Pingudroid: pixels, music, videogames and stuff (and penguins)
  • Recovering my monster designs (2002-2017)

    Hello everyone!

    I hope you’ve had a great April! I was personally able to get some days of vacation, which allowed me to (finally) tackle a project that I’d been looking forward to for the past year: recovering, organizing and digitizing all of my old monster designs and drawings.

    This might seem simple… just scan them for a few hours and that’s it, right? How many could there be? But actually these drawings span a period of fifteen years, from when I was around 9 years old to 24. I don’t think I’ve kept even half of the drawings that I made, but still it’s a huge library. So yeah, it was a lot of work, but I’m glad I was able to do it.

    From an early age, I picked things up fast, so instead of paying attention in class, I spent most of the time drawing. Most teachers complained at first, but then let me be. I’m still not sure if that was a good idea (xD), but as a result I became an addict to monster creation and extremely practiced at it.

    These monsters (or “Pokémons” as I called them back then, since I was a huge Pokémon fan) were my pride and joy. I remember setting milestones for myself: reach 100 designs, reach 200 and so on. If I recall correctly, at one point my monster list had more than 1200 monsters in it. Many designs were half-assed and I threw them out years ago, but an insane amount of them were quite detailed, drawn in full color and had their own name, type and features. So, in other words, this collection of designs is a goldmine.

    This is one of my oldest monster drawings – I remember drawing it in school when I was 7-8 years old. This drawing wasn’t actually supposed to be a “Pokémon”, more like a mix between a Digimon and a PowerPuff Girl. I have several more designs following the same evolution line.
    This is the “Original” List from the Ancient Times of Monster Making. Actually is the 5th list that I made, but it’s the oldest that I’ve kept, from 2005. It includes around 1000 monsters.
    I was fixated on certain designs, to the point that I drew them over and over and over.
    What is this thing even…?! 10-year old me had a wild imagination, I love it.
    Some of the drawings are much newer, from back in 2015 when I first created the bestiary that I would later use in the Monster Embassy project. I have around 200 monster illustrations from that time alone and most of them are quite interesting.
    There’s weird and unnerving designs too. Variety!

    For a while I kept those drawings in their original form: a dozen notebooks, lots of scattered pages, a corner in some school work, the back of a class schedule. Then I compiled them in huge albums that took up a lot of space. Eventually I cut them out and put most of them (the ones that fit) inside of a shoebox.

    This shoebox.

    I’ve wanted to scan these designs for a very long time (I mean, what would happen if the originals were damaged?? That possibility haunted me. It’s a whole life’s work, almost literally). But I knew it would take me a while so I kept putting it off.

    Now, after spending at least 8 full afternoons (and quite a few mornings too) scanning, cropping and ordering monsters nonstop, I’m finally done. Hoooray!

    I’ve scanned a total of 969 files, most of which include 2, 3 or more drawings in a single file. Many designs were drawn again and again over the years, with improvements or design changes, while others were drawn only once – I’ll need to further organize the drawings to make sure, but I believe there’s at least 500-600 different monster designs in there, some with more than 5, 10 or 15 variations.

    There’s 230 files in this picture. Imagine that multiplied by 4

    As an adult, and a person who is dipping their toes into asset creation for other people’s videogames (previously I only made assets for myself, for projects that never came to light, like the aforementioned Monster Embassy), I’m suddenly very aware of the possibilities of all these monster drawings. What if I improve their designs and make pixel-art for them, so people can use them in their own games? Is it a possibility (no matter how remote) that I could earn a living, or at least a respectable amount of money, by doing what I always did best as a child – creating colorful creatures?

    I don’t know, but I think I’m willing to find out, or at least try! 🙂 I haven’t made monster pixel-art in ages, and I’m really looking forward to it.

    For now I’m attempting, for the first time, to sell assets for money with my Game Boy SFX pack, which will update once or twice a month with more assets and gradually increase in price. But eventually I will focus on visual assets, which are the ones most in demand and the ones I have the most practice in. These monster designs are an excellent candidate for future asset packs, I think. I wonder what people would do with them? After so many years drawing them and not using them for anything, the thought of other people being able to enjoy them is thrilling.

