Important: Sphere development has moved to spheredev.org. More information and downloads of newer versions are available at that site. Instead of contacting me, please post in the spheredev.org forums.
Sphere is a 2D RPG engine, in development since 1997. It allows people with not much programming experience to create role-playing games like Final Fantasy VI or Phantasy Star.
Sphere provides a graphics rendering system that supports 32-bit color. That's 16.7 million colors and 256 levels of translucency for every pixel on your screen! It even allows for hardware acceleration for those of you with 3D accelerators! Sphere can also load PNG, JPEG, PCX, BMP, TGA, and GIF images. For sound, Sphere uses Audiere, which means it can play Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV, IT, XM, S3M, and MOD files.
It also supports the three standard modes of input for games: keyboard, mouse, and joystick.
The core Sphere engine, after being installed, can run several games. This means that the games don't have to be distributed with the engine, saving download time and disk space. Also, the games can be run on other operating systems, such as Linux, if the engine runs there. On the other hand, you can include the Sphere engine with your game so that Windows users can run your game out of the box.
The Sphere engine is based around maps. Maps use tilesets, which are collections of tiles. A map of a beach would have tiles that represent the sand, the water, clouds, signs, and anything else on the beach. Sphere has support for animated tiles. Torches could flicker in a cave, or waves could lap at the shore. Maps support unlimited layers, each with parallax and automatic scrolling.
Objects in Sphere are represented as entities. Townspeople are defined with spritesets, which are collections of frames. People can walk in eight directions, and have special directions (usually used for emotions or running). Unlike most RPG engines, spritesets in Sphere have a variable size. Large animal spritesets are used just as easily as people.
Sphere comes with an integrated environment for editing maps, spritesets, scripts, fonts, etc. You can even play your game's music and sound effects while you work.
Official downloads are at spheredev.org.
There is a thriving community over at the spheredev.org forums.
- sphere.sf.net - The Primary Sphere Site
- Flik's Site - Flik's large number of tutorials and resources
- Project Page on SourceForge
- Sphere Network
SourceForge project page: