A way of linking the historical styles of clothing and armour that games designers use as inspiration back to museums and galleries that feature examples.
Digitise key pieces of armour, cloaks, hats, other clothing and weapons from a museum collection, and make them in to in-game character add-ons. Either as purely decorative items, or in collaboration with a games company give items in-game effects. Players collect armour by visiting the painting or display cabinet in which it is on display. They could download from a particular museum wifi access point, or scan a 2D barcode. It is possible to update the barcodes daily or even hourly to limit easy sharing beyond the gallery, and rely on finite inventory space in-game to prevent stockpiling of all the museum’s artefacts in one visit.
The digitisation process could be by traditional game asset artists, digital ironsmiths crafting digital versions of exhibits as part of the museum display, or even as day long workshops with groups of visitors. Model might be recreated from scratch, or made by cleaning up 3D scan data.
The Passive Multiplayer Online Game (later called NetherNet) did a good job of digitising experience points and merit badges via a firefox plugin for general web browsing. I’d like a something that would work for education across more than one web platform for tracking exercises and tasks completed. I imagine a list of tasks, and ’embed’ code for each task, that could be added to work while it is being created and act as a call back to the system to update what had been completed in someone’s todo list.
A tutor log-in or peer voting layer would allow for feedback and confirmation of completion to be added within whatever page the badge was embedded. A QR-code generator could allow badges to be added to physical work, again to allow comments to be added directly.
Anything like this exist?
- Use pentacom’s BitFontMaker to create some pixel letter forms. Test the letters and, if you want, save the resulting ‘truetype font’ for use in photoshop/word/etc..
- Use the Super Mario flash level editor to create a tiled platform environment. It could be a playable game or an experiment with retro aesthetics.
Document this challenge
A blog post. Include your level game code so that others can try your level.
Taking it further
- Go back to BitFontMaker and try making a complete pixel font with lower and upper case letters and punctuation. The more complete your font, the more useful it will be to you and other people.
- Have a look at some of the ‘self-playing’ Super Mario levels fans have made. Can you make a level that is predominantly a form of entertainment like a comedy or music video, rather than a playable game.
- Look at Cal Henderson’s guide to making a full pixel font using dedicated software. Fontforge is the free, opensource font creation package. Make your own font.
Pixels now feel ‘retro’ and ‘digital’ when used in graphics design. This is because for a while small numbers of pixels and colour choices is all people had to make game graphics and computer typography. Now that these constraints are no longer necessary, pixel design is just another stylistic choice that you can make when looking for inspiration. Some examples of pixel art being used creatively in a modern context include the work of the eboy collective and Craig Robinson’s MiniPops on FlipFlopFlyin.
Pixel font design started out as a way to try and best replicate traditional printed type on screen. Over time, typographers have continued to explore how much style and readability can be conveyed with as few pixels as possible.
Most platform games were built at a time when game ‘roms’ could only store a small number of pixel sprites. To get round this, they built complex levels by repeating a small number of functional tiles.
Game engines can be used for aesthetic experiments and as an art form. Cory Arcangel’s Super Mario Clouds is a good example of this – a hacked mario game cartridge with all of the sprites removed apart from the clouds.