Tuesday, April 18, 2006
New Blog URL: http://pixeljamgames.blogspot.com/
Hi everyone. I've decided to create a new blog URL for the pixeljam games blog. The new one is:
I thought it made more sense. The pixeljam7 name was what I chose at first, after finding that pixeljam was already taken. But now, after many sleepless night of deep thought and consideration (not really), I've made the switch. I've posted all current & past blog posts to the new one, and will post a brand new blog there tomorrow (Wednesday, April 19) and from then on.
This URL will remain up, but please go to the new one if you want to read the new stuff.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Gamma Bros is almost finished
In future blogs, I'm going to be writing about other games we've got in mind, A simple tutorial on making pixel art, animations & the programs I use for it, A blog about our first game, Game 01, where Rat, Burger Boy and the Gamma Bros come from. I will probably be setting up stuff with Game art for sale too, like posters and t-shirts on cafepress.com, and perhaps other sites similar to cafepress.com that might be a little cheaper for you and me.
That's all for today. Arreviderci!
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
In the other begining..
The Birth of Pixel Venus by R. Grillotti
Hello and welcome back! First, a quick update on Gamma Bros.. Things are moving along very, very well! Most of the sounds and music are in, and we're getting close to finishing. we've been adding some really nice details, and as new ideas pop up (and they do constantly) we are keeping track of those for our "Deluxe" version of the game that we hope to create/release around December 2006 (which is not to be confused with Gamma Bros 2, or the action/adventure/platform Gamma Bros related game we've got in mind for the future).
Mark DeNardo, 8-bit musician extraordinaire, visited Chicago last week, played an Omac show with Miles and our friends Bobby K & Richie D, as well as a solo set that same night. During the set he played the theme song he wrote for Gamma Bros, w/ guitar and vocal accompanyment (which I've got a recording of & will share at a later date). He also layed down some tracks for Gamma Bros while he was at our place, and we've now got almost all that we need now for the game sounds and music. I really love his Gamma Bros song.
So, last week I revealed some of Miles' earliest Flash programming experiments. That was some pretty funny stuff, no? I particularly liked the enemy head file. Well, this week I'm going to reveal where my end of things began. I (Rich) have been doing pixel art and animation for a long time. It began as a love of abstract pixel art, on a site I started in 1997 or so, "pixeljam.com". For example, this is one of the first animations I did for it:
this one was called "Orange". It took me a while, but I eventually made a new version of Pixeljam last summer, pixel sunsets and sunrises. I've got plenty of ideas for future series', but for now I've got games to work on.
Around the time I was creating new work for Pixeljam, I was invited to put some artwork in an art/fashion/music/multimedia show here in chicago, called "Seamless", by M5. I wanted to do something new and something pixel related, so I began to work on developing the most minimal pixel style women I could, with 2 eyes, arms, legs, charm and beauty. After a couple weeks of experiementing I wound up with characters and a direction I was really happy with. I had my first series of pixel models!
If you're interested in seeing them all, I've got the whole pixel models 01 series up on my site anything.org.
My pixel models were eventually projected onto huge exterior windows throughout the show and people responded very well. With their big pixel eyes, they were just plain cute! I planned on going forward and making more of these women, but around this time Miles and I began to work on the Adventure style game I mentioned last week, and I found myself doing some experiments for animating pixel people walking. After some trial and error, I began to get an idea of how to make it work. I was amazed that I could emulate human movements with such few pixels. At that point, I was hooked and we were both excited by the possibilities for making games with these characters.
So, we went to work on "Game 01" and I began to create all sorts of characters, objects, fruits vegetables, enemies, etc. Miles started to work on the game map and we both worked on ideas for game story, character personalities and game play. We took it pretty far, and have a semi-complete game that's actually beautiful and a whole lot of fun to play, but we had to stop for a variety of reasons. We'd love to complete it, but you know, first things first, and of course we'll need to somehow make a good deal of time/money before we can begin again.
Okay friends, that's all for today. Have a good one.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
In the beginning..
Hi. welcome back to the pixeljam game blog. I'm your host Rich Grillotti. Today, I'm going to be giving you a tour of the original files that Miles began his game programming tests and experiments with. A little glimpse of how it all began.
