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Sheet Making Etiquette

I wanted to ask, are there any common practices in how you're supposed to align sprite sheets, aside from the points mentioned on the Wiki page? I've been browsing both it and the forums but couldn't find anything so far.

Or to be more specific, for example: if a background is a 256x256 file, but a good chunk of it is bright neon blue because that's the placeholder color and the real background only has a length of like 200, is it better to cut that blue out since it's not really part of the background, or keep it in because it's still part of the ripped file?
As well as, multiple versions of a sprite or bg that are identical except for the langauge of some text - does everything go in or just certain languages, like og + english?
And: if a tutorial section has objects + backgrounds + fonts + tutorial screenshots + etc etc, is it better to put all of them in a single sheet that might be very crowded, or multiple sheets in the same section that might only have very few assets each?

Stuff like that, basically. Looked at other sheets to get a feel for it but a lot of them were rather old so I wasn't sure how reflective of current standards they are.

Thanks in advance for any help! (and apologies if this is too lenghy or in the wrong forum)
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It's been a second since I looked much at the Wiki, but from my perspective a lot of what you're describing I would say is personal preference.

I know for myself I do things very differently now than I did, say, 5 years ago, and FAR more differently than I did 10 years ago, and so forth. You tend to lean into whatever you personally think makes the most sense. Most people won't argue against how you decide to showcase your work, although as far as big-picture tips are concerned this is what I've got for you:

I think a lot more about making sheets "digestible" these days, i.e. how much sense it would make to someone completely unfamiliar with the game to look at a rip and be able to appreciate it. All too often I've seen fantastic and thorough rips that are just kind of hard to navigate with your eyes or really understand what you're looking at. That's not to say "LABEL EVERYTHING" but more in line with ensuring similar sprites/backgrounds/objects/whatever go together in a way that can be understood. Place with purpose, not just to place.

I'm also really big on purity of rips. So in the example you gave about the background I know for a fact I'd include the entirety of the 256x256 background. Even if it seems unnecessary to include a bunch of extra color, if it's technically connected to that background image then to me it should be kept in tact for the purity of the graphic.

Aside from those basic concepts, like I said, I encourage you to do it whatever way you want. This site is used to archive digital works of art, and because of that, as long as you put the necessary steps in and meet the quality standards, the most important thing is having that content available to those who may want to find it. Getting too bogged down by the specifics may end up dissuading you from having fun with it.

Hope that helped!
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Thanked by: ToastShark
People do sheets in different ways, some get pretty detailed explaining about palettes, animation order and the animations themselves while others just do the minimum. Some people put credit tags, others don't.

For the background example, I generally cut it off but may put if space allows a 8x8 block of said color and possibly an explanation. Unless the color is one that's used in the palette itself. It really depends if the 256x256 background is from a file (keep it in as that was how it was designed) or displayed in a background viewer (cut it off, sometimes backgrounds are a lot lower in pixel count than the resolution of the console, some like the Master System have a left hand side border that may or may not be part of graphics). Many games also show garbage when it comes to backgrounds and maps, most of the time they get cut off unless the garbage is a glitch in the game itself like the PC Engine Batman game where that is fairly common.

Language example, it really does depend on how many assets are used. If it's a lot or a fairly modern game, it seems to be split by language but if it is an older game, it's generally all in. All in as in very old games might only be in English, Japanese or the one language of the game itself if a game is French, Spanish, German etc with some European versions generally getting a language select (some US games get English, French and Spanish but tend to be a bit rarer). Even the language select was mainly in European developed games and became more common PS1 era onwards. Duplicates are skipped though.

If a game gets completely changed over, then it would be its own game. Changed characters also tend to have their own sheets between regions as well.

Sadly can't answer regarding tutorials personally as the games that I tend to rip are more classic and vintage but probably put in one sheet. The second option might fit if the tutorial is long or parts that can easily be split up like one for pictures e.g. character does a move and one for the rest.

As for doing the sprite sheets themselves, it's personal preference. The way I've done them has changed over time. The older sheets are one colour but can be made transparent. Within the past 5 or so years though, it changed to be "more blocky". Basically where you see a sprite in a box with its own background colour (unless black where it might be changed to pink or bright green just to see the black in the sprites). They might not be as pleasing to look at but respect more of the sprite boundaries how they appear in the ROM/tile viewer/graphics viewer/exported. Going from how it is in the day to 8x8 space between sprites to 4x4 between sprites to reduce space. In most cases, the credit tag is dropped because well... they are not my sprites, they are from the developers. Exceptions are fighting games due to they often get stolen, copyright reasons or if a known person in the community did the sprites. Rarely I do list animation names mainly on the grounds of the types of games that don't really need that but have done it in games that really would help e.g. character in a platform/action game. Do explain some technical parts though and point out any glitches that are like that in the game e.g. sprite is broken in all versions of the game. It is also down to how people use sprites. In the olden days, they have often used for sprite comics, avatars or fan games in GameMaker so they tend to be less disregard for alignment, less preservation, more "ooh look at that sprite". While that still happens plus YouTube videos, people using them for games, ROM hacks or just plain preservation. Gaming and ripping has become more technical.

Current standards AFAIK are making sure that the basics are there. Is every sprite there on what you are ripping (but you can remove duplicates)? Unless designed that way as in old arcade games, make sure that the background isn't black or white because that affects the sprites. Make sure that it doesn't have a lot of empty space. Ripping from the ROM, tile viewer or a tool in older games is preferred than the old capturing and editing. There is a bit of leeway whether some stuff should be on one sheet or split because some prefer one way while others prefer the other. Everything rips aren't allowed any more even though in the really early mid/late 1970s-early 1980s games there aren't a lot of sprites in the entire game, meaning every sprite and palette can fit in just one sheet. Some games also have their own standards like Cuphead had to be ripped a certain way otherwise there are artifacts on the sprites and sheets have been rejected due to that.

If you want some good examples and different ways of a ripper does a sheet, try looking at the "gold standard" rippers such as Random Talking Bush, Barack Obama, Paraemon, DogToon64. At the end of the day, how you do the sprite sheets is up to you.
Thanked by: ToastShark
I see, okay - these are very helpful, thank you so mcuh!
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