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Why are tile rips rarer than character sprites?
#1
Apologies if this is in the wrong section, didn't really find one for general 'sprite ripping discussions' here.

But either way, does anyone know why this is the case? Why sprite websites seem to mostly have character sprites and animations rather than tiles and backgrounds?

Because if you go on Spriter's Resource, Mario Fan Games Galaxy or any other such site, the vast majority of submissions are character related. This is the case for both rips and customs, and extends as far as general 'indie game art' sites like Open Game Art or what not.

So what's the reason for it? Do more people prefer ripping or drawing characters? Are characters and enemies easier to rip than tiles and backgrounds? Or is there some other reason I'm missing here?
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#2
I think the fact is simply because characters are more interesting to most people. Not just to view, but also to rip. Characters are (usually) the thing you focus on in a game, and the most active aspect. They are also what many people want references for, since characters are (to my knowledge) quite difficult to sprite well, especially in terms of animation.

In some cases they are just easier to rip. This obviously depends on the game, but many games with structures (like PC games) organise their character sprites better than tiles and such.

Another factor is also that characters sprites are more abundant. Games can have a large variety of characters, but tiles are copied to create the world. Often a single sheet can contain all the unique tiles, while each character needs their own sheet for all their animations.

That's what I think, at least. It is an interesting topic though and I'm curious to know what others think.

(Moving this to Site Discussion by the way, I feel like it fits there best.)
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#3
It's something I've noticed as well and have been trying to remedy somewhat (for backgrounds at least).
But Puggsoy is right, especially for tiles, it just isn't as interesting to do. After ripping the Cheese Wheels of Doom tileset from Bubsy I was pretty burnt out with the process, more so since I ripped each tile manually through playing the game and capturing the individual tiles with Gens Kmod.

Many that have the know how and the tools to automate the process covet their tools for their own use, though that's their right earned through creating the tool in the first place, so it's also difficult for those who aren't in the know that want to rip them without putting in work in one direction or the other. Lack of a tool, lack of energy to follow through the manual route of ripping, lack of time, lack of interest or lack of skill means less tile and background rips. That's how I see it at least.
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Thanked by: puggsoy, Ton
#4
This is an interesting and important question.
Now that I think about it, from a technical point of view, ripping tilesets (and backgrounds, to some extent) should be in fact easier than sprites.
On something as simple as Game Boy games, sprites can be stored in complex byte groups because the information for x, y, tile number, tile priorities and possible high bytes must be all in there. For typical 16x16 blocks however, the information is usually a 4-byte group no less.
I'm implying that writing a general-purpose (possibly even semi-automatic) tileset/background "sniffer" for ROMs even up to SNES/GBA games would be far far easier than a program that tries to interpret data as character sprites. See Djinn Tile Mapper.

Also I agree with puggsoy
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Thanked by: Ton, puggsoy
#5
Tiles are probably easier to rip, so I don't think it's a difficulty thing. I think the reason lies in what they are used for. Unless you're making a fan game: tiles really, have no purpose. Sprite comics (now dead, but were huge), youtube videos, flash games, avatars, mouse cursors - they all mostly use character sprites.

And as most people making fan games have some emulation knowledge, simply disabling the sprite layer and taking a screenshot can normally give you a lot of material to use simply by splicing it up yourself (hell I know it's what I used to do back in my The Games Factory days).

Though I think the most important factor is: tiles/background 'ripping' - is really boring.
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