So, two things happened yesterday. First off, Sprite Lamp is a part of the Humble Bundle. Exciting! I imagine, though, that if you’re reading this you already own Sprite Lamp and don’t care much, or just bought it and already know.
The other thing that’s new is that it’s time for (the alpha versions of) the OSX and Linux ports to be released into the wild! These aren’t really ready enough for me to call them ‘released’, so they’re not officially on sale on Steam. If you own Sprite Lamp on Steam, though, you can get the OSX and Linux builds by activating the beta – do this in the ‘betas’ tab of Sprite Lamp’s properties in Steam. The password is ‘CrossPlatformAlpha’. I don’t have a huge range of computers to test this on, though, so if anyone has trouble getting this to work please let me know via my contact form. The cross platform alpha builds are available on Humble, too.
For those wondering what Sprite Lamp is
I have bought Humble Bundles in the past without knowing what all the things in the bundle are. Perhaps that’s what you did, and you found your way here, wondering what Sprite Lamp is? The short answer is, it’s for making normal maps. The slightly longer answer is, it’s a program for processing hand-drawn art into normal maps (and a few other things, such as depth maps), which allows you to do dynamic lighting on ordinarily ‘static’ art styles, such as painted images or pixel art. For a substantially more detailed description, check out the Sprite Lamp page. If you’re wondering about whether you can use Sprite Lamp’s normal maps with a game engine you’re using, the answer is likely ‘yes’ – most game engines that have dynamic lighting nowadays support normal mapping (sometimes known as ‘bump mapping’). For Unity and Game Maker, I’ve also made some headway in writing my own shaders to replicate the lighting in the Sprite Lamp preview window – check out the page on using Sprite Lamp with these engines for more info.
Status of the ports
So, now that Sprite Lamp is on Linux and OSX, it’s worth saying exactly what I mean by ‘alpha’.
The OSX version has been by far the most work, because it’s involved rebuilding the front end with a new system. This unfortunately also means it’s the more alpha-ish of the two. Most of the unimplemented features are from the Pro version, and for that reason I’ve chosen not to make the pro build available yet (I just don’t want anyone paying for it because they will be disappointed with how few of the features are actually there). The Hobbyist version has some rough alpha-ish edges, but should still be useful, and most of the features are in place. Please let me know if you come across problems.
The Linux build is a more direct port (for not-very-interesting reasons involving WinForms support). This means that it doesn’t look as nicely natively Linux, but it’s much more complete – basically everything should work, with the exception of the command line interface which I’m still figuring out, and probably a few other bits and pieces that didn’t make the transition neatly for whatever reason. If you find anything that doesn’t seem right, again, please get in touch.
Getting in contact
In case I didn’t link it enough times in this post, you can contact me via this contact form. I’m a bit crap at social media and forums (sorry), and I don’t use twitter all that often. I’m trying to get more attentive at these things, but the most reliable means of contact is still that contact form – it goes straight to my email and I’m at least reasonably good about responding to those.