The Death of Minimalism?

I noted last week that, unlike the rest of the game, Another Star‘s soundtrack had very little to do with the theme of “minimalism”. The track count continues to grow, by the way, now standing at 34 tracks with more on the way as I go back over and polish everything. But as the soundtrack balloons, the graphics are quickly getting left behind. The more music that gets added to the game, the more the 256 tile limit sticks out like a sore thumb.

Now I’m wondering if I should just abolish the tile limit altogether. I don’t really want to do this. I’m proud of the fact I fit so much—an entire game, with a sizable overworld and eleven dungeons, and all the enemies to fill them—into a mere 256 tiles! It’s actually quite amazing the ways I came up with to manipulate tiles to create so many different and distinct locations.

But at the end of the day, does anybody really care if I managed to create a game in just 256 tiles? Does the tile limit actually add anything to the game? I’m highly suspicious that the answer to that question is a resounding “NO”.

Now, I suppose I should clarify a few things. Supposing the tile limit does get dropped, the graphics would still adhere to the 8-bit limitations of systems past, but I’d be able to switch between tile sets (like on actual hardware). Furthermore, most of the major scripting on the game is done so I’m not going to completely rewrite the game. I’d probably add frames for NPCs to face directions other than straight down, but they’d still be rooted in position, and cut scenes would still be pretty static. The maps themselves would be a lot more pretty and nice to look at, though, and enemies would also be bigger and more diverse.

I think I’ll sleep on it before I decide what to do. What are your thoughts?

3 thoughts on “The Death of Minimalism?

  1. What about doing both? I mean in the sense of an option where the player can switch between 256 tiles and full graphics mode. They you still have the 256 tiles which can really be nice to show off to some people as “look how much I could do with 256 tiles” but at the same time players can also enjoy a higher versatility if they choose to do so. Of course then you need to come up with an even more clever way to calculate the simple graphics from the advanced ones.

    Some other games offer something similar to this by offering both “pixel” graphics and HD graphics in one game (for example Half-Minute Hero and the upcoming HD release of Pier Solar).

    1. An idea I’ve mentioned a couple of times before is that I would eventually come out with a DLC that provided new graphics for enemies.

      I’m not sure I have the time to do both at release, though.

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