WIP Wednesday: April 19, 2023

WIP WednesdayWIP WednesdayWIP WednesdayApril 19, 2023April 19, 2023April 19, 2023

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Hey everyone, I’m here for a Work-In-Progress Wednesday to show off what I’ve been working on! Another big post this week, chock full of awesome stuff!

Effects Pack 3

Continuing the Super Pixel Effects Pack series, next up is pack 3! For this pack, I’m doing some of my smoothest animation yet.

Some effect types are returning, like this juicy splatter…

…And some effect types are all-new, like this warp animation and bite animation!

I can’t wait to do the rest, they’re quite fun. Effects Pack 3 will be releasing on April 28, so stay tuned!

By the way, I was wondering- What do you guys think about a pack of just explosions? I’d like to do a bunch of different kinds, like electrical explosions, multi-explosions, explosions with shockwaves, and so on. Let me know what kind of explosions you’d like to see!

MetaMaker 2.0

In the last WIP Wednesday, I showed off some of my old workflow for making “meta images” for my asset store pages and why I’m writing a program to improve it.

For reference, this is the type of image I’d like the program to be able to create:

Without futher ado, here are a couple progress pics of the app!

Above: Project settings and showing off split-screen, which works naturally since this is based off SparkBolt Studio

Above: A view of the whole program window

The background for each image is now generated, and the title can be changed and its color adjusted easily. New as of this morning is the description text overlay!

Compared to the sample meta image from Skill Icons Pack 3, you might notice some differences. I haven’t put in a glow effect on the title this time, because some of these images need to be exported as GIFs and the glow bumps up the color count too much to be worth it. I might experiment with a stair-step type of glow or maybe a simple drop shadow later, but for now we’re going without it.

The description text background is also slightly different for the same reason- The original background was semitransparent and looked really nice, but actually you can only barely notice the semitransparency and it also bumps up the color count for GIFs.

Too many colors in the GIF leads to unwanted flickering in some of my images at best, and incorrect colors on my art at worst. I do have a method of “stuffing” the palette with the colors used in my art to try and prevent it from replacing those colors, but it’s not perfect.

As I’m working on it, I’m also improving what I can in my engine code and fixing bugs in the editor framework. That means improvements can also be felt in SparkBolt Studio, my main coding project! (If you haven’t heard about it, it’s a work-in-progress tileset/sprite/level editor.)

It all might seem a little much for such a specific program, but it’s really a test of my game engine and a place for experimentation. For example- Thanks to MetaMaker, I’m really seeing the value of having the asset library along the bottom of the screen, while the scene library remains on the left. Being able to drag/drop into the scene feels really nice, and having the visual representation of what I’m adding feels even better.

Above: Showing off drag/drop and Blender-like controls for interacting with placed objects

This is one improvement that’s definitely going to be going in SparkBolt Studio too! Having a panel on the bottom means it’ll also be a good spot to add an animation timeline tab, which SparkBolt needs.


On Saturday I visited VGM Con, a local videogame music convention. In the pre-pandemic past, I used to go as an exhibitor and show off my game Atmocopter. It’s a really good place to get some playtesting done!

This year I went just as a normal attendee, but also to check in on Veridian Expanse, a game I’m doing pixel art for! Here’s Veridian Expanse developer Scott Lembcke of Howling Moon Software posing with the game setup.

The game is turning out very nice so far! It’s a dual-stick style game where you control a spaceship and explore an asteroid. You can scan materials and collect them, and construct your power grid to expand your reach throughout the asteroid. Of course, there are creatures to blast, and I even got to fight the first boss when I visited at VGM Con!

If you’re interested in learning more in depth, check out this presentation on the game. Otherwise, you can find Veridian Expanse on Steam here!

Finishing up

The last thing I’ve got to report is that I replaced my CPU cooler in my work computer over the weekend. It had been making a rattling noise, and then wouldn’t you know it- The night before I was going to replace it, it finally crapped out and the CPU overheated while I was watching a Youtube video. Anyway, I’ve switched to air cooling now and it works great… And it’s totally quiet! Woohoo!

Above: Me and the unruly beast. And yes, I am a weekend legend.

That’s pretty much all for the past week. I don’t usually have such long WIP posts but it’s nice to have a lot to say! Thanks for reading and thank you for your support. I can’t wait to do really amazing art and programming this summer- That’s when things always seem to kick into high gear!

See you soon with more awesome stuff!

– Will