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October 24, 2014, 06:46:55 PM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperCreativeArtA free sprite database
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Bad Sector
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« on: October 27, 2008, 11:49:05 AM »

I'm thinking about making a database site with free sprites to use in games. Will anyone be interested in submitting stuff? Personally i have made a bunch of sprites i can put (like the graphics from the game Nikwi) but mine alone won't be enough. The database will be tag-based and open to everyone to submit (after approval of course or else it might be infested with mspaint penises).

EDIT: to make it more clear: are you going to put and download sprites to and from this database or i'm going to lose my time here? :-P
« Last Edit: October 27, 2008, 11:52:16 AM by Bad Sector » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2008, 12:17:27 PM »

Hmm, seeing as I have on several occasions been bitching about the lack of such a database for prototyping and inspiration reasons, I would happily donate all of the tiles and some of the sprites I've made over the years. Quality isn't very high on all of it, but if there's a possibility to save someone's time it's definitely worth it.

Question, though, where you planning on accepting tiles, and if so, will there be a comprehensive sorting system for sizes, palettes, environments and grouping of "building blocks" to create certain kinds of terrain?

And were you thinking of having everything submitted being public domain, a certain license or is it up to the creator?
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Hideous
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2008, 12:22:23 PM »

I would.
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Μarkham
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2008, 12:23:44 PM »

As a graphics designer guy, I wouldn't have a use for this myself, but...

The database will be tag-based and open to everyone to submit (after approval of course or else it might be infested with thousands upon thousands of Mario sprite rips).
It isn't really pixelated genitalia that you have to worry about.  It's people with no regard for the intellectual properties of others.
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ChevyRay
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2008, 12:24:53 PM »

Even better: a free sprite-art/pixel tutorial database. Cool
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Jared C
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2008, 12:28:13 PM »

I would totally upload stuff.  Smiley
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Bad Sector
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2008, 01:07:03 PM »

Question, though, where you planning on accepting tiles, and if so, will there be a comprehensive sorting system for sizes, palettes, environments and grouping of "building blocks" to create certain kinds of terrain?

I will use a base category and tags. So people can use the 'nes' tag for example for NES-like sprites.

Quote
And were you thinking of having everything submitted being public domain, a certain license or is it up to the creator?

Everything should be free to use in commercial and non-commercial and people should be free to modify the sprites to fit their needs. Every entry will also have an optional "based on" link that if a sprite Foo is based on sprite Bar (that is Bar was used as the base) then it will be possible to say so.

The artist pages will have information about the artist and one of it will be about if he is willing to make additional sprites as a freelancer. However i will not provide anything more than this information and the artist will be responsible for giving a valid email address.

Also there will be comments in entries and a mark feature for inappropriate or copyrighted material. So if someone thinks some entry infridges someone's copyright or contains inappropriate material will be able to use this feature so the entry will be inspected for removal.

Thank you for your responses. If you have any comments or suggestions about these please say so. I haven't yet started developing the site so now its a good time to suggest things :-). Also if someone can contribute some (very simple) layout/theme i would be glad to use it.
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2008, 01:32:41 PM »

Thank you for your responses. If you have any comments or suggestions about these please say so. I haven't yet started developing the site so now its a good time to suggest things :-). Also if someone can contribute some (very simple) layout/theme i would be glad to use it.

Hmm, for tiles specifically I would again suggest a feature where you can group a small number of closely related tiles - say, for example, that you have 8x8 tiles for making a top-down wall, you'd need at least 4 or 5 different tiles to account for inward corners, outward corners and maybe different details of the wall. Or maybe some sort of hierarchy where you can create groups of general areas with smaller groups (like "medieval castle" -> "interior" -> "walls" -> "walls_0" or something). I guess it could be handled by having a very large amount of tags and creating a new one for each group, but seeing as these kinds of building blocks are quite common and not really the same thing as a tag like "nes", it might be worth thinking about.
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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2008, 01:50:45 PM »

Hm, not a bad idea. It'd give sprite artists that don't want to develop games but want to see their work being used somewhere connect with programmers that are in need of sprite art. I like it!

A couple suggestions:
- Forcing artists to let their work be used in products that other people will make money off of would really alienate the artist crowd. I don't want people to make money with my sprites. You should do something like Newgrounds Audio Portal (which does an awesome job at bringing musicians and developers together, as this project also should with artists and developers) and let the artists post their work under the Creative Commons License, which gives other people the freedom to use their work but it also lets the artists decide whether or not they want people using their work in commercial products, if they want to let people to remix their work, etc., and then you could include search options for people that want to search for sprites that they can use in commercial works and other things. Plus, I think people would be a lot more comfortable distributing their work under a popular, proven open license instead of a license custom-made by you consisting of merely "Everything should be free to use in commercial and non-commercial and people should be free to modify the sprites to fit their needs."  Wink

- You should add an option for developers to add their game or work or whatever in a list under the individual sprites they used. It'd give artists a nice thing to look at and feel happy about themselves that people are using their work, and other people might want to look at a list to see how the sprites could be used effectively and to see how many works have already been made with it (some people might not want to use a sprite that's already in every other Flash game on the internet). This could be administered by the individual artists.

