Monday, September 12, 2016

Coming soon to Nintendo 3DS

We've been hard at work this year to bring support for our games and applications to the Nintendo 3DS. The recent support of the 3DS platform by the Unity engine (which we use for targeting most of our other platforms) made this possible.

PixelMaker will be our first release on Nintendo 3DS. It works great on the 3DS handset - using the bottom screen to draw, while having an overview of the entire scene on the upper screen. We even leveraged our drawing layer feature to provide support for the stereoscopic 3D display. The effect is really quite fun, and we are looking forward to see how people use it.

Even though Unity is primarily targeted at the New Nintendo 3DS, we worked hard to make PixelMaker run on the original 3DS as well. This wasn't easy, given the memory and CPU limitations of the original device, but we are very happy with the result we were able to achieve. I believe we will be the first Unity 3DS release to run on the original 3DS.

We plan to bring our voxel editor VoxelMaker, as well as at least some of our games, to the 3DS soon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

PixelMaker - a pixel art and sprite drawing program

I've been thinking about making a sprite editor for a while now. Drawing sprites is a big part of what we do when making our games. We have been using GIMP as our primary drawing tool, and while it works pretty well, it doesn't mesh perfectly with our workflow.

So, a few months ago I finally pulled the trigger and started working on PixelMaker. In order to justify making a polished program (instead of a rough-and-ready developer tool), we plan to release it on various platforms - initially on Wii U (the GamePad and stylus are great for drawing) and then later on mobile/PC.

I'm pretty happy with how it is turning out. It loads instantly, unlike programs like Gimp and Photoshop, and is fast and lean - with the features you need for drawing pixel-y stuff, uncluttered by features you don't need (at least *we* think so - we'll see once we have more customers...)

Our initial feature set for release targets drawing individual pixel art pieces, but future planning includes frame-based animation.

On a more dev-centric note, I recently bolted on a project structure interface for us to manage the art assets for a game - designed to integrate with the custom sprite scaling/shadowing/sheet-packing pipeline we currently use:

We plan to get back to working on our already-well-in-progress next game soon, now switching over to using PixelMaker as our core art creation and management tool.

What next game is that? Well, stay tuned for more on that soon!