Friday, October 31, 2014

Sprite DLight Title Art Revealed

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is the time of sprites and other creepy creatures, so I am very happy to present the title sprite of Sprite DLight today.
Very special thanks to the amazing artist AlbertoV from DYA Games who created the beautiful pixel art the title image is based on, specifically for the tool.

The original sprite has been processed with Sprite DLight, resulting in a normal map which has been used together with the original art in a shader to achieve the atmospherical lighting effect.

"Sprite DLight", ©2014 AlbertoV
In the following animated preview, the sprite turns out very nicely with the normal map and dynamic lighting applied in the shader preview of Sprite Lamp:

I am planning to introduce the project on Prefundia within the next few days and the kickstarter will hopefully launch in about 2-3 weeks.
Updates will be posted here, on Facebook and on Twitter.
If you are a game developer, interested in using dynamic lighting on 2D sprites, please leave me a comment, use the contact form or contact me via email!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

First screenshot and preview of Sprite DLight

Dynamic lighting on 2D Graphics - preview and screenshot

As it is #screenshotsaturday, the time is right for the first screenshot of Sprite DLight, depicting the core feature of the tool: The normal map generation tab with all its fine-tuning options.

The normal map seen on the screenshot was automatically generated from this beautiful piece of pixel art, made by AlbertoV from DYA Games:

"Mechanic", ©2012-2014 AlbertoV
In the video of the upcoming kickstarter, I will go more into detail, the screenshot just serves as a quick overview of the user interface's current state and the various adjustment options.

To show how the sprite turns out with dynamic lighting based on the normal map of Sprite DLight, I have uploaded a short preview clip, recorded in the shader preview of Sprite Lamp:

I will post more previews soon here and on Facebook and Twitter.
If you would like to see your game art with dynamic lighting in a preview here, please leave me a comment with a link to your sprites, use the contact form or send me some of your art via email!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Dynamic Lighting for 2D games

A tool that automatically generates normal maps from sprites

While working on InDee Toons, I have discovered a way to create dynamic lighting information for 2D images.
After some pretty promising tests with Image Magick, the first prototype of Sprite DLight was born.
What initially started as a research on how to provide normal maps for my game characters, turned into an independent project that seems to be of interest to a lot of people.
2D games and pixel art combined with dynamic lighting appears to be an explosive mixture, because you can achieve wonderful atmospheric effects while maintaining the individual 2D art style.

I am developing the tool for Windows and Linux platforms and hope to show it on kickstarter soon.
The core feature of Sprite DLight is the generation of a normal map from one single sprite file as the input image.

While existing normal map generation tools need at least two additionally drawn lightmaps to produce a normal map (which can be painful when you want to use it with animated characters), Sprite DLight can be fed with already existing sprites and sprite sheets, reducing the effort needed to create the 3D information, to a few clicks.

An example of an input sprite from the game "Boot Hill Heroes" by Experimental Gamer, which is released on Steam today, and the resulting normal map, depth map, ambient occlusion map and specularity map generated by Sprite DLight:

Annotation: "Boot Hill Heroes" does not feature dynamic lighting (this should not prevent you from checking it out), but the artist kindly allowed me to use the sprites.

I am now looking for more nice art of different styles, depicting game characters, objects, trees and more, to demonstrate the effect of dynamic lighting and the quality of the automatically generated maps.
If you are interested in making a 2D game featuring normal mapped sprites, or if you would like to see your art with dynamic lighting - probably featured in my kickstarter video/page (of course with a reference to you and your copyright), please leave me a comment, use the contact form or email me.

Also be sure not to miss the updates here, on Facebook and on Twitter.
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