Once you can imagine that you can do anything, that's when things really start to have life when you see them on page. Without the animate, there is no life. That's what the Zen teach with flipbooks.
So, stay away from inanimate objects. Learn how to avoid those unchanging shapes by picking up the way that a unit can go through an animation loop constantly. Find out how to create panning, where the scenery can change at different speeds. Put together this little puzzle in your head. I know you can do it. Just make sure that you follow all the rules, except the ones you have written.