AuthorTopic: your first pixel ever  (Read 2777 times)

Offline PypeBros

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your first pixel ever

on: May 23, 2012, 06:57:22 am
Hello, all.

I was just curious whether there were some other person around here who have started pixel art with some "exotic" means (I'd consider modern tools non-exotic, and to some extent DP2 non-exotic either).

My earliest attempts were done something like this:


directly drawn on technical, millimeter paper, and then hand-typed into some DATA statements in a BASIC listing.

What about you ?
« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 11:34:53 am by PypeBros »

Offline Carnivac

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Re: your first pixel ever

Reply #1 on: May 23, 2012, 09:49:51 am
directly drawn on technical, millimeter paper, and then hand-typed into some DATA statements in a BASIC listing.

That line there just brought back some memories.  I've had an Amstrad CPC 464 since they came out in 1984 (still works perfectly outliving every other computer I've ever owned) and it was my first computer and got me into gaming and also creating things on a computer.  I didn't have any proper coding or graphics tools on it for the first few years so I made do with the Locomotive BASIC that was already on there on the computer when you switched it on.  My first attempt at 'pixelling' on it was because I was writing my first little game on it and obviously needed graphics and since I didn't have graphics software to make proper sprites I used the SYMBOL command in BASIC to redefine certain ASCII characters to create the assets needed and like used the grid paper of my maths exercise books to design the characters (I remember being told off about that by my teacher and I protesting that I was at least using the back of the book rather than the front).  This must have been about 1987 or the beginning of 1988 as it was a teacher from my school in London and I moved away from there in March 1988 so it's quite a while ago.

This here's a quick reconstruction as the original code was on an old cassette tape and likely lost forever and even if I could find it I wouldn't have a clue how to get a screenshot from it but this is pretty much how I remember it.


You control 'Blob' at the bottom (yeah I wasn't a very imaginative kid when it came to naming things) and you had to move left and right avoiding the falling green spiky things while catching the red apples and occasionally extra lives (the 'baby blobs').  That was pretty much all there was to it and it was pretty clunky to play since everything moved in increments of 8 because it's all made out of redefined ASCII 8x8 characters and even then sometimes it was a bit slow so Blob's four 'sprites' that make up his body would sometimes look like they seperated a little during movement due to the lag) but considering it was made completely in BASIC I was pretty pleased (even had a few little musical jingles here and there).  Blob did have seperate 'sprites' for moving left and right as well though weren't animated.  He also did have some alternate expressions for the frontal view since each 8x8 bit of him was independent so for example I could make him blink with both eyes or wink with one just by using the same images but seperate from each other.

Eventually thanks to the cover-mounted cassette tapes of the magazine Amstrad Action I did obtain a couple of proper CPC graphics programs such as Smart and G-Paint and they allowed me to create much more detailed and colorful graphics none of which I have anymore either but I do recall doing a fullscreen pixelled image of Batman (Michael Keaton version since it was about the time that film came out) and the cover of the game Shadow Warriors. Also did an animated Batman run-cycle which was originally going to be Keaton again but it was hard to distinguish the arms and legs with an all black costume so I made it blue and gray and it's general blockiness made it end up looking far more like Adam West. :P

Cheers for jogging my memory and sending me on a little nostalgia trip. :)

edit:  Just been thinking about that lil game and just suddenly occurs to me it's got a bit of a dark side I never noticed before.  Blob there eats the apples and tries not to eat the spikey things.  And yet he collects the 'baby blobs' in the same manner, meaning he EATS them to gain life?   Seems my childhood self somehow missed how weird that is.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 10:15:26 am by Carnivac »
NES, Amiga & Amstrad CPC inspired
I know nothing about pixel art
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Offline rikfuzz

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Re: your first pixel ever

Reply #2 on: May 23, 2012, 11:11:06 am
directly drawn on technical, millimeter paper, and then hand-typed into some DATA statements in a BASIC listing.

This here's a quick reconstruction as the original code was on an old cassette tape and likely lost forever and even if I could find it I wouldn't have a clue how to get a screenshot from it but this is pretty much how I remember it.


Very interesting story, thanks!  I was trying to explain my old games on audio cassettes collection to my girlfriend just yesterday, amazing what is totally off the radar from only a small age gap! 

I heard some emulators can play off MP3s, so if you do find the cassette and some ancient technology for playing a cassette there is hope!  (OT:  There's a game on the DS that shares user generated levels this way, via it's internal mic.  So you can hold your DS up to your friends to transfer it, or hold it to the radio or PC speakers.  Struck me as interesting use of old tech!)

Think my oldest pixel art would've been on the Atari 800XL.  I was trying to recreate the title screen of Beach Volley on the Atari ST cos my dad played volleyball.  I remember figuring out how the software was using dithering to make extra colours (on fuzzy TVs this wasn't obvious without zooming in!). It was quite annoying, cos the 'fill' tool couldn't be filled over if it's using some dither pattern.  Also pixelling with a 1 button joystick, that's an interface I don't miss.  :)

Offline PypeBros

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Re: your first pixel ever

Reply #3 on: May 23, 2012, 11:37:41 am
I used the SYMBOL command in BASIC to redefine certain ASCII characters to create the assets needed and like used the grid paper of my maths exercise books to design the characters

Ah yeah. The SYMBOL statement of CPC basic. When a pal showed me that, I realised that some parts of the C64 would have *really* deserved some improvements. That was just PETSCII backgrounds and head-computations of 128+64+2+1 for me :P

Offline Carnivac

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Re: your first pixel ever

Reply #4 on: May 23, 2012, 12:15:10 pm
I heard some emulators can play off MP3s, so if you do find the cassette and some ancient technology for playing a cassette there is hope! 

I don't think I have the actual cassette anymore.  I only really have the actual cassettes that had games and programs already on them.  Don't think any of the tapes I saved on to are still around.  They were generally storybook tapes I recorded over cos I needed something to save my work onto.  Usually tapes that came with kids books such as ones for Masters of the Universe and Transformers.  :P
NES, Amiga & Amstrad CPC inspired
I know nothing about pixel art
http://carnivac.tumblr.com/