To pixel art or not to pixel art?

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2D fighting template based in the game that defined the fighting games genre.
  • You will always find criticism on how your game looks/feels from other people.

    To like something is strictly subjective. If you want a more serious opinion. I believe the third image actually helps your style look more in the line of comic art which actualy goes well with the overall game and story as I've seen on the videos of your game.

    However don't base changes like that on what people tell you its your game, it's your baby and it should look like it should. If making a modification takes away from the game leave it as is. If it improves it do it. However game experience should not be based on how it looks but how it plays ... I for one would consider those (serious)critics that aim at game mechanics and control improvements, in order to further polish your game, over those who will just shoot down your style. Just my two cents. Hope it helps a bit tho. Best of luck!!

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  • I think the gradients you're using crashes hard with the line art. Imo gradient tools and photoshop filters in general tend to make things look cheap: You can tell it's a computer that did the work and not a human being.

    If you're going for a comic look with line art and colors filled in I recommend you have a look at Darkest Dungeon. Check out their dev videos, I remember at least one of them have the artist go through how he does some of the inking and coloring for the characters.

    Beyond that, be mindful of color hue, color values(brightness) and color ramps. Colors, when not handled right, can pull your artwork down in all kinds of ways. For one, saturated colors will always draw attention to themselves. You have a lot of saturation in your background which competes with your player and enemy sprites for attention. That's not good. The interactive objects, *that's* what you want the player to pay attention to.

    Except for neon-lights and other self-illuminated objects we rarely see full-on saturation in the real world. In fact, the less an object is illuminated by light, the less color-saturation it will seem to have. When you're out at night you've no doubt noticed that things seem to be a lot less colorful than in broad daylight. That's because our eyes don't pick up colors nearly as well with poor lighting. The darker colors in your art should reflect that: Cooler colors (red -> purplish, green -> cyan etc) with less saturation. It's also a good idea to vary your color ramps according to this principle. Have a look at these:

    Dull, unrealistic:

    More interesting to look at, closer to reality:

  • A great example of GOOD pixel art game on C2:

    And no, it doesn't look bad. In fact, it looks AMAZING in its aesthetics.

    Good pixel art is damn hard.

  • wow.. I only read the first page of comments from Steam.. but I can't believe how many people are commenting critically.. you have some serious buzz.. maybe not the buzz you want, but people are talking about your game! so, even though things might seem negative, you can spin this around...

    as for the art... don't change your art style! I'm no artist (I dabble) and I consider myself more of a producer-type. but your art seems good to me, I mean, what the hell is "good" anyway? Art can be whatever. If you have confidence in it.. just be like.. "hey, here's my art.." who cares what people say.. they'll look like idiots when your game does awesome and everyone starts copying your art style... I mean, does it look amateur? I don't know.. who cares.. if it does.. that's the games look.. just stick with it and trust in what you can do. Yes, things look bad when you try to do things you aren't really good at.. this is true for anything art related. So just do what you can do... Consider a high school kid that draws in his/her notebook all day.. say that art is "subpar".. but you make a game out of that art.. that would be so cool.. so who cares if it's "good"!

    Now your animation seems to need a little work... just get an animator involved.. find an animation student or something. They can even just fix the current animations you have. Also things like how the character transitions from left to right doesn't look great...almost like you cut some corners (you probably didn't but that's what it looks like).. . the stopping and starting.. I would try to get that tightened up and smoothed out. It will only help your art style..

    The other art comment is.. I'm not sure what it is.. but the characters seem to be "on-top of the background. It doesn't look like they sit in the environment really.. not sure if that is your "line quality" (too much outline) or shading.. I don't know.. but they feel kind of paper thin... maybe you can change the line quality (at least on the edges of the sprite).

    I think also your willingness to be open about who you are what you are all about is opening you up as well.. I don't think it's a bad thing..but I would not respond to negative comments... that's just pulling you into a direction you won't be able to return from.. ala Phil Fish...

    seriously good luck.. I think you need to just find confidence and also try to distance yourself from the game itself. The game isn't "you" so don't be offended by anything. It's hard to be so close to something and look at it with an objective eye. Gamedev is a long and winding road of learning...

  • Hey Psi, sorry to see a lot of criticism on a project you have worked on for a long time. I know the feeling, but it is good to see you are willing to make changes to improve it. I'm sure it will be for the best.

    Everyone has their own opinion of course but I like the original graphic style and think you should stick with it. The 80's comic book look is your point of difference, if you redid it with proper pixel art you would lose the nostalgia aspect and the heart of the game imo.

    I won't nitpick, but there are 2 big issues that stick out when i watch the video. The first is the screen size.

    As a beat-em-up game, I personally would like *at least* this much extra space on the screen to be able to navigate through enemies and plan my moves instead of just reacting to whatever pops on the screen (might need to widen the browser a bit to see the full image).

    The second thing is how your hero carries herself (pose and animations). You can tell a lot about someone by the way they stand and move. Most of the time she is slightly bent forward which to me portrays anger and generally isn't a flattering position for her. Why is this important? Well, this is very sexist but I feel like she should move more elegantly/gracefully. To be more specific, she should move in poses that accentuate her features and make her look sexy (especially since she is outfitted with a skin tight costume instead of armour that is designed to be functional).

    Straighten up her back to have her in positions that convey confidence. When animating, it might help you to select a strong pose like an attack position (the point of impact for example) and work backwards bringing her to the idle position. Change the running animation to a walk (keeping the back straight for the majority of the cycle), this would suit the speed she moves at much better in my opinion.

    Again, all just my opinion, for the most part I think you have a great project and wish you the best of luck moving forward.

  • Thanks for the input all! I was just messing around Tokinsom - I like a lot of pixel art and respect the art form. Actually, I think people doing it right probably spend more time and put more effort in than conventional illustrators. I remember when all games were pixel art!

  • #2 doesn't really look like pixel art. It looks like the original Diablo does now. Looked great back in 1996, but not now.

    You'll want to focus on consistency more than anything. Throwing a filter on afterwards...doesn't look very good.

  • The key to successful graphic design is consistency. Games look bad when they're a mismatch of different art styles, and pixel art offers a simple, easy to follow methodology.

  • I used some filters and changed the resolution on my game as examples - I knew that it wasn't actual pixel art. blekdar - you make me like it if it looks like diablo! Those first two are still my favorite games ever!

  • Hmm, pixelart is very greatful for harder themes. a good example is the game "gods will be watching". In this game the player are coming frequently in very bad situations (hostage taking,, tortured in jail, shooting a child...) Its very heavy topics and its very hard to play it, but the pixelart give you more distance (see it not detailed as "hatred", "postal" or "Spec Ops - The Line". The Consumption is for the user a bit pleasant and more people are playing it. An another example are the serious-games "Papers please": In this game you play a worker in a dictatur-system or the game "This war is mine" (Carbon-Pencil-Style): You play a civilian-group at war. I think often the people say "its Retro". But i think its a beautyful stand alone Art.

    Elliott: I have played some games with different art styles. Sure, its harder to find the right middleway. But some games are beautyful. Example: Often are texts in pixelgames are a problem because the space. Gods will be watching have higher resolution-text. and it bites not

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