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Tutorial - 'Sprites - Vol.1' by exploreRPG

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Importing a sprite animation and messing around with it


This tutorial will explain how to build and import a sprite animation file within Explorations. All sprite animations files are created using a Poser4 sprite template.

Each Poser4 sprite file includes 3 preset camera views. These camera views can aid in enhancing gameplay and make it possible to create maps from different views.

Each Poser4 sprite file also includes a full set of weapons placed in the sprites right hand. Each weapon is invisible but can easily be turn on to generate an animation sequence.

Once you have created a complete sprite you will want to render a complete set of bitmap frames.

Above is a sample of a few animation frames. As you can see there is alot of backgound area on each sprite. Don't worry this will be trimmed down. :)

By using the PicClip tool within Explorations you can load each frame and save it as a complete animation stream. Below shows the difference between the original PicClip file and the optimized PicClip image.

(orginal size 1600x1200)

(optimized size 816x690)

Once the animation is optimezed and saved, it is ready to be loaded into your game and applied to an NPC or PC character within your database.

We will make a simple NPC character. This NPC will be a bartender. We can use a bartender as a focal point for PC's to gather information or make the bartender a random NPC. Once you append this NPC stats to the database you can then link graphics to the character.

This is the sprite animation matrix.. It is probably the most complicated & powerful interface for Explorations, but once you understand its function you'll be happy it exists. Within the Animation Matric you can crossrefrernce every PC,NPC or object within your databases and link them with graphics. As you know you have already linked object to the Object Tileset. The Animation Matrix is the control for linking each object to its "Action" graphics.

By following the numbered sections in order you will be selecting the "serial key" for the action animation. Whether you are selecting a NPC, or NPC you can select the camera position as well as the object the character is using. The above screen shows how I have selected the NPC: bartender Using : Weapon (Scimitar)

Once you have selected the information for the animation you are about to import, simply select the file. You will see a preview of the animation in the lower write corner. By Selecting [Accept Animation], the animation is imported and linked to the bartender. A preview near the center of the screen will appear of animations already linked to the bartender.

The image is compressed to Explorations .gfx format and ready to be used within your game. The Animation Matrix support projectile animations, explosions, resultant and trailing animations.. In short, the Animation Matrix is the method for generate *ANY* real-time graphics effect featured in commercial RTS game engines.

This tutorial is only a small example of the power of Explorations Sprites & Animation Matrix. In time, I will be revisting the Animation Matrix to demonstrate how to create dynamic explosions, blood splatters, and puffs of trailing smoke and flames within your game.

Once the sprite is imported into your game you will be prompted if you want to added this import method to your template. In this case I'll answer "No" If you were importing a Sprite Pack then answering "Yes" would be more appropriate. A sprite pack is a series of animations for a given sprite that follow a standard File & Folder Format. If you download the SpriteViewer application there are 2 sprite packs included.

By saving the template of 1 sprite pack, you are teaching Explorations how to load a complete sprite pack. So you can manually load an entire sprite pack, but allow Explorations to AUTO load every sprite animation after that. The Animation Matric also support custom animation, Facials, and animated Profile views.

Again, these other Animation Matrix features will be explained at a later time.

The Power of Explorations is the ability to crossreference database players & objects and link graphics animation to the combinations. Because the linked information form a serial key, the graphics can be reference quickly in a real-time environment. None of these animations are triggered by scripting. And thus, is the beauty and power of Explorations.

Thank you for reading..