Orama Interactive MiniDebConf Online Talk

Hello everyone and thank you for invitingus to this conference. This is the first global conference that weare taking part in and we are very excited for this! We are Orama Interactive, an independent gameand software developer team of four. We have a passion for creating meaningfulvideo-games and libre software that can affect the player and make the world a better place. In this talk, we will discuss a bit aboutour projects, which include various games and a pixel art editor. We will go into detail about who we are, whywe are doing what we do, the stories, the future plans of our projects and how theyare currently standing. Specifically, we will talk about 4 of ourgames, Youniverse, a 2D puzzle platformer, Where Hope Iies, a VR puzzle game, Re-Pairing,a pixel art platformer game and Techno-Tribal, a game mixing the quiz and puzzle genres. We will also take a closer look on Pixelorama,our currently in development free and open source pixel art sprite editor.Hello! I am Manolis, more commonly known as Overloaded,and I am the lead (and only) programmer of our team, Orama Interactive. I always enjoyed video games, which, eventually,led me to want to create my own. Orama is a way for me to express myself, andto share my creativity and dreams with the rest of the world. Hi! My name is John, I go by the nickname Erevoidand I am the visual art director of our team.I enjoy art in many of its forms and I havea wide range of hobbies regarding it. That's why I love game development, becauseit combines so many art forms at once in order to convey a story well enough, and you alwayshave something to learn and improve on! Hey everyone! I'm Orion, commonly known as “Odnyrion” andI joined Orama Interactive because I realized that the people there had a lot of dreamsand had taken their career as game developers very seriously, which to me is really inspiringand beautiful.Also my best friend joined them first andthat was an extra reason for me to join because I was really shy an anxious back then. My part in Orama is making concept arts sinceI have no idea how to program. Hi! My name's Sol, and you'll usually find megoing by the nickname Soliscital. I've been studying art for several years,and always aspired to learn as much as I can regarding it. I joined Orama two years ago, and I'm happyto be a member of the development team! Orama Interactive is an independent game andsoftware developer team. John, our art director and I, started ourteam back in 2020, when we were still going to school, and we created some small games. But even though we started small, we alwaysdreamed big. This also explains our name, as “orama” inGreek means vision, as in our vision for a better future.(laughs) And yes, it is pronounced “OH-rama”in Greek. We also pronounce our sprite editor “Pixel-OH-rama”,since it's derived from the same word but you can pronounce it however you want. Over the years, weve learned a lot, aboutgames, software, art, and eventually met more people that joined our team, which now consistsof 4 members! We are mostly known for our free & open sourcepixel art tool called Pixelorama, but we have also developed some games, four of which wewill talk about today. It's worth noting that, most of the projectswe will be talking about are powered by the free & open source game engine, Godot, andfor the artistic parts of them programs such as Gimp, Blender, Pixelorama and Krita wereused. All of those are free and open source programsfor the sole reason that we want to prove that you don't need expensive subscriptionsor a huge budget to create something substantial, all you need is a computer and lots of loveand inspiration for what you create! We started working on Pixelorama in the summerof 2019.Back then, we were working on a pixel artgame, and we realized we needed a free, but powerful sprite editor. It all begun when I suggested that we couldmake our own sprite editor, although back then I was half joking. That did not stop me from experimenting though,and I realized that it is indeed possible to create a sprite editor with Godot. This was actually our second attempt at creatingnon-game software with Godot. The first was a story planner, which is currentlya project on hiatus, but we plan on resuming it at some point in the future. When we first shared Pixelorama with the Godotcommunity, we mostly did it to show that such a thing is possible with the Godot Engine. We did not expect, however, such positivefeedback from the community. People were interested in actually using it,which surprised us. At that point, we had already started lovingthis project, and, with the help of the community, either in the form of contributions or donations,or just by showing their love and providing feedback, we managed to make great progressin just one year and some months. And we still have a long way to go, so weare actively developing it.There is no doubt that contributors played,and will continue to play, a huge role in Pixelorama's development. This just wouldn't be possible, if Pixeloramawas not open-source. Now, Pixelorama's UI designer, John, willdraw something in Pixelorama, while showing you how it works. I welcome you all to the Pixelorama environment! This is the first thing users see when theyopen the software. Let's begin with the splash screen which hasa beautiful artwork made by Wishdream, one of the three winners of the Pixelorama splashscreen art competition! The competition takes place on our Discordserver right before a major update is released, so if you want to participate you can joinour server! There are some additional options below theartwork, so let's just make a new canvas to get us going! Alright, I'm thinking of painting a nice pixelart landscape.Let's make the width, umm, 3 times 64, so 192and the height 2 times 64 which is 128. Yeah I quite like this aspect ratio. Let's have a quick look on our user interface. This mini-canvas on the top right is our canvaspreview. On the left we have our tools. You may notice that when I click on them theyturn half blue, that is because I am left clicking, assigning the tools tothe left click, and when I am right clicking, the orange tool is assigned to our right click.It's especially useful if you get the hangof it. What I really like doing is assigning thecolor picker tool on the right, so that I can easily select colors for my left tools. Now let's open our Preferences under Edit> Preferences and let's see what we've got. As you can see, there are a lot of customizabilityoptions that you can edit to your liking, but make sure to enable auto-saving so thatin case something happens to your computer or to Pixelorama, you won't lose all of yourprogress. There are a lot of different themes to choosefrom as well and I am totally not focusing on that because I made them. Under the canvas are the layer options onthe left side. You can also expand the User Interface tosee more layers at once. Next to them, on the right are the frame options. Layers and frames are merged to help the animatorswith a cel based workflow.We'll see the rest of the interface as wego, for now let's drag down a guide to help us with our landscape. Guides are just there to help us with ourcomposition, they are not actually rendered in the final image. This will be our horizon line, now, do I wantit in the middle? Probably not, let's pull it down a bit. Okay and now with my pencil tool, I'll pressshift and drag a line across the guide. Under View, you can also play with which partsof the utilities you want to be visible. I will uncheck the guides and I will checkthem again if I need them.Let's fill this part with our bucket and itwill serve as our ground. Oh actually I will add a vertical guide nowin the middle. I am thinking of making a road leading toa futuristic town. For those who know how perspective works,I will use one point perspective. Hmm, the town can be circular so let's addanother layer to add a circle representing it. I'm also moving the ground layer on the foreground. I'll grab my circle brush and change its sizeto make a big circle. Maybe 50 pixels? Nah, let's do 60, it's going to be a big town. I'm making it white to tell it apart fromthe ground.We won't worry about colors for now, thisis our sketch, we will change it later on. Let's put a red point where our guides meet,it will be where we'll be drawing perspective lines from. Again, I'm pressing shift to make a line andalso control to make it have specific pixel art friendly angles. I'm thinking of making a road and some powerlines following it. Now that I am satisfied with my sketch i willmerge it down to one layer to use as a reference and name it “Sketch”. Actually let's add two more lines. Okay, now let's start putting some basic colors. This will be our road. I'm thinking, maybe a green for our ground? Actually there's a faster way to fill thewhole black area at once. At our tool options, if we select same colorpixels, it saves us lots of time. Also, keep in mind that this is still oursketch layer, the colors are not final. Now, let's lower the opacity and start workingon our actual landscape.We will be using a specific palette, thereare some default ones but i went ahead and imported one that I thought would fit nicely. I like setting my piece's mood by startingfrom the sky, so I go under Image > Gradient and I make a basic black and white gradient. That represent my sky. Let's tweak it a bit. There are a lot of options here, but I amfine for now by just changing the number of steps. Maybe seven? Yeah, that's better. Now, the gradient went to the layer we createdfor it, but since it's the ground let's put it behind everything.Let's name our layer “Background”. Look how it's transformed now, that I tooksome colors from our palette! I quite like the looks of it. We won't worry about the leftover white parts,since the ground will be in front of them. I also quite enjoy breaking the rules of thegradient and adding more lines like so. I feel like it's more appealing this way. I will now go ahead and do it for the