    Thanks for reading and best wishes!


  • Top 5 of top-down pixel-art assets from

    Hello everyone! I hope you’re doing well.

    This month I wanted to talk a bit about game assets and, in particular, about top-down pixel-art assets that can be found on, both free and nonfree.

    This is a topic that has caught my interest pretty recently. I didn’t use to think much about it, really, since I am a pixel-artist myself and I don’t really need to use assets made by other people. However, I’ve come to realize that being able to do all of the pixel-art of my games doesn’t mean that I should. Even if you’re an artist, there’s nothing wrong with using and/or adapting assets by other people, since it can save you a ton of time and even improve the quality of your projects if done right.

    During the past few weeks I have been compiling some assets for my own projects, and I’ve stumbled upon some really amazing creators and assets. From these, I’ve selected my favorites and I’m going to share them with you!

    Some disclaimers:

    • This is a personal top 5, selected from the assets that I find of most interest to me, personally. It’s not meant to be an absolute truth.
    • I own almost all assets in the list, partially or totally, so I’ve been able to have a good look at them before judging them.
    • All assets found here are for orthogonal (top-down) pixel-art games on a standard 16×16, 32×32 (x2) or 48x48px (x4) tile grid.
    • This post isn’t sponsored. I’m just promoting these assets because I want to! =)

    1. Time Fantasy assets by finalbossblues

    Now, at the time of writing, I have absolutely no doubts about who deserves the first place in my personal top 5. Jason Perry (finalbossblues) is a professional pixel-artist who has been making RPG pixel-art assets in the style of the SNES classics for a number of years. His most popular asset series, Time Fantasy, is absolutely massive: there’s all kinds of assets in it, from the most basic “RPG town and trees” stuff to steampunk, horror, modern environments and more.

    Time Fantasy promotional pictures taken from

    As you can see in the picture above, he makes both tilesets and characters. Although I’m personally more interested in the tilesets, because I can make my own characters, the characters are also good quality and he provides a very complete set of character bases and even has his own character generator.

    Most of his assets are nonfree, but reasonably priced, and he also has several free packs that are very interesting on their own. Both free and nonfree assets can be found on his page on, and there’s also some extra free assets on the Time Fantasy website. If you’re going to use his assets in any serious capacity, I heartily recommend his Patreon as well – by subscribing to the 10$/9€ tier, you get instant free access to a big part of his asset library, as well as to any new asset packs that come out while you’re a patron, and there’s also plenty of Patreon-exclusive assets that you can’t find anywhere else. He updates his Patreon with new assets every few days and is very diligent about it too.

    His assets are also available as RPG Maker-exclusive DLC, although I really wouldn’t recommend that option because it limits you to using them on RPG Maker alone. All Time Fantasy assets come with RPG Maker-ready versions even if you purchase them from, so I think it’s worth it to get the “engine-neutral” option.

    All in all, I’m really impressed with these assets, I totally recommend them and I’ll be using them in my future projects for sure! I’m looking forward to seeing more from the author.

    2. Super Retro assets by Gif

    I’ve scoured the Internet far and wide, and there’s only one other classic RPG pixel-art asset collection that (for me) can compete with Time Fantasy in terms of completeness, pricing and style consistency, and that’s the growing Super Retro assets collection by Gif.

    Super Retro promotional pictures taken from

    The Super Retro collection comes in two flavors: Super Retro World, which is currently the most complete set, with all kind of “basic” environments like different dungeons, scenarios and characters, and the most recent Super Retro Odyssey collection, which currently only includes one asset pack (inspired mostly by Japan) but will eventually include packs based on different regions of the planet.

    Unlike Time Fantasy, Super Retro is more cartoonish and colorful, and the characters are chibi-er, more akin to Game Boy or Game Boy Color characters in their proportions. The assets are very varied and delightful to look at and work with. They also come with tilesets and autotiles ready for RPG Maker, which is a huge bonus.

