Jeff Hangartner – Revealing the Path Less Travelled in Video Game Industry

Jeff HangartnerJeff Hangartner, the founder of the gaming start-up, Bulletproof Outlaws has been a professional developer of games over the last half a decade. Creator of Pixelation, the 1st Pixel Art Forum and also originator of the Pixel tutorials which have been published in the form of a book. Jeff has always been a pioneer of the gaming industry.

CG Today is proud to present Jeff’s exploration as he shares the whole process of creating a start-up right from day 1. With the belief that gaming development is coming back to its original “one programmer in the basement roots” idea, Bulletproof Outlaws is chronicling every step of its start-up process from strategies, to marketing, setting goals and outsourcing, successes and failures. The aim is to help other developers who have ideas but are intimidated by the whole start-up process and are not sure how to go about it.

You can visit his website Bulletproof Outlaws to know more about him or send an email to get connected.

Today was messing with image reduction. We’re running into some issues with the iPad version which we suspect might be memory issues because the art for the iPad is epically huge and the iPad isn’t really a super powerful machine compared to, like, an iPhone 3G. So I popped a look into the \Art\ directory and holy crap, the art totals 15.7megs! There’s a 20 meg theoretical limit on iOS games, so that doesn’t leave much room for anything else in the game.

I remembered back when I worked in the game industry on old mobile phones (before Smartphones existed, we’re talking Nokia S40s and stuff), we had a handful of programs that would reduce .PNG files. PNGcrush, OptiPNG,, PNGGauntlet, there’s a bunch of free programs that’ll squish .PNG files down. Unfortunately most of them don’t seem to allow drag & drop of multiple .PNG files, which means either doing each file individually or making a .BAT file that goes through a directory blah blah blah too much effort haha PNGGauntlet, thankfully, allows multiple image files to be dragged & dropped in it, nice and simple and effortless.

The end result is the \Art\ directory going from 15.7 megs down to 13.1 megs, woohoo! That’s still not fantastically awesome, but considering how art-intensive the game is, I don’t think it’ll get much smaller than that. Some of the reduced files it spits out tend to be kind of strange looking:

Bulletproof Outlaws - Gauntlet

Which from back in the pixel art days I know means some of the files with low variation of colors are being converted to a .GIF style 256 (or less) Indexed color mode. So the weird stuff in the background, when viewed in a program that supports the alpha stuff disappears so it ends up being displayed like so:

Bulletproof Outlaws - Gauntlet

But the end result is that there’s essentially one big “invisible pixel color”, which obliterates the dozens of different opacity levels you get in a normal RGB color mode…in plain-speak Indexed results in pixely “aliased” outside edges instead of smooth anti-aliased ones.

The place I used to work actually had a fantastic program from Nintendo for GBA/DS development called Optpix Image Studio that had security key-dongles you had to plug in to use it and they were like $2000 a key or something insane. But that program was AMAZING…you could reduce .PNG files with anti-aliasing and control exactly how many levels of opacity go into the anti-aliasing and stuff. It’s a phenomenal program, but I’m pretty sure you can only get it through Nintendo by developing on one of their systems, so us normal peasant-folk have to make do with the free programs haha

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