I've re-discovered tamagotchi recently, and it's been incredibly fun. I've been in awe with the systems put in place on the first generations. There are only three buttons, and so many things we can do. It's simple to understand, yet has subtleties. It has a calming aura around it even though it requires attention. Tamas promote caring for little creatures and I like this a lot. I've also been super inspired by the work done by Hundred Rabbits for Yufo on the uxn device. So much that I wanted to bring my own spin. Here's Tamagichi, an upcoming online tama simulator where all the tamas live on a server, and anyone, including their care-takers can pay them a visit. Everything is persistent, done in real-time and follows similar rules as the Gen 2 tamas.

I'd love this project to be a collaborative one! I think it'd be a great way to get to know some of you a little more and to build something together. Not to say I'm terrible at art... :P If you are interested, read on! The main need right now is around pixel art.

The display device

The tamagichi display device follows the same specs as the Gen 1 & 2 tamas: 32 pixels width by 16 pixels height. Each pixel can either be "off", or "on". To encode that information, the device uses 0 (off) or 1 (on). 0 or 1 is called a bit, so it's using 1 bit per pixel (1 bpp). As an example, the following represents a full line of 4 pixels:


The following is a dotted line of 4 pixels:


It would be a little inefficient to the information in only 0 or 1: we would need 32*16 = 512 bits to represent that. So instead, the display device groups bits 4 by 4: with 4 bits, up to 15 values can be encoded. This can be represented as a single hexadecimal digit (also called a nibble). Now we only need 128 characters to represent a full screen. Yet, we don't always want to represent a full screen: at times, we're only interested in an 8x8 image. So here is the full format of the display device:


Where W is the width expressed in pixels, H is the height also in pixels, and hex is the series of nibbles that represent the image.

Merp's internet tool

To make things easier, I've created a tool that makes it easier to draw for the Tamagichi Display Device. Click on the canvas to add a pixel. Right click to remove the pixel, save to get the 1bpp representation encoded in the right format. We'll leverage that tool to draw the assets together!

Assets: Where you can help!

After this lengthy introduction, here's the part where you could help. Below are assets that will be used in the tama. Those are mostly placeholders for now. I'm not super satisfied with how they look, and I think it could be really fun for us to work on it together.

Here's how it works: click on a link below to open the editor. Click to add a pixel, right click to remove, press and maintain space to move the canvas around. When you are happy with the way your version looks, press "save". Then fill the remaining form items (context, name, email) and press save. This will send it to me. I don't guarantee it will be used in the final version, but your name will be. :) Thanks again! Here's the current list of assets:

Tamas: Where you can help as well!

Tamas are the creatures we'll care for on Tamagichi. As they grow, they will go through different stages: baby, child, teen and adult. Each stage can have multiple evolutions. With your help, I'm hoping to have a lot of evolution for each stage! Each evolution has 2 images, both facing right. The tama will cycle through those two images and the display will flip them to make them roam around. Feel free to edit them or to create your own!





Questions? m15o at posteo dot net