Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sproxel v0.5 OSX!

Ryan Mast compiled and uploaded the 64-bit OSX build of Sproxel in record time!

It has all the features of the Windows build with the added niceties of the OSX widget set.  Grab it now on the downloads page.
Thanks, Ryan!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sproxel v0.5 Released!

It's been a long time in the coming, but Sproxel v0.5 has finally been released!  New features include:
  • Much faster and more stable raycasting algorithm was added by Electric Dog. This potentially fixed Issue ID#2.
  • Grid dimensions can now be extended and contracted.
  • Tool dragging (look for the option in preferences).
  • Tool preview (look for the option in preferences).
  • Voxels can be drawn with outlines now (again, preferences).
  • Camera snapping (hold shift while holding alt to snap in 45 degree increments).
  • A two-click Line tool.
  • Tool code refactor - this will allow for multi-click tools like selection and line.
  • Relatively major code refactor - moved things around for better extensibility.

Download Sproxel 0.5 (win32 or OSX) in the usual place.

This image shows the new voxel outline option, drawing each filled voxel with a thin border.  It also shows the new interactive tool preview feature, drawing a red box to show where the next splatted voxel will appear.  Both of these options, as well as a new tool dragging feature can be modified in the preferences dialog.

A lot of code has been changed under the hood of Sproxel for this release.  The results of these changes are not immediately visible, but upcoming versions will leverage the new technology in the form of layers, animation, selection, cut/copy/paste, indexed palettes, and various other features. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sproxel Visits The Digital Orca

The SIGGRAPH conference was in Vancouver, British Columbia this year.  Both the city and the weather were beautiful, so it made for a great week.

A rather apropos sculpture named the Digital Orca by Douglas Coupland greeted convention goers just outside the center.  Some people refer to this as the "pixelized killer whale" but since you're on this page, you probably know it's not made of pixels, it's made of voxels!  This seemed like just the job for Sproxel.  I took a few dozen reference photos before I headed back to the Bay Area, and after spending a couple hours with the results and Sproxel v0.4, I created what I believe to be a complete model of the Digital Orca.

This model, as well as the Sproxel "tree" model you see everywhere on this page, are now available for download on the Sproxel Downloads Page.  Just download, uncompress it, and load the CSV files into your favorite version of Sproxel!

I often find that using my own tools helps give me an appreciation for what users want in a software package.  This project encouraged me to implement a couple UI features that you will be able to use in the next version of Sproxel.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

August release delayed

Due to a nice vacation and this year's SIGGRAPH conference, I haven't had much time to work on Sproxel in the last few weeks.  I'll return to the Bay Area in seven days, and will be able to resume development, focusing on selections, slices, and a moving "builder brush" style development region (thanks for the suggestions on the feature requests wiki).  In the meantime, here is a screenshot of something I've been playing with.  I hope to have more news soon!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sproxel 0.4 OSX!

Less than 24 hours after I released the Windows version of Sproxel 0.4, Ryan Mast built it for 64-bit OSX 10.6.

It's now available on the downloads page and has all the features of the Windows build. 

Thanks again, Ryan!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sproxel v0.4 Released!

Another month, another Sproxel release.  New features include:
  • Command-line loading of voxel grids.
  • OBJ export is much improved.  You can now export quads or triangles.  The resulting mesh is now airtight and contains no internal polygons.  This allows for operations requiring perfect connectivity to be performed.
  • Image import - using File->Import, you can import a standard 2d image into the grid.  BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, and TIFF image file formats are all supported.
  • Mirroring around any axis.
  • Rotation clockwise and counter clockwise around any axis.
  • Window positions are now saved on exit and restored on startup.
  • A new Edit->Preferences dialog exists where you can change grid size and color, background color, and a few other minor UI features.
  • Popup palette color editor starts with the right color now.
  • Application clean state and undo is more stable.
  • Built using the Microsoft compiler.
  • A few small UI improvements.

Download Sproxel 0.4 in the usual place.

This image, courtesy of Metin at illustrates some of the effects you can achieve using Sproxel's new seamless OBJ export and importing into a package like 3dStudio Max, Maya, or Blender.

Development news.

A lot has happened during the month of June!

The most exciting news is a talented game developer who goes by the nick e-dog ( has begun work on a Python interface to Sproxel.  This has the potential to be extremely cool, since a variety of functionality could be quickly prototyped and distributed.  Think custom file importers and exporters, custom voxel generation (terrain), and even custom UI widgets!  I would not have had the chops to do something like this on my own, so e-dog's help is very much appreciated!  Look for the Python interface in an upcoming version of Sproxel.