- Instead of making it permission-based, I think you should just add a 'Report' button. Permission-based submission systems can be kind of troublesome, for everyone. And instead of preventing all nude and penis sprites to be submitted in the site, you should just add a registered 'Mature' option to let people see them like in deviantART. Also, what's wrong with mspaint? A huge number of professional sprite artists enjoy using mspaint.

- I think a rating system would be nice. It'd let new visitors instantly see the top works in the database and hook them before they leave after a couple clicks. Plus it'd give the artists some friendly competition, eh?

- Sprite categories are a must (I think tags could handle this pretty well. Rule34 has a tag-based system and it works brilliantly)! If people want to see fighting sprites as opposed to top-down tiles, or 8-bit sprites as opposed to wasteful high-color colossi, they should be able to.

- This should come much later in development (and probably when the project sees some success) but--bah, screw it. It was a crappy idea.

- You should not put ads on the site. You do not deserve money for your hard work!  Lips Sealed Nah, I'm playing, but I it's just a neat thing to think about. If you're making artists contribute their work for free, you should do the same, eh?

Yeah, I think this could DEFINITELY be useful for a lot of people. I think we all know that this would be a big project and a grand, ambitious adventure full of mystery, happiness, frustration, relief and sexual tension, but if it is done right then I'd say that this could very well become a big, helpful thing. Even if things look dire, I say you should tread on because this has the potential to help a lot of people and bring the laziest people from two sides of the indie gaming triangle together (third one being music, but Newgrounds is already handling them)! I'll even learn how to pixel and make a bunch of spritesets to keep this alive if things aren't moving along smoothly!

Maybe, just maybe, and I know this is a very ambitious thought, but this may be what keeps pixel art from becoming a dead art.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2008, 02:01:02 PM by Skofo » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2008, 02:04:05 PM »

It might be worth it to check these links before you do this, Bad Sector. I'm pretty sure that there are other resources around, too.
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Bad Sector
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2008, 02:29:33 PM »

- Forcing artists to let their work be used in products that other people will make money off of would really alienate the artist crowd. I don't want people to make money with my sprites. You should do something like Newgrounds Audio Portal (which does an awesome job at bringing musicians and developers together, as this project also should with artists and developers) and let the artists post their work under the Creative Commons License, which gives other people the freedom to use their work but it also lets the artists decide whether or not they want people using their work in commercial products, if they want to let people to remix their work, etc., and then you could include search options for people that want to search for sprites that they can use in commercial works and other things.

The idea is to give people a jumpstart with their games, being free or not. For commercial uses, i don't really expect people to come and grab sprites that everyone else uses unless they don't have enough money to hire an artist. So in either case the artist won't see a dime. The scenario i have in my mind is like this:

1. Kiddie Bee has a nice idea for a puzzle/platform/action/shooter/whatever game but her art looks like stomped ants. That would be fine for a whack-an-ant game but its not what she wants to make. She also has $0 to spend because she is a starving student in some place you never want to ever walk outside of.
2. So she visits the sprite db, grabs some sprites maybe changes one or two colors and she uses them to make a flash game.
3. She gets a couple of hundreds back from her game and she is ready to make a new one. She really liked the sprites she used so now that she has some extra money she contacts the artist who made the sprites to hire him make some more.

Thats the idea. Besides nobody will force any artist to put all of his sprites in there. He could leverage the medium to put some sprites (say from a commercial collection of sprites he has made) as a free advertisement. The downside of course is that people could use the sprites as they need.

Also i believe its simpler in general to say that "everything in this site is free for you to use as you like" instead of "its nice if you want to use these sprites -and thank you really- but MAKE SURE YOU READ THESE BOLDFACEDITALICTOTALLYUPPERCASEDLETTERSTHATSAY DONT EVER MAKE THE MISTAKE TO FORGET CHECKING THE USAGE RESTRICTIONS -um sorry, rights- OR WE WILL GET YOUR ASS SUED -that is only if you are in the same country and same area as we are thus being practical to do so". Besides focusing on one single things is better.

Quote
Plus, I think people would be a lot more comfortable distributing their work under a popular, proven open license instead of a license custom-made by you consisting of merely "Everything should be free to use in commercial and non-commercial and people should be free to modify the sprites to fit their needs."  Wink

I haven't thought much about the license but as a known opensource laywer said in a book about licenses, even a single line of text can be used as a license. I will check to see if there are existing licenses which are readable, small (no more than 10-15 lines of text) and fit what i want.