    The aesthetic of this asset collection is particularly dear to me, since I come from a Pokémon fan-gaming background, and it’s very obvious that Gif took a heavy inspiration from (among others) Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS Pokémon games. These assets, unlike Time Fantasy, are also pretty easy to combine with other assets from different artists, with just a slight palette correction to make them consistent with each other, which can be very useful when you’re on a budget and mix and match assets from different sources.

    The Super Retro collection can be found on Gif’s page. There’s a couple of free packs, although most are nonfree. The price is very reasonable: the whole Super Retro World pack can be purchased for only 40$ (not including Super Retro Odyssey), which in my opinion is a steal, since you get the right to use these assets (commercially or not) forever.

    Like Time Fantasy, Super Retro can be bought as an RPG Maker DLC, but again I wouldn’t really recommend it. There’s also a free online demo, playable from the browser, where you can see in action the different game assets from the Super Retro Packs.

    In addition, Gif is running a pixel-art charity fund through Ko-fi (with a bonus: subscribing to it provides you free access to his future asset packs!) and he often donates copies of Aseprite to pixel-artists, so he does a lot of good for the pixel-art community.

    If you think they will fit your project, I totally recommend the Super Retro assets. They’re consistent, have a good balance between quality and variety and the price is very indie-friendly.

    3. “Modern” assets by LimeZu

    The “Modern” assets series by LimeZu (Modern exteriors, Modern interiors and Modern Office) is very peculiar. Unlike most RPG assets you can find on the net, they are focused on modern, realistic environments, and the sheer amount of assets (and the speed at which LimeZu keeps producing them) is astonishing.

    Modern interiors and Modern exteriors promotional pictures taken from

    The pixel-art technique of these assets is a bit unpolished when compared to other entries on this list. However, the assets are consistent with each other and, most importantly, extremely usable and excellent for creating detailed, lively worlds, so I think they are a very good option if you’re working on a modern RPG and can’t afford to hire an artist. Also, the quality of the pixel-art keeps improving with each new update. I honestly admire the dedication of the author.

    One more thing: the pricing of these assets is absolutely ridiculous. Currently you can get the three asset packs for around 5$ total. I believe that the author, in all fairness, should probably ask for more, but since these assets are top-selling on, hopefully they make enough sales to compensate for the low price.

    Either way, my best wishes to the author, and I’ll keep my eye out for updates!

    4. World of Solaria assets by Jamie Brownhill

    My next recommendation are the World of Solaria assets, by Jamie Brownhill. As he explains on his page, these assets were meant for an epic RPG that he never got around to making, so now he sells them so other people can use them in their own projects.

    World of Solaria promotional pictures taken from

    The Solaria assets are very cartoonish and colorful and they create a cheery atmosphere. Personally I find them quite charming. The pixel-art technique isn’t as polished as that of the Time Fantasy and Super Retro collections, but it’s more than decent. The assets work very well together when put on a map and the variety is reasonable for any generic RPG.

    The World of Solaria assets are sold on Jamie Brownhill’s page. They’re all nonfree, but there’s a free demo pack available.

    The pricing, like all assets listed, is very good. It’s not not as affordable as Super Retro World (the Solaria tileset bundle, for example, costs 40$, the same as the whole Super Retro World pack, and unlike it it doesn’t include characters, which are sold separately in the Solaria sprite pack), but both asset packs fill a slightly different niche. Super Retro speaks more “modern/Pokémon-like RPG”, while World of Solaria is geared towards traditional epic RPGs, with plenty of tiles related to dungeons, caves and such. So, if you’re working on a project in that vein and don’t like/can’t afford Time Fantasy, the Solaria assets are a very solid option.

    Brownhill’s assets aren’t RPG Maker ready yet, but he’s announced that he’s going to start working on RPG Maker compatibility in April, so that’s great news!

    5. Tinytales assets by Mega Tiles

    I didn’t want to close this top 5 without mentioning the Tinytales asset collection by Mega Tiles.

