Fresh Pixels: Daggers of Dagon


Please welcome my newest personal work to the online gallery! The 1985 arcade classic Shao-Lin's Road inspired this mockup, which I imbued with an Ancient Near East theme. Outside of my visit to the Morgan Library's Antoine de Saint-Exupéry exhibit in 2014, I have never felt closer to Le Petit Prince than when I was drawing the sheep sprite.

The resolution upscales cleanly to both 720p and 1080p, but some of the pixel essence is lost at this granularity. For an actual game, I would opt for a smaller screen size, even if it needed a border for HD display.

In terms of technique, even banding and double pixels can be useful to the rendering. I wasn't feeling anti-aliasing... so I didn't.

Here's a sample page of pencil studies I made in preparation for this piece. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Mars Templar


At the threshold of the New Year, I was approached to make tiles for some vintage hardware. Specifications required all the art for the project to fit within a single 128x128 image using this lovely palette:

Noting the variety of red, purple, and orange shades, I chose a Burroughs-inspired theme set on Mars. The first color, absolute black, was reserved for sprite transparency, so I selected the darkest desaturated purple for the shadows.

Because the system can mirror sprites, I designed the characters so that flipping them mimics animation.

With an extremely limited number of tiles, I sought to balance flexibility and specificity. Interchangable tiles offered more mileage while distinct tiles added a level of polish. To maximize the variety of environments in the game, I ensured that the floors and walls would work in every combination. Here is the completed tile map.

To showcase the tiles in action (and to inspire the game mechanics), I assembled the following series of mockups. Enjoy!

The overworld map resuses some tiles in an abstract way, like the small structures representing cities.  

Space tigers don't appreciate trespassers.

For more examples of treasure hidden in caves, see every video game ever made.

Our templar will soon discover the terrible secret behind this abandoned city. 

This Yeti couple sublets a room in their cave to a wraith with a high credit score. 

A Sokoban block puzzle repels all but the most curious and well-armed visitors. 

Do you know what's crawling around in your cellar?

Our templar is not the most enthusiastic gladiator the colosseum has seen.

Our templar enters the sanctum in search of the prized Martian Chalice.