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Topics - Indigo
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General Discussion / Forum is now in Archive Mode
« on: January 09, 2023, 09:39:41 pm »
Happy New Year everyone.  This is just an announcement that the forum has officially entered archive mode.  All boards have been set to read only.

General Discussion / Pixelation's Future
« on: September 01, 2022, 01:01:00 am »
As you may have noticed, Pixelation has been on a downward spiral of usability.  It is my intent to summarize the current state of the forums and discuss the future of Pixelation moving forward.

The forums have spun out of control with spam, and despite custom tooling, plugins, settings, and hard mod work we are not able to keep it under control.  Most of the original administration team has departed, and our server admin also left amidst disagreements not worth covering in this thread.  Despite Pixelation being incredibly important to me, I personally haven't been able to stay involved with it as much as I'd like to between parenting and my job.  Yet I hold on to it out of obligation.  It's gut wrenching for me to even think about the forums in their current state. Mods have volunteered to help, and they have helped a lot, but there's only so much they can do.

On top of all this, forums in general are dying. The ones here reading this may not agree, but it's just a fact.  Social media has long ago replaced art forums like these.  We've talked about many ways to resurrect Pixelation in a new form, from extending this forum's features to rewriting a new paradigm from scratch.  Some work was put into making that a reality, but again, my time is limited and that task is daunting.

One of the realizations we've had while talking about this countless times was pixel art now lives and thrives on Twitter.  It's a vibrant community and has allowed the medium to grow in a way that I never thought possible in the early days of tight-knit forums.  Even without the focus on critique, somehow the talent within our medium has exploded and it's truly a wonderous sight.

So this leads me to the inevitable decision to shut down these forums. I am closing registrations, and switching all boards to be read-only shortly.  The forums will be a permanent resource for the knowledge that has accumulated here.

The future of Pixelation will carry forward on Twitter. Twitter has a new community feature we will leverage to retain some of the benefits forums provide while integrating closer to where the pixel art scene largely already is.  This will be a much more sustainable future for Pixelation and one that won't require as much dedicated attention to operate.  Will it be the same as what we've grown to love? Of course not. But is it the right choice? I'm convinced so.

You can join the twitter community here:

the focus of this community will be critique as it always has been - something that is not commonly done on twitter.  Over time I will be formalizing rules and guidelines as we feel out this new venue, and I will be looking for twitter-active moderators to assist.

If forums are still your preferred thing, I advise you to go to PixelJoint, or LoSpec. Both are great options.

Pixelation and these forums hold a special place in my heart. I attribute my entire career to discovering these forums long ago.  It tears me up to see them go, but I also look forward to seeing it flourish in a new context.

Challenges & Activities / Hexquisite Corpse 4 (on pause)
« on: March 07, 2019, 08:01:51 pm »


General Discussion / GDC Art Jam 2019
« on: March 05, 2019, 07:20:17 am »
It's that time of year again! We're hosting another art jam at GDC.  Details and info here:

Hope to see some of you there!

Pixel Art / Isometric explorations
« on: January 30, 2019, 11:11:33 am »
Hey guys, it's been a while.  Been playing with some isometric stuff lately for a game idea.  Figured i'd dump it here as I go to gather some feedback.

Tonight I started making a pine:

Pixel Art / MOVED: Software recommendations?
« on: September 08, 2018, 08:46:37 pm »

General Discussion / Pixelation 2.0
« on: August 27, 2018, 07:24:38 pm »
In the Community Updates thread, I mentioned that we've been considering new software for Pixelation.  We heavily investigated a few options, some of which were quite a radical departure from a forum in terms of format, including Mastodon.  After great feedback and further reflection, it's clear the current format is largely working for us and instead of looking to radically change it, we should look for ways to refine it - codifying some of the ways we operate into built-in features,  removing a bunch of things that aren't necessary for us, and perhaps adding a few new features that would embrace what pixelation is.  Unfortunately, there is no great out-of-the-box software that suits our needs, so I've decided to start writing something from scratch.  This is no small task, and there's currently no timeline for how long it will take, but I think it will be worth it in the end. In the meanwhile, I figured I'd start this discussion so you can help shape what it becomes.

