Sprites are anything on screen that move independently from the background and foreground. They represent barriers, items, puzzle pieces, enemies or the player. There are two types of sprites in Ecco the Dolphin and Ecco 2: The Tides of Time. These are Global Sprites and Local Sprites (Sometimes called Stage Sprites).
Local sprites use graphical data loaded from the stage. Their 8x8 pixel representations, or tiles, are loaded at the same time the stage is. Similar looking stages in the Ecco the Dolphin series share graphical data in order to conserve memory. Local sprites will only work on the stages that they are designed for. The purpose of a local sprite is to represent objects that are well suited for their environment. These could be creatures native to a particular habitat that the stage represents.
Global sprites load their tiles dynamically as needed, making them different from local sprites. The benefit of this is they can be loaded on demand on any stage. A great example of this is the player sprite, or Ecco, who is needed everywhere in the game. Another example of a global sprite are Glyphs, that guide Ecco on his quest.
Both local and global sprites have data that are stored in their own respective formats. These two sprite formats are similar in structure when it comes to their properties. The properties tell the game how a sprite should be displayed. They define horizontal and vertical flipping, which palette to use, where the starting location of the tiles can be found, and dimensions.
The difference between the two sprite formats are the order the data is stored in, and what the tile offset represents. For local sprites, the tile offset is a location in video RAM where all the stage’s tiles are loaded. Global sprites use the tile offset to refer to a location in ROM, relative to where a sprite’s bitmap data begins. The bitmap data contains every animation needed for a sprite. An offset used in a sprite’s format data points to a frame of animation contained in the bitmap data. Ecco the Dolphin and Ecco 2: The Tides of Time use the same formats for sprites. This includes many Novotrade games too!
Our sprite collection was extracted directly from the games through a process called reverse engineering. This was done by examining the game’s code and performing tests on its data. With the information collected, a program was developed that could read the sprite formats and dump all the graphics.
Our goal was to create these sprites for you! They are free to use for your own personal projects as long as you give credit to us by linking to our website: https://eccothedolphin.online
Ecco the Dolphin Online is a fan operated site that specializes in content related to the Ecco the Dolphin franchise. We are in no way affiliated with the official sources or copyright holders.