I've never been good with 3-d models, but I can do sprites. I was hoping I could perhaps make a 2-d isometric game that acts like 3-d. Something like Don't Starve is what I have in mind.

Here's the kind of features I would like to include in games:

  1. Rotatable camera. Don't Starve is obviously sprite-based, but you can rotate the camera. The effect may not look that great, but it allows the game to work like it has 3-d graphics when it doesn't.
  2. Customizable character. You choose what your character looks like, such as their clothing, hair style, skin color, maybe their face. The issue is, I also want my characters to be animated. I know the number of sprites I'd have to make for that would be huge, but I figured I could shorten the process with things like palette swapping and reversing sprites. Could I have the game procedurally generate a sprite from multiple parts that are all animated? Or would I have to have every single possible combination pre-rendered? Yeah, I'd still have to make a huge number either way, but I can still cut corners where I can.

And yes, I know having both of these things would require me to create an insane number of sprites, but I'd still like to attempt it, if its possible. Also, I'd like to avoid a pixelated look, if that's doable. And yes, I know that would make creating sprites even more laborious, but gimp makes drawing clean lines rather easy, so I'm not too worried about it.

How long would it take me to create each sprite? With that, I could figure out how long it would take me to craft all of them, if I calculate how many sprites I would need per character.

And yes, thinking about the logistics of it all is immense. Animated, customizable characters in game with a rotating camera, meaning that even static objects would need multiple sprites. And no, I don't intend to include camera pitch. Obviously, I'm pushing the boundaries of what I can do as-is.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately we can't answer that, only you can. A very experienced artist can make multiple high-quality sprites in a day. A new artist can make a handful of low-quality sprites in the same time. The same can be said about the programming side. It also has to do with the scope of the game, professional games were made with a group of professionals working on the game for months. \$\endgroup\$ – TomTsagk Sep 11 '18 at 8:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ The types of questions we can help you with here are "how do I solve this specific problem?" Judgement calls like "is this game design or art style a good idea?" are things you'll need to decide for yourself, based on your own goals, priorities, research, prototypes/tests/experiments, and estimates. In particular: we can't estimate the speed or quality of work of a person whose work we've never observed. So you're in a much better position to answer this question than us internet strangers are. \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Sep 11 '18 at 10:35

Yes, you can create a character from multiple animated parts and layer them over each other at runtime. This is a very common technique. Changing the color tint at runtime is usually not that difficulty either with most graphic frameworks. If you have any issues with this, feel free to post a new question where you tell us what technology stack you are using, how you load and draw your sprites and how exactly you want your recoloring algorithm to work.

But how long it will take to crete all these character parts and animate them is impossible to say. It depends on:

  • How skilled you are at pixel art
  • What level of quality you want to achieve
  • How many different animations you want to create
  • How many phases you want these animations to have
  • How many character parts you want

These five factors are multiplied with each other, so it is impossible to give you an estimation without knowing anything about them.

I would recommend you to make a list of objects and animations you need, create your first sprite animation and extrapolate.

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