A good sprite-tool with visual support for the OR-color?

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By Bengalack

Master (135)

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12-02-2020, 21:20

I came across the ABSOLUTELY great C-Fusion package, and it contained a sprite tool called SpriteSX. It did indeed have a certain support for the OR-color or sprite mode 2, but I failed to be able to visualise how to or color, in practise will look. I would need a tool where you can place the sprites on top of each other and actually trigger the OR-effect/color.

Any pointers? A tool which could animate sets of animations would be nice too Smile

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By norakomi

Paragon (1086)

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14-02-2020, 22:50

i use this tool
https://www.msx.org/downloads/related/graphics/sprite-converter
it does what it needs to do..
I use it in combination with BMP2MSX
https://www.msx.org/news/software/en/bmp2msx-update
here is how i use it.
I have my sprites in a .bmp file.
i drag 'n drop this .bmp file onto bmp2msx.
I make it output a .sc5 file
this file i then open in sprite-converter, and i convert the sprites to msx format.

By erpirao

Paragon (1062)

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15-02-2020, 00:17

in janonne
tinny sprite

By Grauw

Ascended (9170)

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15-02-2020, 00:30

How do you see the OR colour in TinySprite? It also has fixed MSX1 colours and no palette. I think it does not support sprite mode 2…

By erpirao

Paragon (1062)

erpirao's picture

15-02-2020, 00:30

Grauw wrote:

How do you see the OR colour in TinySprite? It also has fixed MSX1 colours and no palette. I think it does not support sprite mode 2…

You're right, for a moment I thought that I had, sorry

By Grauw

Ascended (9170)

Grauw's picture

15-02-2020, 00:47

Bengalack, did you find this wiki page by the way?

https://www.msx.org/wiki/The_OR_Color

I personally mostly cop out and use 4 sprites overlayed with OR currently, to get full palette access. Having four sprites of colours 1, 2, 4, 8 overlayed with OR means that each bit in their patterns correspond to one bit of the final colour. Being clever to reduce the amount of sprites like that article describes, and as seen in those Metal Gear 2 sprites, is a challenge for another day :).

By Wolverine_nl

Paragon (1101)

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15-02-2020, 12:30

you can set in Tiny Sprite the colours to MSX2 and also alter the palette these days. But the OR color is not in there indeed.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3296)

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15-02-2020, 14:49

Quote:

Being clever to reduce the amount of sprites like that article describes, and as seen in those Metal Gear 2 sprites, is a challenge for another day Smile

Doing it by hand is indeed it's a challenge and, in many ways, a waste of precious time.

Ideally, either a converter like norakomi mentioned should be used, or a drawing tool should be smarter to handle things behind the scene and leave the artist free to worry with only the creativity part.

By Grauw

Ascended (9170)

Grauw's picture

15-02-2020, 16:04

Problem with optimising the sprites is that it involves meta-sprite considerations like the ordering of the palette and which combinations of colours you use across all sprites. I think this is difficult to plan in advance though it probably becomes easier with experience. There don’t seem to be any golden rules, but any “colour selection planning tips” from experienced spriters appreciated.

Conversion tools so that you don’t have to manually pixel the individual layers are nice, but I don’t think it can be fully automated. If the artist wants to be free of worry I feel you either should assume no restrictions (4 sprite layers), or simplify the rules of the restrictions by picking three colours per sprite as seen with the Usas sprites in the wiki article.

For now I’m going with full colour sprites and avoiding too many sprites on a single line in the game design, but I can also imagine doing an optimisation pass once all the sprites are done where you carefully rearrange the palette and tweak the sprite pixels with the entire set in mind.

By Bengalack

Master (135)

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17-02-2020, 22:14

Thanks all!

Quote:

Bengalack, did you find this wiki page by the way?

https://www.msx.org/wiki/The_OR_Color

Absolutely! This page was giving me a little "wow-moment". I did programming on the MSX in the early nineties and was never aware of this feature, and now that I plan to look into MSX-programming again, I immediately wanted to utilize this somehow.

The wiki-page is absolutely really great work - it gives a good explanation of something "a bit obscure". A bit obscure, and a bit hard to pull off well, I guess. So I thought, the first step to get this going, is to have proper tools at hand, ie. something that gives you a preview.

If I'd make something cool, it would be a platformer and I already envision limitations with the total amount sprites, total amount of sprites on the screen, as well as max 8 sprites on one line (MSX2 is the preferred version of mine). A free-/any-direction smooth scrolling background without visible block copys will require masking from sprites as well (stealing quite a chunk of the sprite-budget). Even if we go split screen and play around with "extra (total amount) sprites", the OR-color comes quite in handy on such a scrolling platformer.

I'm already thinking of screen 4, and the colors are a tiny budget already - carefully chosen. The artist is already greatly confined. It's down to a way of working, a way of thinking, I presume. My immediate thought is that this can't be easily fully automated in cases were you "must utilize the OR-color" / minimize sprite-count, per "sprite-set". That's why I very warmly welcome the analysis of the palette-setup on the aforementioned wiki-page.

Maybe (?) a bit strange if there are no tools supporting it (given that the capability has been there since the mid eighties)? That said, it might not be too much work adding the feature to the tinysprite-tool?

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9812)

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17-02-2020, 22:52

There was a sprite editor in DD-Graph supporting this, afaik.

Also, it's rather trivial to make a tool that supports OR-colours, I've done so, a couple o' times, in the past. Biggest issue is not how to make the tool itself - that's probably just a few hundred lines for a simple one - but to decide how someone's going to want to use it, and how sprites are positioned relative to each other.

One might want to draw freely, without taking the limitations into account, reducing pixels afterwards. Another one wants to stick to the sprite layout, set up two colours per row and choose from those three colours (two + OR). And then there are things like Space Manbow where the player sprite is made out of sprites that aren't drawn at the same coordinate, e.g. like a 16x24 sprite with the middle 8 rows overlapping for the OR-colour. And then there's that sprite bit that moves the whole row horizontally 16 pixels, or what was it.., something like that. Again, all these details aren't hard to code, but from an artist's point of view it's tricky to decide what a tool should look/work like. Actually, I'm not even sure that row-shift is something you should use to make a sprite as it's iirc a way to deal with sprites that go over the screen edge. In other words, it's not an artist's feature, it's more like a workaround for the coder. Wink

If I'd be making such a tool it'd work the way I work, which doesn't guarantee that this is the way everyone else works. Take Robert Vroemisse for example, afaik he prefers to just mouse-draw his sprites in PhotoShop.

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