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As we approach the next funding goal, I've been doing some work under the hood and making some plans for some more features and additions. There are also a couple of notifications and reminders for the community that I'll touch on at the end of this post.
I'm working on updating the way OGA handles searches, which will eventually mean tossing out the old search system and replacing it with something newer and better. For the technically inclined among you, I'm using Apache Solr. I've already got a very bare prototype of this up and running, which you can check out here:
Please note that this feature is in very early alpha, and I'm not looking for comments or bug reports at the moment. The search results are just a mass of text right now, but they won't be when I'm done. At any rate, even though the results are ugly, sometimes they're more sensible than OGA's default search, which is one of the things the new search engine is intended to fix.
If you want to see how much this will improve the search situation, just serarch for "LPC base" (no quotes) in the old search and the new one and notice that the new search system very sensibly places the LPC base assets as the first result, whereas on our current search system, it's nowhere on the first page. This should also clear up the issues we have with duplicate, blank, or nonsensical search results.
Once we hit the $1000 funding goal, I'll start working on adding expanded metadata to art entries, so people can search much more fine-grained categories and filter on things like resolution and format. This will obviously take a lot of manual data entry on my part, so be aware that the new metadata won't just magically appear once we hit the goal. :)
Changes to art deletion
Occasionally we get art deletion requests that leave me wondering why the request was made. While it will always be the artists' prerogative to remove their art for any reason, for the convenience of developers, I'm going to start maintaining pages for deleted art (with the downloads removed), which will help avoid link rot and give developers a record of what license(s) the art was released under. These pages will be essentially the same as the last useful revision of the current art page (including preview images and a list of filenames), but the downloads themselves will no longer be available.
In addition, if a piece of art is removed due to copyright infringement, we'll send out notification emails to all registered accounts that have download tracking enabled (and downloaded the art after download tracking was implemented).
Deletions from here on until this is implemented will be preserved in an unpublished state and put in the deleted items archive when it becomes available.
A quick reminder
OGA has a lot of users from a lot of different backgrounds. We offer a fairly wide choice of licenses, and that means that our users run the gamut from hardcore free software advocates to closed source developers. Everyone is welcome here.
There are plenty of places where people can argue the merits of various software licensing schemes; in fact, if you want to talk about this stuff on the OGA forums, that's fine by me, provided everything stays civil. What I want to avoid is people being non-constructive and/or rude. If you feel the need to make rude comments about someone because they chose a particular license, game engine, or programming language, there are plenty of places on the internet where that kind of thing is welcome. OGA is not one of them. :)
P.S. I've got my next pixel art tutorial outlined, if people are waiting for that. It's pretty extensive, so I might have to split it into two parts, but it's coming along. :)
In this video, I go over some basic tips for improving your art, and also for making the best art possible with your current skill level. I do two pixel art demonstrations with the same subject (a vase I rendered in Blender), one of a simple shape with an outline, and two using solid blocks of color to demonstrate how to give an object a sense of volume with light and shadow.
The forum thread for this tutorial is here:
Just a heads up, since a lot of people might be interested in this:
Today only, Kenney's complete CC0 asset pack (normally available only to donors) can be downloaded from his site for free:
Spoiler: My favorite program from Part 1 is Krita, although I cover a number of editors, and you don't need to be using Krita to follow along with later videos. You can safely skip the second video if you're not interested in Krita, although I'd recommend checking it out. :)
Tutorial forum threads:
There's a free/open source pixel editor (aptly named "pixeditor") written in Python that could use a new maintainer. You can see an old forum thread about it here.
It's stable and usable as it is, and has (in my opinion) about the most intuitive animation support that I've seen in any pixel editing program, but it's still in need of some more features.
Here's a relatively recent screenshot. Notice the animation timeline.
If you're interested in contributing, the original author has offered to help someone get started. You can find the git repository here.