AuthorTopic: Am I going crazy here?  (Read 26120 times)

Offline jams0988

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Am I going crazy here?

on: September 05, 2012, 07:53:12 am
Hey guys! Just ran into a new indie RPG, which looks pretty fun, called Secrets of Grindea. Scrolling down the comments for the game, I noticed a few of them saying "like the old games, but so much better looking," which really surprised me.


[The best pixel art ever?]

I took a poll of around ten friends, showing them Final Fantasy 6, Seiken Densetu 2 and 3, and Link to the Past. All but one said that Grindea was much better looking than the old classics. The old ones looked "old and dirty," or just "like shit." I was amazed that anyone could favor Grindea over those old amazing works of pixel art. But, I figured maybe those games were just too old for the average person to appreciate anymore, even though I found it hard to believe. So I showed a few people this piece, by Adarias over at Pixeljoint, since it's a modern piece.

"It's ugly. All the purple hurts my eyes. How can you think it looks better than Grindea?"

I wanted to murder the people I talked to over the internet. How can the average person be so ignorant of art? The level Grindea is at and the level of the old classics is nowhere close, in my opinion. Is pixel art even worth doing anymore? Is there even an audience?

What are your guys thoughts on this? The whole thing put me in a bad mood...

Note: No offense to Grindea's creator. I think it looks like a great game, and plan on purchasing. I don't think I'm insulting it by stating that it's not the best pixel art ever created.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 07:54:52 am by jams0988 »

Offline AlexHW

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Re: Am I going crazy here?

Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012, 08:02:13 am
My theory is that people's eyesight have been devolving over the years of looking at illuminated screens constantly. People are losing their ability to see clearly and thus these types of games can be fed to people since their eyesight has less sensitivity now. I need a research grant to prove this, but I think all the signs point to this case being true.

Offline jams0988

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Re: Am I going crazy here?

Reply #2 on: September 05, 2012, 08:11:49 am
Quote
My theory is that people's eyesight have been devolving over the years of looking at illuminated screens constantly. People are losing their ability to see clearly and thus these types of games can be fed to people since their eyesight has less sensitivity now. I need a research grant to prove this, but I think all the signs point to this case being true.
It's really bad. People really can't tell a mediocre drawing from a great one. I was really shocked, since I'm around artists who know what they're talking about all the time. Normal people really don't give a shit about anything besides how high the resolution is. I'm working on an RPG right now....I'm working with 16x16 tiles, but I'm thinking about doubling the resolution now.

Actually, I didn't mention this in my first post, but the one friend who *did* say Grindea looked worse than the classics....for him, I took the screenshots of the old games, blurred them a bit to make it less obvious they were low-res, and then painted fucking LIGHT BLOOM onto them in photoshop. Ughhhhh. > <
/wrists

He did say the undoctored screenshots looked better after I revealed my trick to him, but I wonder if those were his real feelings?

Offline AlexHW

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Re: Am I going crazy here?

Reply #3 on: September 05, 2012, 08:20:02 am
It is an interesting experiment. People who aren't artists or aren't practiced in the ways of observing detail within images will simply see whatever the objects being conveyed are. Their minds aren't adapted to selectively picking out specific details to help their understanding of how to creating an image that mimics real-life.. So to them, a pixelated image may look more confusing than one that isn't, simply because to their mind, it is easier to read the image if it has a smooth continuous edges. To us artists, we can look past that confusing grid/barrier that forces a bit of abstraction and we can melt it all together.
I wouldn't worry too much about it, but simply try to understand why. That way you can use this understanding to make better images depending on the audience you want to attract.. If you want your art to be very artistic and stylized, then people should be able to identify the stylish aspect to it.. but if you're trying to mimic reality, then a pixeled look will only detract it a bit from people who are more literal observers.

Offline rikfuzz

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Re: Am I going crazy here?

Reply #4 on: September 05, 2012, 08:25:16 am
I think the trouble is you're asking people to form a conscious opinion, where they normally don't have one.  Resolution is just easily quantifiable. 32 > 16.  I personally have no opinion on football or cars. If someone asked me for my opinion between two teams or two cars and I had to pick one I'd just pick based on something I did know (who I'd heard of, brand, which colour I liked more etc).  I'm sure football fans or car heads would say my opinion is wrong.

I think artwork is almost in the background and unnoticeable to most non-arty people.  Some people will really appreciate it, though, for sure.  Which you wouldn't get if it was actually poor.  Most though will come to have an affinity for it after falling in love with the game as a whole. 

Offline AlexHW

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Re: Am I going crazy here?