Quote
You should add an option for developers to add their game or work or whatever in a list under the individual sprites they used. It'd give artists a nice thing to look at and feel happy about themselves that people are using their work, and other people might want to look at a list to see how the sprites could be used effectively and to see how many works have already been made with it (some people might not want to use a sprite that's already in every other Flash game on the internet). This could be administered by the individual artists.

That is a very good idea actually! :-)

Quote
Instead of making it permission-based, I think you should just add a 'Report' button. Permission-based submission systems can be kind of troublesome, for everyone. And instead of preventing all nude and penis sprites to be submitted in the site, you should just add a registered 'Mature' option to let people see them like in deviantART. Also, what's wrong with mspaint? A huge number of professional sprite artists enjoy using mspaint.

Well as i said i'll add a report button. Maybe permission isn't required then? I'll think about it. I was going to add a mature option btw.

Quote
I think a rating system would be nice. It'd let new visitors instantly see the top works in the database and hook them before they leave after a couple clicks. Plus it'd give the artists some friendly competition, eh?

Yes i was thinking about this too.

Quote
- You should not put ads on the site. You do not deserve money for your hard work!  Lips Sealed Nah, I'm playing, but I it's just a neat thing to think about. If you're making artists contribute their work for free, you should do the same, eh?

I'm going to put ads but not something big or flashy, just some google adsense. Based from my experience so far fmo adsense in my own site i don't expect to make heaps though, but even getting half the expenses of the server could be nice (yes it could be nice to make $2 per month :-).

Quote
Maybe, just maybe, and I know this is a very ambitious thought, but this may be what keeps pixel art from becoming a dead art.

Since when pixel art is dead art? ;-)
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« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2008, 03:02:46 PM »

The idea is to give people a jumpstart with their games, being free or not. For commercial uses, i don't really expect people to come and grab sprites that everyone else uses unless they don't have enough money to hire an artist. So in either case the artist won't see a dime.

There is just something enticing about not letting other people use their creative work to propel their own agendas and get rich off of things that they arbitrarily may or may not deserve to get rich off of, as opposed to letting them. I don't mean to be an ass here, but not everyone shares your opinion.

Quote
The scenario i have in my mind is like this:

1. Kiddie Bee has a nice idea for a puzzle/platform/action/shooter/whatever game but her art looks like stomped ants. That would be fine for a whack-an-ant game but its not what she wants to make. She also has $0 to spend because she is a starving student in some place you never want to ever walk outside of.
2. So she visits the sprite db, grabs some sprites maybe changes one or two colors and she uses them to make a flash game.
3. She gets a couple of hundreds back from her game and she is ready to make a new one. She really liked the sprites she used so now that she has some extra money she contacts the artist who made the sprites to hire him make some more.

Even if you are able to find the light in possible scenarios where someone uses someone else's work and is able to feed themselves, not everyone wants to let people use their work for commercial works. If you let people CC their work, you'd have all the people that would go to your site with the license you're insisting on, ie people that don't mind others using their work commercially, plus the people that would otherwise stay away from your site because they don't want their work to be used in commercial games or works. Not every developer wants to make money off their games, you know, so non-commercial free sprites would still be very useful to many people.

Quote
Also i believe its simpler in general to say that "everything in this site is free for you to use as you like" instead of "its nice if you want to use these sprites -and thank you really- but MAKE SURE YOU READ THESE BOLDFACEDITALICTOTALLYUPPERCASEDLETTERSTHATSAY DONT EVER MAKE THE MISTAKE TO FORGET CHECKING THE USAGE RESTRICTIONS -um sorry, rights- OR WE WILL GET YOUR ASS SUED -that is only if you are in the same country and same area as we are thus being practical to do so". Besides focusing on one single things is better.

I haven't thought much about the license but as a known opensource laywer said in a book about licenses, even a single line of text can be used as a license. I will check to see if there are existing licenses which are readable, small (no more than 10-15 lines of text) and fit what i want.

This is what the a typical Creative Commons License looks like to most people. Is that readable and small enough? There are only a few variables in the Creative Commons license, which are very simple: whether it is non-commercial or commercial, if it requires attribution or doesn't require attribution, and if it is derivable, derivable as long as it's shared alike, or non-derivable.

Really, I don't think that implementing CC would be much trouble at all like you're making it seem. As I said before, it would probably be very easy to add a search variable that lets people search only for sprites that can be used commercially.

