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Staff Spotlight ~ March 2019 ~ The Artist's Block feat. PercentN
Forum Index - Donut Plains - General Discussion - Staff Spotlight ~ March 2019 ~ The Artist's Block feat. PercentN
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For this month, I sat down with resident graphics moderator PercentN, talked about their upcoming projects and generally used way too many emotes.


Noivern: It’s time for another Staff Spotlight! This month’s interview is with star graphics moderator PercentN! How does it feel to be on this side of the interview?

PercentN: Well I've been here before as MotM, but it's pretty cool I guess being on the staff side.


Noivern: During Von Fahrenheit's MotM interview last month, you talked about Extra Mario World, a WIP hack you’re both working on. Do you have any updates regarding the project you’d like to share?

PercentN: Well right now we're mostly working on porting over to the newer LM version (well Von Fahrenheit is). With all the new changes in LM3, he's figuring out where things are supposed to be with the new changes. So there isn't a lot to say about it level wise or anything like that, but its required to make the kinds of levels we want to do!

From my side of the project, this is really the only update I've had time to do:



Updated blocks and the powerup stuff (though I don't think were using stars, I just got bored).

Noivern: Well it couldn't hurt to draw the star if you're unsure. Also I'm really liking the thick shading on the blocks, everything here looks great.

PercentN: Oh! Also he's working on this new monkey enemy:



Noivern: Is the jumping timed or triggered? (say by the shell coming closer)

PercentN: Thanks! It's hard coming up with different block designs with so many available or already drawn haha!

For the monkey, I'm not 100% sure. I would have to ask Von Fahrenheit haha. I'm sure it's a trigger of some sort. He's trying to make it as mischievous as possible. I don't think it can hurt you so that sorta makes it more annoying.

Noivern: Your other two hacks were submitted in the second half of 2015 and they're both pretty short, solo affairs. What inspired you to start working with your team in such a big project as Extra Mario World?

PercentN: Those hacks were actually from 2010. We don't talk about those.

Noivern: ...oop, remoderation strikes again.

PercentN:

As for EMW, Von Fahrenheit was looking for artists so I messaged him.

Noivern: Are you just acting as an artist or are you contributing in other ways as well?

PercentN: I also do level design as well! Everyone involved really is going to contribute to level design as well as to their designated roles. We are looking for more level designers, though as of right now we want to finish integrating LM3 before working on new levels and reworking old ones. If you are interested, feel free to PM me or Von Fahrenheit.

Noivern: So do you play very many hacks? It's often suggested that people play a large variety of hacks to steal from whole cloth take inspiration from when making a hack of your own. Do you have a favorite hack? What kind of hacks do you like to play?

PercentN: I don't have time to play too many hacks, but I play some cool levels I find here and there to find inspiration, or even take part in level design contests or other collabs, which really helps me get some practice in. So I couldn't really say I have a favorite hack right now. I guess LMPuny's hack is one of my favorites aesthetic wise.



I love 8-bit graphics and theirs are really well done! I don't particularly have a favorite kind of hack to play, but some kaizo light hacks have some pretty neat and novel ideas so those are always fun to give a try.

Noivern: Kaizo has certainly taken off these days, hasn't it? Nowadays kaizo hacks follow a completely different design philosophy than other hacks.


Noivern: Let's segue on over to graphics, your main claim to fame. You've been winning trophies for your work with graphics since your silver Mosts trophy for Best Pixel Artist all the way back in 2009. What got you started making pixel art?

PercentN: Wow, making me go all the way back to 2009... well I think what really inspired me was the fact that custom graphics were really rare at that time, especially considering the community was relatively small at the time. And even for graphics rips there weren't that many since there also weren't really and graphics ripping tools either. That meant ripping sometimes meant doing it manually. There weren't a lot of custom or rips, so I decided to learn how to do pixel art so that my hacks could stand out from the others.

If you really take a look back at my graphics from then, seeing that I won that silver tells you a lot about the state of graphics back then haha (my graphics weren't really that great back then). Or at least how many pixel artists we even had.