Reply #5 on: September 05, 2012, 08:38:40 am
If you can do this, I'd like to see a more thorough experiment including inquiry to their eyesight; whether they wear glasses, have any astigmatisms, etc.. How often they look at games. How often they look at pieces of art. Also, give them a few drawing assignments to gauge how well their drawing ability is. Include a couple still life drawings. Also, find an experienced art judge or two to grade each piece. Crunch the numbers and see how it all fits together. Make a venn diagram. There has to be a clear answer why this is the case.

Offline jams0988

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Re: Am I going crazy here?

Reply #6 on: September 05, 2012, 08:40:17 am
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I think the trouble is you're asking people to form a conscious opinion, where they normally don't have one.  Resolution is just easily quantifiable. 32 > 16.
Yes, but I didn't tell them the resolution was lower or anything like that, and you can barely even tell with a game like LttP. They just said things like "it looks bad. I don't know why." or "it bothers my eyes. It's too detailed." It's not like I told them "this game is newer and higher resolution. These games are old and have a lower resolution. Which do you prefer?"

I'm just surprised it's even a contest. How can people not see how much more talent was involved with the older pixel art I showed them? How can they not see how interesting Adarias' cave drawing is compared to the bland monochromatic, straight-ramp gray caves found in Grindea? I mean, I don't even expect them to know what goes into making both; I just can't see how they can't prefer the older stuff, from a purely aesthetic standpoint.

Then again, 90% of people out there have terrible tastes. People become famous for making bad music/art/whatever all the time, so maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised.
Quote
It is an interesting experiment. People who aren't artists or aren't practiced in the ways of observing detail within images will simply see whatever the objects being conveyed are. Their minds aren't adapted to selectively picking out specific details to help their understanding of how to creating an image that mimics real-life.. So to them, a pixelated image may look more confusing than one that isn't, simply because to their mind, it is easier to read the image if it has a smooth continuous edges. To us artists, we can look past that confusing grid/barrier that forces a bit of abstraction and we can melt it all together.
That's an interesting viewpoint, Alex. The low resolution really may be the only thing bothering them because they're not used to it. I'd love to hear what they think about higher resolution pixel art....maybe I'll start showing people other examples from the forum. And I'm seriously considering converting all the tiles I've done to 24x24 or 32x32.... : \

Ah, and Alex, all of them had good eyesight. Most were at least casual gamers. None were artists.

The whole situation is bothering me, though. Why am I even practicing? I should just draw everything in adobe flash. Infinite resolution! The best art in the universe! ::rolleyes::
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 08:46:45 am by jams0988 »

Offline AlexHW

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Re: Am I going crazy here?

Reply #7 on: September 05, 2012, 08:46:56 am
How can they not see how interesting Adarias' cave drawing is compared to the bland monochromatic, straight-ramp gray caves found in Grindea?
Another possibility is that as an Artist, we have become conditioned to looking for more interesting compositions, compositions that wouldn't necessarily be completely natural. Something monochromatic may be more simple to comprehend for someone who hasn't yet looked at such scales intently enough to become bored with them.(they may not even know the difference between them)

You should include photographs in your experiment too.. to gauge what they deem a better photograph, and try to find art or games that mimic the lighting in them, or style or whatever..
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 08:48:45 am by Alex Hanson-White »

Offline jams0988

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Re: Am I going crazy here?

Reply #8 on: September 05, 2012, 08:53:58 am
Quote
Another possibility is that as an Artist, we have become conditioned to looking for more interesting compositions, compositions that wouldn't necessarily be completely natural. Something monochromatic may be more simple to comprehend for someone who hasn't yet looked at such scales intently enough to become bored with them.(they may not even know the difference between them)
That's a good possibility, too. Or maybe they're just stupid, so such simple compositions are all they can understand. = =;;
I'm really starting to understand the phrase "it takes one to know one." I'm not enjoying it.
Quote
You should include photographs in your experiment too.. to gauge what they deem a better photograph, and try to find art or games that mimic the lighting in them, or style or whatever..
Sadly, my friends are already polled out. I harassed them quite a bit for their horrible tastes. ='D
Anyone reading this thread should give it a shot too though, if they feel so inclined. I'm curious enough that I'd like a larger sample size. Maybe I just happened to ask all the wrong people... = \

Offline AlexHW

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Re: Am I going crazy here?

Reply #9 on: September 05, 2012, 09:28:29 am
Maybe I just happened to ask all the wrong people... = \
well.. you did ask non-artists which screenshots looked better..
Perhaps asking artists that don't play games to look and decipher which are better might receive different results.