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Exciting news for Milo!
3D Modeling / September 20th, 2019 12:22 pm




We're thrilled to announce we've received a MegaGrant from Epic Games for Milo, our Unreal Engine-based companion to Silo which we envision as a realtime renderer, modeler, and much more. Milo was already under active development in the background, but this grant makes a huge difference; it will allow us to take several months and really focus on experimenting and exploring the possibilities.

 

We're excited. Epic's Unreal Engine offers a ton of potential new avenues to explore, beyond the rendering capabilities we're already taking advantage of. We're asking the same questions we had when first developing Silo: how can we as a small team make something new and innovative that's also practical and genuinely useful for artists working today? (For example: we're intrigued by Unreal's VR capabilities, but can we make something non-gimmicky that you'd want to use day in and day out?)

 

Please keep in mind that some of what we show in the coming months will be experimental. But the end result should be a more exciting and interesting product than we could afford to develop otherwise.

 

Our progress so far has given us both a solid base to work from and a crash course in the inner workings of the Unreal Engine, which we'd never used before. So far, so good! But we've got a lot to learn. We're excited to share our progress with you along the way.

 

-John

Update on Silo+Milo: PBR materials support
3D Modeling / September 5th, 2019 3:18 pm


We've been making some good progress lately on Milo, our experimental Unreal-based companion to Silo which we envision as a realtime renderer and possibly much more.

 

We've already shown a base version of Milo up and running using Unreal, including basic scene navigation and UI. (I'm trying to be better about blogging, but if you've missed updates so far on Silo/Milo, the best place to get realtime info is our social media: Facebook and Twitter.) This includes a lot of custom code to allow for shape generation and potential modification directly inside Milo, as well as generating models from loaded files. It also can export quick turntable renders to gif at the press of a button, which is handy for sharing your work online.

 

As the next step, we've added experimental PBR (physically based rendering) multimaterial setup tools in Silo. Those of you who have used Unreal or Unity will recognize the PBR material workflow. These materials besides diffuse are not rendered in Silo, but are rendered in realtime in Milo. We've set up a bridge between the two apps using modified FBX (though we're keeping an eye on PBR-native formats such as Pixar's USD; currently FBX can't export PBR to third party applications.) These developments are good for both apps: more robust FBX and materials support is a natural next step for Silo, and it's a lot of fun to be able to see the results in realtime in Milo.

 


Here's an example model with diffuse, specular, displacement, emissive, normal, and bump maps applied, along with values set for metallic and roughness, in a modified version of Silo. Milo auto-updates from the model whenever you save it in Silo.

 

So far we've focused on establishing a strong base for Milo, but we're also hoping to get a little more experimental with its future and features in the coming months. Unreal offers some intriguing possibilities. We've recently had some good news in that regard, and we'll share it with you as soon as we can!

 

-John

Pixelmash 1.2 is Released! FREE update for current users!
News & Announcements / June 26th, 2019 4:02 am
Pixelmash 1.2.00 Screenshot

Dear Friends of Pixelmash,

Great news! Pixelmash v1.2.00 is LIVE and ready for you to download.

The update is FREE for all current Pixelmash license holders. Get the update wherever you purchased Pixelmash originally: via the Mac App Store, Steam, or the Nevercenter website. Additionally, the trial period has been reset for those who have not yet purchased.

Here are some of the new things you'll find:
  • Added tools to draw rectangles and circles
  • Holding Shift while rotating in the transform tool snaps to 15 degree rotation increments
  • In all brush tools, holding Shift while in line-drawing mode (accessed via right click) snaps to horizontal, vertical, and 45-degree lines
  • New custom dither pattern option in dither effect
  • New option to position dither patterns relative to layer position
  • New outline-only option in outline effect
  • Improved speed, particularly on retina displays
  • Dragging in image files now prompts for import or open as new document
  • Now use Alt+Shift (rather than just Shift) to temporarily enter erase mode in brush tools
  • Hi-dpi support has been added for Windows OS
  • Other bug fixes

Enjoy! As always, we love to hear from you--send us an email to [email protected], or reach out via Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Let us know if you find a bug we can squash, if you have a great idea to add, or show us what you are creating!
Best,
Nevercenter


Announcing Pixelmash Ghouls, a game project made entirely with Pixelmash art
Pixel Art / May 28th, 2019 6:44 pm


We've decided to start up a fun game project to work on as we develop Pixelmash (nevercenter.com/pixelmash), our pixel art/animation tool. Pixelmash Ghouls is a simple side-scrolling game, inspired by one of our favorite series of the retro era. All the art assets for Ghouls will be made in Pixelmash, and we'll release all the asset files for anyone to play with and modify, and submit their own art if they desire. At the moment we're not aiming to make a full releasable game; our main goal is to develop and refine Pixelmash (and to help get the word out about it). We find that working on a real project brings out all sorts of ideas to make the tool better. Project updates may be a little irregular as this is not our primary focus, but we'll be sure to post new assets as they become available.

Let me emphasize something here: WE ARE NOT ARTISTS. We're developers, so our art may be a little on the programmer-y side. But that's also part of the point: we have a lot of fun using Pixelmash, and we think others of all skill levels will too.

As you can see in the video above, we've already made some good progress. We've created a simple platformer in Unity with some custom physics in order to easily run our character around on curved surfaces (getting the movement right while standing on the turtle was trickier than it looks), with jumping and double-jumps. We've got in some projectiles which aren't shown yet. We've added a few key animated art assets made in Pixelmash, and for the moment we've made it so levels loop indefinitely.

We'll start posting assets, dev updates, and maybe a playable build soon!

Again, we're not intending this to be a full released game, just a fun side project for people to play with. If you want to follow along or contribute, you can subscribe/follow in all the usual places.

Facebook: facebook.com/nevercenter
Twitter: twitter.com/nevercenter
YouTube: youtube.com/nevercenter
Newsletter: nevercenter.com/pixelmash/#newsletter

-John
This Week at Nevercenter
This Week at Nevercenter / May 10th, 2019 12:08 pm
Thought we'd put a post here to keep you all updated. :) We've been working on some fun things!

1) Experimenting with modeling/rendering uses for Unreal Engine
2) Working on custom dithering patterns in Pixelmash: https://youtu.be/e50f-isTgw8
3) Making a free, fun collaborative side-scrolling pixel art game project in Unity (using Pixelmash assets) that we’ll make public soon!
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