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GDC + VRDC 2019 Session Scheduler

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The Art of 'FAITH': Horror at 192x160 Pixels

Mason Smith  (Indie Game Developer, Airdorf Games)

Location: Room 2010, West Hall

Date: Thursday, March 21

Time: 3:00pm - 3:30pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference - Get your pass now!

Topic: Visual Arts, Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

'FAITH' is a 2017 pixel horror game by Airdorf Games that began with a simple question: Can you create a compelling horror
game experience using only basic graphics? Could a game that looks like 'Number Munchers' (1988) feel like 'P.T'. (2014)? A "retrograde" aesthetic was chosen for 'FAITH', inspired by the classic era of MS-DOS, Atari 2600, Apple II, and ZX Spectrum games. In this talk, indie game developer Mason Smith of Airdorf Games explains the decisions and principles that contributed to the art style of 'FAITH'. He also explains why its rudimentary art style helped create a unique horror experience that was featured in IGN's list of "Best Horror Games of 2017".


Attendees will learn about specific artistic decisions and 2D design principles that contributed to the aesthetic of 'FAITH'. They will hear a compelling argument for the potential of "retrograde" horror games that don't rely on technically impressive
graphics to deliver scares. This talk can be applied to non-horror games as well.

Intended Audience

Audience members will get the most out of this talk if they have at least heard of basic 2D design principles. Retro gamers, lovers of next-gen graphics, and everyone in between are welcome.