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Messages - RAV
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General Discussion / Re: Pixel art genres
« on: July 15, 2013, 12:44:01 am »
The real trick is smart combination.

A good game engine coder will always try to have calculations as imprecise as he can get away with, putting resources to better use.
Same for a game artist who understands where attention to high definition detail has the greatest effect on user experience, and where it has diminishing returns for his effort.

We don't have all the resources and time in the world, so we have to beat the odds with smarts. Getting things done is fun.
What the game developer does is teasing the imagination of the player. Let the player's mind do the work on the detail.

For example, in a rpg, just having detailed character portraits for textbox chatter is enough to prime the fantasy of the player so he sees more in the simple world avatar than there is.
Or having a great main menu screen, or a fantastic intro screen, or "cutscene" screens between story chapters for treats on successful progress.
Or even none of all that and just great story telling and character dialog.

Fine art and retro are powerful allies for an economic development.
Does the player play the game, or is the player played by the game.

General Discussion / Re: Pixel art genres
« on: July 14, 2013, 04:22:42 am »
It can be categorized in so far, that one system of categories doesn't exclude the others. When talking about pixel art, it can be useful to refer to a system that better suits the point you are trying to communicate, since the collective categories of one system represent an idea different than the collective categories of another system, providing context. Seen like this, it is possible to create a formal collection of systems and attitudes in pixel art, each made concisely different in its categorical approach.

So it doesn't exclude through bias, it includes all forms of bias. Rather it is the lack of a formal history of pixel art that creates pixel extremism, unaware of the great variety pixel art has always had, and that it can be different tomorrow, since it has been evidently pretty different yesterday. Pixel art does not get technically tainted, technology gets pixel painted, like by a bunch of graffity sprayers roaming the e-'hood at night.

"The pixel boys were here! your shiny new screens ain't save from pixel power, yo. Eat it, suckers."

A bit more elaboration on how unlikely factors shape motivations on pixel art style:

I believe that the renaissance of "retro" graphics in games happened primarily because of the harsh reality of development today. Childhood nostalgia is not the reason but the marketing spin on why lesser quality of content would be better for the consumer, when it really serves the developer first. So it's tempting to say you might as well call that category "Indy dev".

Production of assets for modern games has become so overly intense and costly -- risky -- that it hinders the spontaneity in creativity. You need a dozen specialists these days to see an asset through the pipeline. The industry is in a vicious cycle of a higher and higher fidelity race that fewer and fewer can compete with, resulting in stale sequels of a hand full blockbusters.

So doing really rough retro graphics, almost down to the symbolic level, enables very few devs with simple means to create massive amounts of content, and concentrate on fresh and finely tuned game play. Look how much fun Mathias has lately with that little animated guy, his creative focus shifted, he can pump dozens of cool animations. Or Bitslap with his little dudes.

That is to say a motivation behind a style can be efficient productivity of the artist. Maybe also see Mrmo's blocky/tiled pixeling style.

To be honest, it is a bit ironic to see the fidelity arms race spilled over to Pixel Art production, so that its greatest strength is lost as far as games development is concerned.

Merged posts - Crow

General Discussion / Re: Pixel art genres
« on: July 14, 2013, 01:09:51 am »
There are many different models of understanding. It is not about which is the truest, but which one is more or less helpful in a given situation. So it is good to know many ways, and learn timing. Sometimes a more abstract and lean model helps you escape your style, sometimes a list helps you on a detail in your work suggestively. It would be good to collect an assortment of lenses through which you can look at art as is opportune.

Motivation has to do with circumstance. What is it really you are trying to achieve and what means do you have towards that?

Hardware can be circumstance, as can simply mood. Or the art is embedded in a greater cause seamless, maybe a certain crispness and clarity in the details of a large work is required by a game design for readability, or maybe giving the illusion of detail in a tiny fuzzy work. Also project pressure in your job.

In short, art doesn't exist in a vacuum. So for example, on that last point, that quote of the question "Why did this have to be pixel art? Would have looked just as impressive in another medium" makes less sense as a critique to another's study on the subject, but more sense to ask yourself that if you have professional work to get done and little time given. And it rises the question to what frame and scale makes pixel art the most sense, so that its strength and creativity does not devolve into mindless pixel-droning ad absurdum. And further, how can you take advantage of modern technology to stretch the scope in which pixel aesthetics make creative sense. Which of course opens up a whole can of worms in the minds of many a faithful pixel pusher.

That leads us to another way of many to classify pixel art: result oriented or process oriented.

Some see limits of pixel art as a way to prove yourself, a challenge in the process of creation -- getting there -- as part of the achievement in artwork, and a call for regulation of purity for comparability.
Others see themselves entirely justified in the end result -- it speaks for itself what is pixel art -- for them pixel art is another kind of pencil in their repertoire of tools, and it tends to mix the means, artistically and technically.

Both aspects make the soul of pixel art, each fascinates in its own right, each important to develop your artistic soul as a whole, each all the brighter in love of each other... and yet each loathing the other when impersonated by different people.

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