North America) is released in Japan

Sonic the Hedgehog, 1991


1989   
Nintendo Game Boy released in Japan and North America

Pokemon Red, 1996

Atari Lynx is released in North America, the first handheld console with a color LCD.

Batman Returns, 1992

1990   
Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) released in Japan

Chrono Trigger, 1995

1991   
Street Fighter II is released, reviving the arcade industry to a level of popularity not seen since Pac-Man, and beginning the renaissance of video arcade games


1992
SEGA Game Gear debuts in Japan.


1994
The Hagenuk MT-2000 debuts with Tetris installed, becoming the first mobile phone to feature a video game.


1996   
Metal Slug debuts at the arcade


1997
Pixel art group eBoy is founded. The often-published group would become known for its clean style, pop culture influences, and massive isometric scenes ("pixoramas").


Snake, perhaps the most popular early cell phone game, is released on the Nokia 6610. It is also the first multi-player cell phone game, by way of the nokia's infrared port.


1998   
Game Boy Color released worldwide

Star Ocean Blue Sphere, 2001

2001   
Game Boy Advance released worldwide

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, 2004

2002?
Pixelation/Way of the Pixel created

2004
Cave Story is released for the PC by Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya. This one-man project popularized a simple style of pixel art that made it easier for smaller indie teams to create the graphics for an entire game. Influences on the graphical style include Shigeru Miyamoto's 1981 Mario sprite (then known as Jumpman).


2004   
PixelJoint is created, and soon becomes the most popular online pixel art gallery.


2011
The massively popular video game Minecraft is released, introducing a new generation to pixel art techniques on a global scale.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is released, popularizing a new style of pixel art that mixes retro nostalgia with filters, lens flares, and other newer techniques.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 03:06:36 pm by Cure »

Online Ai

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #1 on: February 02, 2016, 01:38:43 am
Nice list.
TIL the term "card stunt".

A few suggestions:

* Amstrad CPC was also released in 1983. IMO this is more notable than say, the TurboGrafx-16 -- though the later 1990 'CPC+' attempts at modernizing were not really notable at all.

* The "Ultimate" (company that would later become Rare) isometric games [Knight Lore, Alien 8, ..]  might warrant a (collective) mention, as they seem to have inspired a good number of other so-called "Filmation" style games . This article lists some of them.
New AA tutorial, about handling irregular lines.

'Better software looks like "people who know what their problem is and why they have it"'

Offline RAV

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #2 on: February 02, 2016, 02:28:34 am
Oh hey, good stuff.

Maybe mention Lego, it's suitable for doing pixel art, pretty sure some people did, and it's kinda between mosaic and Minecraft, and another example for a physical incarnation of pixel art even in modernity, as well as gamified pixel art.

Hrrm, also, this might be a stretch but... hrrm... Rubik's Cube left a lasting impression in the world, as pixel puzzle.

And more practical, you might wanna mention printers, along screens, they work pretty much the same, point for point.
They too demonstrate the modern need for the pixel principle in even physical form.

I'm not sure about some of the other modern physical gimmicks are noteworthy yet, what's with that Perler Bead and stuff, hrrm.

Could also mention the first popular 3d games that used pixel art in form of sprites and texture.

It's kinda difficult to differentiate, between who is worth mentioning as being the first, and who is the one with the biggest cultural impact in popularity, though. Aside from those first 3d games, Minecraft for example didn't invent its principle, but it should be on the list all the same as it was by far the most successful. There was Infiniminer before it, that inspired it, but I wouldn't even say Infiniminer was the first either. Hrrrm. But those two were maybe the first to connect that block principle to pixel art directly.

« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 05:48:31 am by RAV »

Offline RAV

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #3 on: February 02, 2016, 02:49:21 am
oh and, maybe mention the "renaissance resurrection" of pixel art on mobile phone platform, after it seemed almost obsolete at a time, because phones made a reset on the hardware race. And make the most recent conclusion the Indie Games scene, where it lives on not for technical necessity anymore, but as a practical development with aesthetic appreciation.
Not sure if that is too general, though? But sounds like an important shift worth mentioning maybe.

« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 02:53:36 am by RAV »

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #4 on: February 02, 2016, 03:49:45 am
These kind of Vari-Vue images ("lenticular images", "flicker stickers" and also called "flicker rings"), come to mind as well. This one is particularly pixel art like:

When I was a kid I took the plastic screen off of one of those things and used to pixelize pictures with it; so it might just be the riged texture making them seem like they're pixelated; interesting nonetheless.

Offline Tourist

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #5 on: February 02, 2016, 05:34:07 am
Under mosaics you might also include micro mosaics.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_mosaics

"A distinctive feature of micromosaics is that the tesserae are usually oblong rather than square.[7] The best work can achieve 3,000 to 5,000 tesserae per square inch. The best collections are in the Hermitage Museum and the Gilbert Collection in London. Asia has produced a number of contemporary examples using modern precision machinery to produce the diminutive elements."

Other sources on micro mosaics indicate common densities of 1000-2000 mosaic tiles per square inch.  That's like working at 2x on a 72dpi monitor.  5000 tiles per square inch mentioned on Wikipedia is like working at 1x.  But they were working with bits of glass and doing it by hand.


Edit: Is it work mentioning dithering?  Wikipedia says dithering for reducing visual noise goes back to the 1970s or earlier, but dithering for approximating colors has to go back to early color printing efforts.  Halftones and Ben-Day dots from the 1880s, the latter widely used in early color comic books.

Tourist
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 05:44:34 am by Tourist »

Offline RAV

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #6 on: February 02, 2016, 06:56:16 am
fascinating.

even though it's a bit of an off-shot:
maybe mention the game Go, the most fundamental, many say the ultimate game, one of the oldest, maybe the oldest board game, and it is literally pixel art...

Offline RAV

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #7 on: February 02, 2016, 07:42:15 am
Sorry, spammy, but about Lego:

Now the important thing to realize about Lego is, it's not the blocks that are the equivalent to pixels... it's the little connection knobs on top that hold them together! Those are the pixels! and what are the blocks then? right! Clusters! Those little knobs are the regularly spaced standardized pixel grid that hold the cluster blocks together. That's it, the magic! Look at it! Really gotta put Lego in that list.

Offline Cure

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #8 on: February 03, 2016, 12:37:39 am
Thanks for the feeback y'all.

@Ai: Added a line for ultimate/filmation, as well as the vital CPC
@RAV: Good point about the perler beads. Plastic bead grids AND lite-brite have been added to the list.

still reading into vari-vue and the cellphone era.

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #9 on: February 03, 2016, 12:40:55 am
Maybe add classic gameboy / game boy advance release dates as well?
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Offline Cure

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #10 on: February 03, 2016, 12:44:17 am
Maybe add classic gameboy / game boy advance release dates as well?
They're up there - '89 and '01

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #11 on: February 03, 2016, 01:08:34 am
nice little topic. Had a nice chat about it =D
2005 is definitively way too late for pixelation. I started being absent from it by 2005 for sure.

Madgarden told me he remembered it as a subforum to the Game Developer's Refuge from about 1998. Alex dug this up at archive.com https://web.archive.org/web/20020608081439/http://boards.swoo.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=3cfdbfd81e80ffff from 2002, but I'm pretty sure I was here by 2001. I guess I may be off by a year but it's defintively not 2005

 
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 01:12:11 am by Conceit »

Offline Cure

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #12 on: February 03, 2016, 01:26:46 am
it's defintively not 2005
Yeah, I've got PJ listed at 2005 (though it was -technically- working in Dec 2004). Pixelation is currently listed as 20?? because the beginnings of this community remain extremely murky to me.

I'm still not certain that either site warrants a mention. They're both very important to me and our community but it's difficult to say what their contributions are on a larger, historical scale.

Offline Gil

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #13 on: February 03, 2016, 01:43:45 am
We deserve a mention ;). As far as I can tell, Pixelation and Pixel Joint created a generation of artists, so much so, that I keep running into people in all sorts of places, from game studios to any random place where pixel art pops up (pieces from Pixeljoint were long the most favorite to pick as paintings in Minecraft). A bunch of influential indie games were created by people that learned their trade right here. If we were to make a list of just the professional games I know of that have Pixelation or Pixeljoint members on the team, we'd be absolutely flabbergasted. We even managed to influence quite a few old timers, like Henk Nieborg. Other places where pixel art is practiced are usually dominated by our members (places like deviantArt).

It makes me proud and I definitely think we should our heads up high and put ourselves in lists like that.

Offline RAV

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #14 on: February 03, 2016, 03:01:21 am
it's defintively not 2005
Yeah, I've got PJ listed at 2005 (though it was -technically- working in Dec 2004). Pixelation is currently listed as 20?? because the beginnings of this community remain extremely murky to me.

I'm still not certain that either site warrants a mention. They're both very important to me and our community but it's difficult to say what their contributions are on a larger, historical scale.

Oh, hehe.. ,

A selfless look on it. Good. That's what a historic effort needs. The newer pixel art communities have been rather lopsided and almost revisionist in their view on the Demoscene. It was part of their attempt to find their own identity through critique on past developments, and in that sometimes jumped to judge it, by their own time's mindset and morals.

The demoscene was quite influential, up to industry, but altogether it too was a rather indirect and very obscure underground counter-culture behind the scenes. It wasn't a globally conscient phenomenon, like playing Mario was. In that sense, if you mention Demoscene, you might as well mention Pixelation and PixelJoint. I think in the reality of it, 99% of people today that consume or produce something with pixel art, never heard or cared about Pixelation and PixelJoint as such, nor the demoscene. But both left some subtle traces. Whether either of them deserve to stand next to the Gameboy or Mario, in raw cultural impact on their own, is questionable indeed though. But I think it's good to show that other side of pixel art, that it meant more than mainstream culture and industrial product.

On that note, when you mention all those particular console hardware, that in a way can be seen as just variations of the pixel computational principle, you may as well mention some more screen technologies that came after CRT.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #15 on: February 03, 2016, 05:27:40 am
On reflection, possibly the popularization of LCD displays belongs on there, depending on what you're going for exactly. The TV(ie low quality CRT) -> computer CRT -> LCD progression has definitely effected the appearance of pixel art -- going from less discrete to very discrete (and consequently impacting the usability of techniques such as dithering; AFAICT higher-contrast dithering became significantly less usable as LCD became standard)
IMO things like the superbrothers art style exploit LCD display characteristics (eg. exaggerating contrast further by choice of shapes).
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 05:29:43 am by Ai »
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Offline RAV

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #16 on: February 03, 2016, 05:39:23 am
So another thing that's been bugging me is, there's no PC pixel art in there. And I wonder, does pixel art on early IBM computers not have sufficient relevance, or maybe not in the USA? Here in middle Europe, it was more the other way around, consumer gaming consoles were often enough minor. I never played even Mario, nor any other console games, ever. Some did, heard about it, but it just wasn't necessarily that big a thing for us.

