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Starting out in 3D

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I've done a few 2D games, just for fun, nothing serious at all, but I thought I might try my hand at making a 3D game. Its going to be an RPG, with a fighting style like the classic Final Fantasy games, Dragon Warrior games, or any of the popular 2nd generation RPGs. Even though its going to be 3D, I want to preserve the 'tiled' feel of the game, using rectangular grids for the maps, and simple textured geometric shapes for the terrain (think Final Fantasy Tactics). Anyone suggest a good 3D engine for this sort of project? Im still debating about whether I should design 3D characters or if I would be better off making 2D sprites. As far as projext complexity, it will depend on several factors, but it shouldn't be too complex. After I have put some serious work into the framework, maybe made a few test levels, I might post some results on the project page and offer/ask for additional team members, but right now its just supposed to be a fun recreational activity. Aside: One of the test levels I was considering would be the introductory sequence of Final Fantasy 6 (only revamped with the 3D tiled graphics). Even though it would just be a little demo art project, I wouldn't want to be involved with any legal issues - should I just post screens, or would actually providing that piece be okay?

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I suggest the irrlicht engine, it is probably the easiest engine to get running, and to learn how to use. Clicky!

You can easily create cube objects and texture them, and you can place 2d sprites in 3d space easily as well (billboards). If you follow the tutorials on the site that are 'easy' and 'average' you should be good to go.

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That seems like basically what I'm after. A couple of the tutorials even seemed rather helpful for my exact project (the Orthogonal Projection tutorial, mostly). I appreciate the advice.. I'll definitely look into Irrlicht!

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