My goal for this week was to have the first version of the base you manage ready to share before I sent this newsletter. Sadly that will not be happening. I’m pretty close though, so here is an overview of what I’ve been doing.
What is Pixel Art
There are lots of ways to make artwork for a video game. Video games that seem 3D or realistic start off by drawing models of the different parts of a scene and then the video game composes those models together and attempts to simulate the behavior of light. What you see is the light a simulated camera captures. You can then move the camera around and see different parts of the scene creating the feeling you are in a 3D environment.
This simulation takes a lot of processing power. Much more processing power than early computers had. So, early computer games didn’t use a simulation to generate their art. They hard-coded the art into small images called sprites and then drew those.
These small images are much beloved in the indie video game world today. It turns out realism isn’t the only thing people want in their games. Some people want nostalgia. I am one of those people. Today, we call this kind of art, Pixel Art.
Start with Graph Paper
I wanted to map out the base so I got some graph paper (pixels are just really small squares) and drew a wireframe of the first base.
I then wanted to add walls so I worked on some perspective drawings of “cinder block” walls before realizing I didn’t really want perspective drawing. Here is where my walls are right now. This image is really 7 images all cramped together. And all of the walls in the picture at the top of this email, are build with these 7 images.
I then created a few sprites of my walls so I could use them in the game.
Once I had my wireframe and sprite sheet I needed to find a way to add the data to the video game. The map for the game is more than 10,000 images. Most of them are readapted, but I still have to do the data entry to get those 10,000 images into my video game. To work with 10,000 images I ended up writing a computer program to help me with data entry which I did not consider when setting out my plan. That program is pretty functional now so I think next week I’ll have a prototype of the base this game will call home.
Thanks for reading, Matthew