now read below =)
I hate how time flies =/
Project2 was started back about mid-Oct, and from then till now I've been bogged down in engine work.
While this shouln't be suprising (happened with MW2), it certainly sucks, and while I am better equiped to handle it this time around; seemingly one part of it never goes away 'Indecision'.
Decisions (or not making them) can be a large cause of failure for an indie team. Thankfully I've been in many situations where decisions need to be made. For Morning's Wrath (and now for Project2 as well) we use a 2-person system of decision making.
This is important, it is very hard for two people to decide things, but it is essential to keep the project balenced. Some of you might think that a round table discussion (between all members of the team might be better) this is 90% of the time a bad move, (unless you have some sorta zen-based group wherein you can all see the future and then agree), with full on round table discussion your left with many possibilities and noone with the authority to decide upon one, this leads to fustration and gets the project nowhere.
So in our decisions, Myself and another team member, go over what needs to be decided and both make our points. In most cases, one sounds greatly better than another, and I (having the final word on everything) will say that is how it is going to be (dont confuse this with being a full-on dictatorship, very often my ideas are the ones that arn't used =D)
However, somtimes ideas are black and white, and both parties think their ideas are the way to go, in this case I ususaly sample the oppoinion of others to help me make my decision, and VERY rarely i let them make a suggestion of their own. Again in this case I make the final decision.
This seems to work out fairly well, it allows the members involved to have say in the project, but it doesnt bog us down in endless trials to prove our point.
That being said, I've made some poor decisions lately =D
Though, they only seem poor in retrospect (all too often the case).
Oh goodness, this has been the topic of long debate lately =/
On the table have been 3 options.
- Classic 2D Adventure [Think Monkey Island's look]
- Isometric 2D Adventure [Think Morning's Wrath or Sanitarium]
- 3D Adventure [Think Grim Fandango, Monkey Island 4]
between Oct 15th and now, I've been through all of them.
I've coded, Tested, and Thought Thought Thought.
And here is my conclusion.
-requires a lot of art talent (backgrounds)
-we get lost in a sea of other Lucas-Arts/Sierra look-alikes
-simple as far as technology goes
-we know we can do it
-it's a pain to implement with a 3D API
-provides a lot of environmental structure
-isometric adventure games are pretty rare
-we will still be confused with diablo(esque) if we are not careful
-we know we can do it(this is very important =D)
-This is a sea of unknown for me (who has to make the engine and art)
-We don't have the time to develop another engine over the course of 2 years (see above =D)
-If done right it would be excellent!
-I have serious doubts we could do it right without lots of help and talent (say goodbye to any profits, and maybe hello to debt)
Many of you have probably been in the same issues, It is after all, a very important decision.
So after all the testing and thinking and coding, I know I need to make a final decision and stick with it.
What is our goal?
-Our goal is to make a good game.
Can we do that with 2D Isometric graphics?
-Yes, I belive we can, Morning's Wrath was good, and there is no reason to think we can't do better this time around.
Is there anything bad about using 2D Isometric?
-Yes, the look is generaly outdated, and we certainly won't win any innovation awards.
-And of course certain aspects of art are harder to do.
Can you make up for these issues in any other area?
-If the graphics are visually pleasing as a base, we can enhance it with animation.
-Spending more time to create an awesome story will help.
-Improved sound effects (making use of 3D sound) will help.
-A sound track to rival Morning's Wrath will be great (we are hoping to get Adam Frechette for this project too (he's like my Danny Elfman =D))
-If we can manage to do voice talent this time around (good quality. well acted. of course) that will add to the overall quality.
-A simpler interface, integrating fixes for the things people did not like in MW will help.
So after those thoughts, it Seems we can live without top-notch 3D graphical goodness. And we can do better that Classic 2D, so we are gonna stick with our staple, 2D Isometric (*hears a cheer from the isometric forum*)
Now my journey through the 3D real has not been without benefit, I have found many systems that can be applied to a 2D game, some of which provide solutions to the problems with the more naive approach to 2D in 3D (quad drawing, etc).
one big one we are planning to implement, is instead of tilesets, we are going to try and 2D version of Texture-Splatting, which will allow us to have very detailed terrains, and actually result in a more performant system (how about that!)