I grew up on first ASCII code games on IBM computers with monochrome screens, and then on all kinds of "indie" shareware pixel games (funny this was actually a big thing in the past, too.), and then bigger commercial games like Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle (Point&Click adventures of Lucas Arts), or Warcraft, or Settlers, or Sim City, or Lemmings, or Commander Keen, or Command&Conquer, or... There were a great many pixel art PC games, and only they defined pixel art for me. I don't know exactly how exclusive they all were to PC, but often they were mouse/kb heavy controls. I don't know if that's a territorial thing, and if for example Settlers is nothing compared to a Mario on global scale, so that it would not be worth mentioning on such list. But in my youth, where I lived, it was the other way around. Anyway, not exactly sure which PC titles to prioritize though, maybe genre success, or what. And since PC is such a homogenous era for most people, compared to clear cut console generations, many people don't exactly tie it with pixel art anymore, they connect it more with the transit away from it, but it did start with some iconic pixel art games, even though they were work machines.

« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 07:51:13 am by RAV »

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #17 on: February 03, 2016, 10:27:46 am
Well, the Sierra point-and-clicks are certainly notable.. I'm not sure whether they are notable in a pixel art sense though. I pointed out the Ultimate games because I thought they contributed a lot to the early exposure and popularization of the isometric view in pixel art, which is still ultimately a small enough scene for that to be notable.

My picture of the history of PC gaming, especially WRT art, is a lot less clear; my picture of PC art in that era is like "There was a lot of mediocre stuff. There was stuff that was professional but unremarkable (Apogee, Epic Megagames). And there was Flashback (which I know wasn't PC exclusive)"

2002 seems right for the green-on-black Pixelation (dunno if there was a version before that).

Not sure what to say about regional differences. I know they existed -- eg Commodore 64 was of no particular note in Europe, whereas CPC was of much note there; Spectrum seemed to be particularly popular in Britain; etc. I think that we have to consider where the majority of the pixel art was being produced -- and personally, I have no idea what the answer to that is.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 10:55:44 am by Ai »
New AA tutorial, about handling irregular lines.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #18 on: February 03, 2016, 02:31:39 pm
Quote
We even managed to influence quite a few old timers, like Henk Nieborg.

In what way? Is there a quote on the matter? Seemed to me Henk Nieborg always had pretty clean technique, even on the Amiga before Pixelation ever existed

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #19 on: February 03, 2016, 03:37:41 pm
About the PC platform, I think the japanese manga style drawn as 16-color 640x400 (480?) was a pretty significant step. The higher resolution allowed precise line art and dither patterns to mix two colors. The only specific game I have in mind is Knights of Xentar (1995 english version of a 1991 game) - it's NSFW, so be careful what you 'image search' for.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #20 on: February 03, 2016, 06:42:38 pm
In what way? Is there a quote on the matter? Seemed to me Henk Nieborg always had pretty clean technique, even on the Amiga before Pixelation ever existed
Wasn't talking about technique really, more the fact that I heard he's friends with a lot of Pix/PJ members these days, worked on games with them, etc.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #21 on: February 03, 2016, 08:51:00 pm
how extensive has your research been on this topic and how thorough are you gonna be with this? 

i think the current indie boom and its glorifying of pixel art as a worthwhile, chosen aesthetic choice is relevant to add to the timeline.

though i do  believe this has led to somewhat of a backlash towards pixel art, since gamers frequently see pixel art indies as laziness. 

my conception of it is that pixel art has become on its own a way to immediately stamp itself as indie, to separate indie games from mainstream.  but interestingly, with the rise of respect towards indies has led to somewhat of a saturation of pixel titles in which the pixel art aesthetic has on one hand catered to nostalgic gamers, on the other alienated some younger gamers who grew up with call of duty

Offline Cure

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #22 on: February 03, 2016, 09:03:20 pm
how extensive has your research been on this topic and how thorough are you gonna be with this? 
A couple of days spent idly googling, supplemented with things I've picked up in the last decade at pj/pixelation or irl (like the music cabinet I found in Detroit). As for how thorough- dunno yet. Just collecting data and getting community feedback to get a feel for what is more and less important in the development of our artform. This could turn into an extensive list categorized by decade, and a short-list for easier consumption.

I agree the indie boom is relevant, but which particular points are pivotal? Superbrothers? Cave story? The debut of particular hardware?

@RAV, Ai: LCDs had a huge impact on pixel art and I will update the list with a mention of the invention.

Also I began updating with pictures.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #23 on: February 03, 2016, 09:19:00 pm
according to this site http://gizmodo.com/5546518/a-brief-and-glorious-history-of-pixel-art the indie boom was sparked in 2007-  "in fact, Sony that launched out of the indie stalls first in 2007. Fl0w from thatgamecompany was first, followed by Everyday Shooter from Queasy Games, and the first couple of titles in Q-Games' PixelJunk series. All three companies were destined to define the way we view indies on consoles."

notice all three of those games had somewhat unique art at the time.  i think this led to the the trope of "experimental" or "oppositional" graphical styles from the norm, and became the way indies were recognized. in addition, unique graphics were a visual result of the inherent desire for indies to pose new ideas into gaming.

 i have no idea if this is correct, but i imagine pixel art became the new face of indies that relates back to this need for unique visuals.  while pixel art at this time 2007ish had been replaced, rebranding pixel art unto the indie genre not only gives a clear artistic basis for new indie games without needing to completely reinvent the wheel, but also a means to connect to older gamers through nostalgia.  again this is entirely my hypothesis.

need more research so sorry i cant say anything concrete  :'(  i think pixel art's rebranding into the indie scene was just a snowball effect

Offline Cure

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #24 on: February 03, 2016, 09:28:51 pm
I think money is a big factor too. Small indie developers simply don't have the budget for expansive 3D games, or the massive teams such an undertaking would require. So pixel art graphics are used in a way that emphasizes their nostalgic value and greater focus is placed on gameplay.

Also a hypothesis, as I am not a gamer and have played roughly 0 indie games (I did spend 10 minutes playing Sword & Sworcery though...)

