AuthorTopic: Typical Dimensions for a Pixel Art Game  (Read 59861 times)

Offline PsylentKnight

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Typical Dimensions for a Pixel Art Game

on: April 08, 2014, 06:33:22 pm
As I create more assets and such for my game, I'm starting to get into backgrounds and UI, so I need to nail down dimensions for the game screen. I need it to be small enough to be manageable since us pixel artists micromanage every single pixel, but I don't want it so small that it is limiting for game play.

What do you guys typically use, and what would you suggest for me? For reference, my character sprites are about 64 x 64, and this is a platforming game.
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Offline Pix3M

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Re: Typical Dimensions for a Pixel Art Game

Reply #1 on: April 08, 2014, 06:43:38 pm
I get pretty far with 16x16, 16x32, and 32x32 characters.

Screen resolutions I use range from 256x192 to 320x240, and the largest I worked with was about 640x360.

I use 256x192 when I create RPG-perspective worlds which my only goal is to create a pretty environment. I use 320x240 if I'm dealing with shooters which calls for more shooting room. 640x360, I used for a strategy game that required enemies to be proportionately smaller on the screen.

Offline tim

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Re: Typical Dimensions for a Pixel Art Game

Reply #2 on: April 08, 2014, 07:03:26 pm
• It depends of the platform you're targeting (mobile, consoles / PC ?).
• It depends of the aspect ratio you want (16/9, 4/3, or more exotic ones)
• It depends of the look you want (low fidelity / low res or high-res like fighting games)

Overall, today most screens aspect ratios are 16/9 or 16/10.
The standard screen resolutions are 720p (1280x720) or 1080p (1920x1080).

So let's say you want your pixel art scale 2:1
Then your target 1080p.
Just take the resolution and divide by 2. Examples :

Pixel art scale 2:1 on 1080p
960x540

Pixel art scale 3:1 on 1080p
640x360

Pixel art scale 4:1 on 1080p
480x240

And so on. You have to "guess" what are your needs, if your art style requires a lot of details or if the low resolution look fits better what you're doing. You probably have to make a full image, then check it fullscreen at different zoom level (x2, x3, x4) and select what is the most appropriate considering your game design, your capabilities, your art style, etc…
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Offline PsylentKnight

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Re: Typical Dimensions for a Pixel Art Game

Reply #3 on: April 08, 2014, 07:07:52 pm
@Pix3M
I'm beginning to regret having such large sprites, but I've already put so much work into them I think that downsizing would be even more work unless I went all the way down to 16x16 with something very minimalistic. I just don't want to throw everything out the window because I'm pretty satisfied with what I have.

I'd imagine my screen resolution will have to be considerably larger than what you use to account for the larger sprites... however even your smallest resolution (256x192) is nearly 50,000 pixels and that sounds like a hell of a lot of work.

@tim
I'm targeting PC.

Thank you for your explanation, that helps a lot. I realize I'll have to experiment a lot for myself, I just needed a general guideline.



EDIT: I a word
« Last Edit: April 08, 2014, 07:11:39 pm by PsylentKnight »
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Offline astraldata

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Re: Typical Dimensions for a Pixel Art Game

Reply #4 on: April 08, 2014, 07:33:19 pm
I would suggest also thinking about games such as Earthworm Jim on the SNES days that go with your sprite style.

Obviously the SNES resolution was a set resolution, but it mostly, as I'm finding out myself, depends on what porportion you want your characters to screen ratio to be. This happens to be easier when deciding it early on, then deciding your sprite size once the ratio choice is made. This ratio is much easier to determine with an actual full-sized level mockup (so you can test your own level-asset making abilities while also being able to play around with the camera size relative to the scale of the level itself, not to mention helping you figure out how make your gameplay work with your level design without having to have a prototype).

