Design Animating Using Sprite Sheets

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by HeWhoShallNotBeNamed, May 13, 2019.

  1. HeWhoShallNotBeNamed

    HeWhoShallNotBeNamed Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2018
    Posts:
    46
    I'm working on a game with strategy RPG-style battles. Characters will have the use of various abilities, and while many of these can share basic animations, the total number of different animations (slashing, magic use, drawing a bow, etc.) will still be fairly large. Add to this the fact that characters can be wearing different equipment which will display on the character model, which will of course need a corresponding animation, and I'm looking at a massive amount of sprites if each animation is its own separate sprite. I've been thinking that one solution to this would be to use a single sprite for the basic character model that contains all these animations and animate it in code using draw_sprite_part. I've been mulling around whether or not this is a better solution for a while, and recently saw a video by Friendly Cosmonaut that kind of confirmed to me that it is.

    So why question is this: to any of you that have used this method to animate your sprites, are there any unexpected complications and/or benefits to doing things this way that I should be aware of before I even begin? Would you recommend using this method for handling multiple animations, or is there some other way that I haven't thought of to keep both my code and my resource tree as uncluttered as possible?
     
  2. Taddio

    Taddio Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2018
    Posts:
    463
    Well, there's a thought. Working with 2D is a ***** when you need multiple animations. You can't just rig one 3D model and be done with it, you need to draw a lot of stuff. However, there's some hacks that can alleviate the workload. What you can do is use a basic character for animation, and stick it's equipement sprites over it. That way, you don't need an exponential amount of sprites/anim for every equipement piece and every available move. Because if the game scope is somewhat respectable in terms of how many items and moves are available, M moves exponent N available items may (definately will) become unbeareable to work with, and the chances of dropping the project because of lack of planning will go through the roof, from what I've seen.
     
    HeWhoShallNotBeNamed likes this.
  3. Siolfor the Jackal

    Siolfor the Jackal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    707
    Another option is using something like Spine or Dragonbones. That way you can have the same animation used by several characters with different combinations of equipment without needing their own sprite animations.
     
    HeWhoShallNotBeNamed likes this.
  4. HeWhoShallNotBeNamed

    HeWhoShallNotBeNamed Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2018
    Posts:
    46
    Thank you both for answering.

    I'm already doing this, and yeah, its a definite time saver. The problem is, I'll still need to animate every piece of armor to match the animation of the base character. Helmets I can probably get away without animating (I'm aiming for early-90's JRPG style animation, nothing too terribly fancy), and most weapons can be a static image whose x, y, and image angle change with each frame of the base animation. But the actual armor itself? I'm probably going to be mad as hell that I did this to myself. But the crafting of items is important enough to the game thematically that NOT displaying armor on the characters would kind of seem like a cop out.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I've thought about Spine, but I haven't really looked into it that deeply. I was under the impression that Spine and Dragonbones were primarily (or solely) for 3D animation.
     
  5. Taddio

    Taddio Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2018
    Posts:
    463
    Yeah, like I said, if you're not going in Spine/Dragonbones like Silfor suggested, you WILL have to draw a lot.
    I suggest by doing just a single basic one, and maybe try color palette swapping, maybe you could get away with it, plus, old-school ways are nice, imo.
    But once you have a template, it will be easy enough to tweaks models based off that one, at that point. Don't get discouraged, just see it as a day in Photoshop (or whatever you're working with). What else do you have to do on a rainy sunday, anyway? :p
     
    HeWhoShallNotBeNamed likes this.
  6. Siolfor the Jackal

    Siolfor the Jackal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    707
    Oh on the contrary, Spine and DB are purely for 2D. They work like 3D animation in the sense that you rig a skeleton and animate it, but you do so with 2D sprites.
    This is one of my first attempts at using DragonBones during a jam, so this is sort of the low crappy end of what you can achieve haha.
    [​IMG]

    All the body parts are separate sprites; head, body, arms, and legs etc. Once you have the animation made, you can swap in different sprites.

    Oh I found an example I made with some old assets. It's the one animation but with two skins
    [​IMG]


    Anyway, there are far better examples on their websites, so it may be worth having a better look into.
     
    HeWhoShallNotBeNamed likes this.
  7. HeWhoShallNotBeNamed

    HeWhoShallNotBeNamed Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2018
    Posts:
    46
    Thanks for the suggestions, both of you. Definitely going to look into DragonBones. Hopefully you've both saved me a lot of time.

    "Low crappy end"? I'd be happy if my animations looked half as fluid.

    "Any big plans this weekend?"
    "Yeah, I'm gonna draw a suit of armor, then I'm gonna draw it again with the arm slightly raised. Sunday I'm doing the same thing, but with robes."

    Seriously, thanks again, guys.
     
    Siolfor the Jackal likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice