Nitrome is a London-based games development company who specialise in free pixel-art browser games for the casual player. They release short games frequently, designed to provide short bursts of play. As a result, the company has ended up with an archive of over 100 individual games each utilising graphical style slightly differently, and showcasing a huge range of game types. To quote weird, artsy indie dev Pippinbarr;
even within pixelly looks there are different approaches.
So what’s helpful about a company like Nitrome is it’s insight into all these styles which they’ve showcased over the last few years, from the very refined contemporary look to the rough, jagged classic look. I’ve picked out these specific game for their divers approaches to pixel art:
This style is probably most common amongst Nitrome games. Foreground sprites are set apart from the background with black outlines, while irrelevant background objects are less-contrasting in comparison. The level is made up of tiles and blocky objects which are strictly aligned to a grid.
This isn’t the greatest example of isometric pixel art, but it is simple enough to see what is going on! The isometric approach is often applied to game backgrounds and is a popular choice for the artist eboy. The map here is laid out at a 45 degree angle, so that the player always sees three faces of any block as opposed to the one you would normally see when playing a 2D game.
In contrast, this style looks a lot more classic that the outlined style. Objects are made of basic shapes, with no outline. Detail is avoided to avoid shapes becoming lost within each other, and the bright colours used contrast each other to determine separate objects.
This example uses the traditional non-outlined approach, although in this case the artist has added unusual vertical lines to the imagery. At first I thought they may have been put there to represent scanlines, except that they run the wrong way… So to me they just give a corrugated card effect.
Looking at a broader perspective, Nitrome have a job page which describes their perfect game artist. For me, this acts as a pretty good check-list for qualities I feel I should have.
By the end of the project, I hope I can say that I fit the criteria quite well! I’ll be keeping track of my progress.