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WritingStuff

What's the best way to create simple 2D assets? (in the style of Prison Architect, Game Dev Tycoon etc.)

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Hi,

I know how to code and have some very basic experience regarding 3D, but I have no experience whatsoever in creating 2D assets for a game. But I want to get started. So, what's the hottest program currently to create simple "indy" 2D assets in the style of Prison Architect, Papers Please, Game Dev Tycoon etc. ?

I have zero experience with this. Obviously, I know that you need to draw a picture basically. But, you also need to animate it, so you need to have a program that creates a bunch of tweened frames and so on... What's the best thing on the market for this? Should easily work with Unity by the way.

Edited by WritingStuff

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Usually the animation is handled engine-side, rather than in the asset production. So you might create a sprite sheet in the image editor, and then tell Unity how to animate that sprite sheet.

As such, any 2D image editor that you or your artists like will suffice. Photoshop is the 800lb gorilla, but there's also GIMP, Krita, etc., plus any vector graphics package which can export bitmaps, such as Illustrator, Inkscape, Serif DrawPlus, etc.

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Nowadays if you really have no experience drawing and don't want to learn 3D, you may want to look into skeletal animation for 2D graphics.

The idea is to use sprites, but not in the classic way. It's much easier to see it in action than me trying to make a concise written explanation, so I suggest you look up the three softwares (I know of) who do this : Spriter from BrashMonkey, Spine from Esoteric Software and Dragon Bones from Egret Technologies.

But essentially, you draw your character in a certain stance and then you use bones (like in 3D animation) to animate. With all the cool tools provided, it's much much easier to produce decent work quickly than hand animating everything. Spriter also has tons and tons of free content to test the whole concept.

I hope this helps :)

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On 23.8.2017 at 5:32 PM, ahw said:

Nowadays if you really have no experience drawing and don't want to learn 3D, you may want to look into skeletal animation for 2D graphics.

The idea is to use sprites, but not in the classic way. It's much easier to see it in action than me trying to make a concise written explanation, so I suggest you look up the three softwares (I know of) who do this : Spriter from BrashMonkey, Spine from Esoteric Software and Dragon Bones from Egret Technologies.

But essentially, you draw your character in a certain stance and then you use bones (like in 3D animation) to animate. With all the cool tools provided, it's much much easier to produce decent work quickly than hand animating everything. Spriter also has tons and tons of free content to test the whole concept.

I hope this helps

Thanks for the suggestions.

I've looked a bit around and found out that Unity has free 2D skeletal animation built-in:

https://blogs.unity3d.com/2016/12/02/unity-expands-2d-offerings-with-anima2d/

Given this, are the tools you mentioned worth it, or is the Unity offering good enough?

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I don't have personal experience with those tools, so I'm in no position to give you personal feedback, but a quick search showed me this poll, which might give you some pertinent opinions.

But clearly, if there is an integrated tool in Unity2D (I didn't know, so thank you for that!), you might want to see if it works for you, first. Then if you find it lacking, it'll be time to see if those dedicated tools answer your needs better. It's always nicer to work with integrated tools, if you're new to something.
Once you get a bit of confidence, you can start looking around for better tools, as you'll be in a better position to judge whether you want to invest money or not.

The main thing I wanted you to be aware of is the existence of these skeletal animation systems, because they are a great solution for people who want sprites but don't want/can't afford to do frame by frame animation.

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