Posted by: Ocean's Dream | August 12, 2009

Fighting game sprites

I know I haven’t been updating this for a while, I’ve been busy with my own pixel projects.

I think it’s pretty interesting to see how they do the King of Fighters XII sprites.

It is not necessary to do the animations/characters in 3D first, this is just their method so they can get bigger sprites and standardize animations more.  They have a big section in yellow about the use of 3D.


Here is an animation sheet I did for Skie’s character, Zuleika from Sacred Earth bonds.

I will mention this in advance, this was a 2-3 hour animation job and I don’t have a massive amount of animation experience so I cannot show you how to make awesome animations. I would probably refer to fighting game sprites for that and looking up pictures on animation. I’m sure there’s a bunch of stuff out there, I’ll try to get a few when I go out looking for them.

Sacred Earth Bonds- Zuleika Attack

Not perfect, but here’s the resulting animation. I did not use all the frames in the sheet, some of them are newer after I got feedback. The top left corner and the bottom right corner sections are the frames I used. Some animation frames are small enough of a change so that you can just edit the existing sprite. A simple soft breathing pose would fall into that. For the attack, I redrew the character for when she goes forward to strike in the 3rd frame. Depending on how complex you want your attack you may need to do a lot more redrawing instead of editting. I built in the sword slash effect onto the sprite, I’ve seen some where it’s an outside battle animation.

I would do the frames unshaded first. You shouldn’t make the initial sprite, shade that and then try to edit it and get all the animation frames out of that shaded sprite. If you look at a fair amount of fighting game sprites, they have few colors but they’re very high contrasted.


Here’s a Guilty Gear sprite. May! If you check it out, they don’t use tons of shades. Each color probably has 3 variations of it. A dominant light color, a noticeable dark color, and a small amount of a midtone. You don’t have to copy this style, but having a nice simpler shading style can help it be less difficult to shade all the frames you do for an attack.

Tsugumo has a tutorial on this too. You can check it out here.


I have Vanguard princess sprites as well. Save it and zoom in on it. It has a few tones, but it’s pretty much simple shades. I don’t know if there’s some non-manual rotation or something done because some have shades that seem too soft to be noticeable but for the most part there’s the high contrasted shades and a few for each color type.

The rest is just practice, seeing commercial quality sprites, learning more on animation, and getting the feel for the human body and how it moves and the various poses. Fighting game sprites take a long time to come out, and then when you have 300+ frames of it…



  1. hello ocean’s dream im here to say about the tutorials you and tsugumo have posted
    are very intresting but ive been having trouble geting the hang off spriting. go to google and type darkzero779 at deviantart and go to the link that shows in the row th see my profile then brows my gallery to see my artwork,sprites,etc to see em.i ask because i have an idea about making a game of my series karagu with the mugen program i need help on well..everything .the chars sprites,stages,screenpack etc. i dont ming giving credit to who helps me as long as its know what mugen is right.if you want to help i will apreciate it .thank you

  2. No thanks, I wouldn’t have the energy to do something like that even if you paid me.

  3. okay i understand sorry i bothered you,okay

  4. I would help you but i’m using GAME MAKER 8

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