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Assuming I don't want to use 3D engine/models (no 3D in the game, I can use 3D offline), only 2D, in order to make for a game, for example, a single character, this would be the workflow I already got in mind:

  1. Model in 3D
  2. Texture it
  3. Rig it
  4. Animate it
  5. Render it

    • For each part of the body/items -in order to sort gearing-
    • For each type of animation (attack, move, idle, die, dodge, hurt)
    • For each angle (I'd like 16 angles, or 8 as minimum)
    • For each frame (let's say 15 frames/sec)

This is a ridiculous amount of sprites. 400 sprites for 1 item. (Could it be too much?)

And then

  1. Get the animation controller with extra work: sort the sprites properly depending on animation frames and angles (example at p. 11 of Paul Siramy extracting animations of Diablo II)

All this seems to me, for a bad designer, and a person who aims to make a game for the moment alone, too much work. Are there alternatives to get similar results, without 3D engine? I've heard about something called 3D bitmaps or "Vortex" (used in don't remember which strategy game for vehicles), but I could not find any information about it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In case of using Unity, I thought about simply make a game 2D an use only 3D models for characters and monsters (I'd like to avoid using 3D navmesh/A*, physics, etc). However I think this is not viable because 2D depth sorting draw layers are not compatible with 3D. A solution would be to be able to get sprites from models at runtime with Unity \$\endgroup\$ – freesoul Oct 29 '15 at 11:36
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I believe the approach you're referring to as "3D bitmaps" or "voxel"(?) is found in some of the C&C series of games, specifically C&C Tiberian Sun.

What they do is is make the units up out of a reasonably small 3D array with each voxel represented as a colour, and I think they then have a set number of frames (pre?-)rendered from that via part of their own engine's functionality rather than some external tool like Max.

It could be very cheap to do, even without the pre-rendering: given the orthogonal perspective in these games, rendering them is an embarassingly parallel set of raycasts with very few steps per ray (in fact, you can terminate the ray once you hit a voxel per se, after starting the ray on the boundaries of the sprite). For 3D raymarching, see 3D DDA.

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What you're trying to accomplish is called "Prerendered 3D sprites". In this process, you create 3D character with textures and animaions. Then, you take snapshots of the character in animation. Several games like Clash of Clans work this way.

Any experienced 3D artist can help with the exact process. Here's some detail on doing it with blender. That discussion has steps to create sprites from models in Blender. I'm not an artist myself, so can't provide more details. Sorry

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the info. However, so what ways are to accomplish that? \$\endgroup\$ – freesoul Oct 29 '15 at 10:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @freesoul Any experienced 3D artist can help with the exact process. Here's some detail on doing it with blender.forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=4307.0 . That discussion has steps to create sprites from models in Blender. I'm not an artist myself, so can't provide more details. Sorry. \$\endgroup\$ – SanSolo Oct 29 '15 at 10:59

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