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  What? Your game isn't a pixelated retro masterpiece?  (Read 5384 times)
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Online kevglass

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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« Posted 2014-07-18 13:47:42 »

General rant alert!

Noticed recently that 50% of indie games are now pixelated retro styled affairs. For me, I've actually stopped looking at games that aren't. It's odd because it used to be one of many "styles" of game.

Do people still play non-pixelated games?

Why are there so many low-res games now? Indie devs find it easier/faster to create the graphics? It's currently fashionable? Minecraft made it the done thing?

What's the next fashion to turn up? Are we all going to go and make claymation games? Or is 3D going to start becoming something I give a crap about again?

Cheers,

Kev

Offline death_angel
« Reply #1 - Posted 2014-07-18 13:52:55 »

IMO indie developers are using pixel art to their games because it's faster to create but also i think that the minecraft had an impact 
on indie game design.
Non-pixelated games requires more resouces to do it so takes time.
Just my opinions.

-Aiden

Like a Boss Hacker
Offline Sabomoth

Junior Devvie


Medals: 2
Exp: 2 years



« Reply #2 - Posted 2014-07-18 13:55:46 »

I hate it. It's like they dont even bother. 'lewl! Lewk at my pixuls! Me soo good! Grafiks not evelyfing!'

Grafics arent everything, but it should still be there, and it shouldnt look like its been made by a 14 year old little tit that thinks he knows everything about it. I dont even bother looking at games which use such graphics, if they cant spend the time on their game, then i draw the conclusion that even the creators themselves think its shit.

Oh yea, and the 58 thousand tower defence games out there... seriously, do something else, aaaaand ofcourse the other 108 thousand minecraft and terraria clones.

The indies are killing themselves from within.
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Online trollwarrior1
« Reply #3 - Posted 2014-07-18 14:00:59 »

@sabomoth

What are you raging about? Pixelated 2d graphics + (nice lighting + shadows) (smooth) look absolutely amazing.
Offline SauronWatchesYou
« Reply #4 - Posted 2014-07-18 14:02:02 »

My personal view on this has 3 reasons.

1: Minecraft
2: The age of programmers
3: People are bored with current gen games

I believe that Minecraft has caused a large portion of this pixel style art we are currently seeing. People may have different reasons for this, they might really enjoy the art style, they might want to make the next big thing or they simply want to find out about programming and are inspired by Minecraft.

The age of programmers is likely the biggest factor in why we are seeing pixel art games. I'm basing this point off of an assumption that most programmers are in their late teens+ but I honestly feel that people grew up with games that had pixel art and they get a nostalgia feel when creating their own art.

Finally, I think people are just getting bored of the same stuff we have seen for years. Games are becoming too similar and the market is being harder to please and this creates indie developers to start working on different types of games which fit nicely with pixel art such.

I personally got into programming because of Minecraft and because Markus inspired me. I failed the first time I got into programming as I thought it was going to be a easy thing to pick up and could learn how to do it in a matter of weeks, but as we all know, this is not the case. I picked up back up about a year later and 4-6 months in, i'm still learning so much and about to start my University course on Software Engineering. The art I do (badly) is inspired from the games I grew up with and still even play today(I have an Amstrad and SNES setup right next to me).

All in all I think we are seeing the pixel art due to inspiration from games like Minecraft and the general age of programmers.
Offline Drenius
« Reply #5 - Posted 2014-07-18 14:17:08 »

I do prefer to use textures with low resolution. Because I like my art in a simple way.
This has nothing to do with minecraft, minecraft is just ugly, because it is nothing to look at.

Another personal reason to prefer low resolutions from others:
Good detailed art takes time, I mean a lot of time, time most of us indie developers just do not have.
Pixel arts is a way to spend less time on making while still having something looking good.
(There are also horrible examples! But not everything.)
Therefore pixel arts is the best option for most of us, because IMO leaving something out is better than making it badly.
Offline Drenius
« Reply #6 - Posted 2014-07-18 14:23:01 »

Sorry for double-posting, but different message.

@Sabomoth:
There is a difference between real projects and these learning projects. Keep in mind that learning the difference between what the people care about and what not is also an important lesson in game development.
Making these games is good for learning how to actually get a program to run. And also to learn that learning game design is also important.
Offline cubemaster21
« Reply #7 - Posted 2014-07-18 14:41:16 »

I use pixel art for my work primarily because I just flat out suck at drawing. Nobody I know is any good with animation, and I find that I can do my best art when I don't need such a finite control on the art and pixels are great to hide that. I'll admit it, I won't call my games "Retro" or "8-bit", because I'm not using the same constraints that they had to abide by and attempt to work around back then. I'd personally rather have a minimalistic look to my games, which I believe can also be provided by pixels.

