Let’s Get Teased

By: Derek Yu

On: March 26th, 2010

I love the art style and character designs of Tiny & Big – Up That Mountain. They seem inspired by comics. In the game you wield a laser that can slice through the environment at any angle. There’s a demo available for PC, Mac, and Linux. (Source: Attract Mode)

La Mulana for Wii is looking better and better each time I see it! (Source: Tim, via IndieGames.com)

Via Oddball, this teaser for Foppygames’ Ranger is pretty cool. I like the graphics and the use of line-of-sight in a top-down game. I do not like how the enemies simply pop out of existence when they die. But it’s early in development.

Finally, here’s another video of CutmanMike’s Mega Man 8-bit Deathmatch, showing a deathmatch in its entirety. According to his latest status update, the mod is progressing at full speed, with over half the robots and nearly all of the weapons done.

  • Flamebait

    Ranger looks awesome.

  • mako

    Tiny and Big- D: Onomatopoeia is not a sufficient substitute for fitting sound effects.

  • cm

    I actually find the line of sight kind of jarring because the top-down perspective implies you can see everything but instead you have enemies apparently popping out of thin air. They should lay down a fog of war or something.

  • judgespear

    are those Red Faction sound effects on “Tiny & Big – Up That Mountain?” maybe it’s because I play RF a lot, but it’s kinda jarring to hear them. it doesn’t mesh at all. they should use different sound effects.

  • TheBeefiest

    Ranger looked so neat! but it got really repetative just in the demo video thats a bad thing.

  • nobody2

    8-bit eye molestation.

    It doesn’t even make sense that pixels are different sizes. Can people stop giving their pixels different sizes in indie games? That’s not even retro, FFS.

  • judgespear

    I wish they made it a single player game. It’d be interesting to play Mega Man in first person.

    Deathmatch is a really odd choice. It doesn’t really fit with Megaman at all.

  • Scott

    How doesn’t it

  • mjau

    nobody2, on classic computers such as eg the C64 you had a choice between color resolution and spatial resolution, where higher color resolution (ie more unique colors in a smaller area on the screen) meant that the pixels were larger. Some games and demos used several different pixel modes on screen at once, for example a game could use 1×1 pixels for text showing the current score and 2×1 pixels for the game area where more color resolution was required. You could also have sprites that had their mode set independently of the rest of the graphics, could be stretched (bigger objects in less memory), and moved freely around at 1x resolution no matter their actual pixel resolution. So yes, mixed pixel sizes can be retro.

  • Skofo

    “I do not like how the enemies simply pop out of existence when they die.”

    How else is he supposed to release the game in Australia?

  • Skofo

    Also, I wanted to make something like that Megaman FPS for Cave Story before Pixel started shutting down fan projects. =<

  • randompasserby

    @judgespear sounds like you want to play megaman legends

  • http://www.klikscene.com/ Radix

    cm: I dunno what’s planned but I actually kinda like the effect. Surprises can be fun, and getting caught out by your FOV doesn’t tend to happen in top-down shooters because fog of war makes you so aware of it.

  • devhochi

    La Mulana type games, such as Braid and so many modern platformer should made for PSP. I’m really curious about why didn’t Sony not make a SDK kit for PSP already. They made a appstore, why not making a SDK for indie gamers?

  • http://www.roflgames.com Jo-

    La Mulana looks pretty interesting. Those backdrop visuals look amazing in perticular!

  • Alan

    Is it just me, or does La Mulana look like it has more forgiving jumping physics than it did on the PC?

  • Gutter

    mjau : The C64 allowed you to scale sprites by integers values. So you could scale by 2x or 3x, but not by 1.1x like “retro” game are doing now.

    Also, “Spatial resolution”? No… That was just a trick to scale sprites, nothing more. In fact, your “pixel” would need to be a sprite to be drawn in that mode, and seeing as the C64 had a limit on the # of sprites used, one couldn’t use that trick to have 3D pixels

  • mjau

    Gutter, the C64 had two different bitmap modes in hardware. Hires mode had 1×1 pixels and allowed 2 unique colors per “char” (8×8 hires pixels). Lores/multicolor mode used 2×1 pixels but allowed 4 different colors per char, of which one of them was a global background color. Character mode also had these modes with some variations. New modes with other resolutions and restrictions could be constructed by exploiting bugs in the VIC-II and using exact timing tricks, either for more colors per char (FLI, etc) or for even lower resolution in exchange for more speed (popular for eg plasma or textured 3d, which was faster with less pixels and no color limitations to worry about)

    Also, sprites could only be scaled by either 1x or 2x in x and/or y by the usual method (setting a bit in a register). This happened after multicolor enable btw, so a multicolor 2×1 sprite pixel stretched in x would actually be 4 hires pixels wide. Anyway, it was possible to exploit another bug in the VIC-II chip (it had a lot!) that allowed arbitrary scaling in the Y direction, including by non-integer amounts overall. Something similar could also be done with bitmap graphics.

