Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Tibia Mockups

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

I’ve been working on pixel graphics for Tibia for a while now. Here are some of the results (click to enlarge):

Tibia Venore Mockup

Tibia Deeplings Mockup

Tibia © by CipSoft GmbH

Congratulations, You are DEAD.

Monday, January 4th, 2010

The level of abstraction in video games is a matter which I’ve been thinking about for a while. As stated previously, it begins with the graphics. There are two ways to do video game graphics – trying to depict nature or doing something really cool (read: abstract.) Now with abstract, I don’t necessarily mean it has to be totally nonrepresentational. Rez is a good example (as usual) – it’s not just a bunch of weird shapes that don’t make sense, but instead something you won’t find in nature in that form (of course there’s the usual worm-like enemy and things like that, but that’s beside the point.) However, I’m not only interested in graphics, but also in “abstraction” of the gameplay itself.


Amiga Game Intros Vol. 8: Moonstone – A Hard Days Knight (Mindscape, 1991)

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

The intro of Moonstone is nothing special on a technical level, but I feel it’s simply one of the classics that has to be included here. After a long scroll from the moon over some gigantic trees all the way to ground level, we see a bunch of cloned druids gathering in Stonehenge. A knight joins the party and receives his blessing for the quest that is to follow. The pixelart is nothing special, a lot of monochrome palettes were employed to clearly seperate all the different elements like the robes, trees and rocks. The shading is very simple for the most part, and the ground and wood contain a little too much random noise for my likeing. Still, the game was pretty fun (although I never got very far.) Considering a lot of great games don’t have any intros at all, this one here makes Moonstone all the more enjoyable. (Video after the jump)

Amiga Game Intros Vol. 7: Liberation – Captive II (Byte Engineers, 1994)

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

This is probably one of the finest intros on the Amiga. Byte Engineers put together a very long sequence for this sci-fi RPG which shows our protagonist activating his team of droids and meeting with a fellow conspirator out in the countryside. The technical level of  the pixel art you will see is really top notch. One of the artists involved was Herman Serrano, who is one of my heroes when it comes to title screens. Check out his work on Exile or Wreckers for example. You can spot his signature in some of the scenes in this intro as well. The animation is often very minimal, as the artists apparently couldn’t be bothered with creating real rotations for objects, so it’s mostly just 2D sprites sliding around. But some of the animation is really well done in my opinion, for example the keypad that fades in and out of the desk or the slight fake camera rotations in the scene in the woods near the end. Oh, and the CD32 version here has full speech! Well, it’s not the best acting ever, but video game were never known to have great voice acting anyway. (Video after the jump)


Amiga Game Intros Vol. 6: Awesome (Reflections, 1990)

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

The intro for today is nothing special by itself. A bunch of space ships flying around and shooting each other, accompanied by some rather bland sound effects. Any kind of dramatic music is notably absent in this sequence, and I get really confused about what’s actually going on and who’s shooting who. However, what you’re seeing here is possibly the first ever raytraced intro to a video game. I did some research in the past and I couldn’t find any older game that had rendered videos in it, although there could be some obscure arcade game that I’m missing (if you have anything, let me know!) Of course, you have to start off somewhere when it comes to 3D animation, but I’ve always preferred some beautifully hand-crafted images and sparse animations to lifeless render sequences when it comes to introducing me to a game’s story. So kudos to Reflections for starting a wave of rendered intros (mainly on PC of course) in the early to mid 1990s with ugly 3D characters made up of primitives, drab lighting, shaders that all looked like plastic and stilted, wooden animation and cameras. To contrast this somewhat historically significant, yet boring intro, I’ll give you a real treat next time, so stay tuned! (Video after the jump)


Amiga Game Intros Vol. 5: It Came From The Desert (Cinemaware, 1989)

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Cinemaware was always renowned for their graphically intense games, and 1989’s It Came From The Desert is no exception here. The intro is very short, but it does its job at setting the mood for the game, which is an homage to 1950s horror b-movies. It’s just a short tracking shot over a desert scene, but it has some impressive looking parallax scrolling and a great voice sample. The little touches like the animated rabbit and birds or the typical 1950s title font are what sells it to the player. The only thing that’s missing to me is an impact sound for the meteor. Video after the jump.

Amiga Game Intros Vol. 4: Apidya (Kaiko, 1992)

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

The story behind Kaiko is kind of funny. They were a team of German developers who were really big fans of anything Japanese, especially console games. It shows in many little details – like having Japanese text on the back of the box of Gem’X (which was never released in Japan from what I know.) Or the upgrading system in Apidya that was taken from Gradius. Or the anime-style intro to the game, with an exceptionally ridiculous plot and a soundtrack by Chris Hülsbeck. For no reason at all, the evil wizard decides to “wreak havoc” on our hero Ikuro and his wife Yuri today. A swarm of mutated insects poison her and Ikuro is determined to find the antidote. The last sequence shows Ikuro transforming into a wasp, without any further explanation how and why. My favourite parts are his head slowly sliding into the frame when he observes his poisoned wife, and him shaking his fist and going like “GRRRRRRRR!!!!”. Good stuff. (Video after the jump)


Amiga Game Intros Vol. 3: Wrath of the Demon (Abstrax, 1991)

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Wrath of the Demon is our intro sequence for today. It seems to be the only game Abstrax ever made – the video here was recorded from the CDTV version of the game, released in 1991. Our – guess what – barechested hero is strolling through his peaceful little village when he hears a strange sound. He quickly decides to check out what happened. A guy runs away and screams can be heard! The next scene shows the victim, a woman lying on the ground, holding a letter by King Luther that explains the backstory. Technically, the individual scenes are quite well made. The animation is quite fluid, and I find the hair and paper blowing in the wind to be especially impressive. There are also some interesting camera pans going on that employ parallax scrolling, and the shot from above the village remotely reminds me of a similar shot in Pinocchio. However, most of the scenes last way too long, especially the one with the dead body. They probably already paid for that long-ass howling wolf sfx, so they might as well get the most out of it!

Amiga Game Intros Vol. 2: Lionheart (Thalion, 1993)

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Today’s intro is from the platform game Lionheart, Thalion’s last game for the Amiga. The intro opens up with a long scrolling picture, created by my favourite pixel artist Henk Nieborg. After this part comes the real surprise – the camera moves into a dungeon in pseudo 3D! I wonder if they were reusing any of the code for the impressive first person parts in Ambermoon, which was also released in 1993. Of course, it’s just a bunch of scaled sprites, but still, it’s an unusual effect I think. After our bare-chested hero grabs the armor (do you see any parallels to our previous entry?,) the intro switches to a side-view again and we see the in-game sprite getting onto his dragon friend. The remainder of the story is told in static pictures and text. Apart from the annoying pseudo-fantasy-orchestral music playing in the background, this is one of the most impressive intros that I know of on Amiga. I might be biased as a Nieborg fan, but I still think it holds up pretty well.

Amiga Game Intros Vol. 1: Wolfchild (Core Design, 1992)

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

I was always an admirer of intros on games in general, and Amiga games in particular. It was very impressive back in the day to see some pseudo-full screen animation in a computer game. You also have to take in account that floppy space was sparse, and not many developers allowed themselves the luxury of having an extensive introduction sequence. Some of the intros I’m going to show may not be very spectacular, but I’m still getting a kick out of watching these attempts at animation.