There is a special place in my heart for games and artists who keep the Sprite Train steaming along. Once in a blue moon, I get to hop on board.
Ace Yeti Trapper is an iphone game I worked on recently, it's actually a fairly old mobile game the designer (my boss) wanted to upgrade. And he was insistent on using hand-drawn sprites for the, um, sprites. We did do some preliminary work creating 3D models and rendering them out as frames, but it became clear that the character presentation needed to keep that 2D pixel pushin' love.
Here's a look at the development process to define my little dudes. If you look close you can see the original sprite from the mobile game, as well as early versions at a smaller scale. Would you believe I animated sprites for the entire game at the small scale before it was decided to go bigger? In 2D, that's a total do-over. Such are the perils of game development.
This is a close-up look at the game's hero, Jack Bivouac, the titular Ace Yeti Trapper…
… And the elusive Yeti that must be trapped. If you want to see him animating in action, click here
There are other beasts in the game to be trapped, too. The animals were not done by me, but by a buddy sprite enthusiast. My man Jason totally went to town on these guys-- check out the spots on the snow leopard, which he then animated! Insane!
One of my favorite things to do are object sprites, all the cute little pickups and FX in the game. Above are the various baits you use to catch beasties in the game, they were a lot of fun to create.
For a little more background on how it's done, I do my preliminary sprites and art targets in Photoshop. Then I use a program called ProMotion to animate-- one pixel at a time. Well, ProMotion certainly has a lot of tools to make things easier, but it's fascinating how much nuance can be achieved at the single pixel level.
To see these sprites doing what they do best, you should check out Ace Yeti Trapper for iPhone
. I know that's a(nother)
shameless plug I've made for it here on D-toid, but trust me when I say there's no crafty marketing team behind this. Modern sprite games are a rare breed and I'm just trying to give the game to get a little attention. Plus I genuinely hope fellow d-toiders and retro-fans would like a look behind the scenes.