Saturday, December 31, 2011

No rest - 2012

2011 turned out to be a busy year for Pixelpickle Games. Although no games were released, and one game in development was cancelled (Tiny Match Maker). Contract work stood it's ground, helping pay off debts from the lacklustre year before.

2012 is booked up with contract work. Which is great news as the animation side of Pixelpickle holds strong, it does mean however that the games development has been placed second class. The current Lylian title will feel the pinch as well as other titles now put on hold.
You see, Pixelpickle Games don't rely on Government funding or Angel investors, That's when development focuses on return on investment and release dates rather than quality gameplay. Our next major titles will be something to be reckoned with, will just take a little time. :)

Wish you the best for 2012 - even though the world is meant to end - I have a feeling it's going to be a great year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Materials - Softimage - SSS with transparency

I've recently had to create a character and wanted to use SubSurface Scattering on it. But it also needed some transparency. Here's the Render Tree:

This particular character is also quite small and resides in the ocean, so it needed a little outline highlighting which was created using Incidence and Scalar2Color.

Here's the little fella:

Leafy Sea Dragons aren't really this transparent in real life, but it's a specific request by the client to fit in with their presentation.

Scripting - Softimage - Similar Name Selector

Here's a simple yet handy little Python script I created for Softimage.
Used to select all object with a similar name to the currently selected object.

si = Application
log = Application.LogMessage
oSel = Application.Selection

#select and split the selected object by its underscore '_'.
for sel in oSel:
n = sel.Name.split('_')
log (n[0])

#Use the selected object's first section and wild card '*' to select all similar named objects.

It is very limited but works well for my naming convention; all objects are named 'objectname_1', etc. It splits the selected object's name at the underscore '_' then choose all with a similar name before '_'.  Simple as that!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Recent happenings

Contract work! Lots of it.

Tiny MM development is still in action. The next Lylian title is currently moving forward about half the pace of a snail.
Two major contract jobs are in the works. One is work on the next World Expo Australian Pavilion in Sth Korea. And the other is an intro animation to an awesome independent online MMO game.

Busy busy, enough to quench my workaholic needs.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tiny MatchMaker Dev - Game changer

Tiny MM's game mechanic relies heavily on screen scrolling. The current state of the game has made some huge and positive changes to this. Now the scrolling is more important than ever but behaves very differently.

Before, the screen moved ever so slightly faster as time went by (speed increase depended on game mode). Now the screen speeds up then slows to a stop, offering various modes of gameplay. Hectic, then relaxing, shuffle and repeat.

Hard for you to have any idea on what I'm talking about, since you haven't seen the game in motion. But I'm excited I tells ye!
Here's a screen grab from the in game store.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Tiny MatchMaker Dev - IAP

What's been happening on TinyMM? Well~. Almost ready to send out a new build to testers! The art is coming together wonderfully, the gameplay is 85% complete. Next up is the leader-board using Apple Game Center and a lovely shop and SQL Database.

Also on the cards - some development on Lylian "2" is long overdue. And so will certainly be looking into spending some time on that!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tiny MatchMaker Dev - characters

A few characters from Tiny MM.



These and their lady friends to be are a few of the characters you'll meet in Tiny MatchMaker.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Going Cupid Dev - Now called Tiny MatchMaker

A new build of Pixelpickle's title formally known as Going Cupid is now being scrutinized between the devs (the two of us).
Below is a "work in progress" of the title logo and illustration.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Going Cupid Dev - Lunch Time Storyboard Scribble

Lovely weather we're having here. Took the moment to draw up a little storyboard over lunch. I tend to be the only person that understands what's going on in these, however.

Going Cupid Dev - Concept art

Concept of a Doid, by Val.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Journal of a Smart Phone Dev Rookie - 006 - Going Cupid Dev

After some a lot of playtime on the last build of the game, it felt a little too involved, complicated on the players part. Didn't feel quite right, so we're trying out a slightly different genre style of mechanic.
The game has the same goal, but the feel will be quite different and will affect the overall gameplay quite a bit.
Looks and sounds more promising, and sticks it in the Sling Shot category.

Better use of the screen too!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Journal of a Smart Phone Dev Rookie - 005

To ease into iOS development. Pixelpickle has been working on a (what was intended to be) simple game concept. Something with a basic mechanic and fun to jump into, hard to jump away from.
 In Collaboration with Tickled Pink Games who is doing the 2d art, we have our prototype under way and getting into the thick of it.
 Art is still in very early days but here's a screen shot!

