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What public animation file formats are there available for 2D games? I'd like to know about both formats for procedural/skeletal animation, as well as traditional animation.

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Pretty sure 2d animation doesn't really use a file format. Most 2d games use sprite sheets or similar. – thedaian Dec 28 '11 at 17:08
@thedaian I'm looking for something simple to pack information about frame duration, for example, along with the actual frames, instead of having a bunch of files lying about in a folder. – Paul Manta Dec 28 '11 at 17:20
Most 2D games I've worked on just wrote our own meta data to go along with those sprite sheets that gave the specific data we needed for that particular game. Like if you have fixed sized sprites and fixed FPS then you only need the number of sprites and the individual sprite size for a given sheet. – Tetrad Dec 28 '11 at 18:31
As far as skeletal animation, for 2D games I've done in the past I've just used a 3D animation and rendered the game with an ortho (or near ortho) perspective. Example of how it could be done here: – Tetrad Jan 1 '12 at 0:59

I'm looking forward for the Spriter project, a 2d skeletal animation editor. I uses an XML format called SCML, here is the beta format.

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I have never seen an animation file format (animation meta data, etc) that was public. I made my own from scratch. It's based on XML and I load it using tinyXML. It pretty much says where bones move to from where, at which time, over what time. Honestly not much more than that, and yet it's plenty powerful. This is for as far as skeletal goes. But for something that's not, I would go with a sprite sheet and have a meta data file about the bounds for each frame, and how many frames in total, etc.

EDIT: PS, the actual animations of my game are mostly procedural, so that data is almost all an animation file is, and then it's animated in game.

Honestly this is a question that could have lots of broad answers. But here's mine.

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Yeah, there might be lots of possible answers. I used TexturePacker to generate the sprite-sheet and metadata and JSON files to specify frame-duration, whether or not the animation should play in a loop etc. – bummzack Dec 29 '11 at 8:25

There is PNG variant called MNG that supports frame-based animation. As for skeleton animations, I'm afraid you have to develop your own file format and encoder. The wise approach would be to prepare data in your games engine format, so loading skeletons would require no pre-processing.

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.gif files seem to be what you are looking for. Figure out a way to decompile those and you're golden.

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The problem with GIF files is that the images are limited to a 256 colour pallete. Fine if you're making a chip-style game, but not exactly ideal for a modern style. – Polynomial Dec 28 '11 at 20:43
I think GIF was originally developed by Satan. So: Noooo! – bummzack Dec 29 '11 at 8:22

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