Archive for the ‘ Pixel Art ’ Category

Sources of Inspiration, part I

When it comes to fantasy unit design, I find three constant sources of inspiration:

  1. Historic – that is the most obvious and often works flawlessly. Make your choice from Varangians to Teutons to Tartars. The big downside is avoiding cliches and meeting the player expectations. For example, making Teutons to be light-armored archers will surprise your players a lot!
  2. Word combos – sometimes a cool word combo will trigger associations for a unit design. Most often, I’ll keep the coolness for the name itself and the description will twist it a bit around. For example, the Gutrippers are one of Riftforge’s elite assassin battalions. However, the description states that they started as kitchen help before moving on to active duty (but the nickname remained).
  3. Music – for a long time, I’ve only focused on cool names and here rock and heavy metal come in handy. From the Ironmaidens to the Blackhearts (Joan Jett’s band) to Harvesters of Sorrow. Unfortunately, I have a problem with all of these – they are too literal, so the direct association breaks the immersion.

So music is relegated to inspiration about LOOKS!

Yes, punk rock becomes tribal, black leather becomes cultist/savages, and disco… Well, I’m still processing disco but it’s hard to top disco when it comes to flamboyancy, so it shouldn’t be hard to place it with a highly-individualistic race.

Exercise One: Here’s an over-the-top punk-rock-new-wave band from the 80s, see if you can find a place for it in your game design.

Now tell me you’ve already thought about putting a ripped pantyhose on the face of a character. No? Well, now you know it looks great. For the record, I first heard Sigue Sigue Sputnik in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, so sometimes it takes 20+ years of movie watching experience to pull off a single unit.


VW stole Amarok from me

If you are a car aficionado (ok, you watch Top Gear occassionally), you’ve probably heard about VW new pickup truck: Amarok.

The second I saw it, I knew something was very wrong. They stole the name for my Wolfblood tribe and put it on a truck! Who cares I took it from Inuit because it mean wolf! I lay claim to it by the right of the person who first commissioned pixel art on the subject (back in 2008).

Amarok Wolfblood: [ReaverAssassinSkirmisher]

Pixel Art Palette cycling

I have been staring intermittently at a single piece of pixel art for a few days, so I decided to share it. As you can learn from this Q & A with Mark J. Ferrari, this incredible piece of scenery dates back to the 90s.

The BlendShift cycling has just been recreated to work with HTML5/Canvas tag. So hit the image below to see the animation effect (Google Chrome recommended).

Color Palette selection

I recently joined the Pixel Artists group and found some real gems in their tutorials section.

There are several tutorials about selecting colors for your pixel art, but here’s the two you must check out now:

The Blending Matrix tutorial is simple, yet powerful
. You can find an automated version of it here. You simply add your base colors and it will produce the blended color matrix automagically!

color palette selection