SWFSheet coming features

Jan 12 2011 Published by under Flash, General

[EDIT: Just released a beta of SWFSheet 1.1 here: http://www.bit-101.com/blog/?p=2948]

The response to SWFSheet has been overwhelming. I guess I wasn’t the only one who found such a tool useful. I’m going to release a new version with some updates soon. Here’s what I’m looking at adding:

1. PNG Sequence Output. Instead of a single sprite sheet, output a series of PNG images into a directory of your choosing. You can then use these directly or use them with a more advanced sprite sheet tool to make a sprite sheet. This feature is actually complete already.

2. Custom Sprite Sheet Sizes. You really want to use power of two squares for your sprite sheets. Trust me. But I’ll give you enough rope to hang yourself and let you make custom sizes.

3. Metadata Saving. This will allow you to output a file telling you where all the frames are. What I need from you is to tell me what formats you want this in. The one I know of offhand is the one used by cocos2d and Zwoptex, which is a plist / xml file. I’ve also talked to Grant Skinner about outputting the JSON format used in EaselJS. Once I have the output functionality written, it’s pretty easy to create different formats. So let me know what other formats are out there that you’d like to see supported.

4. Multi-Sized Frames, aka “sprite packing”. In the current version, you create a single frame size, and this is used for every single frame, resulting in a uniform grid. Other sprite sheet tools allow you to create each frame with exactly the size it needs, and pack them together to maximize the amount of space and potentially use a smaller sized sprite sheet.

Numbers 1-3 are definitely on the road map. I can’t promise number 4. It can get pretty complex to do effective packing, and the cost / benefit equation is questionable. Anyway, with the PNG Sequence Output feature, you can make use of other tools that already do this better than I might.

Any other features you might want? Let me know.

Two other things.

1. No, I’m not planning to open source SWFSheet.
2. SWFSheet will remain free, but if you find it useful, feel free to donate to the cause with the donate button at the bottom of the post.

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