Russian Subway Dogs - GIF dump #3!

Russian Subway Dogs - GIF dump #3!

It's time again for a big Russian Subway Dogs GIF dump, collecting progress animations from our twitter and giving them a bit more context. Lots of polish, new features, and funny bugs to check out!

We're also taking Russian Subway Dogs on tour this summer, hitting Devcom and Gamescom in Cologne, Germany as well as PAX West in Seattle, USA. More info at the bottom of the post!

If you're a journalist attending any of these events and want to preview the game and learn more about Russian Subway Dogs give us a shout

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Russian Subway Dogs - GIF dump #2!

Russian Subway Dogs - GIF dump #2!

We've been past due for another bunch of glorious Russian Subway Dogs progress GIFs!  But first some good news.

Russian Subway Dogs has received an OMDC (Ontario Media Development Corporation) grant to help with production costs! While it doesn't mean we have full funding for every aspect of the game it helps a lot and means we can safely continue working on our odd little doggo game full time! Can't express how grateful we are for this opportunity! 

Second we'll be showing Russian Subway Dogs at PAX East in Boston and a few events at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. If you're a journalist attending either event and want to preview the game and learn more about Russian Subway Dogs give us a shout

Now on to the GIFs,
WARNING: there are a lot of them so it may take some time to load!

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Russian Subway Dogs - This Month in GIFs - Post Kickstarter Catchup

Russian Subway Dogs - This Month in GIFs - Post Kickstarter Catchup

I've been posting progress on Russian Subway Dogs pretty regularly on twitter, but it can be hard to hunt them down if you miss them. I figure it'd be good to have them all in one place, so what I'm planning on doing is posting a big gallery round up of all the images approximately once a month.

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They Bleed Pixels now available in Japanese (and English) on Playism.

We're happy to announce that They Bleed Pixels is now available fully localized into Japanese and DRM free on Playism! 

Buy They Bleed Pixels on Playism
DRM Free + Steam Key (Win/Mac/Linux)

On sale $7.99 this week!


We've had this localized version in the works with the Playism folks for a while now, but have been waiting for the Crimson Update to be complete before going forward. I worked closely with Playism, picking appropriate Japanese fonts and altering layouts to work with them and I'm honestly quite proud of the results. I think we really managed to incorporate the translated text while preserving the original typography and design, which can be a tricky balance. 

It's been an interesting process. The Japanese character sets are very different from English. Not only are most words shorter but many characters are denser, more complex and have more curves and less straight lines then the roman character set. This creates a unique challenge given much of our text layout in They Bleed Pixels was built around a blocky pixel font and a thin flowing art nouveau script. 

The solution I decided on is a mix of finding a good blocky Japanese font with a similar weight and (where it's appropriate) leaving the original English in and incorporating the Japanese text as a design element. A trick I borrowed from some of the better visual localization I've seen in manga and anime translated in the other direction. I've included a bunch of screenshots from both versions of TBP in this post for comparison. 

Japanese media has been a major influence on my art so it's been really amazing to see the reaction from fans in Japan over the last few years, some of whom I've been lucky enough to meet in person at Tokyo Game Show and Comitia.  Not to mention the amazing fan art and let's play videos they've produced! I hope this localization encourages them to give it another play-through and introduces a whole new audience to the game. 

Big thanks to the fine folks at Playism for their work localizing the text and spotting all the places where we messed up entering it into the game! I also want to the thank the Japanese fan(s) who created the unofficial translation patch that this translation replaces. There was a long period where that was the only way to play the game in Japanese. I know there are many players who were introduced to They Bleed Pixels through their work. If you're reading this, hats off!

For English speaking players this Playism version is also the first version available completely DRM free with zero Steam integration. If that's important to you or you hate online leaderboards for some reason you can now buy this version and still get a Steam key with all the bells and whistles! 

Also this week the folks at We Love Fine dropped a new They Bleed Pixels shirt featuring art by graphic designer Charles Noard! You can pick it up in both unisex and women's fitted styles in a range of colours. 

