One of the biggest challenges with putting together Dark Void Zero was in reconstructing the art. We knew we had a huge task ahead of us, but fortunately, we had the right man for the job.
Below? A little chat with Mr. Paul Hubans, Dark Void Zero’s background artist and retro game resurrection artist. Check out the snipet below, and click through to get the lowdown on the whole art creation process!
“Being an aficionado of old-school games (particularly those of the NES’ era) I was more than happy when I was offered the opportunity to work on the restoration of the Dark Void Zero project. Previously, I had only heard whispers of the project in dark corners of obscure retro gaming forums, but I never really expected the rumors to be true. Thankfully, my reputation as an eminent member of the Bay Area’s Society for the Conservation of Retro Games preceded me, and the development studio saw me as an ideal candidate for restoring these pixels to their former glory.
On the NES, tiles are limited to 8 x 8 pixels, and the real challenge is in how to express detail with such a minimal amount of canvas. Ideally at this scale, less is often more, so it’s best to employ a minimalist approach instead of trying to push in too much detail. In many cases, for obvious reasons, a single 8 x 8 tile isn’t sufficient for creating graphics with a strong aesthetic, so tiles are brought together to form a whole. In effect, these tiles work only as the parts of an image rather than the image itself. For example, if you took one of the computer terminals found in the first level and broke it down, you’d find that it is actually made of six of these 8 x 8 tiles, each forming one part of the image.
Another restriction of the NES is the color palette. The NES hardware can only support 4 colors per tile, and one of these is transparent. Additionally, there are a total of roughly