E. Darwin Hartshorn: //Boilerplate


Devgame Internship 2: Cheaters occasionally prosper.

Bragging time.

I rendered out a bunch of pictures of dwarf taking steps.

My programmer desires a spritesheet rather than a bunch of frames.

A spritesheet is the frames all bundled together in one image.  Like so:


Now, this is easy when doing pixel art, my preferred mode of operation. Let’s take an example:


This is cheoncheonse.* It’s a stance meant to strike fear into your foes, and if you’re doing it right, you can flick the sword straight into a cut without first pulling the tip back.

Why, you might ask, is there a hideous pink backdrop to this picture?  The answer is in pixel art, a color is either transparent, or it’s not. 100% clear, or 100% opaque.  I purposefully choose colors that hurt my eyes as stand-ins for ‘transparent’ because that way, when I’m going through and deleting the color, I can instantly see if I’ve missed a spot.

I do all this deleting after I put all the sprites together in the sprite sheet.  With the cell surrounding the sprite as opaque, it’s easy to line everything up correctly.

However, HD art has multiple levels of transparancy.  There are no jaggy pixel outlines on this guy:

Mockup Test

…because some of the pixels are 30% opaque and some are 17.35% opaque, and so on.

This makes getting the position of frame right incredibly difficult. It can be done. I’ve done it before. But it’s a colossal pain.

Tools exist to do this very thing, and none of them work the way I want them to. Accordingly, I made my own. Just now.


See, I’m not attending Devgame because I want to do art for games. I’m attending Devgame because I want to design games. If I can’t hack it, then I’d love to make a living making games anyway, but I learned the art side of things for the same reason I learned how to code: the artist’s catch 22.

It works like this: if you are a writer, cartoonist, or whatever, nobody will publish you until you’re a known quantity. And you aren’t a known quantity until you’ve been published.

When I first booted up Super Mario World on the SNES and realized that this was what I wanted to do, I assumed that game design was like all the other arts. Nobody will produce one of your designs until you’ve designed something that has been produced. And since I’m poor as a churchmouse, and can’t outright hire people to produce my stuff for me, I assumed I would have to do everything myself.

Thus, I am a third-rate artist and a fourth-rate code-monkey. And please, don’t mistake that statement for humility.  Third and fourth rate are still a hell of a lot better than average.




*I can assure you that is not spelled correctly. Then again, there are three official systems of transliterating Korean into Roman letters, and the techniques my teachers use seem to line up with none of them, so there you go.

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