    TinyTales promotional pictures taken from

    This collection is particularly useful for RPG Maker users, since not only are all tilesets RPG Maker-ready, but it also includes many character sprites, battlers and backgrounds, enough to make an entire RPG with them. They also have a character generator, although in my opinion a bit overpriced. It should be definitely bought in a pack or at a discount (current owners of any Tinytales asset can get it almost for free, at 0,79$, although I’m not sure if this offer is permanent or temporary).

    What I’m personally most interested in, as I mentioned previously, are the tilesets. The Tinytales collection is pretty varied, as much as (if not more) the Super Retro series, and it has a very clean and pleasant aesthetic. However, there are two points against it, which is why I’m putting it last in the list: its price, which is a lot less affordable than other options (as of now, 179,50$ for the entire collection), and its distinctive style, which makes it impossible to mix and match with other assets from different authors. Still, it’s still a very solid option, very complete and of good quality.

    Honorable mentions

    There’s plenty of other pixel-art top-down assets on that would merit an entry on this list. I simply listed the ones that stood out to me the most, personally, in the niche of 16x16px pixel-art for RPGs, and which had enough variety to populate an entire game on their own. However, I know of many assets that are truly beautiful and could fit a variety of projects.

    For example, personally I really enjoy World_of_NoeL‘s overworld and dungeon assets, which you can find on their page. They don’t seem to have a lot of recent online activity, but their assets are still available and, in my opinion, pretty excellent for Zelda-like games. Unfortunately, these sets aren’t complete enough to make a full game with them.

    Promotional pictures taken from

    Another asset that I’m in love with is the SunnyVille Farm asset pack by Roboki. It’s very simple yet extremely charming and bright. The buildings in particular are adorable.

    Promotional picture taken from

    The Wonderdot RPG assets by Pita are also absolutely amazing and it’s a shame that they aren’t doing more with them or expanding them, because they could be a game changer. As a pixel-artist and pixel-art enthusiast I drool each time that I look at them.

    RPG village tileset pack promotional gif taken from

    GuttyKreum is another prolific pixel-artist who takes great care in details. He makes RPG assets (mostly tilesets, but also icons and backgrounds) and has two main collections published on, the Japan Collection and the Gutty Fantasy Collection. I didn’t include them in the list because they aren’t 16x16px (some of his assets are 32x32px, others are 48×48) but I wanted to mention his work here because it’s really great.

    His style is extremely distinctive, which makes his assets impossible to mix and match with any other sets (also, the details of his assets can hardly be matched), but there’s more than enough variety in his packs to make full RPG games with consistent graphics. If you’re interested, go have a look at his page!

    Promotional picture taken from

    Finally, another author I didn’t mention is Seliel the Shaper, creator of the Mana Seed asset series. Mana Seed is a particular case. The assets fit a 16x16px grid and are of truly excellent quality (Seliel the Shaper truly knows their craft: have a look at their and very varied. Honestly speaking, I think they’re the best top-down pixel-art assets that money can buy.

    However, the assets have a restrictive license, meaning that you have to repurchase them for every project that you intend to use them in. This, coupled with their high price (justified, because as I said they are truly works of art), makes them a non-viable option for me. I plan on creating many games over time, most of which will probably never recoup the costs of their creation, so buying one-time licenses doesn’t make sense in my case.

    However, if you’re planning on making bigger, more ambitious commercial RPGs and you have the money to spend, I’d say that it’s totally worth it. I own some of their tilesets from asset bundles and they’re extremely well made.


    Well, that’s all for the list! Phew, this actually took longer to write and prepare than I expected, haha. There goes half my Saturday… Hopefully you found some new artists to follow/admire/drool over/buy from =D Thank you for reading and until the next time!


  • Village Trader + thoughts on RPG Maker and future projects

    Hello everyone! Today I want to share with you another small game project that I just published on Village Trader! Village Trader is a short PC game with a 1-bit aesthetic, about trading items with the villagers of a small town. It’s controlled almost entirely by mouse and it’s very short and straightforward. Give it a try: you should be able to complete it in about 5-10 minutes!

    Welcome to Village Trader!

    Like the previous project I posted, this was also a class project for the Unity course I took last year. I’ve been having a look at all those projects and I believe that Village Trader and Magic Penguin vs Giant Chicken are the only ones that I wish to publish, mostly because they feel complete (for what they are) and don’t have any glaring bugs.

