Thursday, August 2, 2018

Pixel Art

I recently completed a course on pixel art from Udemy, and though it was short I really enjoyed it. The instructor, Benjamin Anderson, went through some art basics and related them to pixel art. Things like shape, line, value, and colour. He introduces the free web based software Piskel which is easy and fun to use. Here are some of the exercises I did for this early section.

These are my reference pictures.
The course then includes some animation. We start in Piskel, but end in Aseprite which has a lot of extra features that help with animating your pixel art. It's free if you know how to compile it, or you can buy it off their website for about $20 Canadian. I'm not familiar with all the program's features, but the course does teach the basics of setting up a new animation and how to work with the key frames and colours to create your project. For the final assignment we had to google some animation key frames and base our animation off of that. Here's what I did!
A diving and rolling gymnast!

This was my reference image.
I really enjoyed the course, the instructor was great and knew what he was talking about. There were a lot of little tips and tricks you might not be able to learn on your own. It was great to just get exposed to a couple of nice pixel editing software and I had a lot of fun.

Here's another animation I did in Piskel of some old turtle-man running! He's silly!
Next I'm planning to do another course from the same instructor and finally start learning GameMaker!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Superbia's Tank Update!

Hey everyone! I've got a bit of an update on the board game I've been working on. Superbia's Tank is still tankin' along - bit by bit. A lot of the artwork, which you'll see some of in a moment below, is mostly done. It's been a lot of work, but also a blast to create these really creative, wacky parts for each player's constantly transforming tank. Each tank is made up of three parts which are the treads, the frame, and the turret. As player's move around and explore the island of Superbia they'll discover cards with all manner of tank parts and other suprises.

The island of Superbia. As you explore you'll add hex tiles to the island.
The artwork, as I said, is mostly complete (as far as I can tell!). Gameplay, however, needs to be a little more thoroughly tested. I have tested the mechanics myself and managed to test the game with a group as well. More testing will be needed though. I want to make sure that at the end of the day the game doesn't have any odd hiccups or broken rules and that above all it is fun! Usually it's important to get the gameplay nailed down before doing a lot of the art, but I found people were not as interested in testing a game if they didn't have anything visually interesting to attach to. Risky move - we'll see how it pans out.

Anyway, now for the good stuff!

Artifacts: The island of Superbia is littered with old and powerful tank parts called artifacts.

Each part has it's own abilities and there are 45 different parts!

Events: Exploring the island of Superbia can be tricky business. As players move across the map they'll draw event cards that could test a players strength, or they may find a helpful item for later.

There are good events and bad ones too!

 I'll try to keep this blog updated with any other large milestones! Currently, I'm working on the manual and the box, but I can't complete the manual until there has been more testing. See ya!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

MTG Deck Stats Are Neato

I like making a new Magic The Gathering deck every once and a while - but it's often a hefty undertaking to create a deck I'm somewhat happy with. There are so many card choices and it often involves doing some research and exploring on the Gatherer site. Afterwards, I like to check the availability and pricing on the cards on sites like Magic Stronghold, Face to Face Games, and lastly Troll and Toad (I try to avoid the US sites ever since the loonie fell). I want to be able to get the cards I want at a reasonable price!

Depending on the type of deck I'm making there are all sorts of little guidelines to follow.
  • Balance the land - around 40 in an 100 card EDH deck and about 20 in a regular 60 card deck.
  • Check mana curve - you want a decent spread of 1 to 4 mana spells with select 5 and up spells.
  • Non-creature to creature ratio - this depends on your deck, but you always need some creatures.

EDH decks demand another way of thinking and the choice of a legendary commander. Currently I have Animar, Tymaret, Noyan Dar, Zada, Kemba, Doran, and Thelon EDH decks.

When I want to make a new deck I sometimes like to use the site DeckStats. You can create your decks by searching the database and dragging and dropping cards into your deck. Afterwards, you can see a nice little graph and pie chart showing things like Mana Curve, Card distribution, Mana distribution, and Mana Source distribution. Then, you can save your deck (just make sure to make a profile on the website).

For example, here's what my Tymaret deck looks like on DeckStats.

I can easily see that the majority of my spells are quite cheap with 3 mana spells being my most abundant. From this I can hope (getting mana-boned happens to the best of us) that I shouldn't have trouble getting most of my spells out.

