Slixed: Online Commodore 64 graphics editor

Chip Hageman's picture

Introducing Slixed: An online drawing program which allows you to create Commodore 64-esque pictures with the C64's glorious 16 color palette. You can choose to create a new drawing from scratch, or load an image (in JPEG, GIF or PNG formats) which can then be edited in either hires or multi-color modes. Once you have an image worthy of hanging in the Louvre, you can save it off in PNG format for posterity or for later editing.

The program is currently in alpha, but it's certainly quite usable. One can only imagine what great features may be coming down the pike: Saving and loading in native C64 formats.. editing the various interlaced (high color) formats.. exporting images to assembly includes (for coders).. the skies the limit.

Just one more great cross platform tool to help modern C64 developers create new games, demos and art.

Check it out here.

Comments

clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
I'm still amazed at what

I'm still amazed at what could be done with such limited resources. At one time (when the c-64 was king) you marveled at how great stuff looked.. then pixels got smaller, art got photo relistic and people lost grasp of what it took to make something awsome with the tools they had back then. A picture is just tiny dots of color.. making a picture with BIG dots .. that takes some skill. I'm almost tempted to get an awsome 8bit picture and BLOW it up to poster size so the BLOCKS are really prevalant and show ... it really is ART in my eyes..

Chip Hageman
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Joined: 10/06/2010
Pixel Art
clok1966 wrote:

then pixels got smaller, art got photo relistic and people lost grasp of what it took to make something awsome with the tools they had back then.

I agree with you 100%.. I really mourned the loss of pixel art. Around 1995, when the PlayStation became prevalent, people churned out some really horrid computer rendered 3D graphics and heralded it as the great new thing. Which is probably one of the reasons I strongly favored the Sega Saturn over the Sony PlayStation... some great 2D sprite action on that machine.

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I like pixel art for the same

I like pixel art for the same reason I like chiptunes--it's people using the computer itself as the instrument or paintbrush. Now they just slavishly try to copy movies or cartoons. Once they were able to easily and economically digitize, a lot of the creativity was lost. Now you're playing a game and the music sounds identical to a movie soundtrack. Pretty soon the graphics will be indistinguishable from real actors...Some consider that a huge leap forward, and I think it's important that we reach that level, but it's not the ultimate goal.

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Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Analogy
Matt Barton wrote:

I like pixel art for the same reason I like chiptunes--it's people using the computer itself as the instrument or paintbrush. Now they just slavishly try to copy movies or cartoons. Once they were able to easily and economically digitize, a lot of the creativity was lost. Now you're playing a game and the music sounds identical to a movie soundtrack. Pretty soon the graphics will be indistinguishable from real actors...Some consider that a huge leap forward, and I think it's important that we reach that level, but it's not the ultimate goal.

I've said this before, but I think it's worth it to say it again... One could make the case that just like the availability of photography freed painters from having to create realistic artwork, which generated more abstract work and styles, it's arguable that once we achieve digital reality, it too will free our designers to explore more abstract visuals (and even concepts).

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Already happened
Bill Loguidice wrote:

I've said this before, but I think it's worth it to say it again... One could make the case that just like the availability of photography freed painters from having to create realistic artwork, which generated more abstract work and styles, it's arguable that once we achieve digital reality, it too will free our designers to explore more abstract visuals (and even concepts).

Unfortunately, it also pushed it out of the mainstream. How many successful painters can you name working today? :)

I was thinking that perhaps that 3D modeling technology is the equivalent of photography. That could explain why pixel art is really only of interest to guys like us who are familiar with it and find it a pleasant contrast to the mainstream. There's still a LONG ways to go with 3D animation, especially concerning realistically moving human bodies, but it's clear that it is the future as far as the industry is concerned. It's also replaced hand drawn cartoons with Pixar.

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Rowdy Rob
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Joined: 09/04/2006
It was impressive because of the boundaries.

I think a lot of the nostalgia over pixel art, computer music, amazing graphics and such was the "wow" factor of it all at the time! Is the enjoyment we had because it was just good art, or is it the fact that the art pushed or exceeded the boundaries we believed were in place?

Remember those amazing "eurodemos" we used to enjoy on our computers? To us, it was amazing, jaw-dropping stuff! But if you showed the stuff to computer-illiterate people, like your parents, all you would get was an "eh" if even that. To them, it was just a bunch of bouncy, squiggly things. Our amazement was largely because of the technical boundaries being pushed.

Pixel art used to be amazing because when it was good, it utilized the limitations of the machine to maximum effect. Same with SIDS and MODS.

Back in the day, I did a fair amount of creative stuff on my computers. I did 2D artwork on both my 8-bit and 16 bit machines, did 3D artwork on my Amiga, and even wrote a couple of MOD music files. Occasionally, I would astound my friends. Sometimes, it was more of a "YOU DID THIS??!!?!" type of amazement more than anything else, but my goal was usually to push the boundaries. And even though I did some pretty cool stuff (if I say so myself), I was always wishing "man, if I could have just one or two more colors" or "just a little more memory" or "one more sound channel!" The boundaries were often frustrating, but half of the fun was finding creative ways around the boundaries!

