Quick background, I'm a visual designer specializing in web and branding currently engaged in my first Android project doing UI design for a commercial app with a friend. After this project we're going to try tackling a cross-platform mobile game concept and I have some questions concerning how best to go about creating the artwork for specific effects. I have only static design experience, no animation whatsoever. I was briefly a CS major in college so I have a basic understanding of programming concepts, if that matters. I have no idea what game engine we would be using, but just Googling around I would assume something like Corona. My friend is primarily a Java/.Net developer.
Level Design - Say you have a 2D scrolling platform game, where at any given time only one frame of a very large level is visible. Do I design the entire level as one large file in say Illustrator? How would the level map be implemented programmatically? Would a view window be designated that simply scrolls around a large background image, centered on your character? Or would background tiles be stitched together seamlessly as movement occurs?
Layers & Parallax - I understand parallax for depth illusion, but am wondering how it's implemented in mobile games. In the following example there appear to be three layers on which movement occurs independently, the topmost of which being where gameplay actually happens. So are the middle and background layers just some sort of animated movies that loop? I assume games can therefore have multiple transparent layers of background content.
Animation Workflow & Autonomy - In the following example there are numerous tentacles each with their own specific animations. Considering that over the course of a game there may be 100 or more specifically shaped/sized tentacles, it seems unlikely that each is manually redrawn for each frame of an animation. Because they're relatively simple shapes I would assume there are tools/techniques for automating transitions between various states? Also the eyeballs in this scene operate/animate independently from one another...since they are non-interactive as far as gameplay, would this simply be a video layer of some sort or is each eyeball given game behavior?