Wednesday, 2019 May 22, 11:30 PM
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What is Sprite?!

Sprites were originally invented as a method of quickly compositing several images together in two-dimensional VIDEO GAME using special hardware. As computer performance improved, this optimization became unnecessary and the term evolved to refer specifically to the two dimensional images themselves that were integrated into a scene. That is, figures generated by either custom hardware or by software alone were all referred to as sprites. As three-dimensional graphics became more prevalent, the term was used to describe a technique whereby flat images are seamlessly integrated into complicated three-dimensional scenes.

A graphic image that can move within a larger graphic. Animation software that supports sprites enables the designer to develop independent animated images that can then be combined in a larger animation. Typically, each sprite has a set of rules that define how it moves and how it behaves if it bumps into another sprite or a static object.


Major video game companies rarely (if at all) use the term "sprite" in the general public. Some other alternatives that have been used are:

  • Player-Missile Graphics was used on the Atari 400/800 and Early Atari Coin Op games to refer to hardware-generated sprites. The term reflected the usage for both characters ("players") and other objects ("missiles"). They had restricted horizontal resolution (8 or 2 pixels, albeit with scalability, and a potential 192 lines of vertical resolution), limiting their use somewhat.
  • Movable Object Block, or MOB was used in MOS Technology's graphics chip literature (data sheets, etc). However, Commodore, the main user of MOS chips and the owner of MOS for most of the chip maker's lifetime, applied the common term "sprite".
  • The developer manuals for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and Game Boy referred to sprites as OBJs (short for "objects"), and the region of RAM used to store sprite attributes and coordinates was known as OAM (Object Attribute Memory). This still applies today on the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS handheld systems. However, Nintendo Power referred to them as sprites in articles about the NES architecture in the magazine's third year.
  • BOB's, more often BLOB's or 'Blitter Objects', popular name for graphics objects drawn with the dedicated graphics blitter in the Amiga series of computers, which was available in addition to its true hardware sprites.
  • Software sprites were used to refer to subroutines that used bit blitting to accomplish the same goal on systems such as the Atari ST and the Apple II whose graphics hardware had no sprite capability.
  • The computer programming language DarkBASIC used the term Bob to refer to its software-sprite functions, before switching to the more conventionally-used "sprite" term.
  • 3D Sprite is a term often used to refer to sprites that are essentially texture mapped 3D facets that always have their surface normal facing into the camera.
  • Z-Sprite is a term often used for 3D environments that contain only sprites. The Z-parameter provides a scaling effect that creates an illusion of depth. For example in adventure games such as King's Quest VI where the camera never moves, normal 2D sprites might suffice, but Z-sprites provide an extra touch.
  • Impostor is a term used instead of billboard if the billboard is meant to subtly replace a real 3D object.
What is M.U.G.E.N?!
M.U.G.E.N (also known simply as MUGEN) is a freeware 2D fighting game engine designed by (Elecbyte).
The engine uses 7 buttons for gameplay along with the directional keys, in order to accommodate six-button fighters, which use three punches, three kicks, and a start button. However, characters do not necessarily use all seven buttons, nor need to follow a traditional six- or four-button format. At most, two human players can control characters, with others controlled by the engine's AI; including a demo mode where the computer controls all characters. In addition, several gameplay modes are available via the main menu.

Elecbyte released the customizable fighting game M.U.G.E.N in 1999. The engine was originally released in July 17, 2001.




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