I am currently creating a 2D fighting game and have implemented a system where upon starting a new game, the player is presented with the option to create a custom character. I have a set of string arrays set with values that correspond to hair, headgear, chest, lower body and shoes.
When done selecting a variety of items from the lists, a code is generated based off the index of each item (i.e 01123), which is then used to assign the correct Spritesheet to the player character.
This has already presented a lot of work as I have had to create quite a few spreadsheets based of possible combinations, but I am now looking at a massive amount of work to implement each variation.
I have started to look into setting layers for each item to reduce workload, but I am also looking at having different stances for the character - Depending on the currently equipped weapon - so this may present a lot of work either way.
My question is, do I have any alternatives or am I stuck creating masses of Spritesheets to cover all combinations?
As a side note, how much impact will assigning layered items have on overall performance?