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Optimization proper way to change armor '/ weapon images?

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I have   spirtes that will be turned into animation images  for  the game actors.  What would be the best way to change the weapon / armor for each actor?  IE walking with sword swinging sword  then when he equips axe walking with axe  swinging axe  ECT.  Same for armor? Have sheets with  the weapons and armor and then overlay them on to the base spirte when the user changes the weapon  or have premade sheets  with all of the various combos of  armor / weapons  that the solider can have and then just grab the ones needed for the current selection. I'm thinking the first option is better, but are there any other better ways?

Edited by macmanmatty

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Weapons and armour can be parented on top of the sprite. Terraria works like this and has mod tools so you can see how it works.


The proper way to do armour however is to make full sprite sheets with the character wearing the new armour, that is why so few of the old games used it. It is more stable and has no chance of errors where the original armour shows through.

Parenting over is the fastest and best way using modern computers, having one sprite overlapping a other has almost no cost, so feel free to do it this way. Just check that each piece is working correctly.

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You could parent the sprite, but add a overlay that blurs it for a little while, and add a mechanized upgrade sound of some sort.

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