Figure 3 Gopher sketch.
Figure 4 Gopher in 3D.
The gopher holes were also animated in 3D, and then rendered out into individual frames (PNGs), which we collected in a sprite-making program and turned into sprite sheets (see Figure 5), to be played back in the engine my programming partner had created.
Figure 5 Gopher hole sprite.
A sprite sheet is a single sheet with 16 image files pasted on it. The engine reads and displays each image one at a time, but it only has to load the file once, which makes for a very fast way of displaying animation. This method is considered a bit old-school, but it still works very well.
The ball was also a sprite created in 3D and then rendered out. As we progressed with our design (mostly in the sequel). we added new types of balls; just blowing up the gopher was fun, but freezing, electrocution, torch, and black hole balls were even better (see Figure 6).
Figure 6 Gopher ball menu.