SpriteStack

SpriteStack is a tool that allows artists to quickly test pseudo-3D models made with layered sprites. This is a method used in various successful indie games to create a cute 3D style without requiring the experience and tools to create a full 3D experience.

How Do These Pseudo-3D Models Work?
In engines like GameMaker: Studio and Construct, 3D game development can be difficult or close to impossible. Instead many developers use tricks to create the illusion of 3D with 2D sprites. In the method used by SpriteStack, each pseudo-3D model is made up of a series of flat 2D sprites drawn on top of each other. A sample of code used to
achieve this effect in GameMaker can be seen below:

for (i = 0; i < number_of_layer_images; i++) {

    draw_sprite_ext( sprite_name , i , x , y-i , image_xscale , image_yscale , image_angle , image_blend , image_alpha);

}

Notice the "y" position of each sprite is 1 pixel above the last image. This creates the illusion of depth that we are trying to achieve.

Why Use SpriteStack?
SpriteStack is simply a tool for allowing artists to quickly test their pseudo-3D models made using the process described above. Artists with experience using 3D tools may not find much use for it, and the method certainly has its drawbacks (e.g. the pseudo-3D models are hard to animate). However, this is still a popular art style for game
developers who are more used to dealing with 2D graphics and SpriteStack allows you to cut out the time-consuming step of loading your graphics into a game development program every time you make a small change.

Written by Dan

Managing Director and mobile development whizz.