Game Development: How did I start making video games?

Hi all, I just wanted to spend these few weeks talking about how I learned to create video games, and hopefully reading this series will be useful to anyone who wants to make games but doesn’t know how/where to start.

Let’s start with the infancy years, I played Sonic 2 and Ms. Pacman on the genesis, while also playing Dune 2, Descent and Chex Quest on a windows 95 computer. As a kid I’d take paper and crudely draw levels for my imaginary game. It was a pretty fun to just run my finger through each paper level and eventually get to the last one. This pattern would continue until my teens, until one day I tried going to a bookstore to learn about making games.

And I did find several, a “for Dummies” book, books with catchy phrases like  “learn to make games in 2 hours”, and other random ones that if I were to look back, didn’t actually teach the reader to make games but felt like a false allure. While they’d have a bonus CD at the last page full of weird demo-scenes and incomplete games. I realized afterward that they really didn’t provide any helpful material. What I really was searching for was a program I could use to start creating these so called video games.

I had given up during my teens for a little while, it was simply too frustrating that the material wasn’t really providing the avenue I needed (unlike today where you can easily learn something by just google searching almost anything).

It was only later, when I was at the library that I decided to use a catalog computer to try searching again for the topic on creating video games. A result had popped up, several in fact. So I went upstairs to a place I hardly stepped foot in, the grown-up section. It was full of deeper topics, books with less colorful covers, more pages and contained words that probably used Almost every word from a Merriam-Webster dictionary (yeah this was during the internet infancy).

I would soon find a book on creating games…A book cover that looked pretty rad at the time. It changed my life forever.

At the time, if you had edgy sci-fi art on your book cover, along with bold words that sounded virtual and cool together, you probably had a good chance of getting someone to look at your material.

In the early 2000s, if you had 3-D edgy sci-fi art on your book cover, along with bold words that sounded cool together, you probably had a good chance of getting someone to look at your material.

I mean it looked enticing, there was even a bonus CD at the back which was a good sign. It seemed like it held more promise that the other times I had tried.

3d baby with top-hat, welcome to the early 2000s

3-D baby with top-hat. Welcome to the early 2000s

I rented the book from the library and soon installed the software it came with, which I soon found was none other than The Games Factory.

To Be Continued…

-Brandon

www.tinywarriorgames.com

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Game Development: Pixel Art Sub-Pixel Animation

Hey guys, sorry for the week delay on this blog post, let’s get started on the last topic I’ll be going over for my pixel art series.

Subpixel animation

Subpixel animation

Sub-Pixel Animation is a technique where you add “in-between pixels” to smooth out a transition. In the above example, the pixels are gradually added and removed, and this is continued until you get the desired timing and effect.

This is the version without sub-pixels

This is the version without sub-pixels

As you can see above, pixel art by itself simply cannot “add” more pixels between each point.

It is pretty much impossible to add a pixel between two pixels

It is pretty much impossible to add a pixel between two pixels

however, if we add in an in-between frame and “smear” the two points.

Notice how the pixel gets wider on the in-between frame

Notice how the pixel gets wider on the in-between frame because of the smear.

And this is pretty much how it would be done. you just have to gradually smear each portion of your animation, removing and adding pixels.

Notice how each color is smeared individually

Notice how each color is smeared individually

Same concept as above

Same concept as above

Slowed down version to see how each part is added and subtracted

Slowed down version to see how each part is added and subtracted

Of course, this entirely depends on your art style too, I find this effect works better for sprites that are larger. It really helps create a nice subtle motion to your animations.

I’d also say that the effect works better on sections where there are less important details. The example above should help demonstrate how you’ll have to use your discretion for which parts should be smeared and which details you want to keep clear depending on sprite size and so on.

And that concludes this series for pixel art, hope you found it useful.

If you found this helpful, why not share it or leave a like, or click the follow button at the bottom right to stay in tune with the next post?

Happy Pixeling!

-Brandon

www.tinywarriorgames.com