Sprite Lamp early trailer
Hi. I’m Finn Morgan from Snake Hill Games
and this is a tool I’ve been working on called Sprite Lamp. It’s all about combining dynamic
lighting with 2D art. Lots of indie developers love 2D art, and one reason for that is that
it allows for so many styles, but it normally makes dynamic lighting all but impossible.
My goal with Sprite Lamp is to let people creating lighting assets – stuff like normal
maps – using techniques that preserve their art style. That means Sprite Lamp can allow
for lighting in a game with pixel art, or digital painting, and a variety of styles
in between. Sprite Lamp works by having the artist paint
a number of ‘lighting profiles’ – that’s a colourless picture of the subject, lit from
a particular direction. You need at least two of them, and you can use as many as five.
The more you have, the rougher the input can be. In this example we’re going to use four.
You pass these lighting profiles into Sprite Lamp, and it generates a normal map from them.
It can also generate depth maps and ambient occlusion maps. You hand these assets over
to your game engine, and along with a diffuse colour map, it’ll look something like this.
Naturally I’d love to see someone make a whole 2D game with dynamic lighting, but that’s
not the only use Sprite Lamp has. It can be used for making textures for 3D games, of
course, and the generation of depth maps allows for self-shadowing, as well as effects like
parallax mapping, which is particularly relevant for a stereoscopic 3D game. Dynamic lighting
can also serve as a kind of beefed up palette swap, allowing you to re-light a character
for different scenarios, weather conditions, time of day, that kind of thing. It’s also
a natural fit for 2D skeletal mesh animation. Finally, there are a few advanced features
in the pro version – hand-made anisotropy maps, batch and command line processing, and
depth map editing. Sprite Lamp is currently in alpha on Windows,
but I intend to release simultaneously on Windows, MacOS, and Linux, early in 2014