But first, I've got to mention Gamma Bros progress briefly. to be honest it becomes more and more amazing to me every time Miles programs new stuff for it, and last night I came home to a Gamma Bros with SOUND FX!!! Oh my god. I can't even explain how incredible it is to play with the awesome sound fx Miles added to the game. They're amazing, and mostly based on sound fx and an 8-bit jam session (or two) by Mark DeNardo. Mark provided the raw material, Miles finessed them and added them to the game, attaching them the the most appropriate events and actions. The background space ambience is such a nice effect. He's made it through Level 1 with sound fx, and he added Mark's 8-bit instrumental song "Motherbox" (I'm pretty sure that's the name) to the first boss battle. It rocks!!!! I was pretty amped playing the game before, 'cause it's constant action, but the music and sound fx in that battle made it feel epic! I was really pumped up and blew them away with joy. ahh.. you'll see. It will be FREE and It will be ready for beta testing very soon. :)
So, now let's go back in time, maybe 2 years? or a year and a half? A while ago, when I first had this impulse to design an alternate version of the old Atari 2600 game Adventure for fun. I used to LOVE adventure. I still do. It's amazing, and maybe the first game ever with a secret and a hidden area. The first role playing video game too. It really stuck with me, and I wanted to expand the universe of Adventure, so I started to design some new areas for the game, and Miles was going to use it as an opportunity to try to program a simple game for the the first time, using Flash/actionscript. The following are the first few experiments of his, in order. You can move the little block/character around with the arrow keys, however once you click on a thumbnail below and a new window pops open, you've got to CLICK IN THE GAME AREA WITH YOUR MOUSE. Otherwise the arrow keys will not do anything. It has something to do with defining the "focus" to what's in the browser window.
well, that's all for now. I would love to share some of Gamma Bros with you, but maybe in a couple weeks, and you can see some screenshots in my previous blogs here. If you want to request to be a beta tester, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe describe a little about why you think you'd make a good beta tester.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Gamma Bros is a good time
1) Rat from Ratmaze has been bugging me to help him create a myspace profile, so I went ahead and set one up for him. check it out if you want! http://myspace.com/ratmaze
Add him as your friend, send him a message or leave a comment. He'd love that. He's pretty good at replying too. And he's recently gotten into blogging.
2) Ratmaze stuff! I'm going to be setting up a whole selection of artwork based on Rat and Ratmaze soon on Cafepress.com. I've got one shirt up there so far, a "baby doll" womens T-shirt, which I actually made as a surprise gift for the person who motivated us to finish ratmaze in the first place, after I wrote the blog about how Ratmaze wasn't going to happen. The URL to the shop is http://cafepress.com/ratmaze, and here's what the first shirt looks like:
Check it out soon! I'll be making a bunch of stuff available, including a mousepad ;)
3) Gamma Bros! It's coming along so well! I'm officially addicted to it. It's a lot of fun, and really wakes me up if I'm feeling tired. It's kind of constant action. Miles thinks we'll have it ready for beta testing in a couple weeks. If you think you'd like to request to be a beta tester, email us at email@example.com.
So, if you'd like to see, I went ahead and took some recent screenshots of the game in progress, and here they are! Brand new, exclusive screenshots just for the readers on my games blog. Actually, we give permission to use these screenshots for review and other press related purposes. Just please give credit to Pixeljam Games, and a link to games.pixeljam.com please. And let us know too, so we can see where it winds up. Thanks! Now for the screens. Click for larger versions:
Oh, and there's one more.. I feel like I'm giving too much away, but I suppose if you're taking the time to read this blog I should make it worth your while! Check it out, you can upgrade to better ships throughout the game! You'd better collect those space coins or you'll be sorely disappointed. New ships are faster and have better armor than the one you start out with. You'll also be able to purchase power-ups from that little orange guy when he comes by. He's actually the "mini orange boss" from "Game 01", which I'll write more in depth about another time. In Gamma Bros, he knows how hard it can be to commute home sometimes with all those unreasonably hostile enemies attacking the whole time, so he tries to help the Bros. out.. but he's also looking to make a buck, so you'll need to have enough cash on hand. He doesn't care THAT much. only as much as your wallet is large. And trust me, you're gonna want to buy everything he offers.
