Roguelike Unity Tutorial and Pixel addendum

Work on the fifth Unity 3D tutorial has finally begun. It’s a roguelike game. I’m still in the early stages of the development, but today I want to write a little bit about the modifications I’m planning to do to the default tutorial.

2droguelike_projectheader

This is what the regular game is supposed to look like when it’s finished. This is not a full screenshot. For some reason they’ve chosen a really weird aspect ratio of 1:1 with the game area being roughly 320×320 pixels. Maybe the reason behind that will unveil itself later in the tutorial.

That’s the first thing I’ll be changing: Aspect ratio and resolution. I’ll probably have to modify a number of scripts to work with the new resolution and level size, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Luckily my half-done tileset is using the same tile size as this tutorial, so I won’t have to work around that. I’ll also change the setting and hopefully the lackluster interface as well.

Because my tileset is slightly more complex I will have to extend the randomization script quite a bit to generate levels that use the tileset correctly. It’s nothing big, but still, I will have to change a lot in the tutorial.

I’m really excited for this one, because it’s the first time I’ll deviate heavily from the default path. Something I should have done earlier, but this time I can mess around with the art, which is a huge plus. With tutorials like the Stealth game, I couldn’t even begin to meddle with the 3D models, textures and animation rigging.

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Pixel Graphics III Finale

So, here we are again. A little refresher for everyone who just joined this small article series about pixel graphics:

In Part 1 and Part 2 I talked about things that really irritate me in a number of current games that use a pixel art style to appear more retro.

Today in Part 3 I’d like to talk about a couple of other smaller things that bug me, examples of games that do it mostly right and thoughts about my own games I’ll eventually get around to creating. *ahem*

pixel garou
Wonderful pixel art on SNKs NeoGeo in Garou: Mark of the Wolves (1999)

Of course everything in these articles is my personal opinion and doesn’t extend to all games that use a pixel-art style.

Pixel Graphics for the lazy

I’m not criticizing small development teams with little or no budgets if they are honest and try their best. Not everyone can afford skilled artists or sometimes a single skilled artist, so the game probably won’t have any good graphics and that’s fine.

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T43 IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Upgrade – Part 2

In this second, and last, part of my Thinkpad T43 upgrade adventure, we’ll be looking at the Mainboard/HDD, mistakes and further possible improvements I could make.

T43 prep
Preparation

I’ll also give you some software tips and further links to guides and information about the SATA mod.

 

HDD

My first HDD was, I think…it’s been a while, a 60GB IDE drive. I later replaced it with a faster spinning version and slightly higher capacity and also put another IDE HDD into the ultrabay adapter. This worked fine for a while, but then came the advent of SSDs and after experiencing the glorious access times I knew I wanted to have one in my T43 as well. But alas, back then the mod I would eventually perform on the T43 wasn’t available yet, so I had to resort to other measures.

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T43 IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Upgrade – Tech Talk

The T43 Thinkpad was released and manufactured in 2005 by IBM/Lenovo. I bought mine several years later and I’ve used it quite a lot, but recently it’s just not cutting it anymore as technology has advanced quite a bit and software as well as online content has increased in complexty and thus has the demand in processing power.

thinkpad

So I want to document what I did in the last few years to improve the usability of the good old T43. The old Thinkpads are still used everywhere and I’m sure someone finds this information to be of use. I’ll divide this article by hardware sections. Basically I’ve modified or exchanged every component of my original T43.

T43 Original Specs

These are the specs of my T43 when I first got it:

CPU: 1,86GHz Pentium M 750
GPU: ATI Radeon X300 64MB (soldered onto the mainboard)
HDD: 60GB IDE 5400RPM
RAM: 512MB DDR2
Display: 14″ XGA TFT 1024×768
Ultrabay: DVD-R/RW
Mini-PCI: Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG Mini-PCI Adapter
CDC: 56K Modem

OS: Windows XP

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Update and Indiana Jones for the Game Gear

If you just want to read about the Indiana Jones game for the Game Gear, scroll down to “Now Playing” to skip my update-rambling.

