10 things you may not know about Dead Pixels

10 things you may not know about Dead Pixels.

Dead Pixels was first released 2 years ago today on Xbox Live arcade and to celebrate I’m doing a series of blog posts and lowering the price of Dead Pixels on Steam by 66%.

I also felt like now would be a good time to do one or two blog posts. So this is the first of about 3 posts this week, and I decided to share some things about Dead Pixels not many people know.

1) The guns are named after resident evil characters.

BARRY BURTON!One of the references most people got was that the guns were mostly named after Resident Evil 1 characters.  The 4 major guns in Dead pixels were, Chambers, Redfield, Valentine, and Burton.  These are of course references to Rebecca Chambers, Chris Redfeild, Jill Valentine, and Barry Burton.

What a lot of people didn’t get was that there was an order to the names. Now this is all based on my opinion, so dont get angry. The worst guns in the game are Chambers guns and the arguably worst member of STARS was Rebecca Chambers, next came Redfeild than Valentine, and the Burton guns were the best and  Barry always seemed like the best character to me

There was also a Wesker gun that never ran out no matter how much it was used, and a Vickers gun that was amazingly hard to find.  Both of these were against RE1 references.

One thing that was cut from the game was the idea that each of the gun companies had their own unique feel, and there would be billboard advertising the guns in the backgrounds adverting this.  This is something that I went back to for Dead Pixels II.

2)Most of the store keepers were based on real people.

Adam the storekeeper, I've known him since I was 3.The store keepers were originally made about 4 months before Dead Pixel development started.  Originally they were made just pixel art practice, and not made for any game. I’ve always been a fan of pixel art and decided to start practicing by drawing friends and people I had met at and anime convention.  When it came to doing Dead Pixels, I decided to reuse the old art and spent an afternoon redoing parts of them and stuck them in the game. Most of these people dont know they are in the game.

Shortly after the Release on Dead Pixels I done the Extra Life gaming marathon for charity.  As a bonus anyone that donated $15 or more would be added into the game as a shop keeper.  About 10 people jumped at the chance for themselves or people the knew to be in the game.  Also one guy asked if you could instead make a shop keeper based of a knight from Demon Souls.

3) Early builds of Dead Pixels had a sausage (hunger) meter and no end.

Sausage!The original idea for Dead Pixels was an endless game where you just had to survive for as long as possible. Once you died you could never reload the character, and your time would get added to a leader board.

To make the game harder, and to make players explore,  you had to find food, and the only food in the game was sausages.  Over time you would eat them, and if you ran out your health would slowly drop.

$)Dead Pixels was originally called 8-bitZombie Sim and was to be a 2 week project.

8-bit zombie simOriginally Dead Pixels was started because a previous game (Super Tank Run) had been pulled from review to get on xbox live indie games, and it meant I had 1 week with nothing to do.  I decided I would make a zombie game in 2 weeks and it slowly ballooned into Dead Pixels.Originally it was called 8-bit Zombie Sim as I wanted to have a name that said it all, but users on one forum complained that the game was not really 8 bit and done things consoles of that generation could not do.

I asked on another online community if I should change the name, and suggested the name “Dead Pixels” as a possible alternative.  Everyone seemed to love it, so I changed the name to Dead Pixels: The 8-bit Zombie Sim.

5) Dead Pixels is full of references to zombie films, games and other media.

70's ZombiesI love to see references in tv shows and films, to other tv shows and films.  It’s part of the reason I love shows like Space, South Park and Community.  A good reference should be there for fans, but not get in the way for people that dont get it.

I think most people are well aware of the references in Dead Pixels, but there are some not many people get

I already brought up the resident evil references in the gun names above, but below are a whole load of easier to miss references.  Highlight them to read them.

  • Streets are named after characters in zombie films/games/comics.
  • Malls are named after Directors of Zombie films.
  • Tunnels are named after Actors from zombie films.
  • All stores have references to zombie media in their names.
  • The characters in The Solution were named after authors of zombie books and comics.
  • The helicopter from in the opening looks similar to the Dawn of the Dead 1978 helicopter.

6) The two player characters in the Last Stand mode were based on real people.

HurlyAs I said earlier, in 2011 I done the Extra Life gaming marathon for charity, and I said anyone that paid $15 or more would be added as a shopkeeper.  It wasn’t long before I was contacted by Tim Hurley asking how much would it cost to become a playable character.  At the time I was working on adding the Last Stand mode so there was an opening for 2 new characters.  Thinking he wasn’t that serious I said $100, and before long both him and his friend Nate Graves had donated $100 to charity. so I put them in the game.

7) Dead Pixels reused some art and code from Super Tank Run.

Super Tank RunBecause both Dead Pixels and my previous game super tank run were “loose 8-bit” games,  Dead Pixels inherited some code and art from Super Tank Run.  The skyline and buildings in the background were reused with some modifications, and the medals from Super Tank Run were recolored and used as the coins in Dead Pixels.  The Super Tank Run font and the code behind it was also ripped out and stuck in Dead Pixels.   This was one of the pieces of code I was happy to lose when I started work on Dead Pixels II.

8) I put myself in the game (twice)

The Church of Cantstraferight

Not content with putting myself in as a shopkeeper, I also put a different sprite of myself in the church windows.   I don’t know what that says about me….

9) 80% of the buildings were drawn in about 3 hours total.

BuildingsDead pixels II buildings are still at the point where it’s 2 or 3 a day if I work all day on them, but I was able to knock out 80% of the buildings from Dead Pixels in about 3 hours while watching Kill Boll Vol 1 & 2 back to back.   I wish Dead Pixels II was so simple at times.

10) All the zombies have names that are never mentioned in the game.

zombiesWhile I named all the zombies within the games code, their names were never in the game.  Over the last 2 years I’ve loved seeing fan names for each of zombies.  So these are my names for them. Some of the names refer to the original idea for the zombie, and while they may have moved on the name stuck.  I’ll leave it up to you guys to work out which are which.


So that’s the end of this blog post.  The next post should posted in the next day or two, and it’s a look back at the 2 years ago and how it compares to now for me.