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Monday, March 26, 2007

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Creating Sprites For The Broken Hourglass
10:35 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Planewalker Games' latest update for the upcoming RPG, The Broken Hourglass, gives another glimpse inside the mod friendly WeiNGINE. The article examines the creation of sprites with an in-depth look at the procedures for creating each frame and playing back the animations.

If it walks, talks, swings a weapon or just gently moves across the screen in The Broken Hourglass, chances are that it's a sprite. Because WeiNGINE uses 2D graphics techniques, most animated objects, from heroes to water fountains, are represented by sprites. Conceptually, sprite animation works much like a flip-book. Instead of pages, the engine flips through small PNG images. To make a character walk across the screen from right to left, that character's sprite has 12 frames which represent a complete, looping walk cycle.

In theory, these images could all be drawn by hand. In practice, this would be impractical. Animating a single humanoid hero requires roughly 4,600 frames. Add in the full roster of available equipment for a hero sprite, and the total leaps to nearly 30,000 frames! As a result, the frames are generated not with traditional 2D drawing techniques but through 3D animation software. Models are created, rigged, and animated in a 3D rendering package and then the results are saved as sequences of PNG frames, specially labeled so that the sprite files used in the engine can find the right images at the right time.
To read the rest of the tutorial click on the link below.

Inside The Engine: Introduction To Sprites
The Broken Hourglass

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