I have to admit it: in the begining of Wizards’ Duel development I was really scared by the idea I would have make the graphic user interface too (from here on GUI). Bars and buttons animations are far away from my interest and comfort area. But then, going deeper in the challange of pixelart, getting better with quick solutions and overcoming selfimposed limits, I started to be curious to see how I would have face the Precise side of the Moon. Yeah, because if with monsters and spells strokes and splatters can be helpful, GUI need to be straight and solid. But this doesn’t mean is fantasy-free!
As I love to repeat, every creative act is based on abstractive action, to make a synthesis of what I see or think and put it into a proper form to rappresent the thing I want. And what’s more abstract and synthetic than a game Icon?
For my icons set I chosed to impose the hardest dimension’s limit possible in pixel art: 8×8 grid. You can’t picture nothing effectively in less space. So in 8×8 I had to rapresent the spirits’ power that Exekiel and Rake will go to collect around the world.
I’ve introduced the Spirits already, so you know their power are very classic, but this doesn’t mean that I had to make obvious choice. As ortodox icons, game icons bring a meaning (sometimes even a complex concept) by their form. As gamers or as a pc/mac owner we saw hundreds of icons, sometimes perfectly clear, othertimes a total mistery. Nowdays often the logo take the place of the icon, and somehow is what I choosed to do.
In fact, if to express familiar concept as fire, or ice, there are simply rappresentation of the element itself (mutuated by the real world, as the snowflake for the snow warning in the streets), to express fantasy subject can be pretty hard. How you would pic “Illusion”? Or “summoning” ? Especially in 8×8 that’s become monkey buisness.
So when limits are hard, you have to considerate every favorable elements you have. In Wizards Duel you will allowed to only use power you earned against Spirits which are the core of our game. We’re working on highly detailed bosses, with strong personality and flavour: bad asses you will remember you fought. And so, if I can’t picture a clear image of illusion in 8×8 pixels (a moon? the fog?) I can make a simple logo that will make you think to the boss that you beated to conquest the ralated power (i.e. a jeweled scorpion from the scorpion queen for illusion).
More: I’ve worked hard on my circle of color scheme for stages. Every stage with all its creatures and the boss as well, will be based on its own color scheme. So I had just to paint the related icon with that colors, for let you think about it.
An icon has to be familiar since the first time you see it, so never understimate elements to make it your gamer’s life simpler. My troubles with icons for Wizards’ Duel are just started anyway. I will have to picture all the combo-powers: those spells you will be able to use combining two different enchantments. Wind+Ice = Blizzard! So, clicking on the turquoise feather, and rolling over on the snowflake should change the cursor into another new icon. And with all this combo-power everything will be so much harder!
Thanks everybody for your affection and your support
Daniele Lynx Lasalandra – Art Director