I am planning to make game like Final fantasy tactics. Right now, I have been thinking about how should I make my sprite animates. From what I found out so far (reading from ffhacktics.com), it seems that ff tactics uses spritesheets, where one spritesheet will contains all necessary component for the effect or skill that it belong too. For example, skill Cure will have its components, such as various particles of different sizes and some trailing effect, contains within one spritesheet. I believe that the game will somehow extract these components and programmatically animates them together according to some animation script to form the desired effect. Personally, I am used to frame by frame sprite animation, which stores each sprite frame as a separated instance on a spritesheet. Now, I am wondering if there's some sprite tools out there that can help me build sprite animation and generates an appropriate animation script? or if I have to create it on my own, how should I store my animation sequences? What would my data structure look like?
I plan to use XNA for my development.