    As for the sprite limit, this was really only a per rasterline limit — you could only have up to 8 sprites on one rasterline, but by doing multiplexing you could really have as many as you wanted on screen at once as long as you obeyed the rasterline limit.

  • judgespear

    @randompasserby Megaman Legends is not in first person.

  • Adamski

    Still think the main La Mulana sprite doesnt look very good at all, considering the ammount of time that’s gone into the backgrounds and some of the other enemies.

  • Anthony Flack

    Modern pixel-art games often make reference to the styles of 8-bit computer graphics but don’t have the same limitations. Talking about what the c64 could or couldn’t do seems completely irrelevant when talking about style – honestly, who cares?

    Low-res art, in the modern context, is usually more about removing unneccessary detail.

  • http://shigi.wordpress.com Laura

    Hahaha… I like the double cow boss in La Mulana.

  • mjau

    Anthony Flack, i agree, i was just responding to the “mixed resolutions is not retro” part. Whether or not this is relevant depends on what the developer was aiming for.

  • nobody2

    @mjau Well, that’s nice for all the games trying to give a C64 vibe, and an incorrect one at that. I don’t really care what console inspired the developer, really. It’s ugly anyways, and displeasing because of faux restraints and artistic laziness. Developers in constrained systems had to work harder to create something beautiful with what they had — what we have here is the opposite of that.

  • mjau

    nobody2, C64 was just an example, chosen both because it illustrated my point and because that’s the system i’m most familiar with. “Incorrect”, though? What do you mean by that?

    Anyways, whether or not you think something looks good is of course up to you, but not liking a particular aesthetic doesn’t make it *wrong*.

    (Also, i’m not really defending megaman “8-bit” deathmatch here, i actually agree it looks kinda ugly. For me this has more to do with the colors and textures and such than the size of the pixels though.)

  • Phasma Felis

    Weird-size or rotated pixels in “pixel” art sure do bug me, but this Mega Man thing is pretty obviously emulating DOOM-era FPSes, not 2D side-scrollers. The “8-bit” means that they’re using 8-bit-style sprites and textures, not that it’s meant to look like it’s running on on an NES.

  • http://playmedusa.com/blog Woodwolf

    I find Tiny and Big fascinating! How the laser breaks those huge structures and watching them fall apart…

  • SirNiko

    Really, Tiny and Big had me at the part where you look up at the mountain to start. That’s pretty much what I’ve wanted from 3d games from the moment the N64 hit.

    La Mulana looks incredible, and the music sounds fantastic. I’ll have to give that a go when it hits, as well as Cave Story. Maybe this version will have a more sensible unlock puzzle for the Hell Temple.

    I’m not a fan of the bosses, though. The animations just look sort of clunky, and remind me of the stop motion skeletons in Jason and the Argonauts. They just don’t look like they fit the rest of the game for some reason.


  • Phasma Felis

    Tiny & Big has some big potential and big problems, IMHO. I love the scribbly underground-comix art, I love the laser- bisection effect, but the physics are kinda wonky and the controls are floaty & annoying and there’s a serious lack of sound effects.

    I think/hope that most of these are due to the early state, though. There’s another video on the website with significantly improved crashing-slab sounds over the demo, which gives me hope.

  • LA2019

    Re: pixel size

    I have to agree with nobody2 here: there’s a difference between deciding to ignore platform-specific hardware requirements and just being too lazy to define a pixel as an actual pixel. By definition, a pixel can’t overlap with another pixel, yet I see that kind of thing in so many indie games, especially Flash titles. I’ll make an exception for Messhof’s stuff – he uses massive squares as a stylistic motif, not as actual pixels – but, by and large, that kind of paper-cutout effect really ruins the visuals of even otherwise good-looking games for me.

  • Phasma Felis

    You’re right that a lot of flash games try to do “pixel art” and fail miserably, but that’s not what Mega Man Deathmatch is trying to do. It’s duplicating the look of DOOM-era FPSes exactly. Big pixels scaled and rotated and overlapped but still clearly visible as pixelated textures. You could probably have made this game in the original DOOM engine without any trouble.

  • O_o

    I still hate how the new La-Mulana explorer dude runs. I wonder if that’s something that’s in progress…. actually it’s more than just how he runs, I hate how he’s animated in every single thing he does :/. I really really liked the original, so that may be what’s going on – I may just be like “it’s not the original, so that’s why I don’t like it.” I also have some problems with some of the other sprites because of similar issues, but some do look really great, and I like that they’re easier to differentiate from the background, and I like the backgrounds, too. The music is still great :). Hopefully any stuff I have issues with will be smoothed over or will be out-shined by the good stuff in the final version, not that I even have a Wii at this point (sort of planning on getting one someday though).

  • judgespear

    @Phasma Felis

    “You could probably have made this game in the original DOOM engine without any trouble.”

    It is already running on the Doom engine. The game is a Doom wad.

  • Phasma Felis

    Didn’t know that, but I think it demonstrates my point. :) Not all retro is 8-bit retro.