I may be a little judgemental here, but you seem to be respecting developers more than the artists, for whatever reason. I'd really look to get rid of or adjust that type of mindset, because the artists will be what make or break your site and give it content, so you should make things as easy and respectful for them as possible.

If you still insist on forcing a commercial-only license on your artistic members, I'd use a form of the zlib license, except replace "software" with "art".
« Last Edit: October 27, 2008, 08:15:43 PM by Skofo » Logged

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Bad Sector
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« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2008, 04:08:54 PM »

I didn't ruled out CC but its not a single license you know. Its more like a "license generator" and if i used CC i would only specify a single license.

Using a single license making things simpler, that's all about it. What exactly license text i will use is something i'm not interested about right now (btw i thought something like zlib too).

However don't get it wrong: the license won't be commercial-only. Presenting it this way sounds like restricting the uses of the site while i want the opposite: a restriction-free license. Yes someone can take the sprites in there and use it in a game and yes she can make money from it. So? This is done everyday in other cases too, like in opensource software. You say that i seem to respect more programmers than artists (note: i consider everyone working in making a game as a 'game developer' regardless of working on art, sound or code). But what i see is that more developers are actually willing to give their work of months for free (i just did so a few hours ago by releasing my tilemap editor on which i worked for three years) than anyone else. I believe the reason for this is that there are not enough outlets. Yes one can take a sprite of yours (that you have probably spent at maximum one week making it - but usually its less) and use it in your game but at the same time one can take Irrlicht (that is under development many years now) and make a commercial game too.

SourceForge requires people to have specific licenses which all must allow commercial use of the projects. By your logic, programmers should feel less respected than whoever uses these projects and is not a programmer. Yet the site has hundreds of thousands of projects by a similar number of programmers.

Adding stuff in the database isn't something you are forced to do. Nobody forces programmers to put their projects in SourceForce if they don't want. Similarly if some artist doesn't want to put some of his work in the database, he can just ignore the submit link.


Anyway, we're getting a little off now. I prefer to stick to the database itself actually. The database will only contain sprites which are restriction-free: that is one can use it without any kind of usage restrictions. I really believe that this is the best thing to do. I will start a new discussion later on the license topic however when the site is beginning to take some shape and i will post the text here for review and fixes, but right now i believe its too early for this and i don't want this to be mixed with other more improtant to the implementation and features of the site.


So, any other comments or suggestions? :-)
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« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2008, 04:49:58 PM »

So, any other comments or suggestions? :-)

How about an embedded image editor?
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« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2008, 05:00:09 PM »

What's wrong with genitalia sprite, don't be a censor man, some people might need genital sprites. *cough*giant naked men *cough*
I mean as long as its a serious sprite and not a joke sprite, why not?
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« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2008, 05:53:31 PM »

What's wrong with genitalia sprite, don't be a censor man, some people might need genital sprites. *cough*giant naked men *cough*
I mean as long as its a serious sprite and not a joke sprite, why not?

What defines a joke sprite?

If I didn't know better I'd think that Nikujin's sprites were a joke.

I'd just accept everything that isn't a blatant advertisement and put a 'Mature' filter on for the people whose minds explode at the sight of a penis in an image.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2008, 08:13:44 PM by Skofo » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2008, 07:27:09 PM »

Just a final word on the licenses issue. If you want every work to be distributed through your site to be free of restrictions, then you don't need a license, only some text saying that 'this work has been released into public domain'. Still, forcing this will turn many people who want some recognition off. The Creative Commons licenses are great because they're simple (a combination of four factors), many are already familiar with them and know what they are, and you will have the support of a whole community if you decide to use them. Check Flickr for an example on integrating the licenses.
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« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2008, 07:34:40 PM »

Why not just have a license toggle?

Look like this:


It's not exactly super complicated for the users, and you can easily build a filter into the search.

Otherwise I think it's a cool idea for a site, I and would contribute some work!
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« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2008, 07:47:58 PM »

As i said, i know what CC is and the problem isn't the wording but the restrictions they can impose. Not having restrictions is so bad or my english is so bad that people don't understand what i'm writing? Roll Eyes

Also i never said anything about it being public domain. Its different, i never said give up the copyright or anything (which, btw, is not always possible since some countries - like Germany i think - does not allow a person to give up copyright, thus legally saying something like this doesn't stand there). You get full copyrights, full credits, full recognition (if the site becomes popular), full everything AND no usage restrictions.

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« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2008, 08:27:31 PM »

I just feel you'll get much fewer artists submitting sprites if you force them to release their art 100% restriction free, for all uses.

From my point of view, I don't care what people do with my artwork. But if they're making money from it, I want a taste as well.

I think you want to make it super easy for the programmers & designers who are looking for sprites to use. The people who are suggesting a commercial/non-commercial option want to make life easier for the artists.
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