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Figuring Out Minimalism - Part 1

Posted by Nyphoon Games, in Winter's Coming 09 April 2014 · 429 views

graphics art style minimalism
Figuring Out Minimalism - Part 1 Originally posted on http://nyphoon.com/

First impressions matter more than we admit. As gamers, we base our initial verdict on the video game's artistic style. Even while watching a video review, the first interaction we have with a video game is with its graphical aspects.




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- The very first piece of concept art for Winter's Coming - the first step towards defining the graphical style for Winter's Coming


It's no surprise then that indie developers focus much of their efforts on polishing the artistic style. As a gamer, I've seen a wide array of art styles, and whenever the developer invested time and effort, it showed. From 2D to 3D, low-poly to high-poly, each art style can be innovative as much as it's alluring. And it was from this conviction that I set out to define the graphical facet of Winter's Coming.

Minimalism can be rather challenging to nail down, whether in writing or as a visual representation. The first piece of concept art above became the groundwork for the ensuing improvements. Defining elements, such as the platforms (including the rock and snow) and the background, were instrumental as they characterized the game's looks and feel. In spite of this, I tried to improve them in the concept art which followed. Why the emphasis?

In Winter's Coming, the focus will be primarily on the story, and minimalism is a perfect way of telling a story. Minimalism is all about removing the trivialities, leaving only the essential. Combining minimalistic influence with storytelling, the environment can tell the story by showing only the vital elements.

I'm a firm believer that simplicity can be synonymous with beauty if used correctly, so when I decided to go for minimalism I knew that the road to perfection was a long one. It was for this same reason too that I went for weekly concept art - a couple of hours every week to develop this side of Winter's Coming. See, minimalism and simplicity don't really rule out the spectacular potential of art. With minimalism, I wanted to achieve a sense of grandeur and wonder.

As an example, take the following two pieces of concept art - the second and latest ones respectively. Whilst they still respect minimalism, the subtle touches which I developed over the last three months distinguish them greatly.

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Whilst the latest concept art has greatly improved ever since the first one, there's a lot more work in the pipeline - new ideas to explore, and improvements to the current ones. In the next blog post, concluding this one, I'll take a deeper look at how I explored minimalism to arrive to this point. Until then, you can follow Nyphoon on Twitter, Facebook or by subscribing to the RSS Feed, to stay updated and in touch!




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