Here we have the legendary Bam Bam Bigelow in the style of Capcom’s equally legendary Street Fighter II. What with this and WrestleFest, there certainly was a lot of stunning pixel art floating around in the arcades in 1991.
Basically, I drew Bigelow directly alongside the Zangief model, trying to copy one of his poses and deviating from there. This mostly entailed bulking him up; he was a big chap, but also incredibly agile with it. That’s what made him so impressive to watch.
Of course, the magic of pallette swapping allows me to come up with alternate colour schemes for multiplayer mayhem, should several players wish to be Mr. Bigelow – and who could blame them? He bore the flames for much of his career, so it was actually quite easy to mimic some of his other outfits.
I do think the facial likeness could be better, but it got to the point where I felt like I was going backwards with that. Who knew it would be harder to get a face right in pixel art? That said, I’m happy to have finally got this done as it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a week or two, only I kept hitting a wall with it.
I got the bug again after my last Countdown effort. It seemed like the obvious choice to pick my most dated model and give it a refresh. My model of this short-lived (1989-1991) set hasn’t really been touched since my blog post on it which, scarily enough, was more than six years ago. Pre-Brexit, even!
Since that 2016 attempt, I’ve learnt that the letters and numbers boards were the wrong way around, so that’s been fixed, and the boards in general are much improved, having been flown in from my more recent models. I believe they used pretty much the same boards until 1999, so that’s handy, really.
Elswhere, a newer clock is dropped in; weird arch over said clock redone; desks reworked; lighting completely redone.
It does look a lot better, despite the unusually dark lighting; perhaps, by this point, they had decided that darkness was the best thing for this set, or maybe it was an attempt to create mood for the Champion of Champions mini-series. We’ll never know.
Remember when I tried to rework the titles of this era? They’ve been updated now – well, in February anyway – hopefully free of (glaring) errors like the double NOD.
Now, I’m off to Do the Bartman listen to some Metallica. Definitely Metallica.
Recently, I gave my model of the Countdown clock a revisit to meddle with its animation. With that, I thought it rude not to give the whole set an overhaul.
It wasn’t really much in the way of reshaping or remodelling elements; the vast majority of it was achieved by modifying textures – some of which hung around for years, much longer than they should have – and lighting. I referred, quite slavishly, to screenshots from a recent episode to create a more authentic setup.
It does rather reinforce just how much a model (or set, for that matter) depends on lighting. The build is mostly the same, yet it’s night and day. I suppose braving the higher resolutions – and resigning myself to the longer render times – helps in the long run. Thank god for Muckluck and his Broken Sword playthroughs, is all I can say.
And here’s the impetus for the whole thing, a render of everyone’s favourite clock running:
Apparently, the new clock (in place since 2013) runs at 29.5 seconds, not 30, so I reworked it accordingly to see if it made a visible difference. I’ll let you decide…
If you were to take a look back at my first attempt from January last year, I hope you’d agree that there’s a significant improvement. I’m pleased with this particular upgrade. Onward, and upward.
Countdown, and indeed Channel 4 itself, will celebrate its fortieth birthday on 2nd November. Not long now – the countdown has started!
Letters play once again. This time, a trip back to the world of brutalism and its – as the name would imply – brash, hard-faced aesthetic. I am a fan.
Ironically, this dalliance began as something similarly geometric but rather more elegant, slicing up octagons and trying to create letters with very slender and narrow lines. At this moment I found myself wanting something bolder, not a headache, so I decided to leave it for further exploration at some other time, perhaps. Perhaps not.
The most fun had here was with the texturing, a hangover from the Twenty-Six Spins challenge of yesteryear, of which brutalism was a highlight. While the simple forms have an appeal of their own, it’s those grimy, utilitarian facades that really play to the theme.
And, of course, the nature of these letters leaves them open to the iterative process. The bars, stems and other assorted body parts can be thickened or narrowed to create diversity without losing the overall vibe. There seems to be a trend these days of using different sizes and weights together in typography so, there we go, I’m in with the crowd.
Later, I spotted that flipping the “R” made rather a nice “Y”. I like it when possibilities bring themselves to the fore.
Indeed, as often happens, this ended up pretty much driving itself. I get great reassurance from that, more and more as time goes on. It’s always fun.