We refer to the traditional pixel graphics that compose many of the elements in 2D games, such as Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles, as sprites. Sorry, no soft drinks!
(If you order Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles you can choose to have a custom W&W style sprite character based on you! You just need to send us a picture of yourself!)
What’s so special about a sprite?
A sprite requires the unusual skill to be able to draw using little squares with resolution and color restrictions. Sadly, this skill is deteriorating greatly in the West, and there are very few people who can still produce high quality pixel art there. The recently released Contra 4 and upcoming Noitu Love 2 by Joakim Sandberg are excellent examples (so be sure to support projects like these if you love this art)!
How is a sprite created?
Generally, a sprite is created with a 2D drawing program that allows graphics to be edited in the pixel level. There are many ways to create a sprite, but basically, you carefully place pixels. You can open an image editing program, such as Paint, and try it yourself! Set a restriction, such as 8 colors at 16 x 32 pixels, and start creating your masterpiece!
Is there a use for sprites?
You may wonder, “In this era of super 3D, bilinear filtering, and vector scalable graphics is there a use for sprites?”
Of course there is! Sprites make great looking games possible on very limited hardware, such as handhelds. They can be recolored easily, used on any background, and maintain the most important fine details. Sure, computers can mathematically resize an image, but can they write poetry? Computers can calculate many things, but do not have the artistic skills necessary to create sprites. No automatic program can reproduce detail to the pixel level and incredible animation in works like Capcom’s Street Fighter III.
If it’s so complicated, why use sprites?
Well drawn and fluidly animated sprites make 2D games look as great as they can be. We at Yuan Works strive to give the best look and gameplay to our games, and Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles offers you this kind of arcade quality. The reason you don’t see this kind of look in Western games often anymore is because it’s very hard and costly to produce. But let us worry about that, you just have fun and enjoy ;)
Hope you found reading about sprites interesting, because in some upcoming entries we will cover how the spritework in Wind and Water was created!