I plan on creating a mobile game in which the player controls a rolling ball. I created a "sprite sheet" of the ball in question along with a couple "leaning" frames that for some reason I thought were a good idea, but I'll most likely remove. My problem is that as an amateur I can't think of a way to convincingly show the ball rolling. I've looked at other games with red balls and they all just rotate the sprite, creating an unconvincing effect where the light spot rotates along with the edge of the ball.

Is there any way I can animate this ball rolling, or will I have to add a feature to the ball (maybe a horizontal stripe) that can be seen rotating?

Thanks for reading my stupid question.

"Sprite Sheet"

1 Answer 1


There's no visible difference between rolling and frictionless sliding, if the ball is perfect. The shading and possible reflections are the same.

Obviously you have noticed that to make it spherical instead of a flat disc you need plausible shading.

Your options to make some difference between rolling and sliding:

  1. add some rotating imperfection or surface texture (complex if the motion isn't exactly sideways because it needs proper perspective)

  2. like option 1 but only some optimally lighted area on the surface shows the rotating imperfections, which must move like they were on the rolling surface. The highlight is probably the easiest. The needed rolling proper perspective area can be so small that faking is possible even if the motion isn't sideways.

  3. something is thrown into the air from the road like a rolling wheel throws sand and dust. Thrown visible particles go up and fall down, the dust expands and fades. Particles do not fly backwards if the ball doesn't accelerate using it's internal power. Essentially the thrown stuff is the rolling imperfection, it only isn't permanent.

  4. If the platform has visible bumps, you can make some fading deformations just like an elastic ball would have in reality. Then it's not a perfect ball and the rotation is visible (very complex, it approaches simulated physics, it affects the shading, too) In humoristic animations this is exaggerated.

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