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Gtk4-client development is linked to this in that it's not currently really using the smarts of the older clients (from time when drawing all those graphical layers was expensive operation processing -wise) to minimize areas to redraw on screen. So, as it does full redraws anyway, animations are a lot more feasible than attempts to implement them "smartly" (especially animations of some lower layer where you would need part of the non-animated layer restored on top of the animation after each frame)
Both would be good. Maybe lua control over it would make it easier to expand based on what the tileset author wants. So, the author could define a lua function for each graphic that would tell the client what animation to use in what situation.
There's support for city style specific citizen icons in 3.2: viewtopic.php?t=92155 , but I can't think anything else finished (I have a couple of things in development)
Improvement on that front, that should be easy to bring to freeciv-3.2 already (no need for major rework from what we already have there): https://osdn.net/projects/freeciv/ticket/46387