An AMA with the Habbo NFT Design team

Hello everyone! KJ back again.

This week (August 24th) we held another AMA session on our Discord but this time with the Habbo NFT Art team (Ksamra, Stronghandle, and Wataru.) The session was full of Habbo nostalgia and pixel art discussion. So, if you’re interested in either of those topics read on!

What is a day in the life of a pixel artist like?

Ksamra:

Our days vary quite a bit, like in all jobs I suppose. Usually we start our day with a short daily meeting where we go through what’s happening that day. Then we proceed with our tasks and use the work related chat to keep others up to date with what we’re doing, gathering feedback etc.

What was the first furni you made?

Stronghandle:

Me and Wataru made a couple of items in the Korea and Magitech lines before properly starting on the NFT project side of things. The first thing I made was this food item.

Ksamra:

I think my first furni were the lodge items!

Wataru.:

The PC Cafe for the Korean campaign.

What was the first NFT furni you made?

Stronghandle:

The lightbulb!

Wataru.:

The trippy dragon lamp!

Ksamra:

The anteater recolour.

When you design a new piece of furni can you tell before it’s released if it’s going to be a good seller?

Stronghandle:

Not every item, especially when we are in the NFT team — still only having a pretty small sample size of furni to predict what will sell well.

Have you ever designed something that you later thought didn’t fit the Habbo style at all?

Ksamra:

Yeah, keeping the Habbo style is a bit tricky sometimes. If you have sharp eyes you can actually tell what pieces are made by the same person because people have different kinds of patterns and techniques. And, of course, if you compare stuff made in 2000 and the ones made in 2022 you see the difference — so much more detailed and amazing things done nowadays!

How often do you guys collaborate with other artists in the team?

Wataru.:

We collaborate on a specific set of items but rarely on a single item.

What goes into the thought process of designing, are you given a suggestion of what they’d like to release?

Stronghandle:

We have gotten a couple of suggestions on what we could do but mostly we have been given freedom to design what we want.

Do you design with the thought process that you want to create the best selling furniture out of the team or do you wager bets?

Stronghandle:

Pride of course wants you to compete silently, but I think focusing on that and especially taking it to the level of betting on it would just turn the work environment into a toxic one.

Is there a specific piece of artwork you’ve made which you’re especially proud of?

Stronghandle:

I quite like Frosty, obviously. There are a couple of unreleased things I’m also quite happy with.

Wataru.:

Yes, and it will be coming out soon 👀

What program do you use to draw?

Stronghandle:

Photoshop mainly. I have used Aseprite on my free time

Wataru

Photoshop, GIMP, Microsoft Paint

Ksamra

We mostly use Photoshop, its kind of an industry standard I suppose… There is another nice pixel app called Aseprite which I also use for animation (it’s quite flexible for that!)

If you had to choose, what would you prefer to design — Clothing/Furni/Badges/other things?

Stronghandle:

I do like furni the best, so that.

How did you learn to become an artist?

Stronghandle:

Practicing. I did start making pixel art by tinkering with both Habbo graphics and Pokemon sprites (this must’ve been before the generation 4 games since I remember recoloring generation 3 sprites back then).

Any recommendations on how to start working with pixel graphics?

Ksamra:

Pixel graphics have strict rules but there are plenty of nice Youtube tutorials, and on the Internet in general, which you can use as a starting point. What I sometimes do when I start working on a new piece is take a screenshot of an old empty room, place a couple of characters there, and a few pieces of furniture there for scale. But essentially I draw something freehand to get the size just about right and then step by step I polish it (I create flat coloured versions and then continue to shade and add detail as I go.)

Wataru.:

When I first started doing pixel art, I would draw my own custom items or monsters for the games that I liked. I think there’s a lot you can learn from just analysing a specific art style and trying to apply it to your own work. Nowadays it’s also easy to find great art tutorials online!

Have you ever accidentally deleted your work in progress? Did you start over and if so did the art become slightly different than you intended?

Wataru.:

Fortunately I’ve never accidentally deleted anything during my time at Sulake. In my previous job though, I once lost 3 days worth of work because of a corrupted file. That wasn’t fun. Remember to backup your files!

Was there ever a furni line rejected and hours of work was wasted?

Stronghandle:

I have had one thing rejected and it makes me sad. I won’t show it because never say never…

What are the most common obstacles and limitations you encounter in your daily work?

Ksamra:

Sometimes your imagination is an obstacle if you have had a bad day. But it really helps to have a nice team around you (just like we do here!)

Who was the person who made the OG Green Habbo Club sofa and how did they get the idea to make this one? Is this person still in the team?

Ksamra:

I made it… I remember that I wanted to try and make something that looked comfortable.

Does pineapple belong on a pizza?

Stronghandle

Not on mine.

Wataru

No!

Ksamra

Sometimes yes, but usually not. Never pineapple without blue cheese!

If you named your child after one of the things in Habbo you have created, what creation would you choose?

Ksamra

It definitely wouldn’t be unicorn manure

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