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Pretty cool. I hope all goes well for the author.

But I can't help feeling that generating normal maps from full 3D models would be more robust overall.

For instance you could easily make things like a walking animation or calculate ambient occlusion (pretty standard 3ds max work.) Render it into a sprite sheet and you have the pipeline to dramatically reduce the amount of work artists would have to do.

I guess Sprite Lamp would be best geared toward indies/studios without 3D modelers and can't invest in the aforementioned tech.

This is cool nonetheless.

Almost all the interesting games being made nowadays are indie games, and as you say most indie game makers don't have the budget for 3D modelers. Not all of them necessarily want this effect, but I'd still say that this could have a pretty big impact.

I don't think it's really a budget issue. The type of 3d modeling & animation software that is necessary to create character spritesheets can be had at pretty commodity prices (sub-$200).

Personally, I would never try to do this kind of work by hand in 2D (not a talented-enough draftsman). But the grandparent is right...even in my clumsy hands, I can do a decent job working in 3D. It's just an easier workflow.

Now, style-wise, nice hand-drawn 2D animation is in a class of its own. If indie studios are sticking with 2D, I'd suggest it's frequently more a matter of style than price.

To create a rich 3D world, you need to model and texture a LOT of objects. Usually, this means hiring an army of 3D modelers and texture artists and having them do that all day for three years. Paying them needs a big budget.

To create a rich 2D world, you probably can get by with one or two talented artist/animators. Yes, they may be in a class of their own, but you don't need nearly so many. Paying them does not need a big budget.

> could have a pretty big impact.

You might even say it could be a game changer.

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