Fashionably Retro Camouflage

You may have noticed this trend in military scene, where they have started to use pixelated camo-patterns in their combat wear and hardware. I personally can’t think of any reason for it other than it just looks cool, but apparently it’s more effective camouflage.

This trend becomes an interesting phenomenon, when it’s encountered in video game context. Finally we are in a place, where resolution of textures is sufficient enough, that it takes an effort to differentiate singular pixels on them and then, at the same time, the real military starts to use low-resolution patterns in their gear. The circle of life.

Pixelated camo in video game environment gives it this unintended cool retro-look, thus it’s been a while since the last time pixels were of this caliber in your screen, like in Modern Warfare 2. Interestingly, the pixel-camo texture was nowhere to be found when I studied the texture data from MW 2, so it must be some kind of procedurally generated texture layer at top of the bitmap (or I just missed it somehow).

So, it has be rather weird and schizofrenic for the artist to create such high-resolution texture of which content at the same time mimics low-resolution imagery.

But when does low-resolution per se become purely an artistic decision? Then, when the resolution is not a technical issue anymore and we are partly already there. Just like the number of colors is not an issue in video games, so there are games at the moment, which make an artistic choice to limit theirs coloring scheme, like Madworld for instance.