"Fussy Ambassador Lollie"
Released by FoxSoft for PC-98, 1987.

This was made in the style of Japanese PC games from the mid-1980s, for a specific line of computers by NEC called the PC-98. These were old DOS computers, released between 1982 and 1992, and their capabilities grew significantly in a decade.

The PC-9801VX of 1986 had a max resolution of 640×400 pixels, and could display a maximum 16 colors simultaneously from a 12-bit color range — or 4096 possible colors. It's surprisingly limiting! The color-picking process resulted in me choosing the colors that I wanted to use, and then waving a color swatch around to find the closest match.

Like this:

Admittedly, I fudged the details a little for the animation. The "Continue" arrow and VulPal screen would work on a PC-98 just fine, but I don't know if the UI's animated background would've been possible on this system, not without slowdown at least.

Style over 100% accuracy, whatever, it's fine.

This was a fairly experimental piece! I've been doing pixel art for years, but this was my first time working on a full scene at a higher resolution. I used every tool in my toolkit:

  • Clip Studio Paint for the original sketch.
  • Blender for modelling the storefront, and placing trees (from SketchFab, here).
  • Blender's Grease Pencil, to generate the lineart for the front tree's branches
  • After Effects and Knoll Light Factory for designing the lens flare elements.
  • Photoshop's Save For Web feature, to crunch the tree branches, leaves, and individual lens flare elements down into dithered 2 & 3 color images.
  • Finally, Aseprite for laying down pixels over the original sketch and modelled storefront, and for layering up and recoloring all the crunched-down elements.

I've compiled shots of the individual pieces below!

32°C in the last month of winter. Australian winters are a farce. 💦