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Sprite tutorial by Sorcerer

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 9:59 pm    Post subject: Sprite tutorial by Sorcerer Reply with quote


Okay, todays tutorial is about creating sprites.

There are many people who want to help the developers with the game, and one way to do that is to create sprites for the game. And if you want to know more about that, what way they have to be created to make them suitable for the game, or how they should look like, read on, to learn more about that.

What are sprites?
Sprites are the basic graphics of the game. The trees, rocks, monsters, items, even the players are made out of sprites. The sprites are normally drawn and placed in a file with the extention TGA. But the TGA file is way larger than one single sprite. There are several sprites placed in it, and the one which is needed gets loaded from it. (How this works would be another tutorial)

What size should a sprite be?
Well, that depends on what the sprite displays. As a reference you should always compare the size of the sprite with the size of a player. The character is always 16x16 pixels so when you make e.g. a monstersprite of a fly and you make it 32x32 pixels you would have a damn huge fly. Imagine a fly which is 4 times larger than yourself. So that can't be the proper size for it. It would be better to make it smaller than the player.

Do I need special tools to create sprites?
Theoretically no. You can even use a simple program like Paint to create them. But don't expect the graphics to be very good then. I suggest to use a better program where you can work with layers and such, like the Adobe Photoshop or the Paint Shop Pro.

What kind of sprites can I draw?
Well, you can make everything you want, as long as it fit's into the workd of Akarra. But be aware of the colors used in the game. Not every color suits in it. And the question of what to draw.. well when you wnt to make trees, draw trees, when you want to make monsters, make monsters.. pretty simple, isn't it?

Are there other things I should be aware of?
Yes, first of all you should never draw a sprite larger then it really is and resize it to the final size afterwards. This makes the sprite look blurry and that's not really good.
Secondly you need to save the file in a loss free format. JPG for example compresses the file and the graphic looks ugly afterwards. So it is better to use TGA, TIF or simply leave it in your programs original filetype (e.g. psp, psd).
And thirdly some sprites need a black outline for the contrast. Especially monstersprites and items need them. Makes them look way better Smile
As you can see here, the monsters and also the horse have an outline, while the tree has none.

And as a last one.. -Always- save the image as a 32bit file.

I want to make my monster animated. what do I have to do?
You need to make an image of every frame of the animation. This is way easier to do when you work with layers and you can switch between the different ones to check the animation.

Are items special sprites?
Items are more work to draw because they need up to 8 different graphics. You need an up to 32x32 pixels large image for the inventory, a worldview image when the item is on the ground, and an image for the item when worn on the character. You do that the easiest way, when you make a screenshot of your character and draw the item on a second layer. Use other items as a reference for the size. Generally you need for the item you draw the following:
gloves or boots: no equipped, 1 ground and 1 inventory. = 2
helmets: 2 equipped (1 female and 1 male), 1 ground and 1 inventory. = 4
necklaces and rings: no equipped, 1 ground and 1 inventory. = 2
armors: 6 equipped ( 3 female, one for each pose, and 3 male, one for each pose), 1 ground and 1 inventory. = 8
weapons and shields: 1 equipped, 1 ground and 1 inventory. = 3

What is an ALPHA LAYER
your chances of getting your sprites in the game are higher if you add an alpha layer to the image. technically this can be achieved by adding another channel in photoshop to the image. (can be found under the channels tab) and then coloring the alphachannel properly.
Properly means, the graphics are generally 0% transparent, while the black outlines are generally 30% transparent. and the area around the graphics are 100% transparent. Other standards can of course be used for making ghost charachters, or birds with shadows.
Note that when you make an alpha layer, also save the image in a format which supports alpha layers e.g. tga, psd, or your work with the alpha layer will be lost.

What do I do when I have finished a sprite?
Well you can send in the sprite, or post it. That up on you. We will check it out, and if we think we can use it, we will do that. But there is no guarantee that it will be used.

Sorc :wave

thx to Cait and thewreck :wub
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