Noivern: To be fair, a lot of resources now would blow 2009 resources out of the water. Such is romhacking.

PercentN: That's true, artists (pixel and music artists) and tools have gotten so much better since then!

Noivern: Have you been enjoying your time as graphics moderator? How does it feel to be the Savior of the graphics section? (don't tell gloomy)

PercentN:

It's been nice! I remember wanting to become one way back when I 2010. But then I left the site cause of high school and all that. I eventually returned in 2015 and now here I am! I wouldn't really call it a dream but it's pretty cool haha. I've been more active in the community compared to before as well so that's nice. And to be fair to Gloomy the number of incoming submissions has blown up out of nowhere, almost more than during C3.



Noivern:

PercentN: I think that accurately describes what it's like right now going through submissions.

Noivern: How would you approach a graphics submission with questionable quality while moderating?

PercentN: Honestly if I have any doubt, I ALWAYS ask the other mods for their opinions. I think it's important getting a second opinion because sometimes this situation may have come up before and someone knows exactly how to take care of it. If not, it helps everyone figure out how to approach it in the future.

If it's in terms of the quality of custom graphics, usually there's nothing wrong with them but I always check for the basics:
  1. Do the graphics clearly portray what their functionality is? ex. Does a slope actually look like a slope, or does a walk-through tile clearly convey the player can walk through it?
  2. Are the colors easy on the eyes? Are they too bright or do they clash too much to the point that it draws the players attention away from actual gameplay?


Those are really the only things that would be cause for rejection because these are things the player will be seeing and interacting with throughout the level. It's like how confusing it would be if red lava was actually water you could swim through.

In the case that something is actually rejected, I'm always looking at all aspects of the user's submission: palette, are there map16/8x8 inefficiencies, etc. So any kind of improvement they can make I make sure to let them know. I also let them know what they did good because sometimes the submission may look amazing but it's just one or two things that caused the rejection. While graphics may feel obvious to what their approval/rejection status will be, there's a lot of details that have to be looked at that aren't obvious or require second opinions on.

At least this is all what I've learned in my time as a mod now.



Noivern: Gloomy you're fired. Sorry you had to figure it out this way, in an unrelated interview. That's just how it goes.


Noivern: So, outside of SMWCentral, what do you do for fun?

PercentN: Outside of SMWC I still do some pixel art here and there, but I am a computer science major so I actually spend most of my time coding! I'm working in an RPG right now using Unity and C#.

Noivern: Is it in a presentable state? Can we get a screenshot?

PercentN: Uhh it's not really lmao, I'm still coding the movement and physics. So nothing interesting at the moment unfortunately. Don't ask me why I'm not an ASM mod or why I don't do ASM.

Noivern: hastily removes next question

PercentN:

Noivern: Perhaps we can revisit that project in the future.

[After interview edit: PercentN sent me a WIP image of the project below.]




Noivern: That's just about it with the questions. Is there anything you'd like to add to appease the rabid PercentN fans waiting just outside the interview room?

PercentN: What fans?

Noivern: Do you not hear them? The yelling, the beating on the walls...

PercentN: If theyre actually fans: hello! If they're actually zombies: goodbye and don't eat my brains.

Noivern: Haha we'll just have to find out which... Thanks for joining me for the interview! It was really fun and I like getting to know people just a little bit better.

PercentN: Hey thank you for the interview! But no thanks for possibly bringing me into a zombie infested room.
That monkey sprite is something else. I would sure like some confirmation on whether there it's timed from when the shell spawns or it's triggered when Mario hits the block. Because you could create some pretty insidious levels with that in mind.

--------------------




- I try, and then fail. So I try again! -
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Originally posted by Noivern
For this month, I sat down with resident graphics moderator PercentN, talked about their upcoming projects and generally used way too many emotes.

I don't know about that.

This was a good interview. Quite an entertaining one nonetheless.

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