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #25 on: February 03, 2016, 09:45:06 pm
Cave story could be seen as breaking ground for popularizing not necessarily a 'style' but more of a mindset. Older games, including indie games, seemed to be fighting a battle to try to express a lot in pixel art, and came up with varying degrees of failure. Cave Story embraced simplicity to make the artwork manageable for a lone developer, and what was taken from this by the community was a utilitarian and minimalist view of pixel art, one that shaped a lot of indie games in the following years and ultimately inspired design choices seen in Sword & Sworcery EP. If you read interviews with Superbrothers, you'll find a large inspiration for the visual style that they had been developing for over half a decade prior to the release of Sword and Sworcery EP were the same things that Amaya tried to do with Cave Story.

I'm not saying it was the first to choose a style like this, but it was definitely the most notable departure from the norm that I can think of. Take note that Cave Story began development in 1999, it's safe to say that Amaya's decision to be inspired by retro graphics like the original super mario was way ahead of his time, when the games industry at large was focusing on prerendered graphics and 3D.

While that's a level of granularity that might not be worth getting into, I definitely feel Cave Story (2004) deserves an entry on the timeline.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 09:54:39 pm by Atnas »

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #26 on: February 04, 2016, 07:28:54 am
Good stuff, everyone. And man, cure you did your homework looking into things and putting it together, the list is looking nice now, with those sample pics.

I mean, in a way it's a mad endeavor, attempting anything like this. There are so many loose ends, things we don't know, lost knowledge...

we can sit at it and discuss forever, basically, and I guess we will. :)

In the meantime however, even so, as is, this Pixelation project may be the best overview for giving people a better sense of pixel art's greater wealth.

That there seems to be a timeless need in humans to express themselves with these techniques across all means.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #27 on: February 04, 2016, 04:39:44 pm
If you read interviews with Superbrothers, you'll find a large inspiration for the visual style that they had been developing for over half a decade prior to the release of Sword and Sworcery EP were the same things that Amaya tried to do with Cave Story.
Interesting that the interviewer, in 2011, used the term 'bit-art'.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #28 on: February 04, 2016, 05:40:00 pm
Yeah, this is a wonderful resource. Thank you, Cure

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #29 on: February 04, 2016, 09:35:51 pm
Maybe something about this guy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_A._Kirsch this is an interesting short article:http://www.wired.com/2010/06/smoothing-square-pixels/
And those Mattel games with the red LED lights maybe.. though it's more light units rather than pixels:
http://www.retroland.com/mattel-electronics-football/
« Last Edit: February 04, 2016, 09:37:45 pm by |||| »

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #30 on: February 05, 2016, 11:52:54 pm
I think sprite and pixel art webcomics should be included in the timeline, like 8-Bit Theater, Kid Radd, or Bob and George. The comic A Modest Destiny is particularly good, and is a pretty early example (2003) of pixel art as a deliberate medium of its own and not just a technical limitation. I think webcomics like this played an important role in spreading the style and the terminology to a wider audience.

http://www.squidi.net/comic/index.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Modest_Destiny


I also think more recent indie games should be included. Minecraft is pretty popular, but I don't think it fully represents pixel art, because the graphics are three dimensional, and honestly, not very good. (I mean I absolutely love Minecraft, don't get me wrong, but the art is pretty meh.) I think Swords and Sworcery might be a good example, because it also came out in 2011 but is much closer to what's considered "real" pixel art. It has also had a huge effect on the art styles of a lot of new pixel artists.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superbrothers:_Sword_%26_Sworcery_EP


That's my two cents. This is my first time posting to this website, so I've got my fingers crossed that this isn't formatted wrong or posted to the wrong thread or something.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #31 on: February 06, 2016, 05:52:30 pm
Russel Kirsch, Cave Story added.

@pipster: I'll wait and see what others' experience with sprite comics are. I've had no experience with them so can't say how influential they've been. They've always turned me off with mixed resolutions and artwork that is generally terrible.

about minecraft- yes, it's primarily a voxel-based game, but makes extensive use of pixel art textures, and is incomparably influential in broader society compared to any recent game sporting pixel art. If enough people don't think it's significant enough, I'll remove it from the list. But remember, you couldn't buy a pixel-art pickaxe from a toy store before Minecraft, nor did you see kids dressed up as pixelated monsters for Halloween.

- - -

I was reading the comments on Helm's recently-submitted piece at PJ and learned he works for Nitrome. Which got me thinking- should Nitrome make the list? They've produced 10 billion games with pixel art since 2005 after all. Probably had a hand in popularizing that bright, poppy style of pixel art that you also see in eBoy.

Which reminds me- I should put eBoy on the list.
edit: How does one turn an image into a link on this forum? I'd like the thumbnails to link to larger images.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 06:11:34 pm by Cure »

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #32 on: February 06, 2016, 06:21:44 pm
Which reminds me- I should put eBoy on the list.
Only if you want to make a History Of Crapxel Art. </harsh personal opinion>

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #33 on: February 06, 2016, 06:26:13 pm
I personally think eBoy was harmful to pixel art as a genre, because it was for years the supposed masterwork of pixel art, with its crappy technique, single-minded execution, etc. They basically sucked the oxygen out of the room for the rest of us for a good long while.

That said, it was an integral part of our history.


EDIT: I'd like to submit that Prince of Persia should make the list maybe. Its fluid animation style was a direct influence on many pixel art classics, such as Flashback. There's not a lot of animation stuff in the list right now and I think PoP was really influential.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 06:32:06 pm by Gil »

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #34 on: February 06, 2016, 06:47:44 pm
If PoP makes the list, Karateka must go on it as well.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #35 on: February 06, 2016, 08:00:29 pm
Since both Karateka and PoP are creations of Jordan Mechner, we can get away with listing Karateka and segue to PoP in the description.

As for eBoy, I can strike it from the list if enough people feel it's not relevant enough, I just don't want to omit it purely because we, as fancy pixel artists, scoff at the technique or feel the degree of their popularity was unwarranted.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #36 on: February 06, 2016, 08:11:28 pm
eBoy is absolutely relevant.

