(Quick aside: I'm a fan of the void Spine tries to fill as I'm looking to get back into games, great work! I'm new to mobile and hope you guys can help me think through some engine/technical choices. )

The area I'm focused on is 2d adventure / story style games. The question is if Spine is the right way to go for that type of character animation. (frame based, characters are usually drawn as a collection of parts, and can be often stationary)

What I mean specifically is game play where characters are seen close up... portraits, face-to-face dialogs, 1st person dialog scenarios. there's lots of info on Spine being used for platformer and isometric use cases, but what about examples like these: (taken from Space Quest 6 ... a long time ago)

In that style of game, the idea was to create these characters in parts, and have extensive transition animations. (like idle animations for stretching or yawning, blinking, lips moving). To be clear, I'm explicitly not going 3d, so I understand there's a class of problems that come with this approach.

WDYT? Anyone have advice on (a) if Spine is the right "engine" to go with, and (b) how one should think of creating/organizing the art for scenes like the examples above?
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You should be able to use Spine for what you have in mind without any problems. For example for facial animation you would split up the different parts, eyes, mouth, hair etc. into different files and then you can move them around freely. Spine also supports traditional sprite animation so you aren't locked to a single workflow.

Hope it helps.

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