Why doesn't the Starter Kit include paint or stain markers?

 

Simple: because everyone has different needs and preferences for their Wood Sprite's colors!

Every classic video game sprite uses its own color palette. To make your Wood Sprite an exact match, you'll want to obtain the closest possible color to each hue in the sprite. Including red paint markers wouldn't do much good if you wanted to make a blue character!

Same goes for wood stain. You might want a more earth-toned Wood Sprite, or one that uses rich, deep stain colors, or even a reddish cherry wood theme.

But despair not: Uncle Pixel will soon have a selection of the finest paint and stain markers available for sale, right here on the site. Uncle Pixel is doing this because he loves you and wants you to be happy.

 

What size Wood Sprite can I make with one Starter Kit? How many Refill Packs do I need to create a larger Sprite?

 

The Starter Kit contains 288 cubes (enough to make a 16 pixel by 16 pixel Wood Sprite, 256 total, with 32 extras to replace irregular cubes). You can generally create one standard-sized character sprite, item, weapon, effect, or background tile with this Kit.

However, many games employ characters created from multiple sprites that are attached together. This creates character graphics that might be 16x32 pixels, or even 32x32 pixels!

To create a Wood Sprite of a larger character, you'll need to add the appropriate number of Refill Packs to meet the pixel count. This can be easily found by simply counting up the total number of pixels in the character graphic. Then, assume you have 256 wooden cubes per pack and buy the necessary number of Refill Packs (or Starter Kits, if you want the extra Wood Sprite Tools).

 

Can I use wooden cubes from a craft store or the Internet to add to my Wood Sprite?

 

You could possibly get away with this in small areas (for example, if you're 5 cubes short of completing a design).

However: Uncle Pixel recommends using only official wooden cubes bought from this site. There are a few good reasons for this.

The wood colors and weights won't match. Uncle Pixel's cubes are a specific species of wood, all obtained from the same source, for consistency in color and density.

• Uncle Pixel's cubes are manufactured to a much higher standard of cut accuracy than general-purpose craft cubes - this is important so that finished Wood Sprites are as square and gap-free as possible. Store-bought craft cubes often have sloppy, non-90-degree cuts and are too short or long on the cut axis.

• Small packages of craft-quality cubes are super expensive! Buying in bulk from Uncle Pixel is actually far more cost effective - and for a far better product.

 

I have dried wood glue on my 8-Bit Old School Wood Sprite Tool. How do I get it off?

 

Ah, the wonders of ABS plastic. The Wood Sprite Tool has been designed with a highly polished surface that will not allow most PVA wood glues to bond to it. If you find dried glue on your Tool, simply scrape back and forth with a fingernail and it will pop right off!

And now, a few no-nos: don't try to remove the glue with a blade or tool, don't use chemicals or solvents to remove the glue, and don't bend or twist the Tool to pop the glue off. A fingernail is sufficient to remove any residue. If you don't have a fingernail, borrow a friend's (and you might also want to avoid dramatically hanging off cliff edges in a cinematic fashion).

 

When I glue the wooden cubes together, a lot of wood glue squeezes out from the edges. What am I doing wrong?

 

You, my friend, are using too much glue.

Uncle Pixel recommends that you use only a small smear of glue on each wooden cube - less than half a drop - and kept in the center of the cube. If you have trouble squeezing the correct amount right out of the bottle, try applying a big blop of glue onto a palette (or your parchment paper) and use a small sponge, cotton bud, or popsicle stick to apply the glue to the wood. That way, you'll have much more control over how much glue you're applying.

 

Okay, but what if I've already gotten glue all over my wooden cubes?

 

Wood glue can be cleaned off with a damp rag (as long as the glue is still wet).

Keep a moistened cloth or paper towel around while you're gluing your Wood Sprite together. If you have a spill or too much squeezes out, quickly wipe the glue off with one steady, firm motion, following along the line with your finger. Don't worry about getting the wood wet - as long as your rag isn't too saturated, it won't cause a problem.

 

OKAY, but now I've glued my fingers to my head and I can't use the damp rag. NOW what do I do?

 

Uncle Pixel is not a medical practitioner and cannot be held liable for any advice he can offer in this area. Nevertheless, he recommends two things: first, you should probably head for an Urgent Care or Emergency Room - and second, you should probably find someone less... shall we say, thick... to help you build your Wood Sprite in the future.

 

I don't know much about colors. How should I pick my colors or shades of wood stain?

 

First, you'll need to decide whether you're making a painted Wood Sprite or a stained Wood Sprite. If you want a color-accurate version of a game sprite, you'll use paint. If you want a classy, swanky-looking game sprite (suitable for an office or a library, or to show off at your Illuminati meeting), you'll want to go with wood stain.

For a painted sprite, it's easy: pick a color of acrylic paint marker that's closest to each color in the character sprite. If the character wears a cornflower robe, buy a cornflower paint marker. If you simply can't find the right color in a paint marker, you can always buy a small bottle of acrylic craft paint in the correct shade and apply it with a paintbrush. Thin the paint down with a little water if it's too thick - you can apply multiple coats to get a vibrant application if needed.

For a wood-stained sprite, you can use unfinished wood cubes as your lightest color, then choose 2 more stains: a mid-range, and a dark. Pick two shades that are in the same color family - for example, 2 yellowish stains or 2 reddish stains. That way, you have a nice range of stains that relate to each other.

If you want a good general stain list to start with, Uncle Pixel recommends a reddish stain range - Wood Sprites in this shade look excellent. Try one of the following stain groupings:  Unfinished/Cherry/Dark Mahogany, or Unfinished/Fruitwood/Dark Mahogany.

 

Dear Uncle Pixel: although the Starter is referred to as an "8-Bit" Wood Sprite Kit, the background art on the box is clearly 16-bit. How do you explain this drastic mistake?

 

Okay, smart guy or girl, so you caught your Uncle cheating. What do you want, a cookie?!

If you must know, the characters on the front of the box use legal 8-bit limitations (accounting for a VFX layer sprite added on top of the base character sprites found in the instruction manual!) In fact, they even use colors directly from a certain "NES-y" color palette for added authenticity.

But as far as the backgrounds go... yeah, Uncle Pixel stepped them up a notch, for the simple reason that the box looks better this way. Now, if you're done congratulating yourselves, Uncle Pixel has to go prepare a bowl of lukewarm water to put your hand in while you're sleeping. Revenge is a dish best served... well, lukewarm.