Here you can see that I tried to balance my instants, sorceries, and enchantments while balancing the total non-creature spells with my total lands and total creatures. Creature (31%), Spells (31%) Land (37%). You can also take a look at a more detailed view showing artifacts etc.

With this pie chart I can easily tell that I have more black cards than red cards (shown on the left). This will inform my decision on how many swamps and mountains to put in the deck (shown on the right). Taking the information from the previous pie chart I made sure that my Swamps and Mountains were balanced to accommodate my deck being more black. I've made sure to add a few more swamps (20) than mountains (16) in this case.

There we go! There are others things to consider when making a deck of course. The specific abilities and effects the cards do are also incredibly important! However, I like to use DeckStats because it keeps me organized and lets me quickly see at a glance the other information to keep in mind when making a deck. Happy deck building!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Amiibopocalypse is Over... For Now

Well, Nintendo finally released the final Smash Bros amiibo and they are now sitting on our shelf. I was a little frustrated that Nintendo would release 2 versions of the final 3 amiibo because, well, because that's twice the price for completing the collection! However, Corrine P2 and Cloud P2 have been extremely difficult to get a hold of. As such, my cognitive dissonance allows me to be satisfied with having a "complete" collection without having a "complete" collection. We may never get those final alternate versions of 2 of the characters, but at least we have 1 of each character!

Now behold, the amiibo in all their glory! :)

It looks awesome, and I'm proud to have actually played and trained up a number of them into Smash Bros monsters. The hunt for amiibos is over for now... though the amiibos of the 4 champions from Zelda: Breath of the Wild look awesome and dang it Nintendo I will have to get those too!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Clash Royale Decks

I've been playing Clash Royale on my phone since it first came out in 2016. Now, I don't play it all the time every day, but if I've got a couple minutes to kill here or there I'll pop it open and play a match or two. It's a lot of fun. Many of the matches are very close with each person intensely playing cards to counter their opponent. Sometimes, you get smashed... Other times, you completely smash them. Like I said - it's a lot of fun. I'm level 10 at the moment! Here's a few of the decks I've been using lately.

This is my tried and true deck. It's gotten me just above 3800 trophies, and when I finally accumulate enough gold to upgrade a couple of the cards I expect to get even higher. There's nothing too fancy about it. There are no legendary cards, and most of the cards can be acquired early in the game. It sometimes has trouble with decks that use a lot of lightning, and I've had to develop some techniques for dealing with elite barbarians, sparky, bowler, and golem.

The mortar is integral to this deck and chips away at opponent's towers. Meanwhile, I defend it. Fire spirits are great for taking out minion horde and alright against elite barbarians when I also drop a valkyrie or mini pekka. The wizard and valkyrie take out hordes with ease, and the musketeer drops balloons and other flying pests out of the air. Mini pekka unloads a ton of damage if it makes it to the tower. Zap helps take out hordes, reset towers, enemies, and other cards with charge up attacks. Finally, the fireball is great for dealing a lot of damage in a decent sized area. Use it take out buildings and finish off towers - even better if there are some enemy units around to get hit at the same time.

This is my current golem deck. Ever since I got a golem I've wanted to make a deck utilizing it, and I think I've finally found one that works for me. It's gotten me into the 3300-3400 trophy range, but I'm hoping to get a little bit higher. Unlike my other deck, this one has more often steamrolled opponents. However, I feel like I'm at risk of being steamrolled by my opponent with this deck more often - and believe me it's happened.

The golem is pretty self explanatory. Drop it at the back, or up front, and get ready to support it. It's usually a good idea to not drop it right away - find out what sort of cards your opponent has that might counter it. If those cards are out of rotation it might be a good time to drop the golem. Meanwhile, while waiting to drop the golem defend with the log, zap, and the wizard. If something heavy is coming drop the mini pekka or lumberjack. What we want to do is get the lumberjack and golem out at the same time. That makes for a terrifying golem. This deck has been pretty fun so far - I think I want to switch out the archers for the mega minion, but I need to level it up some more first.

If you haven't given the game a try - give it a try! It's free, and though it has in-app purchases I've made it as far as I have without spending any money. Have fun, and don't be a jerk with your emotes!