Buy They Bleed Pixels Merch on WLF

Spooky Squid Welcomes Pixel Artist Alina Sechkin to the Team!

We're super happy to announce that pixel artist Alina Sechkin will be joining our team full time starting today!   An alumni of Toronto's DMG program, Alina Sechkin's pixel art appears in Will O’Neill's Actual Sunlight  and Necrosoft's upcoming game Oh, Deer! as well as at the DPAD2 game culture exhibition

She's helping out on our yet be announced next big game and will basically double our art output. Which means you can expect a whole bunch more pretty pixels in the new game!  °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

You can check out more of Alina's artwork on her Facebook art page!

More Low Bit Pixel Effects

More 1bit visual effects experiments. Messing specifically with healing status effects this time.  I did the three on the right first, trying different dissolves.  The one on the left takes my favourite dissolve and uses a quick stretch and squash intro to make it appear first.

The bottom image is a test with a sprite I had lying around. I added a single pixel drop shadow to the bottom of the effect and really like how it adds a bit of depth and volume without messing with the simple flatness of the effect.

1 Bit Pixel Effects

Some 1bit pixel art visual effect experiments from last night. Working on finding some good techniques that don’t rely on colour or shading to sell the effect. The bottom one is inspired by a hand drawn 2D lightning effect in this Kyary Pamyu Pamyu video.

Update: Added a pink smoke poof also inspired by the 2D animations in that Kyary Video.

Limited Edition They Bleed Pixels Prints by Charles Noard Now Available!

Remember the great They Bleed Pixels piece from the Indie Ape show in San Francisco? Well you now have a chance to own a copy! We’ve made arrangements with the artist to do a limited run of fifty signed and numbered prints*!

$15 (plus shiping) - 10”x10” digital print

It is limited to only 50 so grab one quick!

*Signed by the artist Charles Noard, not the developers.

Facts About Pixelated Blood

Pixel art animated blood is one of the most SATISFYING things to watch when its done correctly. They Bleed Pixels is an example of a game that does it like.. PERFECTLY.

Quick little story. The blood in They Bleed Pixels is a mix of Andrew’s carefully coded particle physics system and some hand animated splash effects I pixeled. We worked together to fine tune how each element of that system worked to get it looking just right.. or thought we had… except we messed up. The splash animations I drew don’t run properly in the current version. They’re far too slow and are possibly skipping frames.  This only became apparent to us when we got the blood up and running in the to be released rewrite and whatever obscure XNA bug was messing with them didn’t make it over. Suddenly the blood looked EVEN BETTER then before! Andrew has also raised the cap on the number of blood particles that can appear at one time before the engine starts culling them (previously 4000 particles), so along with all the other improvements in the next update expect even better looking blood effects!

Some Early Art for our Next Big Game

Spent yesterday working on some character art with comic artist Eric Kim. Here are some examples of the pencils he drew and my final pixel art drawn over them. These are all for a new thing we won’t be announcing for awhile yet.


Last night me and @spookysquid got to making some art! Here’s a compilation of last night’s collabs #games

Russian Subway Dogs at GDC!

I’m at GDC this week with a brand new build of our next commercial game, Russian Subway Dogs. You may have caught me tweeting about its development lately.

If you’re attending GDC and would like to play just tweet or email me and we can figure something out.


What’s this Russian Subway Dogs game all about?
It’s a single screen arcade game where you play as a stray dog wandering the subway, stealing food and competing for scraps against rival dogs. It’s inspired by the real life stray dogs who travel the Moscow Metro.

Wait I thought Russian Subway Dogs was a free jam game?
It was but this new version has a ton of improvements, new art and new content, including irritating poodles and the dreaded RUSSIAN SUBWAY BEARS!

What will it be released on?
We’re still figuring that out but likely various mobile platforms since that suits RSD’s high-score driven arcade gameplay and simple controls.

When will it be released?
When it’s done.

Are you working on anything bigger for PC or consoles? 
We have another They Bleed Pixels sized game in very early development. We’ll be making announcements about it later this year.

Is there a trailer or press pack?
Not yet. We’re still tweaking art and gameplay. We’ll have trailers screenshots and the rest ready when we announce release platform(s).