Remember Bill's video where he showed off the TRS-80 versions of "Zaxxon" and "Frogger?" Bill nonchalantly demonstrated these blocky, monochrome games with primitive sound. But to a TRS-80 gamer back in the day (which I was), this was "HOLY FREAKIN' WOW" type of stuff!

We can enjoy pixel art and SIDS/MODS because we know the limitations of the original machines in question. The average gamer of today cannot, so to them, it might as well be cave drawings.

Now, there pretty much are no boundaries, hence no amazement. You can't impress me with pixel art on a PC. You can impress me with ART, but since the limitations are gone, there's little or nothing (that I can think of) that you can't do in 2D anymore. Same with sound/music.

The only real boundary that I can think of that can be pushed that can impress people nowadays is 3D, so I think that's why we're seeing so much interest and emphasis placed on it. Once we've reached the point where "real" is easily possible, perhaps 3D won't be amazing anymore.

Then we will be at a point where people will not be astonished anymore at anything the PC/consoles do, and judge everything on whether it's just plain "good art" or not. And I'm not sure that's necessarily a good thing. I like to be amazed!

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Indeed, I think photography

Indeed, I think photography alone didn't kill painting; it was probably more to do with the ability to make color prints. On the positive side, suddenly millions of people could see a painting instead of just the tiny minority able to travel to see the original. On the downside, we are now saturated with images and videos wherever we look.

It's been shown time and time again that people are more innovative when there are clear limitations to work with. Give a kid a box of 8 crayons and he might well turn out something more impressive than the kid with 64 (or the drawing program on an iPad). But I think this is a bit misleading. There are always limitations or boundaries. Some are in the tech, but we bring a lot of them to the table ourselves.

I saw that very clearly playing Gears of War 3 and Red Dead Redemption. I can usually see the rough edges on polygons, for instance, and there's just not enough variation in movement and interaction with objects in the environment. If you get too close to something or it obscures the camera in a weird way, suddenly you see the jagged pixels.

Of course, there is one boundary that will never go away no matter how advanced the tech becomes, and that's the human eye (and related parts of the brain). There's certainly a point where adding extra polygons or higher framerates or whatever won't matter because we simply cannot see them. More fundamentally, though, is just your ability to pay attention to something. In classic novels I've read descriptions of people admiring paintings. They are often described as looking at a painting for hours. Can you imagine that? I don't think I could stare at the Mona Lisa for more than a few minutes without getting bored and wanting to look at something else.

As conservative and old-fashioned as it sounds, I do wonder if all of this modern tech is making it harder for us to focus on one thing. I've been doing a lot of reading lately--George R. R. Martin is great. But I find myself routinely putting it down to go surf the internet or see what's on Netflix. Then I want to put on Pandora. Oh, cool song--who's that? Want to look it up on Amazon, listen to the samples...Next thing you know it's been an hour.

I even do that with games! I used to wake up in the morning and play WOW all day (before that it was single player RPGs). Now I'm lucky if I can play an hour before getting bored and wanting to do something else. And at some point even looking at WIRED magazine was not enough to occupy a bathroom break; now I gotta have the iPhone.

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Chip Hageman
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Joined: 10/06/2010
I can tell Matt.. from your

I can tell Matt.. from your recent postings, that you're also looking at "resolution" from a storytelling and interaction standpoint. Without derailing the topic too much, I think that a procedural AI branching system coupled with a highly detailed (polygon, vertex/environmental shading) 3D framework with a fluid kinetic physics system will give people a pretty damn close approximation of reality.. but you're still saddled with how good of a writer is crafting the story. There is always going to be some form of "resolution" that can show the flaws or strengths in a design.. just look at Hollywood- Unlimited resources.. and pure crap 90% of the time.

But, what I like about these older systems C64, Atari 8 Bit, Amiga, TRS-80, TI-99/4A, etc.. is that, like Rob said, you know the limitations.. and when some programmer finds a new workaround, hack, undocumented "feature" to seemingly break those boundaries.. it's a rush. Which is why I love all of the work currently going into the C64 platform. People are still pushing this system to new heights..

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Digger/ESM/AGY (not verified)
Thanks!

Whoas! I've just found this and I am so glad you liked my editor! I am planning to write another one in JS (using HTML5 canvas) with support for new graphics modes (NUFLI etc.) so you can plot your favorite pixels. Hopefully it will have support for touch devices like iPad2. Watch that space! :)

FatFRost (not verified)
Slixed

I can't wait for that new HTML5 version!! i have a Note 10.1 with pen that's ready for it!!!!!! grrr..... can't wait........ mwhahahahaha.... (>_<)!!

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