Pixel Art & Level Design At Last Week’s NY Game Makers Meetup

This weekend I had another amazing turnout at my NY Game Maker’s meetup. Both sessions were pack and we talked about game asset pipeline in the morning then moved into level creation in ImpactJS during the afternoon. I wanted to highlight some of the cools stuff everyone did for those of you who weren’t able to make it out.

During the morning I did an updated version of one of my talks on asset pipeline. Here is a copy of the slides.

The big focus for this talk was working with pixel art and creating/packaging up sprites. I went over some free tools such as Aseprite and ShoeBox. I also walked through some of my own open source game art for Resident Raver, Jetroid and TileCrusader. Finally we wrapped up with BFXR which is my go to app for 8-bit sound effects. There are a few other apps I didn’t put in the slide that I have used in the past such as Pixen (for mac) and Audacity (sound editing) which are also great. After I walked through how the tools worked I had everyone spend the rest of the morning working on their own sprites. At the end of the workshop I had people come up and show off their work. Here are a few pictures of what they came up with:

nygm-2-23-13-pixel-art-1

nygm-2-23-13-pixel-art-2

nygm-2-23-13-pixel-art-3

For the afternoon I got everyone set up with a copy of ImpactJS and the demo game from my book. The goal was to make your own levels and show them off at the end of the workshop. Usually I do an extensive hands on walk through of how everything in Impact works but I really wanted to dump everyone into the deep end and watch them swim. Even the people who had never coded before were able to make their own new levels and with some guidance, connect them together. Everyone loved the experience and the hands off format. We had some great demos where people had thought outside of the box on how to use the existing set of tiles, entities and tools to make unique levels. Here are some screen shots from the demos:

nygm-2-23-13-levels-1

nygm-2-23-13-levels-2

In the end I was very impressed with everyone’s pixel art and levels. I am not a big fan of live coding/follow the teacher workshops. I like to introduce a few concepts and let people experiment. When they need help I walk around and offer up one on one time which allows each person to learn at their own pace. This way no one felt left behind or wanted me to pick up the pace of my talk. The other important thing I did was made everyone get up after the lunch break and find a new seat next to someone they didn’t know. My old teacher and friend Ed Love at FSU used to make us sit in different seats each class and by forcing everyone to move around they were able to make new friends and get out of their comfort zone a little. At the end of the day it was great to see people share with each other and inspiring their new seat neighbor. The feedback on Meetup pages is a good indication that I am on the right track. I’m having a lot of fun with these workshops and can’t wait for the next one in 2 weeks.

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