I'm happy to say that the art competition has wrapped up beautifully. And that also means: the code phase of the competition has begun! Coders, start your engines.

We got a bunch of really great art entries in this release. You can view the list of entries here, or if you'd like to peruse all the files locally (perhaps so you can more easily incorporate them into your game?), you can download an archive of all entries here (mirror 1, mirror 2, mirror 3).

We hoped to get a lot of entries that managed to match the style but also do interesting, useful, and varied things. I'm happy to say that this happened. Here's some interesting samples (note this is NOT an indication of quality of entries or pre-judging, but selected as a sample of variety of style) from various entries, showing the massive variety of work we got:

We got entries that could be useful for different types of game genres, such as this farming set:

farming preview image

We got entries for different thematic genres (but still generally matching the style!) as this scifi set:

scifi preview image

We got a wide variety of character designs, and even some new animations:

leather armor guydark skinned knightrobed skeleton spellcastfemale walkingprofessor walk cycle

We even got er… toilet tilesets. :)

toilets preview image

On top of this there are new characters, character animations, new environments and landscapes, houses, items, UI elements… the list goes on and on.

With all these cool things to look at and play with, there's one major thing that still needs to happen: we need people to build games with these things! So that leads to the question: are you a game developer, or capable of being a useful member of a game development team? Then you should dive in and get involved today! Grab the archive, check out the style guide, read the rules… then get to building games! We look forward to seeing your entry!

bart's picture

Just a (very) brief announcement:  The art portion of the contest is concluded and the code portion has begun.  The code submission form will be up within a day or two.

I apologize for my lateness with posting this message; most of my city is without power and we've got more storms coming through.  LPC is still on.

Note that at this time we have a total of 48 art entries.  I'll try to have someone post links to them ASAP.  Please follow the LPC forum for updates.

UPDATE:  Art entries are here:


We finally wrapped up the finances of the Liberated Pixel Cup. Several people have asked: where did the money go? That's a fair question! In fact, I have kept very careful financial records since the start of the project using some wonderful software called ledger. It was my original intent to relelease the entire ledger file to the public, but one large donor asked us to not disclose their exact amount, so instead in the interest of transparency I'll break down some of the expenses information.

$ ledger -f pixelcup.ldgr bal expenses --depth 2
           $12478.22  Expenses
            $4730.40    Artists
            $1247.82    FSF overhead
            $6500.00    Prizes

So that's the total expenses for Liberated Pixel Cup. Most of the money is going to prizes, followed by payments to the artists who worked on the base artwork and styleguide, followed by 10% of the money going to FSF overhead (when handling the funding of projects like this, the FSF charges 10% overhead to handle routing and fees… consider it a 10% donation to the FSF, but really given the large amount of time involved in handling the fundraising, finances, taxes, and other things, it's peanuts). So that's exactly the amount of money that went out.

In case you were wondering if we were pocketing the money, in fact the exact opposite is true. Bart Kelsey and I, who worked together to kick off the project and I think it is fair to say that Liberated Pixel Cup is mutually "our baby"… well, we didn't get any money out of it. In fact, from the outset, a good cunk of LPC's funding came from our own wallets.

$ ledger -f pixelcup.ldgr bal pledge
           $-2222.22  Income:Pledged funding
           $-1000.00    Bart Kelsey
           $-1222.22    Chris Webber

(BartK and I pledged the same amount; the reason for the $222.22 extra donation from my end is due to an extra donation from me rounding out a bit of the final budget in a form that's too boring to explain here.)

But anyway, now you know!

bart's picture

We're happy to announce that today the first day of the Liberated Pixel Cup art competition.  At this point we now welcome artists to begin working on artwork for the art competition of the Liberated Pixel Cup!  Zombies, potions, spaceships, werewolves, whatever!  We're looking forward to seeing what contributions you can build to match the style guide.

On that note, one of the primary goals of Liberated Pixel Cup was to create a clear style that many people could collaborate on.  We're happy to announce that that style guide is released, along with some base assets to build off of and a fun "walkaround" demo that shows how the tiles can fit together.

