With Pixel by Pixel I’d like to give people little insights into the wonderful world of
enforced minimalism. Low resolutions, limited palettes (CGA anyone?) and other awkward limitations. For a lot of artists this is a tremendous headache, to me it is just delightful as it makes us design and create with a limited toolset, thus giving us challenges to master.
So, spoiled artists of the future, I give you:
The ZX Spectrum
Some while ago I did a demake of Witcher 3 on said device and I want to explain why it
looks the way it looks. There are some pretty hardcore limitations to consider.
First off, you start with a resolution of 256 x 192 and a limited color palette of 15 colors.
To a pixel enthusiast, even with a rather limited palette like that without any skin tones or even browns that’s kind of okay. To any other artists, it’s a real pain in the ass.
You don’t use brushes here, you place pixels like a mason would place bricks.
Even more so because of the following limitations.
The 256 x 192 canvas is divided into “attribute blocks” of 8 x 8 pixels:
And here comes the “fun” part. Those attribute blocks are only allowed to have 2 (!)
out of the primary 8 colors. You can use up to 15 by designating the attribute block as “bright”. A bright black is still black, so… 15 colors it is.
Being allowed to use only 2 colors in a block means you get “attribute clashes” like this:
The bloody baron should have a blue brickwall behind him, right?
Well, yes, but, no. That would mean 3 colors in one attribute block.
So, you have to make do with that and give the red guy a plain black block background.
Still, people have managed to create wonderful works of art within these boundaries:
With limitations like that you need to get your shit together and do some serious designing. So let’s raise our 8×8 pixel glasses to those pixeleers in the pioneering days.