2009
01.08

About pixels

I’ve recently come across a very good pixel art tutorial, created by Derek Yu, the guy behind the awesome graphics of Aquaria.

Character created in Derek Yu’s tutorial.

Aquaria, one of the few games from independent developers available on Steam.


One may think text-mode game developers might have little interest in such technology. But the upcoming libtcod features make it possible to use real graphics on the console as seen on TCOD’s portraits. I wonder how the portraits would look, once converted to pixel art sprites (while keeping their current realistic look).

I would even be interested in using this in other parts of the game (mostly in user interface, where it would allow to stuff more information on this little 80×50 console). I’ll probably experiment a bit with it in the next days/weeks. I started TCOD with the idea of following strict ASCII layout but I cannot resist the mermaid song of some bitmaps here and there…

If you’re interested in such art, also check these two amazing pieces of work…



5 comments so far

Add Your Comment
  1. I’ve seen stuff like that (the isometric “3D” pixel art) before, and love it. I remember giving Derek’s tutorial a go a few years ago – and the realising I’m really not cut out for artwork, digital or physical. Graphic design I’m not too bad at.

    PS: Bad luck with the machine, but best of luck with the future.

  2. Drawing pixel art is lots of fun, but it takes quite a lot of time to get it right. There are issues of style and cosistency to be taken care of.

    I’ve found that I produce my best work by restricting myself to 16×16 pixel tiles with a 256 color palette.

    I’d urge you to resist the siren’s call – for a while, at least. Not that I’d like pixel-by-pixel graphics capability in libtcod – I’m just worried that libtcod development might grind to a halt if you get lost in the realms of pixel artistry 🙂

  3. Yeah, that’s probably true. I also realized that I would have to create bitmaps for each font size (I currently support 8×8 and 10×10 fonts and may add 12×12). With the current non-pixel art system, I can scale dynamically the bitmaps… Too bad, that was tempting…

  4. I guess you could have libtcod support only tiles that are the same size as the font. So if some developer uses a 10×10 font for their roguelike, they must use 10×10 tiles or libtcod refuses to cooperate.

  5. Well it does not really support tiles. It simply allows you to modify a specific character in the font. So you can easily use it for a squared tile engine with the same size as the font, or a multiple (16×16 for a 8×8 font for example).

    Another limitation is that each tile can only contain one background color and gradients (through alpha channel) of one foreground color.