Great Idea! Let’s start a blog……and then get sick for a week! -_-

I’ve been pretty much out of commision for the last week and a half and I’ve just started getting everything back on track.

Since I just started blogging regularly again, I didn’t have any posts prepared for situations like this. Gotta get on that.

Anyway, I’ve got a bunch of content coming up, like the conclusion of the article series about pixel graphics or the start of the new Unity tutorial (already have started working on a tileset). I’ve also been working on a bunch of side projects, such as upgrading my T43 Thinkpad to a completely maxed out configuration. Hopefully that’ll be interesting for some people.

Now Playing Indiana Jones and the last Crusade

I’d like to revive the “Now Playing” category from my previous blog, may it rest in peace, to let you guys know what I’m up to gaming-wise and share my thoughts.

Sega Game Gear (1991)

ggbox

This posting will have significant spoilers to this 25 year old game, so consider yourself warned.

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Pixel Graphics Part II

Last time we talked about how resolution and scale, as well as modern effects can make a pixel art games visuals look weird.

For me, consistency is very important. Choosing any visual style is a commitment to stick to that style and try to make all the elements fit together. While you want certain visual elements to stick out, you don’t want them to stick out because they don’t match the overall theme of the game.

Pixel Half Minute Hero
Half Minute Hero is a pretty good example of doing almost everything wrong. Look at the various pixel sizes and hi-res effects and interface. Nothing fits! At least the art isn’t bad.

In Part II of this article, I’ll talk about a couple more things that really bug me whenever I see them.

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Pixel graphics: Do it right or don’t do it at all

For quite a while now it’s been the practice of many smaller/indie developers to feature low resolution pixel graphics. This is both an aesthetic choice and a matter of resources as a lot of developers can’t afford to create the visuals of big budget titles. So they go the pixel-art route instead.

In general, I really like the idea. I grew up with the 8-Bit and 16-Bit consoles and I get a lot of enjoyment out of this style. IF it’s done right.

pixel mario

Now, I assume that pixel graphics are chosen to emulate a certain level of technology, like the SNES, to speak to people like me, who like the style. I’m also talking specifically about games that use lower resolution graphics and not 2D in general.

Another disclaimer: Nobody’s perfect and while this, and probably the next, article talk about “mistakes” when making these games, I’m just speaking for myself and my personal preference. As a developer you can do whatever you like and I’m sure most people don’t mind the things I might complain about or maybe they even like them. A lot of developers might also have legitimate reasons to forego a more accurate style.

Here we go!

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Internet switch and new post coming

So, today I upgraded my internet from 16MBit to 100MBit, which is really nice so far.

Unfortunately that meant, I had to put most of my time today into reconfiguring a lot of stuff, since I needed new hardware and whatnot.

But a new article is in the works and it’s coming tomorrow. Hint: It’s about pixels, yay!

So see you then 🙂

Current Status

Just a small update at the start of the month about what’s going on over here. As usual, there’s way too much to do and precious little time.

Gaming

Bloodborne_logo

Bloodborne is basically “finished”, all content is clear and I just have to fight the last boss…just like in Dark Souls 2, I just hope this time it doesn’t take me a whole year to pick up the controller again and finish the fight. Great game, with some drawbacks, but still clearly my favorite title of 2015. I didn’t play the expansion yet, I’ll wait for the price to drop.

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Graphics and Games, “what if” and relativity

These days games are still improving their graphics and everybody involved is doing their best to produce better visuals every year. New GPUs get released on a regular basis, new console generations have much more graphics capabilities than the previous one and developers are doing their best to make games look more realistic by using better textures, shaders, animation, higher poly-counts and more.

graphics now
So…expensive (and pretty)

So far, we didn’t reach a limit yet. Games still don’t look like real life and although it’s become much harder and especially more expensive to create the best visuals possible, we’re still making progress. Slower progress than 20 years ago, but still progress. When (or if) we finally hit the limit and if it’s photorealistic graphics or something else and what will happen then, we don’t know.

I propose a different scenario: What if graphics in games had already reached their limit long ago? Imagine if SNES 2D, Saturn 2D, PS1 3D or PS2 3D would have been the best we could ever dream about? I would like to explore that idea further.

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