Since my first mock up I knew that Wizards’ Duel pixel art would have been impure. I called it heretical, in contraposition to pixel art orthodoxy, where it is needed that you draw everything without any cheat. Well, as a traditional pro painter I could argue that “drawing” with a computer is cheating (ctrl+z!) or that engraving and reproduction prints techniques – from etching to 3D printers – are a simple way to avoid manually copy draws. But whether you like it or not, to make “art” today means to be detached by simple crafting or mimetic skills and the resulting image and its author are today far more important than “what” or “how”. Something perfectly described since the photography could fix specular reality on paper.
<<In the absence of any traditional, ritualistic value, art in the age of mechanical reproduction would inherently be based on the practice of politics>>
Despite Benjamin’s Marxism and his expectation nowadays those politics can be described as communication efficiency and profit. Art’s world marketing, international art’s bids, and main art’s gallery are based on this. Sure, indie art tries to cast itself out of that political cage, with its newborn traditional and ritualistic value, objective and “democratic” rules expressed by contents popularity (retweets, likes, visualizations and faves) but for this same urge to be liked and as a consequence of its engineering heritage, all the indie/nerd stuff has a natural goal into efficiency and profit. A lot of indie gamers lore is about fail/success and time factor, remarking the attention to the production system, goals and achievement even in hobbies. What is a game jam, if not a production system challenge?
Every development team has to balance budget with time and solutions: so do we. As a no budget project I choose to primarily focus on creature’ design, with basic animations. Then my first attempt with scenographic elements shown a problem, clashing with my “low-res on hi-def” theory. My beloved simple flat color sprites for architecture, inspired by Alex Preston’s style, were too much prominent on the photographic textures. It would have been impossible without a proper budget to draw all the needed elements with the right depth so I tried the same solutions I used on the floors, scaling pictures with my secret formula and it perfectly worked.
Now the game’s atmosphere is looking great and the congruity between interactive and un-interactive should be intuitable.
Still there is somehow the tendency to hide or find valid justifications to this kind of behavior in art, as if the use of projectors in paintings, shortcuts and mechanization could cut off the value of a piece (hi Andy!) but we have not to forget Caravaggio’s lesson as explained by David Hockney: if the Lombard genius used the camera obscura instead of painting all “alla prima” without references are his paintings somehow less perfect? No. It is never a problem of techs but of its creative use and, more important – as Caravaggio perfectly understood – : results.
Piece by piece we’re building our Wizard’s Duel first level, and we hope to release an alpha test in early 2015! If you like our work so far I invite you to make a donation, even just for offer a hypercaloric meal as a boost for squeeze pixel juice out!
Thanks for your kind attention and passion!
Daniele Lynx Lasalandra – Art Director
And finally some results