Discarded Pixels in Blue

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I haven’t given up drawing with a pen (quite the opposite), but I thought I’d post some pixel art game concept work that I don’t think is quite right (yet). The idea was to try making some pixel art backgrounds look more “hand-drawn”. I don’t think it’s the right approach for the game I’m working on with the other Pixelgrams team, but it is something I will pursue on a personal project if I get the opportunity. This tile set was made using Pyxel Edit, which to date is the best tile editor I’ve used. I’m sure there are others out there, but that’s the one I use.

For pixel character animations I have started using Aseprite:

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A few words on Bitsy

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Bitsy is a free-to-use game making tool by Adam Le Doux (here is his twitter). Most people in my timeline know about Bitsy’s many charms, but if you don’t then here’s a few words about it:

Bitsy is a very simple to use tool for making small (and not-so-small) narrative games that run in a web browser. There are limitations regarding the level of detail you can put in your game’s graphics and also in the interactions between your sprite and other game objects. However, Bitsy does allow you to set up useful things like conditional dialogue for characters, exits to and from different scenes and collectable items. It’s great for making little worlds where a player can walk around, explore, talk to characters and collect stuff. Understanding and working with Bitsy’s limitations encourages you to solve game making problems in subtle and creative ways. There’s a lively Bitsy community over on Itch, which is a good place to look for ideas and solutions to problems.

There is almost next to no coding involved in making a Bitsy game, making the experience an ideal playground to quickly try out some game / story ideas.  It’s also a great tool for novices (children, middle aged accountants etc) to see if they like the game making process. I’ve made a few bitsy games, but I haven’t put them online as I don’t think they were up to much. I did start a new one a few weeks ago, intended to only to take a couple of days but as ever I’ve been distracted by work and other projects. However, I’ve been tinkering with it in short periods of spare time, and it will probably be finished in a couple of weeks.

Check out some other people’s games on Itch. Go give Bitsy a go, it’s wonderful.

31 Days on Acorn Island

Acorn Island was a simple, hand-drawn game I ran on Twitter in October 2017 (also as part of #inktober2017). The idea was to draw something in pen and ink and then post it to Twitter where players could choose what to do / where to go next. I’m sure it’s been done before, but I wanted to make a game out of relatively simple tools such as a pen, paper and a smartphone. Maybe it’s more an ‘interactive story’ than a game. I don’t know. You decide.

It was good to be forced to invent something new everyday while attempting to carry along a story. I didn’t impose any rules on myself, beyond not being allowed to think or plan things too much. The game contains all the usual silly animals in hats, trees and pirates.  I’m amazed at how much my drawing style changed over the month. I definitely wanted a looser feel by the end. Anyway, below are the 31 different images that came out of the game. Below the images is a link to the Twitter thread (where most of the posts are, but not all. It took me time to figure out that I could just keep replying to myself).

Remembering a Fox in a Hat

 

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Every now and again I go through my Google Photos and work folders to remind myself of stuff I’ve made in the past. Here’s something I’ve blogged elsewhere, but want to put here because I’m still very proud of it: a pixel-perfect-platform game called ‘Foxtrot! that I, Owen Bennett and Tom Gisby made a few years ago. The iOS version was removed from Apple’s App Store for being too old but the  Android version of the game still lives here on Google Play (although it may be too old for your new fangled device), I’ve set it to ‘Free’ so you shouldn’t be charged to play it. I hope you enjoy it at least half as much as I enjoyed making it.

Here’s the game trailer:

The truth about ‘Foxtrot!’ is that it’s rather challenging, and we never really solved the ‘old touch screen buttons’ issue. Actually, we did solve it, with a rather nifty split-screen solution. Those who got this new control scheme loved it. Every one else hated it. I naively hoped gamers would embrace innovation, but it was a mistake I shall never repeat. Never mind, ‘Foxtrot!’ was my first published game and a labour of love. And here it lies, always remembered.

 

 

This is not the end, yet

Because when all seems lost, Jesper will arrive in the nick of time*. There are only 5 days to go of this nonsense, so NOW is the time to play along and show the breadth of your knowledge of FISH:

(* = Jesper is not contractually obliged to arrive in the nick of time for you, but he will endeavour to turn up within a pre-arranged 48 hour time slot. Terms and conditions apply)

I see trouble ahead

The players of the Acorn Island adventure game got to visit the three-eared Kat King. He tells them that the bear’s missing father was on his way to Scrimshaw Isle, with a cargo for a pirate gang. If you like that sort of thing then join in here on Twitter (there are only 6 days to go):

The Sad Tale

18 days in to our 31 day visit to Acorn Island, and finally there’s a confrontation of sorts. Not with the bear, but with his aunty. Who happens to be a large hen and the island’s police force.

She tells you the sad tale, and you can decide whether to believe it or not. Play along here: