Learning Sprite Art, Hop Along, and driving 2000 miles in 48 hours.


If you haven't put it together by my shoddy attempts at making graphics for the site, I've been trying to teach myself sprite art. I am using Aseprite and I make most of my sprites with a heavily modified version of the palette from Minecraft. It's been pretty fun despite the fact that I know very little about color theory. I am not really learning for any reason outside of personal ones (and may or may not be working on a game in which Carver, the pumpkin guy featured all over the site is the star) Don't consider that paranthetical to be an announcment of anything coming soon. It's very much something that I work on in my free time when I have nothing else going on. And with the fact that I may or may not have finally landed another job and with school it'll be on the back burner for a while. Anywho, I like to think I've greatly improved.

Keep in mind I am not finished with the game yet, so my opinion on the game could change, it's also not one on my chopping block of games to make a video on, so I think it'll be ok to have the first "real" post on this site be about EO3.

So, Etrian Odyssey 3 is a turn based RPG by Atlus with music by the legendary Ys composer Yuzo Koshiro. It's a first person dungeon crawler not unlike the original Shin Megami Tensei games just modernized and sped up to the point where it feels at home on a portable system like the DS. You make your own adventuring company, pick out and create your own team and then map out a city (in reality, the "city" is just one massive dungeon segmented into stratums) that has been forced underwater, hence the game's subtitle.

I named my company SquinkCo, since I didn't have enough characters to call it anything cooler, and started building my team. The game has a number of classes all with 4 different sprites with 2 different palettes to choose from for customization and so I made my team based off of my friends and what classes their personalities reminded me of. That has to be one of the best features you can have in an RPG. That level of customization is quick way to win me over. Especially considering that it's a rarity to see it done well. The only games that come to mind when it comes to that ability to personalize is the early final fantasy games (1, 3, and 5). Anyways, like I said I haven't yet finished EO3, but I'd say the game is likely going to be a winner since it found a way to make walking back and forth through the same couple floors in the first area of the game very fun. I think this is due to the portable nature of the DS. While it is 2022 and it would be pretty weird to take a DS with you, the fact that the game can just be left open and whenever you feel like it you can make a little bit of progress here and there is lovely. I couldn't imagine the game being nearly as fun in an emulator, especially considering the map drawing aspect of the game. That's one thing I neglected talking about because I think it deserves its own little blurb. The map of the dungeon floors isn't mapped for you, only the spaces you step on. It's up to you to map out the walls of the dungeon and label the spots where chests, doors, and secret passageways are. When I first started the game I thought it was really boring, as the game forces you to draw out part of the first floor's map, but by the time I had finished the floor I actually found it pretty relaxing, especially since you can just fill in the walls and stuff during combat if your strong enough to just auto battle all the monsters. I recommend it so far. Maybe I'll make another blog post if that opinion changes. You'll want to play it on a DS (or hacked 3DS) though, since drawing a map on an emulator sounds miserable, and it won't have the same pick up and play nature since playing handheld games through emulation just doesn't have the same feeling as it does on real hardware.

With some older consoles like the NES or SNES there are very few games where playing it on original hardware is actually better. In fact, I'd argue emulating the NES is better than playing the real thing (And I say that as an NES owner!). The SNES still has some games where your best experience will be on a CRT in a dark room where it's just you and the sound of the TV, however. Chief among them are games like the now wildly popular 1994 JRPG Earthbound, Link to the Past, and most shoot em ups like Gradius 3, U.N. Squadron, or Super R-Type. This is mostly because of the display. Mesen does a good job with it's NES CRT filter if you fiddle with the settings enough, but the SNES still has better color, image, and feel overall on a CRT with a real controller. The sad thing though, is that SNES systems are dropping dead. Faster than the NES actually. I was fortunate enough to have picked up a SNES Jr., which is pretty well regarded as one of the more reliable one. But in any case, the graphics chips are the most common parts of the system to crap out. Which can lead to the system practically becoming unusable, in the case of this one with a fried PPU.

  • Image is credit to DogP's SNES page here, a great source on the unfortunate fate of what is in my opinion the best game console ever made.