What is a sprite?

A sprite is a two-dimensional (2D) graphical object used in computer graphics, particularly in video games. It typically consists of a bitmap image or a series of images that are combined to create an animation. A sprite can be thought of as a separate entity that exists within a larger scene, such as a video game world.

The ability to create flexible and efficient animations is one of the main benefits of using sprites. In many video games, the game world is made up of individual elements, each represented by a sprite. These sprites can move independently and can be manipulated, e.g. rotated, scaled, tinted with different colours,....

This scene consists of 2 sprites: The character and the background.

For example, a sprite representing a character in a game can be animated to walk, run, jump or perform other actions. Sprites can also be used to represent other elements in a game, such as objects, enemies, backgrounds or UI/hud elements.

A sprite sheet consists of multiple sprites
Walking animation of the game character

They can be given properties such as size, position and transparency, and can be layered to create more complex scenes. Some game engines allow relative positioning of sprites - for example, a hand attached to an arm, the arm attached to the body, and so on.

Overall, the use of sprites provides a flexible and efficient method of creating animation and visual elements in video games and other computer graphics applications.

Sprites are usually grouped together in what are called sprite sheets.