I’ve been checking out the recent git version of MyPaint (the free digital painting app.) There’s a bunch of new stuff – a dark theme, new icons, and the layer etc. windows now automatically dock into a neat sidebar. There’s a new panel at the bottom of the window that relates some additional information, including possible keyboard shortcuts (zoom, rotate canvas, pick colour etc.) The colour swatches on the bottom left are kinda useful – you can use the left swatch to pick a different value of your current colour (lighter/darker) with the stylus which is nice. Of course there are also various colour pickers and a scratchpad.

MyPaint currently has an experimental branch with support for layer groups and, finally, layer masks. So these features are coming. There is also a new bucket fill tool, and I spotted a lock-transparent-pixels feature which is implemented as a blend mode on the brushes. Very handy for masking operations. There are also many new layer blend modes – the list seems to be nearly complete now.

The line/curve/ellipse tools are more visible in the toolbar and related keyboard shortcuts (turn a line into a curve, rotate an ellipse etc) are better explained. The brush settings window has been redesigned, so creating your own brushes should be simpler. A pretty nice new brush package has been included.


The major thing MyPaint is missing are selections. So I’m not sure why there is a bucket fill tool now, which would typically be used to fill a selection. Oh well. They aren’t indispensable for concept art with a plain background anyway, since it’s possible to just paint yourself a mask like I did here (the white) and there is also alpha lock for quick “masking.” Or you could just use temporary layers.

I believe I mentioned the HCY colour wheel (hue chroma luma), the support for loading and creating Gimp palettes, and the very cool gamut mask feature in an earlier post. This is pro stuff and a joy to work with. The colour picker that displays a realtime preview swatch while you move the stylus over the image is pretty cool as well. And last but not least, the git version now supports vector layers(!) which a lot of people will like.

Current git version is still a bit crashy, but I hope for a stable version 1.2 soon.

Ubuntu (and Arch) users have it easy – they can just install the mypaint-testing package to get a very stable git version; Windows users will have to jump through a few hoops unfortunately. The stable Windows version is ancient.

I did a comparison between MyPaint and Krita as well, and while the latter does bring selections and a text tool (which will please comic artists) there is no doubt in my mind that MyPaint still takes the cake for concept art and illustration because it’s smaller, leaner, faster and more user friendly. MyPaint seems to put more of a focus on its core drawing/painting/brush engine functionality.

Krita failed to support pressure sensitivity with my Ubuntu and Wacom tablet, while MyPaint does this out of the box. Krita’s UI is comparatively cluttered and seems overloaded with features. I’m not sure why e.g. special effects filters are necessary at all for digital painting. Something that really bugged me about Krita was having to go through a fullscreen “New file” dialog after every lengthy startup. By comparison, MyPaint simply displays its default endless canvas after an instantaneous startup.

For open source digital painting, the combination of MyPaint and GIMP Paint Studio still looks unbeatable – for what MyPaint can’t do (marquee selections, copy merged, free transform, text, gradients), you can depend on the heavy artillery of GIMP. The two apps interact perfectly via the Open Raster format (meaning layers etc. stay intact) and GIMP can read/export PSD files.

Still, options are great – I’m glad to see the Krita kickstarter was very successful. Free digital painting has come a long way. The only major Photoshop features still missing from GIMP/MyPaint, as far as I’m aware, are clipping masks (though Krita has those), adjustment layers, and an easy way to record macros (Krita does those, I think.) The various dev teams are also talking to each other – for example, MyPaint’s (excellent) brush engine can be loaded into Krita and is scheduled for inclusion in future GIMP versions. 16 bit colour support is also coming to GIMP.

Good times for free painting.

Bonus: I was recently made aware of this outstanding digital painting tutorial playlist. I can’t recommend this enough. Best of all, it is free.

Fair Weed


Tribal faction coming to life. Here’s the Shaman. Gone back to pencil, too. <3

Goat people gone trippin’ yo, Great Su return!



Weirdest enemy in SJ so far.

Some factions needed spicing up, so I designed some new types. We have a Tribal Matron, this Order Deacon and … the Afflicted.

I also decided to introduce ranks and veterancy.

The menus are largely written. It was a good thing doing it now, because I came up with a bunch of gameplay modifiers while I did it. There might be permadeath in SJ – optionally.

Anyway. This guy was so weird, I had to post him. He’ll be awesome. Dunno why I went and inked him, I did start with the usual pencil sketch but messed it up, so that might be why. I also needed a clearer idea of him. Game design can be fun sometimes.

Speak Friend and enter


Jumping, shooting and collecting loot is all well and good, but in Scout’s Journey, the stakes are higher than that.

I haven’t talked about this part of the core gameplay mechanics much, although they’re basically functional. Let’s just say this magic stuff has something to do with winning the game.

My first attempt at a magic circle looked a terrible lot like something out of some popular action RPG. I think this slightly more mature replacement is much closer to what Scout’s Journey is about. Drawing these kinds of textures is immensely fun.

So in a way, here’s a look past the locks and bolts into the heart of the game.

The menu, please


I currently find myself working on Scout’s Journey’s menus (placeholder art shown.) Originally I wanted to do them in MenuQC, since gnounc had shown me some pretty clear-written MenuQC code a while back, but Spike convinced me to do it in CSQC instead. The upside of that, of course, is that the menus simply use the existing SJ GUI code, including the mouse pointer. Any menu is then only an extension of already-existing code.

The “secrets” to doing a CSQC menu are few:

  • set pr_csqc_formenus 1
  • run the initial game menu when the client is not connected (serverkey(“constate”) == “disconnected”)
  • seize the togglemenu command from CSQC (registercommand(“togglemenu”) / CSQC_ConsoleCommand)
  • disable the rest of your GUI in disconnected state.

The rest works exactly the same as any mouse-driven CSQC GUI. I plan to flesh out the menus over time, include a startup logo screen, and add some of the music that I already created.


As might be obvious, Scout’s Journey is now using a dedicated colour palette. This should make the colours seem a lot more coherent and harmonic across the game. To create my palette, I actually went and painted out almost 30 colour lines in Mypaint using a gamut mask to limit the available base colours (great feature by the way.)

I got this idea (and many others) from a number of art books which I’m currently reading, including “Color and Light” by James Gurney and “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. My aim is to improve my classical art skills in order to become a better overall game artist and designer. I’m also improving my anatomy knowledge to help with character modelling.

The books really have a lot of information that’s not generally available on the internet.

Apart from that I really should get to finishing the quest system and the rest of the GUI panels, and perhaps implement the hub system.

I also still have an eye on GLSL shaders.

Client side QuakeC series


I started work on some CSQC documentation. I hope to go from common functions via networking and entities to graphical GUIs and how to do a mouse cursor.

Part 1 is here.

No, the irony of this site having a CSQC primer when most people have a hard time with plain old server side QC is not lost on me.

Blender: Sculpting new floor tiles


Blender’s Sculpt mode is great to create textures, among other things. I’ve recently done a work-over of a couple Herdbase textures, and I grew tired of my photosourced floor tiles. So I did this.


I mean, this is so much better! Textures created in Blender tend to beat photosourced ones hands down. The only photos in there are a basic concrete structure and a few grungemaps. The basis was a normal and AO map sculpted and baked in Blender, though.


Here’s one with a different concrete structure in there, same base though.

I get the feeling I’ll sculpt a couple more textures to replace photosourced ones.

The mesh was first modelled with a subdivision modifier, then I switched to a multires modifier and sculpted on that (brush, clay, scrape, flatten, smooth). I used a pressure-sensitive tablet for sculpting. I topped it off by disturbing the creases a little using the Nudge brush.


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