That's all for today! Visit Rat's profile if you like and say hello. He'd be glad to hear from you.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Ratmaze 0.5 exposed
Hello & welcome back! It's time to lend a helping hand to all of you Ratmaze players out there. I know, Ratmaze isn't necessarily easy to beat with the "BEST" rating (under 127 seconds) but I'm here today with some assistance. I've created a Map of the game, and I've also created a version of the map with the route I took to get my best time of 102.3 seconds. It's the best time I know of so far, but once you get a look at what I've got here, I'm sure it will be beaten promptly. After that, I'm going to reveal the original graph paper & pencil sketch of the Ratmaze 1.0 map that Miles created in the first place. A little "making of" type of stuff is always interesting.
So, Here's the Ratmaze map, and then the map with the route that seems to work best for me so far. click thumbnails for a larger view:
Ratmaze map normal
Ratmaze map w/ Rich's route
There you have it. I've even revealed one of the two secrets in the game. If you can't get a better time after reviewing those maps, then, well, I don't know what to tell you. keep practicing & I'm confident that eventually you will get a "BEST" time and see Rat do backflips!
And for anyone who is interested in the behind the scenes stuff, here's a scan of the original maze design for Ratmaze. Click it for a larger view:
Pretty cool! I'm glad he dug it up recently. Very good timing for this blog. If anyone wants to use it for a background on their computer for some reason, I've also uploaded a 1240 x 1024 pixel version of it for monitors with that resolution setting here.
In other news, Gamma Bros. is coming along amazingly well. It's great fun to play, and is becoming a game that I find myself really wanting to play! That's a good sign. It's like the space shooter we've always wanted. We totally revamped the weapon upgrade capsules last night and I think they look great! We're getting close to having a finished beta version too, so if you're interested in beta testing, send us an email. We've still got room for more beta testers.
More of something next week, and with any luck the end of March will be all about the release of the beta version of Gamma Bros 1.0b! woohoo!! That's the hope, but don't hold me to that.. this is all a voluntary labor of love and our time is subject to being stolen away in an effort to actually support ourselves.
for now, good luck getting better times on Ratmaze!
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Embed a half sized Ratmaze
This week we've been working hard on Gamma Bros, and it's getting closer and closer to being kinda done! It's great fun to play so far. We'll be Beta testing in a few weeks, so if you want to seriously help us test it out & make suggestions before most people will ever see it, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. First come first play.
So, Ratmaze! I've recently created a map for Ratmaze, and have outlined the route I took to get the best time I know of, 102.3 seconds. I'll probably add that map and route outline to a new blog here in a few days. I have some finishing touches to make on it so it's easier to follow.
Here's something Miles put together for anyone who might like to embed ratmaze in their own web page or profile , etc. It's a tiny, playable version of Ratmaze (without the music) and, well, ths is it right here. try it out:
Cute, huh? There's even a RESET option now, (however it seems that if you actually finish the game and hit reset, it kinda breaks), so just reload the page if you want to play again after finishing. If you're interested in adding this to your page or site, just add this code exactly as it is to your HTML, where you want the game to appear:
quality="high" bgcolor="#444444" width="248" height="240"
name="ratMazeEmbed" align="middle" allowScriptAccess="sameDomain"
pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" align="center" height="240" width="248"> <!-- Ratmaze copyright 2006 Pixeljam Games (Miles Tilmann & Richard Grillotti). http://games.pixeljam.com. Embed and play at your own risk. While this code is simple and shouldn't cause any trouble, By using this code and playing this game you agree that we are not responsible for any errors, problems or performance slowdowns that may result from your use of this game and embed code. That said, enjoy it and thanks for playing! -->
So, there you go! I hope it works. Let us know if it doesn't and I'll add the code to an external text file instead. Also, watch out that you don't already have a bunch of other stuff embedded in your page. There's only so much some people's browsers and computers can handle. If you do embed it, please add a visible link/credit somewhere near the game to our site "http://games.pixeljam.com". That would be great. Thanks!
