So I’m probably doubling Restless Ground’s pixel art resolution. I’m not sure how it got into my head, but it did, and it stuck there. It probably started when I got Unity Remote running on my iPhone again, and things felt… big and blocky. Too big and blocky.
It scared me at first. I’d already produced rough animations, icons and backgrounds for about a third of the game. But, one night this week I sat down and started working on some higher-resolution pixel art backgrounds and icons, and I like the results. A lot.
Here’s a what the change between 16×16 and 32×32 pixel tiles looks like:
It’s a big difference. And the resolution change will take time — maybe a lot of time. But it’s better that I do it now than later, when I have more assets complete at a 16×16 tile size.
Here are some considerations I made:
Doubling my pixel art resolution means I can make units a bit smaller…
This is a major concern for me. Currently, with units as big as they are, the battlefield seems very small. Right now, a battlefield might look like this:
This looks fine, but I think the game would have a better feel if I could make the units about 2/3 of that size. Upsizing will be a bit awkward.
However, if I decide to run with units at 1/2 size, I won’t have to redo my animations! I can just change the pixels-per-unit for the assets in Unity. I’m not sure how I feel about this, since they look VERY small on a phone screen. But on a PC screen they give off a Risk of Rain vibe, which I like a lot.
…but I’ll have to keep my pixel art skills sharp.
Pixel art at a very low resolution is a special skill, to be sure. But you don’t have to worry about detail too much (because you CAN’T). You can get away with a lot of blocky abstraction. At a higher resolution, I have to become better at accounting for shadows and textures. I’ll have to add details that I got to ignore in the past. I’ll still have to account for every stray pixel, but now there’ll be 768 more to wrangle. And for that reason…
I should probably revisit my palette before I go further.
Currently, I’m using a PICO-8 palette with a few added blues. This might be useable for my new higher resolution pixel art, but, if I later decide that I’m going to need a a few extra colours (maybe another orange or red?) I’d be behooved to add those colours BEFORE I dive into animating ~30 characters and ~50 spell effects.
I might just be sick of seeing my low resolution sprites.
Redoing the art for my game now isn’t too daunting. As I said before, I’ve only created a fraction of the total assets. But I wonder if I’m just sick of looking at it and want to change up? Let me know what you think about the shift on Twitter at @anapestdigital or in the comments!