Logo Design for Interstellar Selfie Station

Interstellar Selfie Station is an 8-bit style photo app created by game designer Christine Love (with a physical photo booth created by Nadine Lessio), that takes photos and animated gifs in a variety of bright 2-bit color pallets.

It’s a really neat stylish piece of software so I was happy to create the logo and mascot for it. The version at the top is the final design but I thought I’d include some of the early work in progress variations as well.  Be sure to click on the images and view them undistorted. Tumbler murders pixel art.

"Interstellar Selfie Station isn’t cute, it’s bold. It’s Ziggy Stardust, not Kyary; it shops in the Shibuya 109, not Takeshita Street.” - Logo design feedback from Christine Love.

Photo: Miguel Sternberg and They Bleed Pixels’ musician
DJ Finish Him (Shaun Hatton)

Live Pixel Painting at Toronto Long Winter with En Masse Tomorrow!

I’ll be painting (pixel art) with the En Masse collaborative art project tomorrow (Dec 13th, 2013) at Toronto Long Winter music and culture festival. If you’re in and around Toronto come out, catch some great music and watch me draw!  I won’t be the only game related person at the show, DrinkBox Studios have curated a bunch of indie games to play and I Am Robot and Proud from Sound Shapes will be performing live. Should be an awesome night.

This is actually the second time I’m drawing with En Masse.  The first was at Design Festa Gallery in Harajuku, Tokyo where I drew the 2-bit Clawed Girl you see in the photos above.  I had an amazing time, and it was one of the highlights of my 2012 Japan trip.

Want extra incentive? There’s a good chance I’ll be drawing something related to our next, as yet unannounced game tomorrow night!

Photo credits: Rupert Bottenberg, Jurie Manzarkowski

Poster For Game Jam Documentary

Game Jam Documentary is a film being created by our friend Troy Morrissey who did much of the sound design work on They Bleed Pixels (under an insane deadline (Sorry Troy!)).  GJD is pretty much what the title implies: a documentary on game jam’s and jam culture.  You can read more about it here:

When they launched an indiegogo campaign early in the films development they asked me to create a pixel art poster they could give out as a backer reward. I agreed thinking I’d have plenty of time to get it done after They Bleed Pixels dropped. I WAS SO WRONG!  The poster took A LOT longer to finish up then either of us expected, and it is totally my fault it’s late (sorry backers!). But it’s finally done! Troy will be printing ‘em up soon and sending them out to backers.

One subtle thing you might not catch is that each of the jammers has some sort of alter ego in the cloud of game sprites hovering above them. Some are obvious others are more subtle.

Love Love Hill Sketch of Toronto Indie Games

Artist Dirchansky from the excellent Love Love Hill comics collective just posted this awesome sketch featuring They Bleed Pixels alongside fellow Toronto indie games Home and Analogue: A Hate Story (links below if you don’t know about them)

We were all part of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival’s trip to take part in the Kaigai Manga Festa in Tokyo last year. I really should get around to posting some TBP related pictures of that trip because it was pretty amazing.


Coolios Toronto indie game developers~ check their games out !!
Spooky Squid Games’s They Bleed Pixels
Christine Love’s Analogue: a Hate Story
Benjamin River’s Home

They Bleed Pixels Steam Trading Cards released!

So I had a lot of fun putting these together. A good chunk of the art is new and there’s some brand new story nuggets for fans who want more info on the world of They Bleed Pixels. Hope you all enjoy them!

If you don’t have They Bleed Pixels yet Amazon has it at a 66% discount with 3 free games as a bonus or you can get it at full price direct from Steam.

If you aren’t familiar with the whole Steam Trading Card thing here’s the info on how it all works.

Official Steam Avatars for They Bleed Pixels

I’ve spent the last few days putting together a Steam trading card set for They Bleed Pixels (more on that soon, when they launch!) and stumbled onto the tab that let’s me add official game avatars to Steam. Yes we really should have had these months ago when the game launched. I’m the first to admit I’m kinda clueless as to what’s available on the Steam community side of things. But better late then never!