Okay, Ratmaze cheat map coming soon...
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Interview with a Rat
Rich Grillotti: Hi Burger Boy. How's it going?
Burger Boy: Great, thanks. Do you mind if I eat this while we talk?
RG: Not at all. I kind of expected it.
BB: [munch, munch..]
RG: So, Burger Boy, Do you mind being called "Burger Boy"?
BB: Nah, it's o.k. It's a nickname people call me for some reason, but I don't really care. [munch, munch.. chomp]. As long as I've got burgers!
RG: Ha ha, great. It seems to work for you, & your... um .. interests..
BB: Huh? [munch, gulp].
RG: here, have another.
RG: Now, I realize most people out there don't know who you are yet. Let me briefly explain how I know you. Burger Boy here had a somewhat major role in our first game, the other one that we half finished and had to put aside due to lack of time and $$, and as well, because it was far too large in scope to finish in any reasonable amount of time. Referred to thus far as "Game01", it's the same odd, epic action/adventure game that the Gamma Bros first appeared in, as well as Rat, Dude, little pooper, Guy and the Mini Orange Boss. I'll probably write a blog about Game01 one of these days, so keep an eye out for that one folks. With any luck (and help) we'll revisit the game itself in a year or so, but it's really going to depend on if we have the support of our fans/audience in 2006, or find other opportunities that allow us to keep on making games AND paying our rent & bills. We'll see what happens.
BB: Cool. I hope you make it. I get to eat lots of burgers in that game, and there's that one REALLY BIG burger that kept running away from me! That was great. I'm getting hungry thinking about it. [munch munch munch] ....
RG: Yeah, that was cool. I'll tell you something you might not know.. Miles and I might just make a mini-game you can star in before we get back to Game01. no promises, but we'd like to do it.
BB: Awesome! Would there be Burgers?
RG: Of course! Lots of them.
BB: Yeah!! make it happen, please! [drool..]
BB: Do you mind if I grab another Burger?
RG: Not at all. They're all for you.
BB: yes!! [grab!] ..[chomp..]
RG: Um.. you, uh, might want to take a drink once in a while, no?
BB: Huh? Oh yeah. [munch, munch] ..[slurrp]
RG: Okay, well it's time for me to go. Mr Rat is now here with us as well. Hi Mr. Rat!
RG: Oh! Oops, let me hook up this rat/english translator..
RG: Okay, done. Say hello to the world Mr. Rat.
Rat: You can just call me "Rat", no Mr.
RG: Okay Rat. And you guys know each other already from Game01, right?
BB: Uh huh. And I played Ratmaze as well. That's a great game. I can really relate to the storyline.
RG: I bet! Okay times up for me guys, have fun. See you both later on.
BB: See ya.
Rat: I don't know. You mind if I eat some cheese while we do this?
BB: Nope. [Munch munch..] I've got burgers myself.
Rat: I love Cheese. [..nibble..]
BB: Oh yeah? I like Burgers. A lot!! I really really like burgers. [chomp.. munch.. munch]
Rat: Oh. I really love cheese. I can't get enough! [..nibble]
BB: So, Rat, have you ever had a burger?
Rat: No. I like cheese. [nibble.. nibble]
BB: They're great. You should try one some time. [Munch.. Munch]
Rat: I don't know. Maybe. [nibble .. nibble, chomp..]
BB: I liked Ratmaze a lot! It made me really hungry. I wish I was in a game like that with Burgers!
Rat: Ratmaze is my most fun ever! I love eating all that cheese. What nice guys Miles and Rich are to make all that cheese for me.
BB: Yeah, I'm jealous.. I need another burger. You want me to grab you some more cheese?
Rat: Yum!! Thanks!
BB: [grab] [CHOMP!!] Yummy.
Rat: [swipe.. nibble nibble..] Mmmm.. squeeeek!
BB: You know, I like cheeseburgers too.
Rat: Yum. Lots of cheese on it right?
BB: I like mostly Burger on my burgers, but the cheese is good. I like ketchup too. Or Bar-b-que sauce. I want a cheeseburger now!
Rat: [nibble.. chew..]
BB: So, what else?
