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A few months ago, Justin and I began investigating ways to make our next game (in Unity3D) look great. We knew we wanted to stick with 2D art, but didn’t want to tacitly accept the “conventional” expectations associated with 2D art in games.


We discovered SpriteLamp, which essentially allows you to generate dynamic lighting on pixel art. It accomplishes this by producing normal maps, depth maps, and anisotropy maps for use in shaders. All you provide are 2-5 “lighting profiles” of what an object would look like lit from a specific direction (top, bottom, left, right, or front).┬áThis animation sort of sells itself:

A zombie lit with the help of SpriteLamp

Courtesy of the SpriteLamp Kickstarter

We encourage anyone interested to check out the Kickstarter or SnakeHillGames for more information. SpriteLamp was successfully funded, and we’ve received beta access. The tool, even in its beta state, is very usable, and has UI that is easy enough to understand for now:

The UI for SpriteLamp

The UI for SpriteLamp

Although we’re not artists, even we could see how exciting this would be to get working in Unity. SpriteLamp’s developer, Finn Morgan, said that a shader for Unity will be provided later, but we decided that we couldn’t wait, so we wrote it ourselves.

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