How would you code a simple "8 bit fire torch" (just one, nothing else to worry about on screen), without using any sprites?
For instance, how would you "animate" a torch that looks like this one:
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You could try the old school fire effect.
Let's say you store an 8-bit temperature value for each of your pixels. At each update:
Feed the bottom line with random "hot" pixels (e.g. 200-256).
For the others lines, all the way up:
Pick your pixel colors from an 8-bit palette with: