9.05 - Pixel World

Idea for July 7, 2010


Pixel World is all about changing the pixel resolution of the environment and entities which leads to interesting gameplay mechanics at different resolutions. For example if the player is low resolution they might not have visible hands so they can't hold anything.

credit: ekid.nintendev.com

Theme: Pixel Art & Resolutions

includes topics that expand on the theme

  • Low and high resolution
  • Printing (dpi)
  • Rotation artifacts
  • Resizing down -> up
  • Opacity
  • Changing colour
  • Anti-aliasing

Genre: Adventure (2d side scroller)

game genre with possible significant changes or important points


individual gameplay mechanics and mechanics categorized by system

Resolution changing

  • two types of resolution changing
    • mosaic - without changing the size of the object
    • zooming in/out - making objects smaller to lose detail or bigger to gain and/or remove detail
      • the "frame" of the object remains the same and anything outside it is not visible
  • both can be combined since applying a mosaic will be different depending on the zoom level
  • the game moves at "pixel speed," which means passing through a low detailed area is relatively quick.


  • can change their resolution at will
  • their abilities change depending on their resolution, for example at the resolution where hands are visible they can hold things
  • can grow/shrink in size, which affects their resolution
  • can use devices created by scientists which deal with resolution mechanics


  • has its changing elements
  • environment changes in scale
  • text is only readable at certain levels ex. a sign that you need to be small to read
  • some parts of the level can't change, they have a range
  • some levels are focused on using the zoom mechanic, others are focused on mosaic


  • scale in difficulty depending on resolution ex. small enemies are smiling and friendly, but the bigger they get the more detailed their smiles
  • become, and the friendly smile starts becoming an evil smile with sharp teeth


  • as the player gets bigger, the camera zooms out at the same time

Specific mechanic/puzzle ideas:

  • at low resolution manipulating something will alter the more detailed form (ie. red = lava)
  • spikes can be turned into a solid grey (concrete) block
  • text may be only readable at certain resolutions


  • dynamic music, changes from midi to full orchestral depending on the resolution
  • sfx can change in the same way
  • verbal instructions could be conveyed at a high resolution


narrative elements concerning plot, characters, world

  • Captain Pixel is trying to stop the evil dpi moniter from turning Pixel Land into reality
  • Scientists are trying to create more pixels "They split the pixel!"


includes GDC members who contributed to this idea and were present during the discussion

  • Mediator: Eric Raue
  • Alex Ryan
  • Ramin Nazarali
  • Jordan Fox
  • Shawn Yu
  • John Kim

Additional Comments

After the meeting if you have any additional ideas or comments please keep them in this section

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