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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Free game graphics: Tyrian ships and tiles

I stumbled across a personal treasure this weekend. Tyrian, the ancient vertically scrolling shooter from long ago still happens to have a fansite. While browsing through their forums, I noticed that Jason Emery, keeper of the Tyrian flame, had made the source code available and folks were actively digging through it.

My thanks go out to whoever ripped the graphics from the source code and posted them as PNGs. Somewhere in the mess of moving multiple times in the past decade, I managed to lose the original files. The freshly ripped files have some transparency errors here and the order is a tad confusing, but I am delighted to have copies again.

Hot summer, great job
I drew up the original graphics in about 4 months as my first real summer job. A friend of mine who shall go by the pseudonym "Ray" had sent around some of my artwork (without my knowledge, I might add) and I ended up getting a random email from a very young Alex Brandon asking me if I wanted to make some graphics. It was either that or another summer stocking beer in the 7-11 cooler. 19 and making games. Heck yes.

I had recently splurged on an Amiga 1200 and it managed to pay for itself that very summer. Alex sent me a short list of list of levels and said "Draw us some graphics." So I did. I turned up the radio and crunched away from 11am when I woke up to 11pm when David Letterman came on. There is some wierd stuff in there as a result, but no one ever complained. They just said "Make some more!"

Remastered and free
In hopes of contributing back to the great and eternal indie scene, I 'remastered' the graphics by removing some of the conversion dirt that had accumulated. Man, I haven't done pixel editing in years. I also took the liberty of stripping out as the various 'non-Danc' flesh-colored seahorse graphics that managed to make their way into the tile set. I may not have gotten all of them, so credit likely goes to Jason for the lovely hotdogs, etc.

I'm making the set available for using in your games, prototypes, animations, etc. Again, use and abuse them as desired. If you make something cool, let me know! Feel free to link back to this page so that others can grab the graphics and mess about. It is good to share old pixel graphics. :-)

And to think, all those hours of effort fit easily into a little more than a meg of pngs.

Download the files here
Remastered Tyrian (1.3 megs)

best wishes,

PS: I'm still missing the store graphics and the cutscene graphics. One day I'll get my hands back on the infamous 'Head on a spike' picture that caused so much consternation.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tyrian Comic

Here is a completely obscure Tyrian comic that I never expected to see.

Gaming subculture is turning into a real culture. We are seeing music, art and stories that take the language and mythos of games and weave them into a broader experience.

Not so long ago, the culture of games was limited to just games. As much as I like the medium, it deals with the shallow end of the human experience pool. Well, the non-gamers are dying off slowly but surely. And the gamers that take their place 'speak' games in the same way previous generations used music and movies as their preferred metaphors when communicating.

Here's a thought. We always wonder when games will make their Citizen Kane. What if it doesn't work like that? What if instead, games gain meaning through the participation and deep personal involvement of their players much like basketball or football. When these two sports were invented, they were a couple of guys acting like fools with odd shaped balls. Over time, the passion of the players and fans spawned movies, books, articles, stories and legends. Due to intense participation and the clouds of secondary artifacts, these sports became a near religious cultural phenomenon.

What if video games are the same? Take something like Mario 50 years from now. Does it still inspire us? Suppose we create in the Mario universe because it is a powerful metaphor for describing the human experience. It is a different, but no less potent path towards cultural significance. Odd thoughts for a Tuesday morning.

(This isn't a long post...just a link to a cool comic. I lost a big chunk of time browsing the Book of Random Bunny site. :-)

take care

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