Category Archives: Art

Things related to the visual side.

Looney Ladders for Win/OSX for the #ld48

Made a game over the weekend for LD.. it came out.. well, just ok.  Gameplay is sort of iffy, graphics are horrible, but it’s sort of cool how it builds random apartment buildings each level.

I plan to clean it up and place the source on the Proton svn (EDIT: It’s there now).  Also, at very low framerates the player doesn’t move right, I’d better fix that as well.


If anybody wants to donate time to redo the graphics so this Proton example can look less crappy, lemmie know and I can send them to you!

I did the music 30 minutes before the deadline so don’t expect much there either.. :)

Theme was Discovery.  I “discovered” how lame my art skills are

Bittersweet start of the new year

Note from Seth:

This post is from Justin Martin, the awesome artist behind Dink Smallwood and the new Dink port we’re doing for iPhone! He’ll be using codedojo from time to time as well.

Just check the name near the top to see if it’s Seth or Justin who is posting.


The bitter

After five+ years of adventuring in the land of Azeroth, I discovered yesterday that my beloved WoW toons were hacked… some deleted and all others stripped of everything–all my precious epics sold or sharded and gold stolen. Maguro, my level 80 pally, was left wearing his seasonal xmas garb. The mockery… the nerve… my gearscore went from about 4850 to 70 in a whim in contrast to the many months/years spent in acquiring rare drops. Damn f*** gold farmer hackers. Damn Blizz for not being speedy with replies.

The sweet

The new year also brings good tidings. I’m excited about developing art work/interface graphics for the upcoming  Dink Smallwood port to the iPhone/iPod. I had lived and breathed Dink Smallwood (DS) during it’s year and a half development and look forward to revisiting Dink and working with Seth to make the gui as polished and intuitive as possible. Thanks to all you Dinkers for keeping DS alive and well. Looking forward to some fun duck stomping on my iPod.

You won’t believe what my dog did…

Last week my mom sent me a picture of a ‘surprise’ her dog did that had a suspiciously interesting shape. Not to be outdone, I sent her a few of my own. I mean, my dog is even more special.

That’s one smart dog.My mom’s name

Ok, if you hadn’t guessed, these were not exactly totally natural. I used 3dsMax and a font called poo. The text was extruded, a smooth modifier applied, then a material with ‘noise’ applied to the bump and displacement properties.

The possibilities are endless! Well.. I guess what I did is pretty much the end, actually.

Smartcropper V2.00 released

A while back I wrote a freebie utility that checks a series of images and then crops them all to the smallest enclosing rect.

In my BREW phone game making adventures, I had single-image horizontal sprite strips that were wasting a lot of space and added features to handle finding the smallest enclosing rect and writing out an optimized version of the image.

Smart cropper v2 example

8 bit support, color key support (can be used instead of alpha) and some examples were also added.

Download SmartCropper V2.50 with source and examples (updated 12/30/2008)

Automated sprite rendering and cropping from 3DSmax

If you’re as lazy as me you want to be able to press one button (or run one .bat file) to get your game sprites rendered and processed right into the final format and directory, so you can see them in the game.

First, you need a model with animations. In this example, I’m using “Male NPC Pack” from Cubix Studio.

They make excellent stuff, easy to work with and very reasonably priced to boot.

Next, get Sprite Render Tool. It’s a neat little max script utility that automates the rendering of different angles.


I made a few additions to the script for my specific needs:

  • Always renders 0,1,2 etc even with frame skipping
  • Restores default settings upon most errors now (how they were before the script was run)
  • Added direction in text option (uses “left” in filename instead of the degrees)
  • Added “ignore directions that can be mirrored” option
  • Added way to reverse the rotation
  • Added “set_target_dir” command to batch commands
  • Add batch commands to change directions, nth frames, etc flexibly for certain anims
  • Automatically sets up batch.txt as the batchfile if found in the same dir as the model
  • Added dos_command_in_target_dir batch command, so I can do various dos-things on the fly

Here is my hacked up version if you want it:

Here is the Sprite Tool batch file used to render our three animations (walk, attack, idle) in all directions (actually 5, because we mirror some of them):

#help_batchfile usage: (outputfile) (startframe) (endframe)
set_target_dir "../../../bin/worlds/RT_TopViewRPGTest/script/char/man/art"
#Sure, I could just do *.png but who knows when a dir won't exist or something and it will run this in the
#wrong place Safety first.

dos_command_in_target_dir "del walk*.png"
dos_command_in_target_dir "del idle*.png"
dos_command_in_target_dir "del attack*.png"
dos_command_in_target_dir "del die*.png"

nth_frame 13
directions 8
idle_$.png 6 65
dos_command_in_target_dir "smartcropper idle"

nth_frame 3
directions 8
walk_$.png 67 99
dos_command_in_target_dir "smartcropper walk"

nth_frame 3
directions 8
attack_$.png 406 424
dos_command_in_target_dir "smartcropper attack"

Note: My script requires that you install the free Max plug-in HiddenDOSCommand. If you have 3DS Max 9 64 bit, here is a 64 bit version I compiled.

Now, one issue with my particular game engine is all the sprites in a single animation should all be the same size, yet be small as possible.

In the example batch file above, the “smartcropper attack” command does this.

SmartCropper is a tiny command-line utility that scans a sequence of images, then crops them all at the smallest combined enclosing rectangle.

That way, you don’t have to worry about making the camera tightly fit the subject in Max.

Looking at the output, you can see it cropped the images to the best fit per sequence.


Here is SmartCropper with source (with a MSVS 2005 project), you’d need ClanLib if you wanted to modify/compile it.

Download Smartcropper with source

And here they are in the test RPG level, “Smart shadows” have been enabled for them.