Check out my game, Viking Supermarket Smash
http://www.java-gaming.org/topics/iconified/28984/view.html
Offline Rayvolution

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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Resident Crazyman


« Reply #8 - Posted 2014-07-18 14:42:33 »

I think it's just a nice eye-catching style. I love pixel art because well, I just like the charming look of it. It also gives the game a less serious tone, implying that it's "fun".

Another reason could be a lot of developers lack the skillset to draw true full blown cartoony graphics. For example, I can draw some really nice cartoony static images, but when it comes time to animate it, it's extremely hard to make it look natural. Thus, for game development pixel art seems to be better suited for my needs. Not to mention it also takes 3 times longer to draw cartoony work than pixel art work and the graphics processing overhead is a lot higher with full resolution artwork.

I guess it all depends, there's many games out there I think are best suited for pixel art, like They Bleed Pixels, and some that are best suited for cartoony art, like PixelJunk Shooter.

I guess it really does all just boil down to style preference, and pixel art is just really popular right now. One huge benefit to pixel art though is you can do a lot more graphics processing at a lot lower cost, so you can add all kinda of fun particle effects and fun stuff that you normally couldn't with full-resolution art. (See They Bleed Pixels and it's pixelized explosions, for example)

EDIT: Should also be noted I disagree with the notion that pixel art is the "easy way out". In a lot of cases, I've found good pixel art even more challenging than my cartoony work. Cheesy

- Raymond "Rayvolution" Doerr.
Retro-Pixel Castles - Survival Sim/Builder/Roguelike!
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Offline Sabomoth

Junior Devvie


Medals: 2
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« Reply #9 - Posted 2014-07-18 14:45:43 »

Sorry for double-posting, but different message.

@Sabomoth:
There is a difference between real projects and these learning projects. Keep in mind that learning the difference between what the people care about and what not is also an important lesson in game development.
Making these games is good for learning how to actually get a program to run. And also to learn that learning game design is also important.

I am talking about the huge influx of released indiegames on steam and all the other markets. I myself use very simple graphics in my games, since i havent released them, but i know that they are just temporary. But soooo many of the released games use graphics that keeps you thinking, what the heck were they thinking of? Using pixel graphics because they think its cool, without understanding what it is. They want it because they have smoked themselves high on 'lol retro' and 'graphics isnt everything, lol'. pixel graphics is all fine, but not when you try to use as few pixels as possible, with the result that you cant see what anything resembles, but hey, remember, 'retro, lol!', 'graphics isnt everything, lol!'.
Retro games had to get as much detail as possible in little space, while todays 'artists' think they can be just as good, but by removing as much detail as possible. Its a very different result.
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Offline PandaMoniumHUN

JGO Coder


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« Reply #10 - Posted 2014-07-18 15:24:04 »

In short: It's easy to learn pixel-art, and pixel art is easy to make. Creating an entire character from start to finish with animations shouldn't take more then 3-4 hours (but of course that depends on the complexity of the piece) if you know what you're doing compared to the regular few days (or to a few weeks in extreme cases) in drawing. Since retro looking games became popular recently small dev companies and startups simply don't feel the need to make their game look any more modern when they can get away with the old-style and less work. A really big point here is that not everyone can afford artists, and not everyone has years of time to learn drawing. Pointing

With that being said I would like to point out that pixel art can look just as good as AAA 3D games (but that of course that comes down to taste) with a nice art style, lighting and particle effects. Smiley

My Blog | Jumpbutton Studio - INOP Programmer
Can't stress enough: Don't start game development until you haven't got the basics of programming down! Pointing
Online Cero
« Reply #11 - Posted 2014-07-18 16:02:07 »

Why are there so many low-res games now? Indie devs find it easier/faster to create the graphics? It's currently fashionable?

Absolutely. It's super hip and super over-used.
Hey I'm indie and hey it's retro or 8bit looking. Look at me - and it still kinda works for attention I guess.

I'm very sick of it - and I play NES and SNES games every day, but back then those were really the limits.

I personally wanna reach this level:

Click to Play


So yeah I think its a big bandwagon and a cop-out way for the problem "cannot create art". When it was first done it was kinda clever, but now its really getting old.

and yeah that's the apex of 2D art so its very hard.
But in general I'd rather try and fail than playing it safe.

Online kevglass

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #12 - Posted 2014-07-18 16:11:06 »

Might have me a bit wrong here guys, I do loads of 2D pixel art - I just find it easier - but then I always have. Just wondering why it's all the rage now.

Cheers,

Kev

Offline GIRakaCHEEZER

Junior Devvie


Medals: 5
Projects: 1



« Reply #13 - Posted 2014-07-18 17:13:32 »

Should also be noted I disagree with the notion that pixel art is the "easy way out". In a lot of cases, I've found good pixel art even more challenging than my cartoony work. Cheesy

This, very much this.  Good pixel art is not all that easy to make.  It still might be less time consuming than good hand-drawn art though, and good 3D art.  Having good 3D art is part of why triple-A games are so expensive to make these days.

