These top view Sprite animation were made for CrazyWare (i used photoshop to make this an animated gif), the game is a 2D pre-rendered Dungeon game. the remarkable thing is that the engine was built in house. the rendering goes like this, the stone man is rendered with a diffuse+normal+specular to create the diffuse look. in addition we add a normal light rig and render the stone-man with a pure white material+normal map. inside the engine itself they overlay both versions, and by adding Lights to the environment they can actually simulate traditional normal map lighting behavior from 2D textures. incredible!
* for the explosion animation i used physics.