Zento Sprite Horror

Posted: 1-23-18

In my previous post, I talked about how I was trying to use the RPG Hero pack of Spriter Pro as a foundation of sprite art for our game. I spent many hours of trial and error with this program, working to figure out how it worked.

So, you start with a guy that looks like this:

Basically, the default has all the possible items and layers. You can use what’s called Character Maps to remove items, or to overwrite pieces with your own. Just about every body part on this sprite is its own piece, which means everything is customizable… but also everything needs to be animated separately.

Here’s what the character map section looks like:

So, you can see here that I told the program to remove certain things (facial hair, headgear, shields, wings, etc). Also, I created a custom character map named Zento. So far, the Zento character map has added two custom pieces to this sprite — green eyes and white eyebrows!

Alright! Now, we’re making progress!

So, over a number of hours of the weekend, the progress looked like this:

Face Done

Cloak + Fur + Test Animation

Zento Sprite!

Keep in mind, these are only the assets for the front view. Arms and legs had several sprites to represent the walking animation. This is not even starting on the side view or side walk animations.

But hey, it’s a start, right?

Making it Mesh

It’s a pretty cute Zento sprite. Not bad for my first try.

In the meantime, we’d picked up some Unity assets, which I spent hours looking for. The thing is, we needed winter and snowy assets, because Nefol. We needed something that wasn’t super cartoony, but something stylized enough to mesh with sprites.

I ended up choosing this Hand Painted Winter Pack, which looks amazing, btw. I wanted to use it so much, because the assets are lovely, and the artist has several other themed packs that we could look at in the future. I might still get the Hand Painted Interior Pack.

While these assets look fantastic in a 3d sense, I immediately found issues with trying to mesh with our sprites.

First, the sprites were just too small. I tried for hours to find a way to make the camera perspective in Unity match the perspective I wanted the sprites to have, but the grass was taller than my original Zento sprite!

So, then, I used Spriter to output the Zento sprite at twice the size. While this was better… the sprite looked a lot more pixelated.

Lovely background! Just not meshing…

My next try was to redraw the Zento sprite at twice the size. This gave it a stronger outline and made it larger. It also took a whole day…

But I still wasn’t happy with it.

And the real problem came with the animation. I had to re-work every frame because I had increased the size of the sprite two-fold. This led to some interesting issues like…

Uh oops…



Ok. So this wasn’t working.

My spriting was a fail, the animations were awful, and the backgrounds weren’t meshing. I’d spent hours looking for alternatives in the 3D assets.

I was getting pretty discouraged.

That’s when I ran across something that changed everything. Stay tuned!