restof the sky. And this is how it looks. Now, lets not forget to save our work sincewe've done something substantial, and we don't want to lose it. The files are saved with a .pxo format, whichis unique for Pixelorama. Time to make our road, using the colors fromthe palette. Let's add the road layer and do just that! As you can see, I have not thought ahead theexact colors i want to use, I'm just playing with what I have and it's very possible Iwill change it later on.You're also seeing me putting the sketch layeron the foreground and lowering its opacity, to use it as a reference and then hiding it. I actually want the road to be higher up butthat's no problem, mistakes like that can easily be altered using the rectangle selectiontool. I'm just pressing Shift to pull it up. I'll also delete its upper part. Okay, now that the road is ready we can work on a new layer for the details of the ground. I will draw some power lines going acrossthe road. There we go! I will add some more and be back in a second. And this is the progress so far. I added some more details and some lines onthe road. I also moved the sketch a bit upwards to alignwith how we moved the road, along with the details. I'm actually pretty happy with its directionso far so let's move to the main city I will add a circle like our sketch, maybea bit lower though. And now that i think about it this could bea setting sun with a city in front of it.The city has to be a similar tone to the sunbut a bit darker. So let's go ahead and rename our layer anadd another for the city. Using our basic pixel brush, I'm creatinga central skyscraper. And after I'm done, I'm adding some more buildings. The central skyscraper seems a bit underwhelmingnow so I'm going to raise it a bit And then I'm going to finish off the buildings. I used the circle brush for some parts ofit as well. What I'm thinking now is that it could useanother layer of the town, one closer to us. I'll use the next darker color in our paletteand add some more buildings. Yes, that looks much more polished, I'm afan of it.Now I'm thinking that it's time to add somecables to our electric posts. I could just go ahead and add some freehandlines, but that is bound to create some imperfections in pixel art. So instead I'm going to check “pixel perfect”on our tool options to make the lines always be one pixel wide! Just like that, let's fast forward the process. Now it's a good time to stop and look on howto improve our landscape. While the ground colors looked nice, now withthe context of the town they are a bit weird. So, I will try to change them for somethingelse from the palette. I will go for a more desert vibe, so greenis not that fitting for my case. Now it's starting to look a bit better, butit's still empty. Let's add some cacti. This is a darker color so I think it fitswell for the foreground. And again, all I'm doing is using the basicbrushes, to make its shape We can now add some thorns to our lovely cactus.But instead of drawing them one by one, Iam going to select one and Control-C one thorn, go to my brushes and select project and boom,our thorn is now a custom new brush and I can fill my cactus with thorns faster! I add another custom brush with the thornsfacing the other way and manually draw the rest. At this point we are close to completion! I am experimenting a bit more with the colorsand then all that's really left is some more details on the ground And yes, now I really feel like the colorscomplement each other and we can actually keep them. I spent some more time polishing our landscapeand this is the final piece! I added some stars as well, I really likeincluding space in what I make, one way or the other.And this was just a small showcase of whatPixelorama and a little bit of imagination are currently able to achieve! Pixelorama's future is very bright, it's stillabout a year old and it includes a lot of useful features. And not just for casual artists like me. We are planning to add features to appealto every pixel artist, be that an animator, a game developer, a beginner in pixel artor well, you. I've only scratched the surface but I'm sureif you keep up with its development, you will be amazed by what is yet to come! Back to our landscape we can now export itas a png, and there are other options there too, like spritesheet or animation.If you want to share your art be sure to resizeit because pixel art is really tiny when exported on its native resolution. And now let's save it for one last time. I hope you enjoyed the process! This is the Orama Interactive website we'veput together to organize our projects. And this is our itch.io page. You can also find our team on Instagram, Twitterand Facebook. As of today, we've uploaded 4 games: TechnoTribal,Re-Pairing, Where Hope Lies and YOUniverse. YOUniverse was a game we created when stillin high school, while being examined and giving tests that would shape our future based onthe results, or so we were told at least. It talks about changing ourselves from withinand thinking ahead. As