Future Flare project: realism vs. style

First, have a look at these potion renders. It’s fun to mess around with higher quality art that could be used in later games:

health potion rotate
mana potion rotate

Though this work is fun, it’s making me seriously think about realistic graphics in games. I think games aim for realistic art run the risk of either (A) taking way too much time/effort/funding to get it right or (B) suffering from a lack of art direction. Not to mention the related effects of “Uncanny Valley” — as art approaches realism our brains only focus on the missing details.

I’ve been wanting to start creating sets of “realistic” isometric tiles at 1m scale, to be highly reusable in free/libre projects. But will that actually be useful? Is it a foolish goal? Should I find a distinctive art direction and make tiles that have a specific style instead?

If I create an open spec for more artists to add to the collection, is it easier for artists to match a realistic or an abstract style? I assume that an abstract style may mean a lower bar of expertise, if it’s all about lower detail.


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