There can be only one...resolution!

The reasoning and inspirations behind a low res platform game with true resolution. That pixelated blood.

There can be only one...resolution!
(or: How we decided to step back in time)

In the days of Indie game booms, there is a lot of emphasis on inventing
or discovering the next big thing. The next innovative thing also works.

To many Indie developers, however, the next big thing is somewhat unimportant.
What is important is the art form, the expression and the personality of games.
Seeing a new game with exciting features is cool. Communicating with gamers
and developers about what's new is cool.

First, some background.

For us, and many other Indie teams, one of the most important ingredients in a game is the ”feel.”
This can be defined in many ways, but if you care deeply about what you feel immediately when starting a game you probably know what I mean. Some would argue that this should be second to the core mechanics. I would argue that this can be the primary reason for starting the game in the first place. “World building” is what makes it possible to drag you into a game or a setting. In Thy Sword, the setting is high fantasy in a somewhat casual form. Dragons, swords, magic, wizards and the usual suspects. Nothing ground breaking.

We had a vision of heroes in a pixelated fantasy setting that owed a lot to good old games from the Golden era. The Commodore Amiga is where we got our informal schooling in great gaming experiences. So the premise was “simply” to take the best parts and try to make an enjoyable, and most importantly, immersive experience. If I had to sum it up in a short elevator-pitch sentence:

What if Bubble Bobble had lots of swords and lots of blood?”

Thy Sword screenshot











The resolution. When we started designing Thy Sword, one thing was clear from the beginning.
The levels would be one-screen and they would incorporate some kind of simple procedural generation. This was maybe not the best limitations to set in the early stages, but it went back to the feel. The resolution would also be quite low to really put minimal pixel art on the front lines. There are so many cool ways to incorporate pixel art in modern indie games. More often than not the early feedback convinced us that true resolution (a pixel is a pixel) communicates a consistent visual style
which appeal to most people, and especially to gamers familiar with older games and game systems.

From this, we try to build a world that has immersion, clarity in style and excitement for the player.
That includes a mad barbarian hacking goblins to bits, and sometimes collecting their heads.

Stay sharp!

Thomas ”Bahototh” Finholm
Graphical artist /GamePhase

GamePhase is a three man Indie game team from Finland.
Currently developing Thy Sword (Action Roguelite Platformer) for Steam release.
Written & submitted 31.8.2016

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