I’d like to start with a giant disclaimer, I only said “Game Design” because it rhymes. What I’ve really been doing is playing with the 2d Orthello Framework and Texture Packer, both of which have free and pro versions.
So the first thing I wanted to see was how Texture Packer works, I’ve heard a bunch of game making cohorts say it’s really great. So far I’m seeing what they mean, though I personally feel like it adds a little bit of time to the workflow, but I’m not an artist so I guess I can’t really speak on the front.
The cool thing about texture packer is that it lets you take a whole bunch of sprites in folders and it will recursively add them and turn them into one texture atlas. If I need to tell you how awesome that is that you probably don’t know a lot about real-time computer graphics. IT’S A REALLY VERY POSITIVELY CHUCK NORRIS RAINBOWS AND FREE PARKING GOOD THING.
Even cooler, Orthello happens to read one of the data outputs (part of the secret behind Texture Packer is that it creates a xml-like manifest of the images, their sizes/positions/etc) that Texture Packer exports too (I decided to use OGRE, but they both also supports Cocos(iCrap) format.
That’s not to say I just waved my hand over the computer and a fully animated Samus (if you’re gonna steal a sprite sheet, steal one that’s really cool) appeared… although now that I know how to work it it’s pretty darn close.
First you set up a master OT object (just drop the prefab in) and then you start setting up the atlas/sheets you’ll need. Since I’m using texture packer, all I had to do was drag over the atlas and data files and it filled in the rest (Yeah, why don’t you just make the whole game for me too… IT’s TOO EASY DAMNIT!). Now you can set up animations. The way the Orthello people say it, it sounds like you could create multiple animations and switch between them but I ended up going with one animation that has a bunch of framesets. The downside of this method is that when the atlas gains or loses sprites I need to re-make all the framesets by hand. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I’d much rather set up the framesets by string since we’ve already got a nicely laid out data file.
Next up was dragging in a sprite, this part gave me a little bit of trouble because I had some settings wrong the first time around, but after some tweaking I got a sprite going. One possibly annoying thing that happened was Orthello decided to change my Main Camera all on it’s own. In this case that was totally cool, but in other cases that could spell disaster. Hopefully it only does that to the main camera, and only once at that…
Lastly was some code to fake platforming movement (pretend to run, jump). That part was SO FREAKING EASY. Seriously, with all the framesets adjusted all I had to enter (other than some control logic obviously) was:
Mind blown. Thanks Orthello and Texture Packer people.
Here’s a video of me playing around with Texture Packer and Orthello (and Unity 3d).
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, and at 24 fps this video is roughly 24 * ((24 * 60) + 11) pictures, that makes for roughly 32.8 million words plus the words I speak in the video. You’re very welcome.