So here are the five avatars which include some new artwork created for the Steam trading cards along with some older art from the game.  You can add them to your steam profile here. I may add a few more in the future.

We are of course 100% cool with folks downloading these and using them for other services, twitter etc…

Amazing Japanese They Bleed Pixels Fan Video!

Just found this amazing fan video of our game They Bleed Pixels today. Since Nico Nico is weird about sharing video links I figure this would be a good first post for our new (and still default skinned) Spooky Squid Games tumblr!

The two girls in the video decide that all the blood is strawberry jam. If you listen carefully you can hear them yelling “jamu-jamu” and “ichigo jam” during particularly bloody moments. Also keep an eye out for when one of them gets cursed with TBP claws!

The video starts with a really impressive parody of the game’s opening cutscene. Among other changes the protagonist is switched out and the statues have all been replaced with various indie game characters. I recognize Gaijin Game’s Commander Video and the little critters from Spirits by Spaces of Play. Anyone know what the third statue is from?

if you haven’t picked it up yet They Bleed Pixels is 66% off this week on Steam!

Nuit Blanche Arcadian Renaissance

We recently had Nuit Blanche 2010 in Toronto, an all night event where the city is filled with all sorts of art, from gallery shows to huge building sized interactive installations. This year it also had an arcade thanks to The Hand Eye Society. Our game Cephalopods: Co-op Cottage Defence was one of the indie games exhibited.

There were six cabinets in all, each running an indie game made in part or in whole by people in and around Toronto.  Unfortunately the Osmos cabinet, a modified original Torontron, gave up the ghost and had to be reverted to it's standard set of games.


Cephalopods: Co-op Cottage Defence got a new arcade specific build, and (finally) a proper title screen.  I'm still doing some tweaks before I put the home version up on the Spooky Squid website, but the old version is still available for play.

A full shot of the cabinet complete with back lit marquee.

The arcade took place in an amazing space at the brand new TIFF Bell Lightbox Building.  The Lightbox was designed for film festivals which means we also had access to a huge projector...

...which was used for rounds of Everyday Shooter, Cephalopods: Co-op Cottage Defence, and a midnight Nidhogg tournament!

The award winning Nidhogg was our international guest game for the event. You can really see the size of the screen here.

Several of the cabinets will now be loaded up with multiple games and distributed around the city. Each cabinet is set up for different control schemes.  Shown here the 'one button' cabinet playing Silent Skies!

Mark Rabo from Gamercamp put together a great video of the event:

And the TIFF folks produced this one with an awesome packman soundtrack:

This was put together thanks to a huge number of volunteers and several generous sponsors.  Full list of games and everyone involved is posted on the Hand Eye Society Website.

START show and The Indie Showcase

If you've been following our twitter feed you know this has been the year of indie game events here in Toronto, the Hand Eye Society has ended up being wildly more successful then any of us expected and there have been a ton of side projects and events spawned by it. If you're in Toronto two events are coming up in the next few days that are well worth attending:


Tomorrow night (Oct 16)  is the gala event for START a celebration of independent games at the Ontario Collage of Art and Design. They've been showing a huge number of independent games from around the world all week in a great space on big projected screens.   We probably won't be there due to being in the last week of grant writing hell (Canada's grants are awesome. Writing hundred plus page submissions, not so much) but a new build of Cephalopod's Co-op Cottage Defense will be there and projected huge!  The space they have is amazing and it's well worth checking out even if you miss the gala.

As part of START the folks at Gamercamp put together this great trailer on the local indie scene.

It's part of a bigger project they're working on. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they make from all the interviews they've been doing.

The Indie Showcase

On Saturday (Oct 18) my friend Alex from Golden Gear Games is holding the Indie Showcase with live music, presentations from local indie developers, more games to play and, weather permitting, games projected outside on a 40 foot wall! Info on the event here.  We will not be attending, again due to what will by then be a full blown grantpocalypse .  However Night Balloonists and Cephalopod's Co-op Cottage Defense will be playable.

More events coming soon (and eventually more development vids I freaking promise!).