(If you know how to use git, you are welcome to check out the style guide repository.)

You might notice that the base artwork has some thematic tropes that borrow from traditional fantasy RPG styles with a touch of victorian / colonial inspired decoration.  You are welcome to follow this, but diversion is welcome and we don't consider *thematic* aspects to be a requirement to conforming to the guide.  Science fiction, farming, contemporary urban, or whatever themes are welcome, as long as they conform to the general aspects of design laid out in the style guide.

Also, you may be wondering about prizes!  Just what can you win by participating in the contest?  We're happy to finally make that announcement.

The art phase of the contest has the following three prizes:

  • $1500 USD: grand prize (team or individual)
  • $500 USD: secondary prize, individual only
  • $500 USD: secondary prize, individual only

The code phase has the following four prizes:

  • $1500 USD: grand prize (team or individual)
  • $500 USD: secondary prize, team only
  • $500 USD: secondary prize, individual only
  • $1500 USD: HTML5 game prize

The art contest will end on June 30th, and immediately afterward the code contest will begin on July 1st and end on July 31st.  After this period there will be judging for both contests.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop by the IRC channel and ask. Otherwise, get pixeling!  To submit artwork, go to the art submission form. We look forward to seeing what you come up with!

bart's picture

We are thrilled today to announce that Mozilla is joining Creative Commons, the Free Software Foundation, and OpenGameArt as a sponsor of Liberated Pixel Cup!  Mozilla has been a longtime leader in the development of free software and has recently been doing plenty of great things to push forward free software HTML5 gaming, including recent work on BrowserQuest and their new game engine Gladius. Mozilla is coming in with a lot of contributions to Liberated Pixel Cup, including a large financial contribution, expressed interest in providing assistance to the development portion (particularly in HTML5 games), and several other areas.

There are a lot of exciting pieces to this announcement.  The first is that Mozilla is going to be supporting Liberated Pixel Cup financially with a generous donation to help pay for the pre-contest artist commissions for the base artwork pack and style guide.

Mozilla will also be doing work to help promote HTML5 games in Liberated Pixel Cup.  Part of this will be in providing advisement to people asking questions about HTML5 game development.  Mozilla will also be using their Toronto and London offices for Liberated Pixel Cup events. There's another exciting announcement to be made along the lines of HTML5 games: with Mozilla joining, we will add a new HTML5 specific category to the code side of the contest.  (We won't be removing any of the categories, this is an addition.)  More news to come on the prizes and judging shortly.

We are extremely happy to have Mozilla join the team of sponsors of Liberated Pixel Cup.  There is a trend in technology that where games go, the  rest of technology follows.  We're now seeing more and more games moving into the HTML5 space, and so we're happy that in participating in Liberated Pixel Cup that Mozilla is continuing in its efforts to contribute to free software HTML5 gaming.

One more thing: Mozilla's generous contributions to Liberated Pixel Cup means we have exceeded our original goal of ten thousand dollars! Since we  are adding a new category for HTML5 games though, we'd like to bump up our goal by a bit.  This means we have less than a thousand dollars to go. Can you help us finish our fundraising?

bart's picture

Our artists have been working really hard over the past couple of weeks to expand the LPC art style.  Here are some of our latest mockups:

As we approach the final month before the start of the contest, I'd like to point out that we're still a ways short of our funding goal.  The more donations we bring in, the more money we'll be able to put toward additional art (including lots of sprites and enemies) and contest prizes.  Click the donate button and help make LPC the best it can be! :)


bart's picture

The second entry in our series of engine and tool highlights is the amazing, general-purpose tile map editor, Tiled.  First released as a Java program back in 2004, Tiled has undergone some major revisions (including a full rewrite) and is now a stable and mature C++/Qt application boasting contributions from over 40 different developers.  Tiled is quite capable of handling any type of tile map you throw at it, including top-down, side view, or isometric.  And don't worry about having to load your map into another editor to add game-specific details -- Tiled is capable of placing game objects with pixel level precision and adding arbitrary metadata to maps, tiles, and objects.

