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Deception: New background style

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DaveGilbert:
Remember this thread where I asked you if you all would mind if I lowered the production values of the next Blackwell game?  The response was a resounded "no", but I discovered something interesting when I set out to find a "cheaper" background artist.

Number one, low-res pixel art is a definite skill, and is strangely much more expensive than traditional HD art.  It was easier to find an artist willing to do cheaper high-res art than cheaper low-res art.

Number two, animation is just the opposite.  Low-res characters are much easier and cheaper to produce than their hi-res counterparts.

So to get the biggest bang for my buck, I would have to go with high-res backgrounds and low-res characters.  But then I was faced with a choice - do I downgrade the high-res backgrounds to fit the characters, or do I increase the size of the low-res characters to fit the backgrounds?

In the end, I decided that increasing the size of the low-res characters was the way to go.  The sprites are slightly simpler than Convergence, and that actually worked to their benefit.  Since they have fewer details, you don't notice the pixels as much when you increase their size:





Agree?  Disagree? What do you think?

-Dave

stevensonjr:
Hi Dave,

Let me give you some background to who am I and how I ended creating a login to answer to your agree/disagree question.

I found your blackwell games by total chance. I am a point-and-click fan, and doing some research I saw a link to the convergence game. I rapidly understood it was not the 1st, so I bought the complete bundle.I loved it. (still playing convergence, so please no spoiler ;o). Discovering the theme, the mood, the ambiance, the characters (love the cynicism of Joey...) I was more and ore deeply 'aspirated' in the story and decided I just like the work you did. On all the 3 releases. By the way give a huge thumb up to your voice actors. I never took the time to let you guys know of my satisfaction and how happy you made.

So now... to the point and to your initial question :
I never had a problem playing in low-res, this was even somehow nostalgic. However, seeing your 2 screenshots, I am negatively shocked by the contrast between the hi-res background and the increased low-res characters.
This answer obviously does not help you, but I would like to see a screenshot with the downgraded background, I am sure I would find it less disturbing.

Now you are the boss so you decide ;)

P.S : I would be honored to be part of the beta testers, as I always try everything in all the point-and-click adventures I do. I save before all dialogs to be sure I can try all combinations. I also save before every choice to see the difference in the dialogs like i.e stay or leave the party at the Park Gallery. So if you seek for testers, I am proudly accepting ;o)

Thanks for your time to read my lengthy post and sorry for any english mistake it's not my mothertongue as I am in Switzerland. (If you need a french accent english voice let me know too, I am playing theater in my hobbies ;o)

DaveGilbert:
Hi Steven!  I'm still unsure which is the right approach, so thoughts like yours are really useful.  I actually did try downgrading the high-res art and keeping the sprites low-res with this result:



It doesn't look so bad in that image, but when it's blown up to full-screen size it gets *really* fuzzy.  The characters ended up having really sharp and defined edges while everything else is kind of blurry.  The characters might blend in a tiny bit better, but the overall effect is like looking through gauze.  That's why I decided to go with the other approach.

jellobell:
I like 'em, though I've got to agree with steven that at first I was kinda surprised at the difference from Convergence.

All in all though I believe you made the right choice in sacrificing the character res for better backgrounds. After your post on how you were considering scaling down production values I was preparing myself for the disappearance of all those lovely New York setpieces, so I'm glad that they look as nice as they do. Also your use of character portraits, (which I see are still fantastic) makes the look of the characters themselves less of an issue.

Though I've gotta say Rosa's new sprite makes her look a whole lot dorkier than she did in Convergence.  ;D

Perry Simm:
Hello Dave,

Let me say this: I personally love nothing more than the good old lo-res 320x240 pixel art, which may have to do with the fact that I'm playing adventure games for nearly 20 years now and get a nostalgic kick out of it. You may actually gain quite more mainstream appeal with HD backgrounds.

But, to be honest, I find the MIXING of art styles in different resolutions aesthetically very unpleasing. It just looks inconsistent and kind of chopped together. To me it kind of seems like the low-res characters in the screenshots came from a 1991 game and were thrown in a modern game, now looking around confused and feeling lost and frightened...

Just my personal impressions, I certainly unterstand your reasoning and I wish I could offer a solution for your problem.

Keep up the great work!

- Andreas

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