it stands, it has multiple mechanics includingchanging dimensions and freezing time and a narrator who gives you hints through riddleson how to use said mechanics. It's a mobile game and we are currently workingon a massive remake to make it infinitely more appealing.On to our next game, Where Hope Lies is ashort VR game based on the myth of the Pandora's box. It's a puzzle game that we put together ina small amount of time as part of an exercise for the university I attended back in 2018. Even though it's based on Pandoras myth,we interpret it differently and find the opportunity to talk about humanity in general, its achievementsand its flaws. In the end, you are given the opportunityto choose your own virtues and shape the future of humanity itself based on the values youthink are most important.Re-Pairing is our Global Game Jam 2020 entry,developed in just 48 hours. We especially like this game because we metwith fellow developers-contestants that were making their own games, before the pandemiceven begun, in a common building and each one of us worked on their own games as teams. The game is about a robot waking up in a dystopianworld, destroyed by war and trying to figure out what has happened to it. Our plan is to expand this idea, create abig universe based on that jam entry, with lots of unique characters and personalitiesand develop a fully fletched experience for the future players. Techno-Tribal has to be our most polishedgame. Developed in a span of a month for the AthensDigital Arts Festival, it's a combination of two game genres, puzzle and quiz. The game is connected to the Re-Pairing universeand acts pretty much as a prequel to it.The player's task is to train an ArtificialIntelligence by giving it accurate information inputs. The game itself encourages research on reallife matters and there are two possible endings based on the amount of correct answers. Each ending has its own unique story so makesure to unlock both! Also, keep in mind to use the optimal amountof moves for each level to get to new high-scores! All of our current games are available onour itch.io page, except YOUniverse which is available on the Google Play Store, andthey are all free to play. If you wish to help us with our game developmentjourney, consider becoming a Patron and enjoy the privileges of being one! If you wanna be involved with the Orama Interactivecommunity you can also join our Discord server! This was our little project showcase. We are very excited about our future ideasas well, since we have learned a lot in our development journey so far and cannot waitto put what we learned to use. We hope you liked our ideas and projects andyou will stay in tune with us, as we are trying to fulfill our Orama, our dream.Thank you so much, for your time! Okay so, it is time for questions Does anyone have questions? Okay so, are there any more games on the way? We are currently working on remaking Youniverse And after that we are thinking of continuing development on Re-Pairing Apart from that, when we're finished with these projects, we'll see actually, we're not sure yet We'll keep you up to date, we'll be posting on our social media and our Discord community, with our development Right, thank you! Do we have more, more questions? Okay we have another one: Why was Godot chosen as the basis for building Pixelorama? So we had already made some experiments on working on non-game software with the Godot Engine And we thought that it might be a good idea to try and see if Godot can be used to make a sprite editor And when we started experimenting we realized that its very convenient and powerful and it's well suited for the job Basically it's very easy, it makes our lives very easy because it handles stuff like all the back-end stuff like rendering and all that stuff; it's already done And its UI system is very powerful and easy to use Right, the next one: “Any plans to package Pixelorama for Debian?” So Pixelorama has been packaged for flatpak and snap, but this has been done by contributors We haven't done any packaging ourselves yet, maybe in the future but it's possible that contributors will handle packaging Okay, which are the future plans for Pixelorama? We're currently working on remaking the selection system for 0.9 the next (major) version And creating some more tools like shape tools and in general we try to listen to the feedback of the community You can actually find the detailed plan on Pixelorama's GitHub page, on the “Projects” tab Are you going to make an online game? Well, it's an interesting idea, but we won't do it in the near future But we will consider it for a future project because online gaming is something we enjoy doing, and it will be very interesting thing to do But maybe in the future yeah, most likely yeah, but not soon Okay, let's wait to see if we have more questions for a moment Okay it seems these were all the questions for your talk, so thanks a lot Emmanouil Thank you for having us!

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