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2D pixelart sprite animation character & weapons

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I'm developing a 2D platform game where players will carry various weapons (pistols, rifles, RPGs) and I want to keep a pixel art style throughout which will apply to all characters.  The characters need to angle/point their weapons at a target pointed to by the player's cursor.  I'm aware that one technique is to use anchor points and create bones for arms, position the weapon accordingly.  I'm also looking at a tool called Spine which allows me not only to overlay weapons/arms on to a sprite but create a full skeleton and make the character from a whole set of individual parts.


My main question here is whether I should really look into something like Spine or do without it.  I'm also wondering whether to build characters from a set of parts (legs, arms, head etc) or have animated sprites for most of the character and then add on arms and weapons.  If anyone has experience in this area or has dealt/is dealing with a similar problem I'd really appreciate your thoughts and ideas.  Thanks.

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Hi. I do not know if it will help you, but ...

Sprites free:
This guy has a good collection of sprites (very well done) in 2D and 3D. Take a look ...

Create 3D characters with skeleton, customization and movements:
I know you want 2D sprites, but with this site you can create your sprites with movements, import them into a 3D editing program and generate a sequence of sprites to the angles you want (isometric or not).

I'm also doing a 2D game and I intend to use the first site as prototype and the second site as a final product.
Good luck to us!

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