As you can see, it's quite "Cupidy". It does have quite a spin on the story and mechanic however. :D

Friday, August 19, 2011

More Contracting Madness

It's been a very hectic week this past week, working with the peeps over at Crystalised. They're making a game called Desert Zombie: Last Stand. Which is quite innovative for an iOS project. Great bunch of guys doing very long hours to bring their pet project to release.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Journal of a Smart Phone Dev Rookie - 004

So far, everything has gone very smoothly, in regards to moving across to this mobile app adventure. There's a lot of help out there regarding using Xcode, a lot of it from Apple themselves.
Art style has been finalised and music is being produced. The prototype stage has past and we're now in proper development.
Feels good!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Journal of a Smart Phone Dev Rookie - 003

With license and certificates in pocket, Pixelpickle is developing iPhone apps!
Using TestFlight to send builds out to developers and testers of the game. Although currently still stumbling with the device provisioning. They're added in Apple's device managing portal, but not so much in TestFlight. So will keep at that until it's sorted. Working fine on local devices though!

Edit: All sorted with TestFlight now. Builds are being sent to all the right devices.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Journal of a Smart Phone Dev Rookie - 002

I got the call from apple saying everything is a go, so have ordered the IOS DEVELOPER PROGRAM and a Mac mini which should turn up in a  few days (and keyboard for the all important cmd key).
Continuing to write up the design doc of the 'debut' app. A prototype has already been built and going through various tweaks and massive changes.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Journal of a Smart Phone Dev Rookie - 001

I've finally come aboard the iPhone/iPad/Android developer scene. A few days ago I went to the apple site and filled out the application, and sent some requested information about Pixelpickle Games soon after.
I got an email this morning saying thanks for the information and to wait out, for further information.

As I wait I read up on Xcode, the limitations, hints and tips on iOS developing. I have probably clocked in 20 minutes of Mac OS use in my life (not including iPhone use), this it a big thing indeed.

A Mac hasn't been bought yet - I intend to buy a MacMini - waiting for the approval as a go ahead.

About a year ago a license to be an Android developer was purchased, but things tend to get a little busy around here and plans tend to get rescheduled a lot. People waiting for the next Lylian title would have gathered this by now.

I intend to post my failures and wins here among the regular Pixelpickle Games posts, about progress hereafter.

Lylian Fan Art Video!

Came across this fan art-video for Lylian this morning. A lovely spin out! And made my day. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Shanghai World Expo 2010

Back in 2009-early 2010, Pixelpickle animated the characters in the Australian Pavilion for the Shanghai world Expo 2010.
you can watch the whole thing here. It's divided into the live experience, the mechanics under the stage, and the presentation laid out across three giant screens.

Chromamedia created the Act2 presentation for ThinkOTS.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Ultimate Tease

Ashley Wood is currently showing off his works in Comicon. And along with it is a teaser for Popbot. It's short, simple, harsh, and awesome.

Friday, June 24, 2011

New tricks

Finally I'm learning PHP and MySQL. At the same time, I'm spending more time learning Softimage's ICE node language which is pretty awesome in itself. I'm learning the latter because it's so open for creating effects, rigs, modelling, dynamics - and meshing it altogether - creating crowd simulations among many other things. Awesome stuff!
But that's for pre-rendered work; film, tv, not so much games. The PHP and MySql is to further development for Facebook games, of all things.

The other focus on the learning binge, is Unity3D (using Boo, since I'm a Python fan). Multimedia Fusion 2 Dev was used for the first Lylian title, and is being used for a current flash Game. Unity3D is the new Pixelpickle tool of choice because, the next Lylian title is 3D!

This is a vdeo of Lagoa, an ICE extension that's in Softimage. It's a little dated, but still cool.

I'm taking a little more time out from game development whilst learning all this - R&D - while I take on some more contracts, that help pay the bills. Hoping to come back with new skills before continuing on with the games.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Car Modelling

A few late nights and a couple of weekends over the past few weeks have been spent modelling a car. A 1984 Holden Commodore VL. The deadline to get it done wasn't short, but I could easily spend another week adding more detail and cleaning it up. Overall I'm happy with it and hope the client will be too.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Indie games 6 pack

I back home now (yay) after working interstate for the past three months. It was a lot of fun but glad to be back to get stuck into All things Pixelpickle. There's a heap stack to do!