Rat: More cheese!
BB: Yeah, and another Burger.. [swipe.]
BB: [munch .. munch..] So, Um, What would you think would be the coolest thing ever?
Rat: Wow. I guess It would be maybe a mountain of Cheese! I could live on it forever and it would never run out, and have all kinds of different parts and caves with different cheese. Oooh, or maybe it would be a volcano, and it would erupt lots of hot melted cheddar cheese, or nacho cheese!! Oh wow!! Wow wow!! [nibble.. nibble.. chomp.. chomp chomp..]
BB: For me it would probably be the hugest burger ever! Or maybe a whole warehouse filled to the ceiling with regular burgers!! And I'd have to eat my way to the door, but I couldn't leave until I finished every last burger! [..drool..] And the next room was the same thing!! Maybe a huge mansion or skyscraper or something like that so the burger would never end!
Rat: Dude, I think the burgers in other rooms would get moldy and bad.
BB: well, so would your cheese mountain! Cheese goes bad too I think.
Rat: I'd eat it all really fast then.
BB: well, me too.
BB: Hey Rat, I think the cheese delivery guy is here, can you check the door?
Rat: Really! Wow, okay!
BB: [Swipe!] [lift .. place..]
Rat: Aww, no one was there.. HEY!! Where's my Cheese??!!
BB: I don't know..
Rat: [Sniff.. Sniff] Huh!! There it is, in your burger! You tricked me!
BB: Ha ha, yeah. Sorry. I really wanted a cheesburger.
Rat: well, I want to eat some too.
BB: Okay, you can have a little.
Rat: Hmph.. thanks, I guess.. I'll try it. Then I've got to get back to the maze.
BB: Okay. Let's eat it. It was nice talking to you.
Rat: I guess. You stole my cheese.
BB: yeah.. whatever.. Let's eat!
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Hello Ratmaze 0.5!
Yes!! Ratmaze lives again!! I'm very happy & excited to announce the release of our very first finished game, Ratmaze 0.5! I'll talk more about it, how it came to be, and other stuff in a moment. First, a link to the game (it's free!):
Click to play at http://games.pixeljam.com
This is Ratmaze 0.5b, to be precise. A much a scaled down, simplified version of the original Ratmaze game I had written about last week. This version is more like a game that consists only of a delicious cheese consuming bonus stage. There are no enemies, and there is no death (or killing), only running, eating, & dancing. There is a timer, and 3 levels of rank, with a slight payoff if you complete the game before the music ends the first time through. If you eat all the cheese within that time (roughly 127 seconds) you'll get to see Rat do backflips and dance. You'll get to see him do a simpler dance without the backflips if you do average, and if you're really slow (take longer than 254 seconds) I made an animation of him getting fat and having to sit down and be too full to dance. All of them are worth seeing though, 'cause the rat is really cute doing all of it. Oh yeah, the game is very kid friendly.
Look at all that delicious cheese! I think the rat ate too much.. here, take a look at some screenshots from Ratmaze. click on them for a larger view:
how's he gonna get those cheeses??
Hey, It's Dude, our good friend from Game01 (unfinished, unreleased)! He's just a dancing fool in Ratmaze. No, you can't eat him.
I have to tell you about the music for Ratmaze 0.5. It's totally awesome!! It's perfect for this game. Many thanks to Mark DeNardo (markdenardo.com) and Anthony Koerber (squareproduct.com) for their 8-bit masterpiece "poulenc". What fun it is to run around and chomp cheeses to.. You can also download it from within Ratmaze if you find the secret area. ;) If anything Ratmaze is a cool music video.
So, how did Ratmaze come to live again, you ask? I mean, I know I had written a whole blog, lamenting how it wasn't going to happen last week. well, it's as simple as this.. I posted a bulletin on myspace.com letting people know about last weeks new blog entry, and one friendly person sent me a message saying that she would have loved to have played Ratmaze. She went on to explain how much she loved rats, and even had a rat on the t-shirt she was wearing in her illustrated profile photo. I thought about sending her the relatively lifeless version of the game we had built it up to so far, where you could run around and eat a few pieces of cheese in silence, but I thought if I was going to do that, maybe miles wouldn't mind adding chees to all the rooms to make it more enjoyable. He was okay with that, but we decided to go ahead and do that and add a few other little details and release it for everyone to play. With 4 days of constant, hard work & late nights, we managed to finish it up last night. We made a temporary site for pixeljam games and behold! An actual finished game and a website to download it from/a URL to give people . games.pixeljam.com is born. It's only a temporary site for now and will be more thought out when we have time. I'm sure by the time gamma bros. is finished, we'll have made some changes.
