Mosaic inspiration (a story about the creation of 2 simple games)

In all this sprite asset, this friend interested me:

Looking at this pixel art crab, I immediately pulled out of the memory of those of his brothers from the mosaic in Redondo Beach, and immediately decided to make a game in which you need to play for the crab to take revenge on the cooks.

In terms of art, I also liked the ideological inheritance, which is essentially pixel art (only with square elements, unlike real ones) and there is a modern digital version of mosaics.

It took some time to think about what genre the game would be (a simple arcade game where you need to beat as many cooks as possible for points, a platformer, or a generally stupid runner). On the one hand, most of all I wanted to make a platformer (Mario, Sonic and others definitely left their mark in childhood), on the other hand, the understanding that I could hardly make many good levels hindered the decision. In the end, I decided to still on the platformer.

Sprites, tiles, levels

The first task was to refine the sprites. As I mentioned, the artist did not come out of me, but I decided that at least the refinement of pixel art should be managed on my own.

So I armed myself with a tool called Piskel ( first modified Crab:

Armed and dangerous

Armed and dangerous

I also worked out the option that the Crab would have two weapons, a hammer and scissors for butchering (and that there might be a mode for two players), but he refused both the second weapon and the game for two, but the memory remained:

The full source of the sprite was also lost somewhere on another computer, so only a static screen

The full source of the sprite was also lost somewhere on another computer, so only a static screen

With the chef, things were more complicated. There were no particularly suitable “as is” sprites, but GrafxKid also found a set of City Mega Pack – It has a set of human villagers, and one of them became the basis for the cook. There is already more of my work (therefore, the result is of course worse in style):

The crab will be caught!

The crab will be caught!

I managed with tiles for the level, mostly default ones, again from GrafxKid – And

The only other thing I took from the city was the image of a cafe, remade it a bit and added my own inscription:

Only today!  Discount on crabs - 50%!

Only today! Discount on crabs – 50%!

A little about game development

During the development of the game, the working title was “Crab Revenge”, but in the end it became “Crab Hammer” (well, or “hammer”).

I took Defold, already familiar to me, as an engine, developed the levels in the Tiled editor (it has export functions to Defold).

16x16 tile set for level design

16×16 tile set for level design

16x16 tile set for level design

First level example

The tilemap is also used as a form of collision object for the level

The tilemap is also used as a form of collision object for the level

The following additions for Defold are also used in the game: – for camera – to create a GUI – screen manager (the level is also a screen)

Many thanks to my cousin Xbost for the soundtrack from chiptune music (but the tracks were not written specifically for the game, but simply taken from past developments).


So, gameplay. As I already wrote – the game is a platformer. Each level begins with the fact that the main character, the Crab, appears on it defenseless (that is, without a hammer), and evil cooks with nets roam the level to catch the unfortunate arthropod to cook and serve it to the table.

It could be argued that the Crab has pincers and could use them for defense. I could, but not in my game – so the first goal in the level is to find a wooden mallet for butchering crabs, avoiding the chefs’ nets.

Finding the hammer, it’s time for revenge. To go to the next level, you need to thresh a certain number of cooks (for each level it is different, and also does not cancel the possibility of threshing more – double points are awarded for each cook above the minimum). But if while the Crab does not have a hammer, all the cooks behave the same way, trying to catch him, then when he has a hammer, the majority scatter, but there are also those who are ready to fight. After the task is completed, you can return to your native aquatic habitat (anywhere in the level where you can dive). At the same time, if you dive into the water before the task is completed, or for example, if the required number of cooks managed to scatter, then diving into the water simply restarts the level without taking away life (unlike liquids of a different color from water, which are present at some levels).

I didn’t get a lot of content in the game, passing for 30-40 minutes. Of those who tested, only one old-school comrade who played on Dendy / Sega went through the game, those who are more casual did not master it (well, or they just didn’t like the game, but they didn’t tell me about it directly).

The sad fate of the mosaic

Before the release of the game, I decided to find out who is the author of the mosaic in order to add it to the credits, in fact, as the author of the idea. Why did I turn to the Redondo Beach subreddit with the question of what kind of building it was (since I didn’t remember exactly), and the opportunity to find out who the author of this creation was. There they confirmed to me that these mosaics were on the wall of the Quality Seafood restaurant, next to the old arcade. It turned out that the restaurant and mosaics are no longer there, and the locals suggest that there will be a new mall. They don’t know about the author, they suggested contacting some department of Redondo Beach, but here I was already too lazy (but if I suddenly do the second part, I’ll write there).

This is the fate that befell these mosaics, although they were not works of art, they became the inspiration for the creation of my toy, and I am sorry that they are no more. C’est la vie.

Bonus. Run of the Capitoline Wolf.

The article is coming to an end and it’s time for the promised Roman mosaic bonus. The mosaic is unique. We discussed in correspondence with one girl the love for mosaics, and she sent me this …

Provincial mosaic from the time of Roman Britain, kept in the Leeds City Museum (

This wonderful mosaic captivated me so much that I also made a game out of it.

I cut out the “wolf” itself, made her “animations”, and made platforms and a background from the environment. It is difficult to call it a full-fledged game, in general, a hack. A simple runner where you run after a she-wolf and collect coins, but still another puzzle-inspired game.


In conclusion, I give links to the games, and I say thank you to everyone for reading! — Crab Hammer – Run of the Capitoline Wolf

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