Friday, 25 March 2016

Blobbit Push the 2nd

It's been many years since the first Blobbit game came out and as many years again Mark and I have pondered on when we should work on it again. Neither one of us had the time previously  but the planets have aligned correctly somewhere in the Universe and we both agree 2016 is to be the year a new Blobbit game will appear! 

But where to start? I've thought long and hard over the years of what the next Blobbit game should be. Things have moved on a lot since Blobbit Dash and during that time so as the medium with which games are played. No longer are phones an obscure format with tiny low resolution screens. Neither are consoles all about mega 3D rendering engines and incredibly arduous intro sequences and cut scenes, oh hang on some still are, swiftly moving on...

Work in progress comparison old (left) vs new with alpha shaded shadow too! (right)
After scouring through all the old art assets I began the long haul in sorting out the various art files, some will require a fair amount of work some will require just a bit of tweaking but the most important thing was to establish a unified contemporary look with an almost contradictory retro feel.
Blobbit Dash (2005)

First off is the main character sprite, Blarold Blobbit.  We could have just used the original assets 'as is' and be done with it but the problem is that the literary version of what a Blobbit looks like was quite a bit different to the very original green sprite I created back in , ahem 2005! The first iteration of the character which was only ever intended as a cutey green blob for a game Mark needed some quick art for. It was created before Blobbit was Blobbit and none of the story, the characters or the whole Blobbit universe ever entered my head. I said Blobbit 3 times in that last sentence. Blobbit on the head son , Blobbit on the head!
It was only after the original Dash game had gone live I began to think that maybe there was more to this character than I'd first imagined and it was then the whole world these creatures inhabit began to take form inside my head.
Blobbit pencil concept
Even though the pixel art look of the original game is more cartoon like than say a seriously detailed drawing like this one of a Blobbit here, I always felt I needed to bring the 2 interpretations together just so in essence the character looked like he would belong in either visual space.

The biggest change was the introduction of the missing nose which the original sprite didn't have and the change of hue from a full on green to a less in your face colour.  The eyes have also been adjusted so they're 
a little bit bigger and last but not least I changed the art style of the sprites to give a much smoother look all round.

Once I'd settled on getting the initial standing sprite looking right the next task was to animate him.  After re-acquainting myself with Promotion from Cosmigo, the amazingly good pixel art package I use for any and all pixel art I create, I began the process of applying the new graphics to the other frames. A process that continues and will do until the whole lot is updated.

During our discussions we decided that as Mark is using Unity to develop the game it would be beneficial to use something like Spriter to create all the game animations. The original animations for the most part were  traditionally done using frames which are laid out in a strip and played back to create the illusion of movement. I wanted more flexibility and freedom and one such system that provides that is 
Spriter. I'd used it before and even though with straight pixel art it doesn't really need if you're a purist the extra oomph it provides is awesome!
Original Blobbit Animation Strip (No nose!)
So once the frames are updated I'll be setting them up as proper Spriter animations which can then be used as is and with all the lovely effects and flexibility the original versions just didn't have.

In the next post I will go over the process a bit more and show some of the Spriter animations in detail. I have posted a few of these animation snippets already on my Vine account so please check that out if you haven't already done so. One other thing, Blobbit Push also has an official Facebook page where all the latest news about the game is posted all new followers are welcome! Mucho gratias por favor!

Monday, 8 February 2016

Football sprites... I wondered I did...

I was sitting on the sofa, as you do (or don't if you have successfully mastered the art of levitation), when a thought crossed my mind. I pondered I did, I pondered again and this time the thought went a little something like this.."I wonder how many times have I drawn football player sprites over the years?"

Hmmm I thought, followed quite closely by an ahhhh, swiftly with a thought of making a drink before I log off.(tea of course!)

The first thing I should clear up is that I didn't work on the original Sensible Soccer, my old mate Jon Hare created the graphics for this back in the dark ages when the Amiga was the new kid on the block, although I did create the small 16 colour Sensible logo seen here which was used in the game. This itself was based on the rather splendid air brushed version we used to have on the office wall.

Jools' hand actually writing Cannon Fodder! History in the making!
No folks I only got involved with the soccer side of Sensible during the SWOS years and since then I've had one toe dipped in that pond ever since.

So without any further waffle here's a few soccer sprites I've drawn or fiddled about with over the years, some are Sensible, some are inspired and updated and some are just different.

First up I'd have to say was the conversion of the original Sensible Soccer sprites to the Genesis/Megadrive & Super Nintendo. I didn't need to do the actual sprites as the Amiga originals were used. I did however add some extra presentation for the console versions. Here's one of the big players that are displayed at the start of the match,  left is the Genesis version,  right is the later Jaguar version with more shades and overall a smoother look.
Working on the Atari Jaguar also meant we could colour up the sprites in more colours . As well as the kits we also had some smoother shadows and slightly more shading on the heads too. There's not a lot we could do in the tiny amount of space and without redrawing it entirley the conversion was more an enhancement than a direct no thrill port. It does in my opinion play as good as the Sega version it's just a shame the Jagaur game pad was a bit pants in comparison to the Sega.

I then did a special set of sprites for a (secret?) Sensible title but well known'ish Sega game called Sega World Championship Soccer II for the Sega Genesis/Megadrive. (read more here.. Sega World Championship Soccer 2

Fast forward a few years to Tower Studios which was like a mini Sensible in essence, and I once again converted the original sprites but this time to the small screens of the Nokia Series 40 and 60 mobile phones.
I then worked on a mobile game (Nokia S60) called 'Footy' which never really made it past the demo stage but showed promise  considering it was running on what is now rather archaic phone technology.

This was then followed by a new large version edition of the original sprites for the xbox 360 Sensible Soccer but redrawn and restyled to fit without eye strain on the HD screen of the 360.

Then out of the blue I was approached to do some designs for some footwear using "pixel" style footy players, which later become the Hobeka footy players seen on my T-Shirts designs.

So I guess the answer to my self posed question is quite a few there Stoo me ol'mucker!

Visit the Hobeka shop to buy some cool stuff... Pixeltastic!!!!

View more personalized gifts from Zazzle.