I do not personally care for it, but it is very widely recognized and culturally relevant. Perhaps beyond mario it's something that a lot of people think of when they hear the words pixel art.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #37 on: February 06, 2016, 10:03:11 pm
Your screenshot for SuperPaint is clearly from a Macintosh which is more than a decade later. So even if it is from a much later version of that program I don't think it's very relevant to the timeline.

EDIT: according the the descriptions on Wikipedia they don't appear to be related at all.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 10:06:20 pm by surt »

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #38 on: February 06, 2016, 10:14:32 pm
Oops. You'll have to forgive these slips, my first computer ran MS-DOS and I missed the 80s.
Maybe something from this page would work better.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #39 on: February 06, 2016, 11:13:14 pm
I think we should keep Eboy, as Gil said, even if they did more harm than good to the community it doesn't disqualify them as historically relevant pixel artists.

They may have a very limited technique to their work but it's undeniable that they pushed pixel art to a more mainstream view beyond the "videogamy art style" view pixel art has.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #40 on: February 07, 2016, 07:38:45 pm
It's insane to say eBoy didn't leave an impression on the popular perception of pixel art. It's like, a thousand times more influential than the cultural footprint of pixelation.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #41 on: February 07, 2016, 11:02:38 pm
The history of crapxels is deeply intertwined with that of pixels. Without the one, the other could not exist and vice versa.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #42 on: February 08, 2016, 08:42:14 am
I think it was somewhere around Habbo Hotel that people started realizing isocrap wasn't the promised land :D

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #43 on: February 23, 2016, 02:31:04 am
Perhaps consider cellular automata, especially the game of life (1970)
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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #44 on: February 24, 2016, 12:31:51 am
Thanks for the featured tag on the front page. I'll update this list soon, I've been bogged down with commissions the past couple of weeks. Thanks to all for the contributions. In addition to the suggestions y'all brought up, I also considered calculator games... anyone know about 'em?

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #45 on: February 24, 2016, 12:43:35 am
some of the suggestions are a bit of a stretch to be considered a part of pixel art history in my opinion.  Such as the game of life.  The only thing that shares with pixel art is the square grid, but it has absolutely no properties of "art".

As for calculator games, the few most popular ones when I was in school were the PuzzPack collection (Block dude, Dino Puzzle, Puzzle Frenzy, and Pegs), and the Phoenix series.

Interesting factoid I learned today, the original Gameboy used a modified version of the same CPU that most graphing calculators of the time were using (including the TI-83 if i'm not mistaken)
« Last Edit: February 24, 2016, 12:46:12 am by Indigo »

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #46 on: February 24, 2016, 06:31:54 pm
This is a very valuable project.

Here are some moments I think are worth noting.

1999 - 2004

16color.com accumulates 40,000 user-submitted animations. Who else remembers this?

They had an app for making animations, which could upload them to the site, which hosted them as gifs. Everything shared a 16 colour palette and a fixed resolution. Tons of amateur doodles, a few absolute gems, lots of disgusting and offensive cartoons, some interesting multi-part series and animated tile things (exploiting the listing pages' layout that showed animated thumbnails in a grid). Pre-Youtube crowd-sourced animations for the masses.

Then it unceremoniously shut down, deleted everyone's stuff, and released a 'best of' DVD.

Quote
All proceeds go directly to the development of 16 Color's next version coming in 2005.

... yeah, that never happened. (Someone else should step in and make a spiritual successor.)

2008-2013(?)
imageboard.net - another accumulation of user submissions, sadly lost to the ages. Some pages are on the Wayback Machine. Not to be confused with a site like 4chan. It was basically a forum without text: threads with only images as replies to images. And not uploaded images, but ones drawn with the site's pixel-art-oriented Flash drawing tool, usually incrementally modified from the previous post. Fixed resolution, unlimited palette.

Largely anonymous, although users could make accounts. But it didn't show usernames--no text, remember!--just pixelly avatars.

Everything was posted with a share-alike Creative Commons license, and user-rated for quality and offensiveness.

Another site that could use a modern reboot.

2008
Mozilla's Firefox 3 is released, with rendering behaviour that automatically anti-aliases zoomed images. Pixel art enthusiasts are pretty much the only people on Earth who complain about this change. [1] [2]

This is largely fixed later: current browsers including Firefox generally anti-alias images by default, but offer some unofficial CSS features to allow site authors to switch it off and render fat pixels.

2010
Apple releases the iPhone 4, with 'Retina display': 4 times the screen resolution density. Pixel art hit again with unwanted smooth-scaling rendering.

A few kinda negative points. Call it History of the Downfall of Pixel Art :crazy:
« Last Edit: February 24, 2016, 09:23:45 pm by Basketcase »
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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #47 on: February 25, 2016, 04:08:53 am
Quote
some of the suggestions are a bit of a stretch to be considered a part of pixel art history in my opinion.  Such as the game of life.  The only thing that shares with pixel art is the square grid, but it has absolutely no properties of "art".

I disagree with this, obviously, or I wouldn't have suggested it.

In common usage, art is a (primarily visual) subset of communication, which I would describe as the union of action, accident, and interpretation.

Animation is the assembly of images or art objects in a way which conveys life, movement, or other change.

Pixel art and animation is distinct from other artistic media in that it is the study of the way in which combinations of regular, tessellating, rectilinear cells interact visually and mechanically in a way that communicates form and movement.

Since the game of life and other cellular automata satisfy all of those criteria, and in fact kick some of them into high gear, I would absolutely consider them modes or expressions of pixel art.