I do mine with Graphics Gale's custom grid feature to determine how many screens of what size do I need so that I can determine how large of a background I need to fill up each screen in the level and to determine how many variations in the level + background I need to fill up the space. Since the size of the screen is dependent upon what device(s) you want to target in addition to the character-to-screen ratio (including about how many baddies + players you want on the screen as well -- keep this in mind too!)

As an aside, and off-topic, I was interested in how your main character dude was coming... I hadn't seen an update of him since your Butt-dude with boobs and was hoping you didn't abandon the project -- it looked great.
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Offline PsylentKnight

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Re: Typical Dimensions for a Pixel Art Game

Reply #5 on: April 08, 2014, 07:47:45 pm
Good idea. I need to make a mockup and/or prototype anyway. The tip with GraphicGale's custom grid is useful.

As for the character, I honestly haven't worked much on the project at all. I have done most of the key-frames of a jump animation and that's about it. I still need to clean up the run animation and give him a breast reduction.
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Offline astraldata

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Re: Typical Dimensions for a Pixel Art Game

Reply #6 on: April 09, 2014, 02:19:47 am
Huuuh huh, huh -- he said "breast."

Lol, it's good I didn't miss anything. I loved your character concepts. Very Donkey Kong Country / Sonic-ish style.

</off-topic>

Btw, I noticed you mentioned about the amount of work it would take to fill up a 256x192 px area. Depending on the size of your character sprite and how large you want to zoom your sprites, and more importantly the kind of game you're making, this may or may not be much of an issue.

For example, if backgrounds and such are your concern, couldn't you design some of them so that they could just be recolored and perhaps add in a prop or two in the background that isn't used in the alternate version of the level? Good ol' Super Mario Bros. on the NES, not to mention a variety of well-received oldschool NES games did this sort of trick and it worked wonders with the level variety. Level-specific prop usage and combinations, recolors, and sky recolors fool the eye into thinking it's an entirely new asset, when in reality the only thing that's changed is its color. You'd be amazed how how drastic color changes can fool players, including even the toughest art critics, as long as the original asset is constructed well and interesting enough.

Long and short of it, you should think less in terms of level/screen pixel-size, and more on what kind of things you can do to minimize the amount of unique work you have to do on your game-assets. I personally use a screen size of 512x320 atm, and my characters are ~64 pixels tall and 32 wide -- and I'm the only guy we have working on the BG/tileset assets atm. Because I use the methods described in my previous post and simplified the backgrounds in the way I just described, it saves me a ton of work when I only create my assets with modularization and reuse in mind -- especially backgrounds and tiles. Enemy characters are another possibility of recolor/reuse, even if you just add an extra horn on a baddie who has none or only one or whatever to signify it's not just a different color, but a different kind of guy altogether. Simple to draw, but it saves you from having to redraw or design an entirely new enemy's graphics.

Just some food for thought. :)
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Offline PsylentKnight

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Re: Typical Dimensions for a Pixel Art Game

Reply #7 on: April 12, 2014, 03:56:36 am
Huehuehue breasts. Thank you for your compliment.

And yes, recycling will definitely help. Good advice.
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Offline Dusty

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Re: Typical Dimensions for a Pixel Art Game

Reply #8 on: April 12, 2014, 04:33:12 am
I find lower resolution and higher resolution(8x vs 16x) aren't as simple as "lower = easier, higher = more work." While lower resolution is indeed less pixels to fill, and less detail to worry about, it also can take quite more time working with that resolution to get what you desire. Higher resolutions do take more work to fill in the details, but it is more flexible, and allows for more margin of error. Lower resolutions can take quite some time as you tweak and try to fit your vision, and properly portray it.

I'm not saying lower resolution is harder, I'm saying they both have their pros and cons, and I find both challenging in their own ways. Go with whichever you are more comfortable with, that will save you more time than any choice in resolution.

Offline surt

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Re: Typical Dimensions for a Pixel Art Game

Reply #9 on: April 12, 2014, 05:11:06 am
640x360 makes for quite a flexible target resolution on modern displays:
x2 = HD
x3 = FHD
x4 = QHD