While one game developer may be renouncing pixel art for their future products, the retro look isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Among the chaos and noise of GAMAYO 8, indie development couple WetGenes showed off two of their projects: BIG TROUBLE IN FAT PIXELS, a retro homage to Double Dragon, and the paint application they used to create it, Swanky Paint.


What we got to see at GAMAYO was a very early prototype of an unashamed homage to those old school beat-em-up games from the 8-bit era. It’s big, it’s bold and although it’s barely even out of prototype stage, you can certainly see how it’ll shape up. Check out the video below to see Kriss from WetGenes talk to about the game.

Swanky Paint

The bigger story here is how and why the game is being made: both can be answered with “Swanky Paint”, a pixel art application designed to replace the ageing Deluxe Paint. I suppose it was about time, since the paint package was last updated in 1994… for the Commodore Amiga! BIG TROUBLE started out as a proof of concept to show what Swanky Paint can produce: what they call dogfooding in the tech world.

Kriss fills in some of the blanks about the process:

After some time building Swanky Paint we decided to put it to the test and use it to create artwork for a new game. BIG TROUBLE was born out of a weekend of character experimentation with the plan to get as much animated expression into as few pixels and frames as possible. After a number of attempts we settled on 24px high with a forced 3/4 angle cartoon style to enable the same sprites to fit into both a 3D environment and a 2D platform environment. As you would expect using swanky paint in this very specific way has resulted in a number of small but very useful changes to help with building and animating sprite sheets.

Although the project is still in development not only are there some strong features already available, but there’s also a lot to expect in the future!

These are some of the features that are already included in the current version. We are still adding more during development.

  • Runs on Linux, Raspberry Pi, Android, Windows & Mac
  • Deluxe Paint shortcuts
  • Escher modes : Hexels, non-Euclidean, strange geometry + more
  • Bloom shader options
  • Full resolution background image for tracing and referencing
  • Complex animation frames
  • Spritesheet support
  • Animation exports to GIF and APNG
  • GIF and APNG import to frames
  • Popular colour palettes – C64, Spectrum, NES, Gameboy, MSX, AppleII, EGA, Swanky16, Swanky32
  • Manual PDF that includes one-page shortcut pullout
  • Support for Lua scripting

There’s also even a web-based version in development called Swanky Art.

You can support Swanky Art by voting for it on Steam Greenlight right now! Check out the WetGenes website for more information on BIG TROUBLE IN FAT PIXELS and all their other projects, including open source share and sponsor platform Dimeload.


About Dan Morse

From the Atari 2600 right through to bleeding fast PCs, Dan's played on them all. One thing that's never changed is an unwavering passion for video games. Twitter: @happydan | Steam: happydan | GOG: happydan