Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rust and Escape The House: Preproduction Work

A few weeks ago I had an idea for a video game, called "Escape The House".
I decided it would be a trippy combination of Homestuck and point and click adventure games.
"Escape The House" featured a protagonist attempting to leave the house, pictured below, through any means possible.
Options for escape included, sitting in the oven, breaking through the door and being teleported into another dimension through the TV.

I'm still working on "Escape The House" project, however it evolved and changed into a different project, which I now call "Rust".
"Rust" retains the features of a point and click adventure game, but add light elements of a horror and suspense instead of "Escape The House"'s bright visual style and light humor.
"Rust" features a isometric style of art as well as a minimalistic approach to colors, utilizing only black and white.
The main objective of the game is to help the nameless protagonist find his way through the barren, seemingly abandoned, industrial complex where he is trapped.
I have selected Morgan Craft's "The Silver Bullet" album as the score to the game, which should add to the suspenseful, ambient feeling of the game.
(It's creative commons, so you can download for free when you follow the link.)

These are three of my drafts of the game, to show the minimalist feel of the game, as well as the protagonist.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

First Gameboy Paint Job

Today is the big day, my two week-long project has finally reached completion, I have successfully painted a Gameboy color.

It was quite a task for me, it involved three different layers of painting.

I started with just a regular kiwi green Gameboy, however it was lacking a battery cover.

The first layer was just a base coat of white; so I just taped off the screen, front and back, as well as the battery contacts on the back shell of the Gameboy.

The painting went pretty well, I used Testors spray enamel model paint, the paint adhered nicely to the plastic shell of the Gameboy.

Now I taped off designs on the front and back of the Gameboy.

I went with a two stripe design on the top plate, and a jagged "tiger stripe" design on the bottom.

For the blue design I used three light coats of paint, in succession, this seemed to be a pretty effective painting strategy.
It produced a relatively even finish, and applied well to the plastic surface.

The final Gameboy turned out pretty sweet.

Hopefully in the coming weeks I can refine my technique and create a red colored counterpart.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

How to Disassemble A Gameboy Advance

Ever wondered how to take apart your Gameboy advance?
Well look no further, this tutorial will take you through the process step by step.

To get started, you will need the following:
One Triwing (tri-prong) screwdriver.
I purchased mine from http://myworld.ebay.com/knightdiscounts/, but you can get them from many places across the web.

One small Phillips "jeweling" screwdriver.
This came bundled with the Triwing screwdriver I bought on ebay, but again you can purchase them else where on the web.

A small container
You will need this to keep from losing your screws.

Now, flip your Gameboy Advance over, so the screen is facing down.

After you have flipped your Gameboy over, you're going to want to find the screws located here:

To loosen the screws press in a downward fashion with your Triwing screwdriver, and then twist to the left.
Be sure to not let your screwdriver slip, as this can cause damage to both the screw and the screwdriver itself.
Also note that the small black screw in the lower portion of the battery case is NOT a Triwing, it is a Phillips screw type.

When you have removed all the screws, lift the back plate off the Gameboy.
What you have should look like this:

Next you should remove the screws located here:

These screws are Phillips so be sure and use your Phillips screwdriver on them.

After removing the screws, find the "gold ribbon" at the top of the Gameboy.
When you have located it, find the two small, gray, levers on either side of the "ribbon".
The should be in the "locked" down position, gently press them to the "up" position by pushing away from the center of the Gameboy.
After moving the levers into the "unlocked" position, softly grab the gold ribbon on its sides with your index finger and thumb.
Now slowly tug "up" away from the center of the Gameboy.
The ribbon should just slide out of the lock.
When you are done, just set the CPU board to the side.

You may now lift the L and R buttons and "sides" out of their positions in the Gameboy.
You can also just slip the rubber contacts off of their holders and remove the buttons at this point.

Congratulations, you have successfully disassembled a Nintendo Gameboy Advance.

Here is a brief check list for putting your Gameboy back together:
Make sure L, R, A, B buttons, as well as the control pad, all fit in their place properly.
Check that rubber contacts are all gently resting on top of the buttons and in their correct positions.
Check to make sure the screws on the CPU board all are in the correct hole.
Make sure that the on-off lever is in the "off position, and that the external button for it is resting over the lever.
Ensure that "gold ribbon" is securely in place and that levers are in the "locked position".
Check if the Phillips screw in the lower segment of the battery case is, in fact, a Phillips, and not a Triwing.
Test if all screws are securely in place.
Finally, plug in some batteries, and a copy of your favorite Gameboy Advance game; give it a test run, to make sure it is functioning properly.

Garage Sales!

