Topic: games

My Art from "Play" and "Together" Shows


A friend of mine runs umber° studios, an art gallery in south Minneapolis. The gallery is celebrating its second anniversary with a show titled "Together" that brings… together… all the artists who have shown work in the gallery in the last two years. The reception was on June 20, and the show runs through July 12.

Here's a photo of yours truly next to my submission — a nearly life size blowup of some pixel art I've been working on for Zachstronaut:

Me standing next to large pixel astronaut.
The postcard for Together show.

So like I said, the "Together" show was comprised entirely of artists who had previously shown work at umber. I had the great pleasure of showing a variety of fun pieces in a fall 2007 show titled "Play." The show was the idea of my friend Peter Smith, and I was very happy to have him invite me to be a part of it.

My art for the "Play" show was a juxtaposition (oh yes, I dropped the j-bomb) of video games I played growing up — which inspired my career path as a builder of the digital flavor — with the physical toys I used to build stuff as a kid.

First below, photos of four pieces done in LEGO brick on LEGO plate (left to right, top to bottom). Here are links to the games in question: Bubble Bobble (NES), Dragon Warrior (NES), Final Fantasy (NES), Super Mario Bros. (NES). Then, a piece constructed with dominoes, GORILLAS.BAS (QBasic).

Bubble Bobble.
Dragon Warrior.
Final Fantasy.
Super Mario Bros.
The postcard for Play show.

Actually, I had one more LEGO work in the show which was the heart containers from The Legend of Zelda (NES), but that piece has sold. If you're seriously interested in any of this art or commissioning a piece, contact me.

Surprisingly, I've never become a regular Flickr user, but I imagine I should get high-res shots of these up on Flickr or somewhere eventually.

Best 1st Day Back Ever: Video Game Award!


If you follow me on Twitter then you've probably learned by now that I've been out of the office at my day job because I had an emergency appendectomy. Today was my first day back, and I have to say I had a pretty good morning because I found out that a video game I made with my web team last spring — Handy Andy 2: The Ampersand Trail — won an award! (So now I can say I am an award winning video game developer. Heh.)

Me holding the award.
The Handy Andy 2 title screen graphic.

Hey, it is a Friday afternoon, you know that you totally want to spend it "researching" this game rather than working. And when you've finished playing Handy Andy 2, you definitely will want to check out the first game, Handy Andy's Key Quest, and play some Handy Andy Bowling.

Congratulations to the Handy Andy 2 team! Kamran Ayub did the graphics and Jesse Mullan did the sound, and both contributed to the overall insanity and level design. The games are written in JavaScript with a Flash bridge for the audio if you were wondering.

JS "Game" - Viking Jesse


When my friend Jesse moved out to California, I made him a little venturing-west game (in the loose sense of the word "game") as a safe journey gift. He was just in town visiting for the last week, which reminded me of the game so I thought I'd post it. The game is built with JavaScript, and I did the graphics except for the flying manatee, which was done by Kamran.

To play, use your right and left arrow keys to move the Viking Jesse and blow up as many flying Manatees as you can. Click the image below to start.

Smoothing Slow JavaScript Animation/Parallax


In both film and computer graphics, the illusion of animation and motion is created by rapidly displaying a series of slightly different still images. This illusion starts to break down for most people somewhere below 30 frames per second (FPS).

The minimum distance an object or image can move in a web browser is one pixel, and the size of a pixel is still large enough to be very much perceptible in most situations. As a consequence, in order to produce smooth, fluid motion, an object moving one pixel at a time must move 30 pixels in one second in order to achieve 30 frames per second animation. That's surprisingly fast movement.

The noticeable stop/start ticking motion of objects moving slower than 30 pixels per second in a web browser has always bugged me. Take for instance my example of parallax scrolling animation of clouds in a sky. The foreground clouds are moving 10 pixels/frames per second. The motion looks good (though not great). Compare this to the background clouds which are moving two pixels/frames per second. They are very jerky. View the example after the jump.