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Nomenclature question

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Hi, Spriter team and community,



I'm in the middle of writing an email to a friend, and I just realized I have no idea what to call the output of Spriter to differentiate it from other kinds of "sprites". Is there an official name or phrase for these besides the somewhat clunky-sounding "Spriter sprites"? Going by the blurb on the main Spriter page, I would assume it's "modular sprites", but I've never seen that actual phrase used anywhere.


I was thinking something like "skeletal sprites", but that sounds more like something that's not finished yet, like the early stages of a sprite. Besides, not all "Modular sprites" use bones... Also, I'm not sure if we need to differentiate from the output of similar tools, like Spine, or just use a generic phrase that covers the whole concept, then differentiate using "Spriter <phrase>" vs. "Spine <phrase>" etc.


Anyone want to weigh in on this one? Mike? Edgar?

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Thanks, Mike. I was hoping for something a little more generic, so I could write about the technology itself, rather than the specific Spriter implementation, but those are useful, too.


BTW, let me see if I have the definitions of your terms right:


"Spriter character" = A uniquely identifiable person, animal, or thing, represented by at least one "entity".

"...entity" = A collection of associated "animations", usually, but not always, belonging to a single "character"

"...animation" = A single time-line controlling a group of "objects"

"...object" = One of the images, bones, rectangles, or points that are manipulated over time to create an animation


How'd I do?

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You did perfectly, the only tricky one is "Spriter object", which in many contexts can refer to the representation of a Spriter file thats been imported into a game authoring system such as Construct 2.  Instead of calling it a Spriter Sprite, its typically referred to as a Spriter object.


Mike at BrashMonkey

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Well, here's the thing... In the Spriter interface, when I click one of the things I included under my definition of "object", there's a panel to the left called "Object Properties" that shows the position, scale, etc. of said thing.


Also, there are buttons on the top toolbar for showing and locking both "Bones" and "Sprites"; "sprites" referring to the images you drag over from the tree on the right. This would seem to indicate that "sprites" consist of "entities", which contain "animations", which are made of... "sprites"!  :???:


Maybe a little more consistency in the interface would clear up some confusion on the parts of myself and - more importantly - new users.

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An animated character is not necessarily a Sprite... in fact, typically a sprite represents a single image at a time being moved around by a game.  We used the term object in the generic sense within the spriter properties title because it can mean a sprite (image) OR a bone, both of these objects have properties than can be edited in the "object" properties palette.


So, a fully animated Spriter animation playing on screen is not a sprite, and depending on the context you  an call it a Spriter object, a Spriter entity, or a Spriter animation.


A sprite is simply an image being controlled and moved around in a game.


Most Spriter animations involve multiple sprites being moved, rotated etc to create an animated object or character.


That's about as clear as such a convoluted topic can be I think. ;)


Mike at BrashMonkey

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Actually, that explanation was quite clear; thank you!


I had always thought of "sprite" as referring to all of the graphics and animation data that made up a character in a game, not each individual image, but the way you put it does make more sense. I can think of two other contexts where your description holds true: "Sprite sheets" which are just that: a sheet filled with individual frames of various animations, and the older 8- and 16-bit game systems which had hardware capable of a certain number of simultaneous, on-screen "sprites" (although they are often named something else by the developers, such as "objects" in the case of most Nintendo® systems).

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