Also for me there's a large "nostalgia" factor with pixel art as well.  Takes me back to my younger days when all I had was a sega genesis and a super nintendo.
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #14 - Posted 2014-07-18 19:22:25 »

I think it's because it's rather hard to do 3D, or even 2D-with-tools, and any fool can cobble something together in Paint and call it art. Mostly it looks shit though and just like everything else it takes years of practice before it looks good.

Let's not forget that pixels on their own aren't a "style"... the whole thing's got to come together nicely.

Minecraft I don't think had anything to do with pixel art's popularity - but it is one of the most popular games out there and it's a bit pixelly.

Cas Smiley

Online Cero
« Reply #15 - Posted 2014-07-18 21:35:20 »

Should also be noted I disagree with the notion that pixel art is the "easy way out". In a lot of cases, I've found good pixel art even more challenging than my cartoony work. Cheesy

This, very much this.  Good pixel art is not all that easy to make.  It still might be less time consuming than good hand-drawn art though, and good 3D art.  Having good 3D art is part of why triple-A games are so expensive to make these days.

Also for me there's a large "nostalgia" factor with pixel art as well.  Takes me back to my younger days when all I had was a sega genesis and a super nintendo.


Well absolutely, however 16 bit games look way better than those fake retro indie games today

Offline BurntPizza

« JGO Bitwise Duke »


Medals: 271
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« Reply #16 - Posted 2014-07-18 21:44:55 »

Well absolutely, however 16 bit games look way better than those fake retro indie games today

I think at least a large part of this is that people want the ease of the limited color pallet but don't know how to make/use a good pallet.
Finding colors that look good together and in context of your other stuff is surprisingly difficult.
Offline basil_

« JGO Bitwise Duke »


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« Reply #17 - Posted 2014-07-18 22:17:12 »

it's a bit different when you render at 10% resolution.
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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« Reply #18 - Posted 2014-07-18 22:42:54 »

Funny thing is... if you actually go back and look at 8 bit or 16 bit games today, say, in an emulator... by God do they look shit. And, in fact, the games are largely total shit too. Rose tinted spectacles. Even the games I used to worship - eg. Paradroid - turn out to be woefully shit by any modern understanding of game design.

Cas Smiley

Online Cero
« Reply #19 - Posted 2014-07-18 22:52:45 »

Funny thing is... if you actually go back and look at 8 bit or 16 bit games today, say, in an emulator... by God do they look shit. And, in fact, the games are largely total shit too. Rose tinted spectacles. Even the games I used to worship - eg. Paradroid - turn out to be woefully shit by any modern understanding of game design.

I watch 8 and 16 bit game reviews and play those games every day.
Cannot agree at all.

Offline basil_

« JGO Bitwise Duke »


Medals: 70
Exp: 12 years



« Reply #20 - Posted 2014-07-18 23:00:27 »

... by God do they look shit. And, in fact, the games are largely total shit too. Rose tinted spectacles.
lol

if you render a shitty mesh at 10% resolution it still looks shitty  Undecided

--

on the other hand, yes, good handmade pixel graphics are .. well, good.
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #21 - Posted 2014-07-18 23:18:04 »

Funny thing is... if you actually go back and look at 8 bit or 16 bit games today, say, in an emulator... by God do they look shit. And, in fact, the games are largely total shit too. Rose tinted spectacles. Even the games I used to worship - eg. Paradroid - turn out to be woefully shit by any modern understanding of game design.

I watch 8 and 16 bit game reviews and play those games every day.
Cannot agree at all.

Each to their own... as for myself I've spent a lot of time researching the old games to try and steal ideas but rarely come up with anything anyone would actually want to play these days. I loved them at the time but time has moved on.

Cas Smiley

Offline mojo
« Reply #22 - Posted 2014-07-18 23:48:19 »

For me, low-res pixel art always means casual games, therefore nothing I can dive into. It's fun, but I would not be able to play something serious in this style (which  is what I eventually want).

Still, I think that shitty pixel art is way better than the abominations we had to witness and create as programmers before  Wink.
Offline LiquidNitrogen
« Reply #23 - Posted 2014-07-19 00:34:15 »

I think a lot of people are missing the distinction between high quality art work and lower quality graphics.

