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Month: March 2020

A Pixel Art Doodle on a 35 Year Old Graphics Machine

A Pixel Art Doodle on a 35 Year Old Graphics Machine

I am now into the second week of teleworking (I prefer “working from home”) in response to the pandemic sweeping the world, presently. As such, when work winds down I try to find something to engage in down in the basement Byte Cellar (so named due to the associated blog).

Yesterday, after work, I decided to fire up my Amiga 1000, which I often use for BBSing these days, and started to play around a bit in Deluxe Paint III. I spent hundreds of hours drawing pixel art in DPaint III in the late ’80s, and an initial scribble turned into a couple of hours of working on a No Man’s Sky space theme piece. I posted it to Reddit and it was rather well received, so I thought I would share it here. It’s certainly not my strongest work (well, “strong” isn’t the word for anything I’ve done in this arena, to be sure) but it’s the first thing I’ve drawn on the Amiga in many years.

Closeup of Amiga 1000 screen showing No Man's Sky pixel art drawing

I did an earlier No Man’s Sky thing on this Amiga a year or so ago and it also was well received. Sean liked it, at any rate. 🙂

The Keyboard With “No Man’s Sky” on Its Mind

The Keyboard With “No Man’s Sky” on Its Mind

I started playing No Man’s Sky on launch day on the PS4, and a few weeks later I decided to build a gaming PC in order to play at a higher resolution and framerate. Among the parts I ordered for the build was a Corsair keyboard with Cherry MX Red linear keyswitches. Cherry Reds are ideal for gaming, but make any sort of actual typing a rather unpleasant affair. For quite a while I had been wanting to switch over to a board with a somewhat more tactile feel.

The other day, I ran across a reddit post showing a keyboard with an uncommon feature: a small OLED display. The display works in conjunction with driver software to provide status information from supported apps, but it also can be used to display a static image or animated GIF*. The user that made the post is an Elite:Dangerous fan and showed an animated GIF of the wireframe Cobra Mark III ship from the 1984 original Elite on his keyboard display. I quickly realized it would be fun to use that display for some sort of No Man’s Sky image or animation. So, I finally replaced the PC’s keyboard with a Steelseries Apex 7 TKL board with Brown switches, providing a subtle tactile feel. (I am something of a keyboard hound, actually.)

The new keyboard has quite a nice feel and its little 128×40-pixel OLED display is a fun little feature.

After the board arrived, I sat down and made a little pixel-art No Man’s Sky-inspired scrolling GIF and loaded it onto the keyboard. It’s definitely fun to glance down from the screen and see my ever-scrolling homage to the game, there on the board’s little display. I’ll soon put a few other graphics together for the display, in time, to add to what’s already out there.

I felt readers might enjoy this little exercise.

* GIF is pronounced with a soft “g”.

I’ve Seen Things…In the Living Ship Universe

I’ve Seen Things…In the Living Ship Universe

Since the Living Ship update landed a few weeks back, new living ships and the pulse-driving space encounters have been the hot topic in the No Man’s Sky community. As mentioned in my last post, I eagerly ran through the Starbirth mission and successfully hatched my own living ship. Since then, I’ve spent most of my in-game time warping through a great many different systems, exploring what’s out there in the way of space encounters, and upgrading my living ships as opportunity has permitted.

That’s “ships,” plural; after a few days I decided I wanted to seek out a living ship of a different design, so I purchased a second Void Egg from the Quicksilver merchant and, upon pulsing out of the Anomaly, was contacted by the alien Host who sent me coordinates to a spot on the surface of one of the system’s planets. Upon landing, I found my new living ship gently quivering at its crash site, waiting for me. (The entire Starbirth mission does not repeat when a new Void Egg is acquired, happily).

I passed up the first few ships presented to me, but in just the third or fourth, I found real keeper with which I am very pleased. I have been upgrading it and exploring with it, seeking out new, as yet unseen, phenomenon waiting to be discovered.

Some of these moments of discovery I have put together in a short video, presented here. But be warned — it will be a spoiler if you’ve not yet experienced some of the strange encounters shown within (and I’ve certainly not yet seen all that’s out there to be found in this update).

It’s an eerie place out there, travellers…