I would even say these are much more like pixel art than ancient mosaics or pointilism, which don't obey any regular grid and have as much in common with most pixel art as vajazzling.  If those similarities are enough to merit inclusion, then my understanding was that this was meant to be a pretty inclusive list.  That being the case, why not throw Chuck Close in?  Why not post-it art?  Why not Girih? 

I'm not even being sarcastic -- these could easily be worthwhile inclusions in the sense that they represent explorations of color and form across tessellating surfaces which might provide inspiration, and inspiring others is a much more worthwhile goal than trying to draw a line between what is or is not pixel art.
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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #48 on: February 25, 2016, 07:25:36 am
I don't want to turn this into a debate about what is or isn't "art" - and typically I'm pretty liberal in my definition of it.  And perhaps by a more abstract definition it is art, but not in any way that provides value to the discussion of how we're using the word; the illustrative sense of the word, as pixel art inherently is.

I disagree with your common usage definition.  The one as most would understand it would be closer to the Webster's definition:
something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings

And that's more or less how I'd define it if asked. So I ask, what ideas is the game of life expressing? What skill or imagination was used?  The answers to these questions do exist, but it's not in the result of the outputted pixels on a grid; which was, inherently, procedural and without a creator. The answers lie in the design of the laws of the simulation - because that's what the game of life actually is; a simulation.

But even by your definition it's hard to fit The Game of Life in there. What is there to interpret? What is it visually communicating to you? Curiously you left out "intent" from your definition which I think is probably the most important factor of art.

Do you know where I learned about the game of life?  A science book about artificial intelligence when I was researching my middle school science fair project. If you read the Wiki article you will find zero references to art, yet it is littered with references to science and mathematics because that was it's origin.  The goal was to simplify and expand upon the ideas presented by John von Neumann who sought to find a mathematical model for a self replicating machine.  The intent was to build a simulation governed by laws which would give rise to self-replication.  I'm not trying to be authoritative about art, but it seems very clear that this is not what we're talking about when it comes to pixel art. In fact it has many properties that would be contrary to the definition of art as it pertains to pixel art.

This may come down to a personal preference, but I value concentrated information rather than an exhaustive approach.  If I wanted to learn about the history of pixel art and found myself reading about Conway's game of life, I would feel my time is being wasted because it's so tangentially related to what I'm trying to learn that it would be of almost no value.  Either way, it doesn't matter to much to me in the end what is included and I'm not trying to attack your input to the discussion.  If the goal is to be an exhaustive and inclusive list, then so be it, I just personally wouldn't find much use in that format.

I guess a simpler argument why I feel The Game of Life isn't relevant to the discussion is it doesn't have an answer to the basic question: How did The Game of Life impact Pixel Art?

I truly cannot see any way it did.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 08:51:16 am by Indigo »

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #49 on: February 25, 2016, 08:11:43 am
If the goal is to be an exhaustive and inclusive list, then so be it, I just personally wouldn't find much use in that format.
:y:
Once we've really teased out all of the events that had a clear influence on the development of pixel art, I suspect that list will already be quite long. A modified Game Of Life might be relevant if you're trying to get computers to generate 'pixel art' with nice clusters, or maybe a creative scene transition/wipe, but it doesn't seem relevant to 'choices pixel artists made'.
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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #50 on: February 27, 2016, 12:11:41 pm
I do not consider the Game Of Life to be pixel art but just because the output is procedural does not mean there is no creator. The creative process was to develop the algorithms. The fact that there is one or more layers of indirection between the creator/creative process and the results, does not eliminate the fact that there still is/was a creator.

There is not really such a thing as "computer generated". There is always the creator who develops the algorithms and the computer is merely a tool to execute a huge amount of actions really fast, faster than a human creator could without the indirection through a programmed machine or use of a (dirty!) tool ( ;) ). Interesting things happen in the realm of AI where the computer, still based on a first generation of parameters/algorithms given by the programmer, can evolve algorithms on "their own" and create new mutations themselves. Even that does not eliminate the original creator and does not make the result "computer generated" or if it does... our own precious human intelligence is also "just" a computer and not really less artificial than any intelligence we(mankind) will manage to create in the future.


To write algorithms which generate 'pixel art' with nice 'clusters' would mean to create an AI which understands concepts of aesthetics as they appeal to human observers. It would have to understand human emotions, volumes, gesture, light and shadow, human perception and how to trick human perception, know about structure, physics, biology, chemistry,... In its decision making process it would need to not just observe the pixel it currently ponders but also all the pixels around it and then the clusters and superclusters around the current cluster and it would have to keep in mind the big picture at all times, know about 'balance' and be able to make decisions on how to best shape the cluster(s) in accordance to how a human will end up perceiving the clusters orientation, direction, depth, color, brightness, ..., and how it will contribute to the overall impression/effect the viewer is going to feel from seeing the whole piece. I don't know much about AI to be honest but it feels to me like an AI like this is science fiction that we're not going to see becoming a reality in our lifetime. Its impact, historical relevance on Pixel Art would be... you'd all be unemployed.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 12:14:55 pm by 0xDB »

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #51 on: March 07, 2016, 12:04:03 pm
I believe there's an important division between pixelart as a necessity vs. pixelart as a choice.

As a necessity, pixelart is tied to computer history, but it doesn't really represent artistic choice. It's just how things were back in the day, so to speak. If you were digital artist, you did pixel art.
Just like playing piano in 18th century. There weren't any classical pianists back then. Either you played music or you didn't. But if you play Mozart on a piano nowadays, it is by choice. If you play acoustic jazz guitar today, it's by choice.

So, I think the whole indie thing is actually very important as it marks the period where it became the art of choice and not the art of technical necessity. So, in a sense, today's pixel art has more in common with pointilism, rather than 1990s digital art.

