I’ve already covered how most of the graphics in Super Space Galaxy are derived from Tyrian, but this week I wanted to talk more generally about pixel art and what it means to me.
Apparently your tastes are decided when you’re around 14, and that certainly applies to me! I grew up in the 90s playing games that, by and large, had graphics that were 320×240 pixels and 256 colours. Despite everything that’s happened to gaming in the intervening years, this still feels like the natural way for a game to be.
That love of pixels has served me well working on Super Space Galaxy. It might sound easy to simply use Tyrian’s graphics, but they still have to be separated into tiles of 24×28 pixels and edited occasionally, all of which can be painstaking work.
Perhaps I like pixels because they’re so definable. On any given screen, you know exactly how many pixels there are. Each pixel is also fully definable, with a clear colour-value out of 255 in Red, Green and Blue. You might think having every piece definable in such numerical terms would make the image feel less magical, but somehow it doesn’t.
That, I think, is because pixel art also interacts wonderfully with your own creativity. Unlike higher-resolution images where it feels like you really can see everything, pixel art leaves room for the viewer to finish the details of the picture with their own imagination. You could say there’s an invisible ‘gap’ between each pixel that you intuitively fill in for yourself. For this reason, the pixels end up provoking a sense of mystery and wonder after all.
Thanks for reading,
The first playable demo of Super Space Galaxy is available for free on itch.io.