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Author Topic: Difference between tiles, sprites and fonts?  (Read 1724 times)

CDiablo

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Difference between tiles, sprites and fonts?
« on: July 25, 2015, 11:24:49 am »
This may seem like a really stupid, beginner question, but I cant find any document here(I assume there would be one) or on the internet explaining the difference between the three. If anyone can explain or link to an explanation I would appreciate it. Thanks all.

KingMike

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Re: Difference between tiles, sprites and fonts?
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2015, 12:15:04 pm »
Bascially they're all graphics, fonts a specific usage of background tiles.
(except for TurboGrafx which for some reason stores sprites differently than "background" tiles :P )
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FAST6191

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Re: Difference between tiles, sprites and fonts?
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2015, 01:18:14 pm »
Mostly what KingMike said -- it is all predominately 2d graphics. If you want to talk about specific implementations in different systems then that becomes a topic worth discussing as different systems will have all sorts of restrictions (background tiles might be a fixed size but sprites could be various kinds of custom sizes, to say nothing of general memory restrictions or resolution restrictions) and hardware accelerated options (flips, scales, mapping, texture mapping...), probably also some oddities like bitmap graphics (rather than colours defined by a palette you can get per pixel colours).

Such things are invariably where the discussion of graphics hardware for a given system has to go, and indeed newer systems usually gain more abilities to manipulate such graphics beyond their predecessors (compare say a GBA http://problemkaputt.de/gbatek.htm#lcdobjoamattributes to a NES http://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/PPU_OAM or even a C64 https://www.c64-wiki.com/index.php/Sprite ).

About the only thing to say, and KingMike already said it, is fonts are usually given to whatever to whatever the background type graphics setup is called on a given piece of hardware. If you are doing a lot of text you would be foolish to not use that for any system I have looked at, however puzzle games might only have a handful of characters, especially in a Japanese game, and as such I have seen them end up as sprites from time to time.

SunGodPortal

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Re: Difference between tiles, sprites and fonts?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2015, 02:31:05 pm »
From the work I've done so far it would appear that in most cases they're all pretty much the same thing. I pretty much just work on SNES games and when I open a ROM up in a graphics editor most everything is in 4BPP, but some times text will be 2BPP or 1BPP. Most of the time the only real difference is how the game implements this stuff, rather than how it is stored or constructed.
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henke37

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Re: Difference between tiles, sprites and fonts?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2015, 05:48:39 am »
Sprites are normally free floating graphics that can be positioned independently with pixel precision. They are normally implemented using one or more hardware objects.

Backgrounds are normally tile mapped, having a tileset and a map that declares a grid and what tile to show in each grid cell.

Fonts can be as simple as being tilesets, but often they are chunks of data used by dedicated font rendering code. This is largely due to the desire to have variable width glyphs.