It's the acknowledgement of artistic value of the past and bringing it into the present day, by choice.
The fact that pixel art looks better at lower cost than high res art doesn't make it any less relevant. Either it looks good and inspires you or it doesn't, regardless of cost.

Because, well, pointilism technique in painting does save a lot of time and paint compared to "proper" oil painting. It doesn't make it any less art, though. Or any more at that matter.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 12:07:17 pm by doimus »

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #52 on: March 07, 2016, 02:30:03 pm
I believe there's an important division between pixelart as a necessity vs. pixelart as a choice.

As a necessity, pixelart is tied to computer history, but it doesn't really represent artistic choice. It's just how things were back in the day, so to speak. If you were digital artist, you did pixel art.
I'm not sure if that's true to current definitions of pixel art. Not all art made for NES is pixel art, though a significantly larger percentage was? There's heaps of examples of early digital art that was not pixel art by any standards I think.

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #53 on: March 15, 2016, 07:29:37 am

Maybe the first thing that hypothetical aliens will see of us is pixel art. Thoughts on its relevance to the timeline?

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #54 on: March 16, 2016, 01:32:27 pm
Huh had no idea you had actually added the Överhogdal tapestry! I was gonna suggest that as it is actually located in my hometown.  :huh:

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #55 on: March 17, 2016, 07:15:03 pm
Maybe the first thing that hypothetical aliens will see of us is pixel art. Thoughts on its relevance to the timeline?

"those guys on earth really don't know what classic pixel art is all about, they're just trying to be artsy"

ok, serious now. I don't know if it holds relevance to the timeline because, as I understand, the arecibo message is not about graphic content and rather displays a series of informations that just happens to be in squares.
I'd (kinda) compare it to converting image to a sound format, it's just another form to display the information.

I believe the only exception is the human figure as it is literally the graphic representation, for this I think it shows that even "non artists" agree that squares are really good way to go for lo-fi communication.

maybe an honorable mention for the human figure?

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #56 on: March 19, 2016, 05:01:30 am
I'm glad Susan Kare is on the list, she's somebody who's had a great influence outside of the pixel art space as well.

Offline hapiel

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #57 on: June 18, 2016, 03:45:16 pm
It's insane to say eBoy didn't leave an impression on the popular perception of pixel art. It's like, a thousand times more influential than the cultural footprint of pixelation.

Speaking of eBoy:
Perhaps there should be a mention of the iso-era? A time when dozens of isometric pixel art tutorials popped up, such as the Rhys Davies complete guide? When deviantArt was flooded by isometric artwork and created subcategories for this.. When isocity, pixeldam, the joint and many more isometric collaboration projects opened. It seems to be in the early 00's to me.
I joined the pixel world thanks to the iso-era! (And playing Habbo Hotel)

Also, another popular culture thing which I haven't seen mentioned yet: The post-it wars, and all the other popular forms that people recreate old game sprites!

And how about software? Does the availability of ProMotion, GraphicsGale and MSpaint influence us and our history?

Offline Cure

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #58 on: October 25, 2016, 12:05:31 am
I've added a lot of new images, and condensed some entries.

New additions to the timeline:
1964 George H. Heilmeier invents the LCD
-maybe it's better to use the year in which refined LCDs really took off as computer screens and affected change in pixel art? whenever that was...

1994 Hagenuk MT-2000

1989 Atari Lynx

1990 SEGA Game Gear

Vari-Vue is interesting, but I'm not sure that it's specific to pixel art. Either way, It's been difficult to find any precise information on the company and their products, and with lenticular images dating back to the 17th century, this technology might be tough to pin to a single date.
- - -

With that, a few questions for the community:

Does anyone have an early screen-grab from the early days of pixelation? Or any information on early graphing calculator games?

Is it worth mentioning early game developers for cellphones? Jamdat? Glu Mobile? Gameloft?

I will also take suggestions on what to remove from the list to make it more succinct or relevant.

Offline RAV

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #59 on: October 26, 2016, 04:29:27 am
I think you handled LCD well by foreshadowing its later importance. I'm not sure about mentioning dither in particular at the very end.
The rise and fall of dither in popularity had several factors, has a bit more to do with the processing than the display.

Don't you think the first IBM PC and Mac are worth mentioning though? Today, pixel art is most of all an indie PC phenomenon.
Their first popular 3d shooters like Wolfenstein employed pixel art textures, as a precursor to Minecraft. The Pixel moved on as Texel.
Also, the introduction of the voxel as "3d pixel" seems relevant to me. Both mark the move from the literal physical pixel to the virtual logical pixel.
Both of these are significant steps that all modern implementations of pixel art games today very much rely on, even as pure 2d games.

Then what's become as important today as hardware in the past, is software development frameworks and game engines. They are the new consoles. From RPG Maker / Game Maker to Unity, to the Internet web browser, that's how pixel art gained massive popularity again. That's what made all the new pixel smash hits possible. Hrrm, maybe even mention emulators and homebrew scene?

Good work by the way.


« Last Edit: October 26, 2016, 04:37:41 am by RAV »

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #60 on: October 26, 2016, 08:04:41 am
The mention of dithering makes more sense with the context of CRT being the previous technology. Dithering worked pretty well on a CRT. Although to be fair, increasing screen sizes may have contributed to the 'blatant' appearance of dithering on LCD screens.
New AA tutorial, about handling irregular lines.

'Better software looks like "people who know what their problem is and why they have it"'

Offline RAV

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #61 on: October 26, 2016, 04:28:17 pm
I agree that there can be a preference of techniques based on display tech. But I think it's a mixed bag in what happened with dither, and other factors are more important. So I'm concerned if it may look like the display tech is the deciding reason for or against dither in particular.