Check out this site for some examples of high quality pixel art:
http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixels/new_icons.asp?q=1&pg=2

I'm not sure exactly how this relates to the point of the topic, but you can't simply dismiss low-res graphics if all you've seen is low-quality low-res graphics.
Click to Play

(this image is from here http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/31255.htm)

Online Cero
« Reply #24 - Posted 2014-07-19 02:05:07 »

Well I was talking about super pixelated "retro" looking stuff, like Monaco

if you consider high res 2d sprites "pixel art" then these dont pertain the discussion, like this:
Click to Play


I wouldnt call this "pixel art" but I dunno - the term seems to be used very ambiguously

Offline Drenius
« Reply #25 - Posted 2014-07-19 02:42:58 »

the term seems to be used very ambiguously

Well, everything where you can still see individual pixels... Your example does indeed not fit at all.
Offline AcidFaucet

Senior Newbie


Medals: 1



« Reply #26 - Posted 2014-07-19 02:50:58 »

It'd be one thing if what was coming out was good pixel art. However, there's far too many "1 pixel wide legs." I refuse to touch anything with single pixel-wide legs or throw dollars at it on Kickstarter - looking at you Mr. Alien Plant thing that just so happened to appear 3 months after a certain obscure sci-fi series of novels added intelligent xenophobic alien seaweed.

"It's not all about graphics, lol" - it's a game - it's entirely about presentation. Single pixel wide legs are either incompetency or laziness.

The Ludum Dare entries of "Deepnight" are great pixel art - despite having single pixel wide extremities because they end up being 3 pixels wide and looking like Zapf Bat from Castlevania IV.

I don't think the pixel nasty is from MineCraft. Rather I think it probably came from Cortex Command, at least that makes the most sense as it shares the "wtf is that thing ... oh it kills me" with modern 'pixel' focused indie games.

There really isn't anything wrong with pixel art, but this recent flood makes the NES look like a PS3.

As to programmer art: http://www.quelsolaar.com/love/index.html

My rule is a minimum of 16x24 for character sprites, any less and I don't touch it.

Quote
I personally wanna reach this level:

Muramasa is indeed awesome.
Offline theagentd

« JGO Bitwise Duke »


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« Reply #27 - Posted 2014-07-19 03:09:05 »

he term seems to be used very ambiguously

Well, everything where you can still see individual pixels...
Sooo... Every single game right now since proper MSAA is too hard to do?

Myomyomyo.
Offline Rayvolution

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


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Resident Crazyman


« Reply #28 - Posted 2014-07-19 03:10:28 »

It'd be one thing if what was coming out was good pixel art. However, there's far too many "1 pixel wide legs." I refuse to touch anything with single pixel-wide legs or throw dollars at it on Kickstarter - looking at you Mr. Alien Plant thing that just so happened to appear 3 months after a certain obscure sci-fi series of novels added intelligent xenophobic alien seaweed.

"It's not all about graphics, lol" - it's a game - it's entirely about presentation. Single pixel wide legs are either incompetency or laziness.

The Ludum Dare entries of "Deepnight" are great pixel art - despite having single pixel wide extremities because they end up being 3 pixels wide and looking like Zapf Bat from Castlevania IV.

I don't think the pixel nasty is from MineCraft. Rather I think it probably came from Cortex Command, at least that makes the most sense as it shares the "wtf is that thing ... oh it kills me" with modern 'pixel' focused indie games.

There really isn't anything wrong with pixel art, but this recent flood makes the NES look like a PS3.

As to programmer art: http://www.quelsolaar.com/love/index.html

My rule is a minimum of 16x24 for character sprites, any less and I don't touch it.

Quote
I personally wanna reach this level:

Muramasa is indeed awesome.

There's plenty of good looking games out there with 2 pixel wide characters and 1 pixel legs. You sound kinda elitist. I actually take offense that you think "1 pixel wide legs" is a trademark for lazy work. Considering this project right here.

Don't tell me those 2px wide, 7px tall characters with 2x1 pixel legs "ruin" the game, it all depends on the reasoning behind it.

*grumbles and wanders off*  Roll Eyes

- Raymond "Rayvolution" Doerr.
Retro-Pixel Castles - Survival Sim/Builder/Roguelike!
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Offline HeroesGraveDev

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« Reply #29 - Posted 2014-07-19 03:23:48 »

Pixel art is not better or worse than other styles of art.

It is just that: A style of art.

No style of art is superior to another. Different people like different styles more. I mean, some people spend thousands of dollars on some artist's paint spill. If someone can see art in a mess of paint, how many more people can find art in some novice low-res graphics.

Furthermore, if executed poorly, bad art is bad art, regardless of style.

Some art styles are easy to pick up and hard to master, while others are hard to get started, but when you get there, are easy to master. A programmer's main 'art' is really in their code and design, and not all of us can make art that meets everybody's expectations.

Finally, if you want to (unconstructively) criticise someone's art for their game, first make art that's better then theirs, and then give it to them for free to use instead. If you can't do that, then you don't have the right to (unconstructively) criticise, because you're admitting yourself that you can't do what they'd have to do.

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