Glauber Kotaki, a pixel artist and animator from Brazil, broke into the video game industry in the early 2000’s. Since then he has worked on the graphics and characters of indie games like “Stranded,” “Rogue Legacy” and “Deep Dungeons of Doom.”
Kotaki is currently working as the lead animator for the indie game, “Duelyst.” The game — funded by KickStarter — is in its beta phase and has received the green light from Steam and plans to come to mobile devices.
The News Record spoke with Kotaki about his breakthrough into the gaming industry, his work on “Duelyst” and his thoughts on pixel art.
The News Record: Can you tell me a little bit about your background with art and video games?
Glauber Kotaki: I've always been the drawing kid since I was a child, lucky to have a few hobbyist artists in the family who influenced me a lot.
Later on, I was privileged enough to be in a family with access to a computer, on which I readily tried my hands at drawing, too. The only tool at the time was MS Paintbrush and by using it extensively, I was able to discover how pixels worked and that they're completely tied to video games — another of my passions from back then.
It was only natural to mix both things as one true hobby.
TNR: What was your breakthrough job in the video game industry? How did you get it?
GK: In the mid-2000s, about when I got my first job as game artist, the Brazilian games industry was still very raw, with very few professionals in the area.
Anyone with serious intentions of working within the industry had a better chance of getting in, given that the right people found you first or that you found them before competition.
Being a young professional in a small industry let me have all the opportunities I could, at the time. I was able to learn from the start what game development was really about, and that's crucial knowledge, which sets apart a successful professional from, well, not as successful ones.
TNR: Are you still based in Brazil?
GK: Yeah. I never worked outside Brazil, actually.
TNR: How would you describe the game you are currently working on, "Duelyst?" And how did you get involved with that game?
GK: "Duelyst" is a turn-based strategy multiplayer game with life.
Imagine your regular card game but instead of cards, you actually see characters on the battlefield breathing, running and fighting. This is where I came in, with lots of pixel art animations done for other games, I think I was a good candidate for the role.
Of course that as we grew our cast of characters, I'm now being helped by a lot of other talented animators, too.
TNR: Do you create all the character concept art for "Duelyst," and then render them into pixels?
GK: No, there's a very talented concept artist that brings designs to most important characters — such as faction Generals. But mostly Keith Lee, one of the game's original creators, provides me visual ideas they have for characters and I render my take directly in pixel art.
TNR: What draws you to pixel art?
GK: Besides it being a childhood passion of mine, it's a practical solution in most cases. It brings a unique beauty to almost anything and can get you all nostalgic while doing so.
It's also literally a cheap, quick solution for most 2D games, from its conception to its execution, such as animation and polish.