Tiled screenshot

Of particular note is Tiled's Automapping feature.  If you've used some other tile mapping programs (particularly ones built into various RPG creation kits), you may be familiar with the general idea and convenience of auto-tiles.  Tiled takes this several steps further by allowing you to define your own rules for automatic tile placement, which means you're not shoehorned into a particular tile configuration.  Here's a video tutorial of this feature as it is in the current release build (0.8):

If you're feeling like stepping into the nightly builds (which I'm told are robust in their own right), there are some new features included in automapping, as seen below:

Finally, Tiled is platform-agnostic, and there are a number of libraries out there capable of reading tiled maps (please note that not all of the libraries listed on that page are legal for entry into the Liberated Pixel Cup -- so if you're not sure, drop in on the LPC IRC channel and ask).

bart's picture

Over the next few weeks I'll be highlighting some tooklits and game engines that people should consider making use of in the code portion of the Liberated Pixel Cup.  To kick things off, I'd like to draw your attention to the Frogatto engine, which powers the beautifully rendered Frogatto & Friends.

The Frogatto engine is well optimized and is silky smooth even on slower machines.  It is written in C++ and has minimal dependencies (OpenGL, Boost, and SDL), and it runs on "darn near everything", including: Windows, OSX, Linux, iOS, Android, Blackberry's Playbook OS, WebOS, Maemo, and Pandora.  And don't be fooled by the fact that Frogatto & Friends is a side scroller -- it's quite capable of handling top-down games as well. (As further evidence of the Frogatto engine's impressive versatility, it's been pointed out to me that it's also been used to write an isometric game, Cube Trains -- see screenshots here and here, and a video.)

Frogatto's game logic is powered by the Frogatto Formula Language (FFL), which you can read about in detail here.  What's more, Frogatto comes with its own game editor, which has some live game editing features that have to be seen to be believed (see the video below):

So, if you're trying to decide what engine to base your LPC game on, definitely give Frogatto a look.  If you need help getting started, hit up the forum or come talk with the Frogatto dev team on IRC (#frogatto on

Frogatto's game engine documentation can be found here.

bart's picture

So there are a couple of misconceptions about the LPC rules that seem to be along a common theme, and I'd like to clear them up.

Misconception #1: Your game must only run on a 100% free-as-in-freedom platform, and may not run on a proprietary platform.

While it's true that your game must run on a 100% free-as-in-freedom platform, you are welcome and encouraged to make it run on any other platforms you want.  The idea here isn't to restrict users; it's to make sure as many people as possible are able to play your game.  If you build your software on an open stack, it will compile and run all of the major platforms.

With specific regard to OpenGL drivers, there are working FOSS OpenGL drivers, and the judges will be expected to have modern machines that support OpenGL and have appropriate drivers installed.

Misconception #2: We're pushing the GPL on people.

It's true that code entered into the contest must be released under the GPL; however, the reason for doing this is to ensure that all of the code entered into the contest has a bare minimum set of freedoms associated with it.  Note that the rules explicitly allow you to license your code under whatever additional licenses you want.   You are more than welcome to release your code under a BSD-style license, the public domain, or any other license you want in addition to releasing it under the GPL, and will not be penalized for this.

bart's picture

Now that we've got a funding page set up with the FSF, it's time to go official with the contest.  We've actually been working on this for the past several months, building up a body of art to serve as the base theme for the contest.  Since everyone (including yours truly) likes to look at pretty screenshots, I'll show you what we've got so far:

As you can see, we're aiming for a distinct victorian-style fantasy set that should be appropriate for the standard fantasy genre as well as steampunk.  The sprite you see in the bottom link is the male version of the base sprite, which we're working on animating at the moment.  We'll have nude versions of both the male and female base sprites as well as a small set of armor, clothes, hair, and accessories to go with them.  Contest participants are encouraged to create more.

We'll keep you posted as things progress.  Remember, the contest starts on June 1st, so be ready!

In the meantime, in order to fund prizes and expand the art set, we could use your help.  Please see the Donation link above.  Every little bit counts!