Lylian Episode One: Paranoid Friendship, is part of an Indie game pack with five other games. The "Indie Games Summer Six Pack"! You can grab 6 great indie games for $10. Or $5 if you share the Facebook page (sometimes you just need to work a little).
There's a few tweaks happening with it over the weekend before the official release. And you've got around 14 days to grab a pack for yourself, and all those people you love.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Frozen Synapse released

Pixelpickle Games was contracted by Mode7 to create the animation for their units in Frozen Synapse. Now it's been released and available for purchase on Steam.
It's a great game and I congratulate them for their successful release!
The website:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

New game calls for a special guest.

So contract work has - as per usual - had right of way. And the majority of time spent at PixelPickle has been on client's work.
 Every spare moment however, has been on the new design of Lylian "2" and development of some small web games. The Cupid one mentioned previously is one of those and it's coming along well.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Flash Game Dev'ing

Currently working on a few small Flash games while flushing out the next Lylian title's design.
One of them is Cherub's Mass Matching (working title). A game of shooting arrows at unsuspecting males to draw the attention of the ladies. I don't think this has worked in real life for many a century (if ever), so I don't recommend trying it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cloudstreet has a release date

Pixelpickle was contracted under Chromamedia, to help with the special effects in Cloudstreet: A 6 hour mini series scheduled to show on cable channel Showcase from the 22nd of May.
Various models, textures, rigs and animation were created for the show and it's exciting to finally be able to talk about it!

Watch the promo video here:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

POPBOT movie!

I was introduced to POPBOT by a client I worked for in 2009-early 2010. Ever since then I've been very intrigued by the images I've seen and the small chunks of story I've been told. Now, the movie has been set to be made later this year and I'm very fortunate to be working on it. Not only that, but I get to work with a group of people I highly respect in the Australian film industry.

Very much looking forward to this!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lylian Ep2 Prologue (Draft)


If any normal child awoke to find her restraints untied and cell door ajar... OK any normal child shouldn’t be in such a position in the first place. A child that does deserve to be in that position however, would most likely try and make a run for it taking their possessed teddy bear with them. This is exactly what Lylian had done.
Any normal person would say Lylian deserved to undergo such treatment as that provided by the staff of Hacklaster hospital. Then again any normal person that knew what was really going on in that place would have petitioned for its closure.

After being ‘released’ by someone Lylian called Shady, she found herself in the thick of what she could only describe as an overly staffed mental institution run by not so stable adults of sorts. This is something she had already known of course but the usual medication she received subdued her interest in anything. However, a few doses had been skipped and the nurses were not on their usual schedule. Even the walls were riddled with unsettling characters she hadn’t noticed before that lived within the ventilation shafts.
This was a doomed place, and if you asked Lylian she would have said it’s a place of deception. Using a mental hospital front as a facade. Deep down underground is a mechanical metropolis, with the sole purpose to manufacture, something.

With her imagination barely capable of keeping to itself, Lylian rides an elevator through the limb of an angry nurse and her elevator shoe.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The direction of Lylian

It's been a busy start of year, and future scheduled contracts hint that it's not going to slow down for some time. Having said that, I'm very keen to keep development of the next instalment of Lylian going. Along with various free little games that spawn from the mind of Lylian and her supporting characters.

There's a huge story that was only hinted upon in Lylian Ep 1, that needs to be dosed out in various chunks wherever possible - Dished out by any means possible.

The next instalment is a point'n'click adventure and here is why:
As mentioned in the past, combat is taking a back seat to story and puzzles. This style of adventure game would fit perfectly in this aspect.
Feedback has shown a lot of interest in this genre and I can't complain as I agree it would be something awesome of twisted awesomeness.

Point'n'Clickers have been making a comeback recently which is very exciting. Games like Back to the future, Secret of Monkey Island, Jolly Rover, Gemini Rue and plenty others have shown that the love is there.

As I'm currently working interstate, I don't have much on hand to prove progress and while I'm away from my main development machine I will keep refining the design.

I'm looking forward to showing some progress soon!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why Being A Contractor Can Be A Good Thing

There's a lot of pitfalls to being a contract developer in the games industry - no sick leave, no annual leave, do your own super, and constantly hunting down the next gig.