    Village Trader is particularly interesting because I made it using the Fungus plugin for Unity, which is an open-source tool aimed at being able to develop games “with no code”. As they state on their homepage, they take inspiration from similar projects such as Twine and Ren’Py. Fungus makes use of its own “flowchart” system, which lets you place different events on a flowchart and do all kinds of crazy stuff. My only previous experience with similar engines was RPG Maker, and Fungus does feel similar in some ways, although under the hood it’s much more powerful, since it runs on Unity.

    uwu < 3

    Overall I feel like Fungus is very robust and does its job well, although personally I wouldn’t use it because of the huge overhead that Unity adds to it (bloated installation, lots of unused features, etc.) and would rather choose a standalone no-code engine such as Construct or RPG Maker. However, if you’re already familiar with Unity, Fungus can be a huge help, particularly for making dialogue systems and events.

    As you can imagine, manually programming all item combinations with visual flowcharts was a challenge, but it was a fun one!

    Coincidentally, it was recently announced that the next iteration of the RPG Maker series, RPG Maker Unite, will follow a similar path as Fungus and run on top of Unity (something that I have mixed feelings about, but let’s not get into that now)… Which brings me to the next topic that I wanted to tackle today: RPG Maker and my future gamedev projects.

    As I have mentioned in previous entries, over the past few years I’ve mostly used Godot engine, and I worked for a long time on a project called Monster Embassy, which I finally cancelled last year without having released a single demo. However, thanks to the Unity course that I took a few months back, I have finally started to learn how to finish small projects and not get lost in “big ideas” all the time. Ambitious projects are fine, and I eventually wish to finish at least one, but in the meantime it’s important that I get to finish smaller stuff that other people can actually enjoy and provide feedback on.

    With that goal in mind, during the past couple of months I have been learning more about Godot, thanks to the great courses by GDquest. However, even as I’ve been taking the courses, I’ve felt conflicted, because Godot 4 is just around the corner but it isn’t ready yet, and all available learning materials will take a while to get updated for the new version even after it releases, and half of the stuff I’m learning will be outdated, and also I don’t want to start any projects in Godot 3 because I really really need the new tileset/tilemap system in Godot 4.

    Taking all of that into consideration, and also the fact that I have been using RPG Maker again as of late (since a friend of mine is working on a project with it and I’m making most of the graphics), I’ve realised that it could be very interesting to finish a couple of short games using this tool, as it’s excellent for narrative-based storylines with pixel-art or low-res graphics.

    I feel that, if I use RPG Maker for a while, it will provide me with the opportunity to finish more short stuff, without having to worry too much about technical implementation, and it will buy me time so, when I get back to Godot, the new version will have already released and I’ll be able to get into it straight away.

    So that’s my decision: for now I’ll leave Godot aside and focus on RPG Maker until I finish at least two or three small games with it and add them to my portfolio. Wish me luck! Making these games should be fun.

    As for game concepts, I’ve thought that it could be interesting to rescue some plots that I came up with a few years back (for comics, novels, games, etc.), some of them when I was barely a child, and actually get to finish them this time. I think it could be cathartic. Also it’d be a shame to let all of those ideas and designs go to waste, and this is an excellent opportunity to bring them to reality.

    For now I’ve narrowed down these possible plots to a handful, I’ve written them down in a list (from easier/shortest to finish to harder/longest to finish) and I’ve picked the first on the list (that is, the shortest) as my first project.

    I’m still not used to working on “small” ideas that don’t require several years of development, but I feel like this is another step in the right direction. When I finish the first project on the list, I’ll publish it on and share it here.

    Have a nice day, everyone, and thanks for reading!

    Addendum: For those of you who may be wondering about my “Orosynthe” project, which was supposed to be the spiritual successor of Monster Embassy, I am still working on it from time to time. However, I’ve decided to shift my focus to smaller projects for now, so I can actually finish something in the meantime. I will come back to it fully when I have more experience finishing small stuff.