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Games with unique visual artstyles/solutions

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Hello! So to get straight to it, i'm putting together a little library for references/inspiration when it comes to developing concepts/ideas for games. It will consist of images from certain unique games, and will be a little tool to see how other game developers have solved different problems/obstacles (or just improvements) when it comes to everything from general artstyle, HUD solutions etc. So thats when you guys come in, as i'm having a hard time trying to remember all the notable games out there. 10, 30, 100 heads think (..remembers?) better than 1! So, if any game crosses your mind, i would be grateful for even just the name of the game, or of course, feel free to elaborate! I might also add that i am interested in any input, but for now its primarily 2D artstyles/HUD solutions etc, as i'm working on a 2D game with a few fellow students, with ambitions for the XBLA with time. Example; Braid: Awesome hand drawn'ish art - <link-to-image> World of Goo: Smooth and simple vector'ish artstyle - <link-to-image> Dead Space: Extraordinary and unique menu visuals - <link-to-image> Far Cry 2: Execeptional way of viewing the map - <link-to-image> I might also add that i'm completely open to share it all when its somewhat finished, for others to use or look over, instead of doing extensive web searches over time. So, what you say? :)

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I particularly liked the campaign select/mission briefing GUIs of Warcraft and Starcraft (mainly the animations, so you'd need to do a videocapture, preferably with sound effects).

I'm replaying Azure Dreams for the umpteenth time and was appreciating how hilarious the status-ailment faces your character makes in the menu are. They're basically anime SD faces, the kind you would see as mood icons in someone's Livejournal.

A selection of all different kinds of perspectives would be great - you know, platformer, platformer + z-travel, overhead, 3/4 overhead, isometric, side-on, etc.

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Yeah still gathering here! Feel free to share other good aspects within GUI/visual art style or solutions.

Here's the games so far i've documented (when it comes to visual style)

Super Mario World 2
Abes Oddysee
World of Goo
Beyond Good n Evil
Zelda Windwaker
Shadow of the Colossus
Eternal Sonata
Team Fortress 2
Little Big Planet
Mirrors Edge
Prince of Persia
Valkyria Chronicles
Brutal Legend
Ratchet n Clank: A crack in time
Uncharted 2

[Edited by - 3ra on January 1, 2010 5:00:10 PM]

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Thanks again for the input! The database is getting large now, and is only continuing to grow!

I might also mention; me and my programming friend here want to make an nice and easy little program/database for searching and viewing information about games with exceptional features for inspirational use. I'll be sure to report back here on the boards when we have done some more work on it. I believe it would be a nice source for both aspiring visual designers, as well as you with other roles in game development! .. maybe even some AAA dev teams could have use for it! More on that to come ;D

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Geometry Wars
Def Con

Though, like Cavestory, Geometry Wars has now made this kind of art style practically cliche by the number of clones it has.

I'd also put Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind on this list, not since it radically changed the look of games or anything. Instead it made a fantastic, surreal world come to life graphically like few games manage. I found the technically superior Oblivion boring in comparison. I still have vivid memories of seeing the floating moon above Vivec City for the first time, or wandering into an average-looking cave only to see it open up into a giant cavern with walkways winding up a massive stalactite. In other words, a mainstream art style can still depict unusual, startling worlds.

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I hope people will also look back to older games. Some pixel-art (or even low-poly) work is just breathtaking.

What I personally like (the links lead to Galleries for the games):

- Most Rareware games for the N64 (Banjo-Kazooie\Tooie, Conker's Bad Fur Day)

- Rayman PC

- Rayman 2: The Great Escape (various systems)

I dislike the desaturation that some recent games have.

Here's some more awesome artwork:

This gallery for Pix-in-Space has some very nice concept art drawings, pixel-art and lovely 3D models to look at (and learn a bit from the wireframe shots, too).


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I think our next game's visual style is pretty unique or at least interesting. We haven't received a lot of feedback on yet, but initial impressions have been positive. All levels were hand drawn and then digitally painted, and several pieces were hand drawn, water colored, and then digitally touched up.

Wispa Forest

For me, Odin's Sphere and Muramasa are the apex of beautiful 2D game art.

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