It has been a little busy since I last posted, but rest assured I still have been toiling away with my projects for STP.
I have recently procured several bits of 8-bit paraphernalia by attending my local garage sales.
To start with, I managed to find two perfectly good gameboy colors; sadly though, they are both missing the back covers.
There was also a gameboy carrying case which I snapped up.

Another grand find were two more carrying cases.

Finally I found a NES system, but it is missing its power supply chord, so I can't use it right now.
But that doesn't mean I can't do a little refurbishing regardless.
It also came with a "NES max" controller, which seems to be in pretty good condition.

I should note that all of this cost less than 10 dollars.

That wraps things up for now.


Monday, June 28, 2010

How do I disassemble my Gameboy Color?

This is a question I found myself asking not to long ago;I looked around the web a little, but I didn't find any really easy, beginner level tutorials.
So, I have decided to put a short step-by-step tutorial together.

Here is a list of what you'll need to get started:
One Triwing (tri-prong) screwdriver.
I purchased mine from http://myworld.ebay.com/knightdiscounts/, but you can get them from many places across the web.

One small phillips "jeweling" screwdriver.
This came bundled with the triwing screwdriver I bought on ebay, but again you can purchase them else where on the web.

A small container
You will need this to keep from losing your screws.

First you're going to flip your Gameboy over, so it is on its front, and remove the battery cover.

Now, if you look at your Gameboy, you will see there are six screws holding it in place.
2 towards the top, two on each side of the middle, and two inside the lower portion of the battery case.

Start removing the screws by gently applying pressure downward and to the left, using your triwing screwdriver.
I should mention that you should be careful about stripping out the screws, you don't want to have this happen because then it's a real pain to get the screws out.

Once you have removed all the screws you can gently lift the back case off revealing the electronic innards of the Gameboy.

From here, if you look at the lower half of the Gameboy, there should be three phillips screws, holding the main circuit board in place.
Go ahead and remove these three screws.
Also remove the on-off switch at this stage, it should just fall right out of its notch.

Now look at the top of the Gameboy, you should see a little gold ribbon that connects to the board through a white plastic piece.
On each side of this white piece there should be a little gray lever, gently push the levers up, away from the middle of the Gameboy, and they should just click their secondary, unlocked, position.
Carefully tug on the gold ribbon, by pulling outward; it should pull out with little restraint.

You can now remove the main circuit board and place it to the side.
There should now be three rubber pieces visible, remove these by softly tugging them upward.
This should reveal the buttons of your Gameboy.

Congratulations, you have now successfully dismantled your Gameboy.

Now, here is a quick list to follow when reassembling your Gameboy.
1. Replace all of the buttons and rubber contacts as they were.
2. Place the main board back on top of the buttons. (Note, it should slide right into place, no need to force it to fit.)
3. Slide the gold ribbon back into place inside the white plastic piece.
4. With the ribbon in place, slide the levers into the lower, locked position.
5. Put the on-off switch back into its notch, so the two prongs facing inward go over the switch on the main board.
6. Replace the three screws into the lower half of the board.
7. Put the back cover on, so it fits over the front half of the case.
8. Screw in the six triwing screws.
9. Place a set of batteries and a cartridge into the Gameboy and give it a test run to make sure everything works.

If you have problems with... it may be because....

Batteries keep popping out - Check to make sure the two screws in the battery case are fully tightened, and at their lowest point.

Screen issues - Check the gold ribbon, as this is the connection between the Gameboy's board and the screen.

Buttons won't work - Check the rubber contacts between the plastic buttons and the main board.

Problems with on-off button - Check the little piece next to the board, and make sure the two prongs are fitted over the white plastic lever extending off the board.

Thanks for reading, if you have questions or problems leave a comment, or email me at Stopthatpixel@gmail.com.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What is Stop That Pixel about?

Well, I am sure that there are people wondering exactly what Stop That Pixel is, does, and will do in the future, allow me to clear this up.

Stop That Pixel is a project that will allow me to share my art projects to a broad group of people.

These projects will consist of tutorials, pixel art, digital art and Gameboy mods.

I am most excited to finally be starting a project like this, and I hope that my art can educate and inspire others to do similar things.


S. T.

Inventory of coming projects

Well, I suppose I should talk a little bit about projects in the near future.
In terms of pixel art, I am trying to get up some gumption and either complete my beach piece, or move on to some isometric buildings.

On the 8-bit gameboy modding side of things, I am currently in possession of a spare gameboy advance, and sometime in the near future I'm going to try and give it a new paint job.
It looks like the back-lighting I have been wanting to do, on some old gameboy colors I have, is going to have to wait until I can procure a spare GBA SP, so I can just take the backlight panel from that.

So this coming week you can probably expect some pictures, musings, and general adjustment to blogging.