Working from home would certainly be one of the pluses. But sometimes, working on site in various large (and small) studios can give a wealth of great information and learning experiences where technology is concerned. When working from home it's easy to get set in one steady mindset on how you work and how things should be done.
 I've temporarily moved interstate to work at a large company - SEGA - and finally got the opportunity today to work with some of their tech. It blew me away! I can't mention what it is but it does something I haven't really seen do well in any other game, so easily.

The games industry is slowly stepping in line with film, where contracting is the majority of resources. With so many studios closing down, and many small ones starting up, employing fulltime permanent workers is ever so slowly fading.

Having said all that, contracting is hard when you have a family depending on you. I guess I really need to get these next Lylian titles out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New Year better then the Old Year

2011 looks to be a very busy year, and yet a little foggy.
I've already spent two months contracted to create pixel art for a social web game. And it has been great fun!
Next month takes me interstate to Sydney to work on cinematic animations at Plastic Wax. Following that are various opportunities. I'm not sure how the path unfolds, all I know is it's a busy and potentially exciting one!

At the same time, I've been working - at a slow relaxing pace - on a Flash game. Which is coming together quite nicely.
New Lylian titles are being designed. While the next title in the series is in development, small casual games will be released here and there.

This is where I should post an accompanying picture, but... I promise to paste one in the next post.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lylian: Episode 2... or is it? A debate on things to come

Too early for a post mortem, this is more of an initial reflection of how Lylian episode 1 has gone after release. And how it will effect future games created within the Lylian world.

It's Feb 2011, Episode 1 of Lylian has been out for a few months now. Distributing directly from the game's site, GamersGate, GameArena and soon Direct2Drive. It can even be played in French, German and Spanish thanks to a few awesome volunteers.
 Support from the community has been great with Twitter, Facebook and the Mailing list as well as being published in various printed magazines and lots of great online sites. Yet sales have been less than hoped for, so far nowhere near making any profit.
I was hoping to use the income from episode 1 to part fund episode 2. But that hasn't worked out and I'm doing extra freelance work to earn the cash. Which means development is slow again.
I only have myself to blame for the slow sales, of course. I tried a business model that offered a short gaming experience for a low price where people would prefer to pay a great deal more for a longer, more complete experience.

Episodic was chosen for a few reasons. As I developed the majority of the game on my own it would be at least 2 more years if I were to release the game as one whole experience. I believed I would need a break (and I so need one). Also, I wanted feedback from players to improve future episodes.

I got plenty of feedback! All of the feedback has been great whether from reviewers or players they've all been encouraging and invaluable. The story, ambiance and idea seems to be the winning factors. But the combat and genre let the game down to a degree and perhaps made it a little to niche.

Episode 2. I've been working on its current form for a while now, but I'm going to scrap it. Even though it has improved on the game-play; less combat, more puzzles. It's still the same graphics and limitations. It's still a side-scolling platformer that is choking the story. The game has had good reviews, but I want it to be so much better!
Currently, a story and dialogue is written up but I need to decide on the game platform. Adventure point'n'click? Third person action? Puzzle? Pixel art or 3d? These are what I'm trying to work out.
 I'd like to ask what people would like to play, how would you envision Lylian best being played. Tell me some names of games as reference.
I'm considering making each episode a different genre, but have also considered removing the episodic aspect and creating a "full story" - one large game.

At the moment I'm taking a little break off Lylian while I decide on its future transformation. I'm making a little free to play Flash game with a very small development time, and loving it. :)

Please feel free to share your constructive thoughts, I'd really appreciate it. And, if you haven't bought the game yet, please feel free to do that also, it's worth the experience I've been told!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Website tissues

The lyliangame website has been going down a bit over the last few days. Turns out the web provider is having server issues. But should be running smoothly again... soon.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Learning more stuff

A friend has put me onto HTML5 and CSS. I should have learned CSS a long time ago but just can't let go of tables. lol
HTML5 does look great, I've been looking through  lot of tutorials etc. Currently it works best on Chrome browser but is slowly being adopted on other browsers and most interestingly on Android.

Plenty of tutorials abound:
Just for starters. Interesting indeed~.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lylian: Episode 1 Update

A patch is now available for Lylian Episode One. It includes German, Spanish and French translation!
If you'd like to play the game in one of these languages grab the update here.

Please note: The update does reset any current saved game data.