18 Mar

More generated game content

Shmup Pixel Craft Generator

Shmup Pixel Craft Generator is another random sprite generator that is quite similar to Richard’s Evolving Sprite Tool from the last installment. SPCG too gives a sheet of sprites that you can pick from. The sprites make me think of Xevious, they have the feel of ancient space ships.

The author mentions Dave Bollinger’s Pixel Space Ships as his inspiration. Bollinger’s Pixel Robots was featured in the last installment as well.

Explosion generators

There are very many products for generating various effects by using a particle system. However, many of those products are very expensive as they are aimed at film and game industry instead of a hobbyist. Here are some alternatives.

ExGen is a commercial product but with a much nicer price (less than your average game). It is very feature rich, has a nice GUI and even exports as AVI.

The Explosion Graphics Generator or EGG is a very customizable particle system that uses a scripting language. It is free.

Explogen is similar to ExGen only that it is not as feature rich. It’s still worth checking out as it is free.

Positech Games has a free, unnamed generator as well. The page includes sheets of sprites so you don’t even have to download the software.

This blog writes about lhfire, a tool for generating particle effects for a Quake mod. I haven’t tested this myself but it should be good and also free.

22 Feb

Generating game content

Part 2 of this series »

If you can’t draw graphics or create sounds for your games, here are a few interesting tools I came across recently that can help you.


sfxr generates random sound effects such as explosions, sounds for jumping and so on. The sounds are nice and crisp and you can easily tweak a randomly generated sound to suit your needs better. A nice feature is that you can click on sound types to generate a sound for common actions in games.

Pixel Robots & Invader Fractal

Pixel Robots generates random sprites that resemble robots (well, duh). It’s a Java applet (made with Processing) so you can (or, have to) run it in your web browser. Hence, it is not too convenient to use for pure sprite generation purposes – but it is quite nice eye candy.

The author mentions the Invader Fractal as his inspiration. It is a quite similar thing, in that it generates a sheet of tiny sprites and runs in browser (it’s a Flash applet).

Both generators are quite nice in that their authors give good insight how the programs generate the sprites.

Richard’s Evolving Sprite Tool

I saved the best for last. Richard’s Evolving Sprite Tool, as the name implies, evolves sprites. The main idea is that the program generates a grid of mutated sprites and you can choose the one that looks good. The selected sprite then spawns mutated offspring. This continues until you decide the sprite is good enough. On the left, there’s an example of an evolved and hand-colored sprite (grabbed from the Retro Remakes forum thread).

It is also much more of a tool than the two previous generators, the user can edit the sprites inside the program. After the user has edited a sprite, it can be evolved further. Very nice if you’re short on inspiration.

Next thing Richard needs to do is to add a way to colorize and animate the lovely sprites.

kometbombNote: Since this tool has gone AWOL, here’s something similar: Retro Avatar generator. For example, the avatar created from my name looks like what you see on the left (cute!).

01 Feb

Brain Invaders

Considering the climate change hasn’t eliminated winter yet, here’s something to keep your head warm. As a bonus, it won’t deduct from your carefully planned geek look.


The hat inside out, note the two threads running around the hat

The pattern repeats three times around the hat (the hat is 96 stitches around which fits nicely to my adult-sized head). You can use more colors but this results in more threads running inside the hat (and probably is a bit harder to knit), maybe you could use this to your advantage and make the hat warmer.


Note that the above pattern is 28 stitches wide. If your hat isn’t e.g. 28*3=84 stitches wide, you have to pad the pattern with empty stitches. Add the padding stitches at the green lines, in my case there are two and two padding stitches added (i.e. there are four empty stitches between the bottom sprite) to make the pattern 32 stitches wide making the pattern fit exactly three times on the hat. Also, keep in mind the hat starts to get narrower after the pattern ends, so you can’t use the same pattern all the way to the top. In this case only two rows of sprites could be fit on the hat (I wanted a hat that isn’t floppy on the top).

Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive article on knitting (take a look at the instructional links) but you’ll probably get the same information in a much nicer form if you ask your mom or grandmother. In any case, knitting is not hard. You just have to have some finger dexterity which most geeks have, because geeks type fast.