Glimmr Canvas-Based Drawing

version 2/101030 by Erik Temple

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  • Chapter: Kinds of element

    Section: Sprites

    In common computer-graphics usage, a sprite is an independent image that comprises part of a larger scene, most commonly a two-dimensional image such as the moving characters in a video game. This definition also holds true for GCBD. (Experienced graphics folk should note that there is no "sprite sheet," however; each entity comes from a separate image file.) Sprites are likely to be the most common element used in GCBD games, being the most flexible elements and, at small to moderate sizes, also the fastest to draw.

    The image files used with sprites can be in PNG or JPEG format. (PNG is recommended, since you can use alpha channels to create transparency, allowing for irregular shapes.) To use an image file as a sprite element, we must first declare the external image file (can be in PNG or JPEG format) as a figure in Inform:

        Figure of Scroll is the file "Scroll_background.png".

    The figure must then be assigned to the sprite by setting the 'image-ID' property of the sprite object to the figure name, e.g. "The image-ID of the scroll is Figure of Scroll". If you have more than a handful of sprites, it can be much faster to declare them using tables; see Chapter5 of the Inform manual.

    Like other g-elements, sprites have a coordinate pair, the "origin" property, that determines where in the canvas coordinate system the upper-left corner of the sprite will be displayed. Sprites can be scaled if desired, using the "scaling factor" property. This scaling factor is calculated before the canvas is scaled to fit the window; in other words, the scaling factor property of the sprite scales it in relation to the rest of the canvas. If the asymmetrical scaling use option is set, it will be necessary to set both the "x-scaling factor" and the "y-scaling factor" of the sprite; these can, of course, be set to different values to allow the sprite to be "stretched" to an aspect ratio other than the original aspect ratio.

    Note: When sprites are intended to fit together tightly on screen, as for example image tiles, we will have more flexibility if we design the tiles so that they overlap one another. In other words, where they will abut one another, we should include an extra margin of 1-3 pixels in each image. This will ensure that, if the sprites are scaled, the inaccuracies inherent in scaling do not create visible seams between sprites.