Skeletal animation VS "sprites"

What technique do you prefer for games ? And have you already seen a fighting game with skeletal animations ?
For you, what’s the cons and pros ?

I’ve only used sprites, but I assume sprites are FAR easier to use, so more people can use them

Sprites are easier to use, but much less flexible. Skeletal animation opens up options for procedural animation, which allows you to do some very cool things. Also, skeletal animations usually require far fewer images, so they are much cheaper in terms of storage and texture memory. Skeletal animations are usual much smoother, because they can be animated at virtually any frame rate. Also, generally speaking, skeletal animations are much easier for animators to work with. Pretty much the main downsides to skeletal animations are that a) they are more complex, and b) require more processor time than sprite animations.

@HyroVitalyProtago - skeletons are usually used in games or animated cgi characters to easily add higher level controls and deformations by constructing a logical hierarchy of joints or transforms that affect the underlying character geometry in some way.

Generally, such an approach makes a character easier to control whether its animated by hand or procedurally using either IK or FK (inverse or forward kinematic) methods.

Your question gets a bit more complicated as generally people assume that ‘skeleton’ setups really only apply to 3D characters. It’s more than possible to construct simple skeletal/hierarchical control systems that can move groups of 2D sprites around to represent characters or other articulated objects (e.g cars, robots, complex machines etc.).

A good example is the animated series ‘South Park’ - all the characters are simple 2d shapes grouped in some sort of logical hierarchy of body parts, animated using FK or a 2D skeletal IK solver in Maya. Effectively it’s just animated ‘sprite’ layers but with smart controls.

This is pretty much the principle with games, but using a simple hierarchy of transforms to control groups of sprites.

So your answer is : both! :smiley:


@andymac3d : Thanks for your good answer

@toadkick : I’ve see spine yesterday, and today, i’ve see and try your adaptation. That’s really cool !