Well, that's about all for Ratmaze 0.5. please tell all your friends about it if you like it. It's free and all, so, why not. Also, let us know about any bugs or glitches you come across. it's still kind of a beta version.
As for Gamma Bros. progress, we've been working on it some more as well. I made a few animations for the guys ship blowing up, and of them getting into their ships in the hangar at the beginning of the game. Miles has been programming the first level's waves of enemies and so far it's great fun to play. Here's an action packed screenshot of some game play. click for a larger version (actual game dimensions).
okay, that's all for today. thanks for reading and have fun eating all that delicious pixel cheese!
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Goodbye Ratmaze 1.0
So, first things first, a Gamma Bros update. Who are they again, you ask? Well, their names are Buzz and Zap, and they are brothers (by blood, although it's unclear exactly how), and they work together on a space station, doing some very important work (we think)..
They seem to be great with computers and are a bit on the strange side. I'd say Buzz (redhead) is a little more high-strung than Zap, who is more evenly balanced. they've both got girlfriends back on Earth, and the part of their lives that you, the player, will be involved with is getting them home from work safely. I'll get further into the history of these guys, where they made their first appearance, etc. another time.
As for what's new, Miles and I have both fortunately gotten a bunch of client design work recently, and since making a living is of primary importance, and cash reserves are becoming frighteningly low, that's where our time must be spent. We took many months off so that we could produce Gamma Bros and lived off savings & credit. Sadly,we haven't really worked on the game in over a week & I've also been having a rough time with my broken arm, but that's another story. We're hoping of course to find a way to make our living off of creative projects, retro games primarily. We truly want to make many great, fun games, we are just bursting & exploding with ideas and have about 6 or 7 games slated for development after Gamma Bros, including a sequel to Gamma Bros that will be a combo of spaceshooter, platform action game and adventure story. think Galaxian meets Robotron meets Master Blaster. maybe add Bionic commando in there..
Soo, speaking of games on hiatus, let me tell you a little about a little game that we were working on after we put our first large adventure game on indefinite hold. It was called "Ratmaze" and we took it as far as completing the game map, adding some cheese to the rooms, and making the rat controllable to run around (u,l,d,r) the maze. the idea was to make a simple game where you had to do certain tasks to collect all the varieties of cheese in the maze within a specified time limit. The game would have been relatively non-violent, no killing, just lots of dodging, running around and knocking over "enemies" (snakes, bugs, bats, worms, spiders, scorpions, mousetraps, other rats & mice maybe). There would also have been a large main cat that would stick its paws and face into the maze occasionally to thwart the rat's mission, but the cat wouldn't kill the rat, just stun him for a moment, where he would lose precious time.
There would have been secrets too, of course. There's got to be secrets in video games. it's like rule #3 of video game making! Well, that's about all I can tell you about Ratmaze. we've moved on to our Gamma Bros game and will probably leave Ratmaze behind. I loved the little Rat, so he'll likely be seen in some of our games to come, and maybe there's a possibility that we'll try a Ratmaze 2.0 in the future, many games later, but for now we've just got to consider it a learning experience & move on. Perhaps we'll let people run around the relatively empty and unfinished halls of Ratmaze sometime, but it's not that entertaining beyond a minute or two & once you've gotten all the cheese. it's totally unfinished & somewhat lifeless in its current state. check out some more of the screens: (click for larger views, actual game size)
Well, there you have it. Ratmaze. Sorry little Rat buddy. Maybe we'll see you again in the future.
That's all for today. check back in a week or two for more of.. something. oh yeah, please send us email to email@example.com if you'd like to be on our mailing list. We'll let you know when Gamma Bros is ready, and future games as well.