A couple of artists have expressed interest in using the project for media other than video games.  One of them, Metin, over at has suggested literally dozens of new features to improve Sproxel.  He has also contributed a few images to be used in the promotion of Sproxel.  These are much appreciated, as I've found I'm really no good at creating voxel models of my own.  Check out his webpage for some great voxel-based illustrations!

In other news, thirty people have downloaded contributor's Ryan Mast's OSX build of Sproxel.   His contribution was a total surprise, and I'm glad people are using his work.  Sproxel is now in the top 5 google results when searching for voxel model editor.  And I'm heading back to Wisconsin for a much-needed vacation with the family.

Enjoy the summer, northern hemisphere'ers!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sproxel v0.3 OSX!

A kind UC San Diego student named Ryan Mast compiled sproxel v0.3 for Mac OSX 10.6.  It's 64-bit only right now, and it seems to have all the dependencies included, but if you have any problems with the DMG, please drop me a line on this blog or via the sproxel project page.  We will do our best to get it working for you.

Download it in the usual place.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sproxel v0.3 Released!

Yet another version of the Sproxel editor has been released.  New features include:
  • Proper Save/Save As/Open/New file behavior.
  • A new Sproxel data file format in addition to CSV.  This new format saves a voxel grid as a single PNG image so you can pop it open and edit it in your favorite image editor.  It stores the voxel dimensions in the tEXT meta-data chunk of the png file.  It's relatively experimental for the time being, so expect it to mature as time goes on.  This feature was added by request.
  • OBJ model export!  This one also comes by request via the feature request wiki.  The implementation is a bit naive at the moment (it exports more triangles than it needs to), but I have successfully imported the obj geometry with materials into Maya 2012.  If the OBJ does not appear to load in your favorite modeling package, please drop me a line and we'll work together to figure out why.
  • Some behind-the-scenes work has also been done to make the UI more configurable in the near future

The download is available at the usual spot (following the "Download Sproxel" link on the right side of this page will also take you there).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sproxel v0.2 Released!

A new version of the Sproxel editor has been released.  New features include: A new toolbar, CTRL+F frames the entire voxel grid, & new mouse button behavior!

The download is available at the usual spot (following the "Download Sproxel" link on the right side of this page will also take you there).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sproxel Used in its First (Mini) Game!

My buddy Joel likes participating in the Ludum Dare game development competition.  It sounds like a blast, but my love of sleep has won out over my love of development every time.  This last time around, Joel made a quaint Zelda clone using graphics designed in Sproxel.
Click here to check it out!

Tools Similar to Sproxel.

Before I started writing Sproxel, I was made aware of a tool named Cube Kingdom.  It seems like it's pretty cool!  Is anyone aware of other sprite-voxel editors out there on the web?

I like the menus and the general feel of the Cube Kingdom.  At the moment, Sproxel feels a lot more technical.  This may be a good thing or may not.  I'll get a better feel for things as time goes on...

Why Create a Sprite Voxel Editor?

Lately there have been some great "indie" games popping up here and there.  Many of these games take risks with gameplay, graphics, level design, or all-around-style.  One of the more risky styles has been to represent elements of the world as voxels.  It's difficult to match the level of surface detail in the latest polygon-based games with voxels, but voxels allow for tons of neat effects since the world is represented as a volume instead of a collection of surfaces.  Minecraft, for example, has gotten a lot of mileage out of the technique.

It wasn't Minecraft, though, that inspired me to create Sproxel.  Minecraft represents the world as voxels, but it doesn't go whole-hog with the technique.  It still overlays polygon characters into the world - they're blocky, but they're not created out of the same building blocks as the land.  It took a yet-to-be-released game named Fez to really pique my interest.

Fez uses a technology they call trixels to create an entirely new gaming experience.  One second you think you're looking at a relatively low-resolution 2d game, the next you're looking at a bunch of 3d representations of the pixels you thought were flat!  A second later, you're back to an ortho-2d view of the world, and your brain grows accustomed to thinking of the data as pixels again.  This was such a good combination of retro, modern, and new game design that I just had to get in on it somehow!

Another game with a similar all-voxel approach to gameplay is Voxatron.  Voxatron is also still in development, but it too is looking like it's going to be great.

Another youtube video shows Voxatron's own sprite voxel editor, but it hasn't been released yet, and I just couldn't wait to give game developers a tool they could mess with between now and when Voxatron comes out.

If you haven't seen these videos yet, hopefully they inspired you as much as they did me.  With any luck, some talented engine designers are already working on their voxel-based engines, and Sproxel will help them make their dream a reality.