Here's the design philosophy we've been working towards:
  • Minimal Friction
    In addition to making pixelation a better place for current users, we also want to be drawing in new artists. This means we should reduce the friction and anxiety by joining a new community.  It should be easy to register, and easy to jump in and participate.
  • Easy Sharing
    It should be easy to share content on pixelation on social media with built-in share options to help draw in new users.
  • Immediate Content
    We are a community about art, yet it takes several clicks to even see any - diving in an out of threads to find what's interesting to you. We can do better. It should take zero clicks before you start seeing content.  Not only does this simplify things a lot, it also makes it a much more exciting website to browse for new visitors.
  • Mobile Friendly
    Today's modern era is mobile.  Browsing on mobile should be as pleasant as browsing on a PC
  • Long-Form Posting
    The ability to write long, rich-text, posts have been a staple of what makes pixelation valuable as a platform for knowledge and critique.  We plan to keep it that way.  No character limits, full BBCode (or equivalent) support.
  • First-Class Images
    This is where traditional forum software fails us. Images should be a first-class feature of the forum, providing thumbnails, gallery views, and featured banners all automatically.
  • Searchability
    Pixelation has always been a great repository for knowledge, and it should be easy to search for that content.  Tags have been working well for us and will be built in as well as easy linking to a pixel-wiki for common principles.
  • User Appreciation
    Part of finding good content will be aided by a Karma system.  Users will be able to like posts/replies that showcase good feedback, information, etc.  This should also encourage better quality critique.  Featuring a thread will be a built-in feature as well.  Moderators will be able to mark a thread as featured just as easily as stickying a thread.  Featured threads will automatically be shown in the forum's banner on the front page, and you can sort threads by featured to get a quick overview of notable content.
  • Moderation Tools
    We should keep good tools to moderate content to keep the quality high and not devolve into an off-topic mess
  • Personalized Content
    You should be able to follow the content you care about to keep up with new updates.  The home view will be a feed of content that you specifically follow.  You can follow threads, or specific users to see all their posts (follower/followed stats will not be surfaced).
    In addition to the public boards, each user will also have a private "portfolio" board that only they can post to (but others can reply).  This would be an extension of a user profile and is where you'd post finished works to act as a gallery/portfolio, or where you can post things like sketch journals or dev-logs - basically anything that doesn't need to be broadcast to the forum at large.  When you follow a user, you also see this content.
    You can decide how to view the forum content; as a feed of latest posts, traditional thread listings, or as a thumbnail gallery.  Clicking on each of these will take you directly to a traditional thread with linear-comments just like you're used to.
    There will also be 3 color themes available; light, dark, and classic pixelation purple
  • Collaboration Tools
    Stretch goal: a lightweight image editor for quick critique without ever needed to leave the site.  Quickly make red-lines or color adjustments in your reply post
  • Extensibility
    Stretch goal: A platform for apps that are sandboxed to a thread.  This would be used for internal activities.  Much like writing a chatbot for something like discord, users can interact with the app through posting a comment.  A great example for this would be the Hexquisite collab - imagine a built-in thread app for this activity, where claiming and submitting tiles is done automatically

With all that said, I welcome any feedback and ideas.  Here is a non-functional prototype design to get a feel for what we've been working on:


Screenshot (click to view full size):

Pixel Art / MOVED: A question to the pixel art veterans!
« on: August 16, 2018, 08:18:55 pm »

General Discussion / Community updates
« on: August 10, 2018, 07:08:28 pm »
So a lot has happened recently and I'd like to summarize here for the record:

We have disassociated the discord from the forums
Initially, the idea of having an official chat sounded great for re-engaging the community.  However, in practice, it became problematic for a variety of reasons.  I suspect it actually reduced participation in the forums.  The culture of the chat shifted drastically from the forums, so much so that it hosted a dedicated politics channel that often fostered bigotry and antisemitism.  To compound that issue there was a disagreement within the mod staff about how to handle it - if at all.  Moderating a chat would be a daunting responsibility due to the constantly flowing nature of the discussion, even if we didn't have disagreement within the mod staff.  It became clear that having an official chat was a failed experiment for pixelation.  It has become quite an active community in its own right, and I wish it the best of luck in the future, but it isn't what pixelation is.  If we can't moderate our chat in the same spirit as pixelation, then we shouldn't be hosting one.

We need to review our rules/guidelines on the forum
In light of the above, It's clear that sometimes leaving things to interpretation can lead to misalignment in the leadership.  Rallying behind a point as ambiguous as "Don't be an ass" can have different meanings to different people.  We need to review our rules and guidelines and develop new ones that are more proactive and specific to the behavior that fosters a good and inclusive learning environment for artists.

Helm and Ptoing have rejoined as Moderators (at least temporarily)
The concerns brought up by Helm and Ptoing were part of the reason these changes are happening.  While we are working through these new changes, I've brought them back on board to help shape the future of pixelation.  Having had such pivotal influence in the development of pixelation in the past, they are always welcome here.  Due to life and other responsibilities, their long-term participation might be limited, but they'll be helping for the time being.

New moderators
As you're already aware, resulting from these changes some moderators have decided to step down including Crow and Cyangmou.  Both have been extremely valuable assets to pixelation in the past and I am sad to see them go amidst this drama.  I was hoping to minimize the amount of drama the community was exposed to, but oh well.  I wish them the best.  To fill the gaps, Kiana and Elm have joined to bring fresh eyes to pixelation's moderating staff.

The long-term future of pixelation
Setting aside all of this, Pixelation has a much larger problem.  It's dying.  It has been for quite a while actually.  My efforts some time ago to revitalize the forum with a renewed focus on activities, board restructuring, and the new theme has largely failed.  Pixelation used to be one of the few major hubs of the pixel art world.  But the truth is that while pixelation has dwindled over time, the pixel art community in large has been exploding elsewhere.

There has been a lot of discussion about why this might be the case.  A big part of it, I believe, is the format. The format of an online forum such as this is antiquated for today's standards. Things have been trending towards social platforms providing more immediate feedback such as Tumblr and Twitter, which is why it's no coincidence the pixel art community has been thriving on these platforms.

We are currently exploring new software for the future of Pixelation, currently heavily investigating Mastodon.  Mastodon uses the format of Twitter but is entirely decentralized allowing us to run a dedicated instance that we can customize to our liking.

Switching to a new format would be a BIG change for pixelation, and might even fragment the community, but if we're thinking long-term, that might be the best move.  How to transition to the new format is a whole discussion itself; should we archive the forums?  Run them side-by-side? Just make a hard switch?  We need to think more about these things and I invite discussion about it.

General Discussion / Scheduled Down Time 11PM Pacific Time
« on: July 27, 2018, 07:46:23 am »
We are moving pixelation to a new host.  The move shouldn't take much more than a couple hours.  If there are issues with the forum after the move, please post in this thread to let us know

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