|The only hand animated character is the player's. The rest are using cut -outs and skeletal animation.|
I've been doing a lot of thinking about the enemies and civilians that will be populating the city. Just considering animating a few of those characters, let alone the variety I would like, is growing more and more intimidating. A walk cycle alone is a big enough pain. Doing just that for a few civilians would suck up way more time than I have available at the moment.
After watching the Postmortem on Dust: An Elysian Tail (starts around 3 hour mark), I really started to appreciated Dean Dodrill's use of skeletal animation techniques for his NPC's and enemies. With Spriter's implementation in Construct 2, it's possible to create stock animations for one character and then transfer those same animations to other ones. In the past, I had considered doing that all in Flash and then exporting the sprite sheets. Spriter makes it possible to do the whole thing in-engine. My only real concern is that my shrunken, pixelated graphics might look weird being rotated.
So, at this point I'm looking into the breaking apart and rigging of characters. I also started playing Mark of the Ninja. That game really does some admirable work with that style of cut-out animation. I'll be looking at it more closely to better learn how to add variety to my animations. Hopefully I'll have some tests up soon.
In the meantime, here's a pretty good tutorial on breaking up characters in Flash. I might end up doing it that way initially and then later painting over in Photoshop.