The primary motivation for dither was getting around the limited colour depth for things that required more colour. Displays were capable of more colours long before the processing. Dither was already on the decline before the LCD, because of the higher colour depth in processing. And if we still would have had 8-bit by the time LCD became popular, people would still have dithered like hell. Dither often looked like crap on CRT too, because of the crappy preset palette of consoles. But the need for more colour was so strong people did it anyway.

Now as you mentioned, later on with LCDs, something interesting happened, because of the ever higher resolution, dither started to look good again on LCD. Or let's put it this way: pixels became so small, that they became the equivalent to the rgb components of real pixels in the old days. In that, dither colour could become literally indistinguishable from actual colour. But the problem then is, why bother? why complicating your work when you don't need it. We have all the colour in the world. That's what makes dither pixel art retro in the actual sense, because it has problems justifying itself in the modern world.

But that's only half true either. Because besides some subtleties in looks, I've seen people sometimes do interesting effects with dither in a way that obviously relies on being dither. That's the situation we have now. People are looking for ways to differentiate themselves on the market. They see most games don't use dither. So maybe let's try make something with dither. But just being different isn't enough. It must be different in an interesting and relevant way.

"Because I rely on dither, I can do feature xyz."
"Because I don't use dither, I can do feature xyz."

Which side has the better conclusion to that. That's what decides the fate of dither today.

The success of pixel style or technique is no longer about hardware. It's about the features a chosen style or technique can provide or support.



« Last Edit: October 26, 2016, 04:35:11 pm by RAV »

Offline yrizoud

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #62 on: October 27, 2016, 02:24:59 pm
Somewhere around 2005-2010, CRT technology got abandoned. I think it's important to note that LCDs got standardized to display square pixels, no matter their resolution, while games of the previous generation used a VGA screen mode,  where pixels are 20%taller than they are wide. A lot of websites don't bother with the difference , and the screenshots of these games are not corrected for display, they appear "flatter" than they should.

Offline RAV

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #63 on: October 27, 2016, 08:27:27 pm
You might have heard of that super cheap tinker computer Raspberry Pi.
It's a great success story. And it has the RetroPie project, which is to load it choke full with emulators and roms.
People make even little handhelds out of it, ala Gameboy. Or full blown Arcade stations.
And I keep meeting folks with a RetroPie, at home or in the bag.
It too has a homebrew scene for original pixel art games, either native to the Raspberry or for the emulators.



« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 08:32:26 pm by RAV »

Offline Cure

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #64 on: October 28, 2016, 07:15:25 pm
Quote from: RAV
Dither was already on the decline before the LCD, because of the higher colour depth in processing.
Quote from: yrizoud
I think it's important to note that LCDs got standardized to display square pixels, no matter their resolution, while games of the previous generation used a VGA screen mode,  where pixels are 20%taller than they are wide.
Seems like this is a more complex issue than I assumed. Maybe it's best to remove the bit about dithering? And add the bit about square pixels? I tried looking into the whole VGA/CGA/EGA etc. shit but quickly found myself in over my head.

Quote from: RAV
Don't you think the first IBM PC and Mac are worth mentioning though?
The Apple II probably deserves a mention. Is the IBM 5150 significant enough to warrant a mention? And in mentioning the Apple II, is it worth mentioning the Commodore PET and TRS-80 as the other 2/3rds of the "1977 Trinity" of home computing? Apple II was the first to have a GUI afaik, so maybe it is the only one of this bunch worthy of a spot on the timeline.

Quote from: RAV
Their first popular 3d shooters like Wolfenstein employed pixel art textures, as a precursor to Minecraft. The Pixel moved on as Texel.
I honestly hadn't thought about texels outside of Minecraft. Is Wolfenstein the first game to use pixel textures? I'd like to hear what others think about the importance of texels in the history of our medium, but it might be worth a mention. That's how Junkboy is making billions of dollars with Notch, right?  I feel voxels and legos are a bit of a stretch, getting this far into the third dimension seems to expand the focus quite a bit.

Quote from: RAV
what's become as important today as hardware in the past, is software development frameworks and game engines.
To me it feels the hardward of the past is more important to the timeline because it heavily influenced the form of the pixel art produced on those machines, and established in the public consciousness what "pixel art", "video game art", and "retro graphics" look like. I can certainly see the argument that game engines are the new consoles, but nowadays its just a given that pixel art can be displayed on all sorts of computers without any significant limitations to the style of art produced, with all ports being vitually identical.

Offline RAV

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #65 on: October 29, 2016, 04:53:32 am
Quote from: Cure
Maybe it's best to remove the bit about dithering? And add the bit about square pixels?
Agreed. We'll have to think some more about the role of dither and techniques another day.



The logical progression for the technical underpinning of pixel art is this: Pixel -> Texel -> Voxel.

Almost every pixel art today and of the last couple years is based on textures in 3d APIs. This had all the creative effects you see with modern pixel art. The fact that 2d is technically just a logical subset of 3d, will keep driving the development. It's interesting to note, Minecraft is both: Pixel art as Texel and as Voxel. Both concepts with the most significant creative influence on pixel art today. Both concepts that each started their mass market break-through with pixel art as driving force once again. For being so "retro", pixel art has a surprising lineage of influence in the digital arts market to this day.

Wolfenstein is probably the most reknown example of pixel art taking first advantage of the 3d virtualization everything relies on today. And that's a PC thing. The IBM/Apple marks the end of all other platforms, it all converged to this, and the PC is the more important of the two. The revival and innovation of pixel art today rely on the decades of technical progression by these dominating platforms.

I'd say, mention IBM and Wolfenstein, as foundation and milestone of how the development of 3d tech started to affect pixel art, and pixel art started 3d for mass market. The other hardware you can skip, like you don't mention every game, just a select few to make your point for what important change happened to the art.


Note: I'm just rambling some thoughts on the matter. Other views here are welcome.



« Last Edit: October 29, 2016, 05:08:04 am by RAV »