spritec - The sprite compiler
This project is currently in the prototyping phase. That means that while we have a working proof-of-concept, we are not yet ready for anyone to start using our software.
To be notified of our progress, please sign up on our website: protoart.me
One of the hard parts of using hand-drawn assets is keeping them up to date. You might have a spritesheet with 25 different sprites and if you decide to change one detail you then have to go and do that 25 different times.
Our idea is to start at a higher level of abstraction. Instead of a 2D spritesheet, we take a 3D model and render it at different angles in different poses. That means that instead of modifying 25 different sprites, you only have to change ONE 3D model to update everything.
Eventually, we would like to make it so you don't even need to bring your own 3D model. You can just "program your art" and get the sprites you need to start your game.
Note: While we came up with this idea on our own, it certainly isn't new or unique. In fact, the very popular Dead Cells game used this exact technique to create the art for their game.
That's great! It means that this idea has already been shown to work well in a very large scale game.
Suppose you had the following 3D model:
You could rig up the model with an armature/skeleton to pose it however you want:
Then you can animate it so that it looks like it's walking:
Running this through
spritec would give you a preview window that shows this
same walking animation turned into pixel art:
You can then export that from the software as either individual pixel art frames, or as a finished spritesheet:
Getting a side view is as simple as changing the angle we render from:
That's all it takes! From one model you can potentially derive tens, if not hundreds, of different sprites for every frame of every animation you want. This frees you up to iterate and tweak your designs without having to worry about redrawing everything.
One of the things you'll see is that you don't even need very sophisticated 3D models to generate pixel art. Pixel art games usually use very small tile sizes like 32x32 or 64x64. There isn't a lot of room for detail there. That makes this art style perfect for this technique. The art is a little more crude, but the medium allows for that so it's okay.
The goal of our project is to make creating pixel art spritesheets easier and faster for indie game developers. Games that are made by a single developer or a very small team may not have the resources or skill to create the art they are going for right as they start their project. There are plenty of online game assets, but all of them are limited in how much they can be customized or added to.
We want to make a suite of tools that make creating game art more accessible to programmers and developers who need help making their art. The art they create with our tools can either last throughout the development of their game or eventually get replaced if/when they hire a professional artist.
While we do not aim to replace the role of artists in game development, we are hoping to create high quality art that can help developers who are starting their games get to their vision faster.
This is just the beginning! Sign-up on our website to be notified of our progress: protoart.me. We are so excited to help make creating game art easier for developers!