I've made the main character's sphere look a lot smoother. Because I'm still fresh off the Ark, I'm still using bitmaps as the image format of choice and my sprite format converter combines an RGB image with a red-black alpha image to create the actual texture data.
Pod is 48x48 so I drew a red circle on a black background at 96x96 in IcoFX (because it draws nice circles) then shrunk it to half-size in Paint Shop. This generated the smooth alpha values very nicely and the sphere now looks a lot less pixelly around the edges.
I've been tinkering around with some under-the-hood stuff to try to prepare the structure for having other moving objects and the next stage is to start to put some debris in the map that you can knock about with the Pod and the claw.
I'm still very set on the idea of having moving objects that you can attach to that drag you around the level, but there are some big potential gotchas that I really need to solve. I hope I can and that this idea doesn't have to get dumped but we'll see.
I see my article is finally up, and is getting hammered already [smile].