What is a sprite and what is it used for in video game development?

There are many terms in the world of video games and their development. After telling you about PEGI and how it can help you when buying a videogame, we would like to explain what a sprite is and what it is used for in video game development..

If you are in the world of video game programming, development or design, you are probably familiar with the term sprite and all that it means, but to an outsider, the name may sound like it's for a soft drink and not know what a sprite is and what it's for in video game development.

The word sprite viene del inglés y su traducción al español es duende. A significant name because video games have a lot of magic and fantasy that is achieved, among other things, with sprites. This graphic resource of bitmaps was popularised in the late 70s and early 80s by Jay Miner, a chip designer.

Super Mario World Sprites

Sprites represent a character or object and are used so that it can move independently from the background. Like video games, they have been evolving, at first they were transparent and small to better adapt to the format of the first computers and entertainment consoles, such as Commodore 64 or Amiga. As time went by, they changed shape and size until the arrival of 3D videogames in which they have been almost relegated to the background.

In Didactoons we still use the sprite technique and, as you can see in this example of Dino Tim, we have all Tim's positions in the game so he can walk, run, jump, fly or do his whirlwind effect. Of course, we are not the only ones, some classic videogames have used this resource to create their characters or objects such as Super Mario Bros, Super Mario World, Prince of Persia, Batman Forever… Historical titles that are worth being inspired to continue creating videogames.

Dino Tim Sprites
February 16, 2021

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