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Ethereal Darkness Interactive's The Lost City of Malathedra screenshots + discussion

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IMO the stylized cellshades look can very easily go wrong, it's one of the harder styles to do right, it's actually quite easier to get away with a more realistic look.


it's too early for me to comment on the art, but the engine seems quite interesting :P

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Do the shadows still work if they fall on the base mesh that is more vertical (like if trees are on a 45 degree slope) ??

Might not be an issue if you have no steep terrain...

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Hey all,

Sorry I've been away, lots of work these days, lots of decisions (my developer journal can shed a lot of light on recent events)

to summarize, I had contemplated about using true 3D instead of 2D isometric, but finally decided to come back to 2D, even though Isometric has it's problems, we have conquered most of them with Morning's Wrath, and when all is said and done it is very easy format to work in.

So, here is a comped(composited) together view, of some things I've been working on, trying to further get how the game will look.



this example shows how a ground might look if we used a 2D sort of 'texture splatting' which seemingly will work better than traditionally making tile-sets with blending fring edges.

the final view size might be a bit more zoomed in, we want to make sure you can see your character's face clearly in this game 'unlike in MW which was by far more 'zoomed out'.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Looks really good.

I have a question, same what the AP above you asked about the shadows. What I do in my engine is copying part of the heightfield below the shadow into a seperate buffer and blending it over the terrain (so the shadow maps correctly onto hills and stuff). This should look great but I'm worried about performance when rendering a lot of objects with shadows. Will you do the same or just use flat shadows and not worry about a shadow going inside a hill or something?

Also do you think there's anything you can do to make overlapping shadows not come out too dark if there are many objects? I mean in your first screenshot, in the front if there would be 1 or 2 additional trees then the shadows would mix up to 100% black.

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As far as my preliminary work with shadows can say, i am probably not going to worry about it.

I've found, over all, our target audience doesnt care a whole lot about graphical perfection, as long as it 'looks good' that is of course very subjective, but for the most part little details like that (as long as they arnt glaring) are likely okay.

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As an artist I'm extremely picky about graphics and mostly dislike most indiegames (VERY bad habit)..

However, when I look past all that I still find very nice style in the graphics and enjoyment in gameplay.

I'm sure you aren't, but have you ever thought of using 3d characters on the 2d tile world, I know it would save a ton of work in maniging sprites with all animations, plus you'll get free paperdolling.

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we've thought about it, but so far it seems the issue that we arn't going 3D is because it is very hard to get a real-time 3D character to look as good as a pre-rendered 2D one

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We're living in the age of hyperpolygonal realtime 3d characters, it could even look better, with smooth animations rather than choppy predefined directions of fewframed animations.

Since you show the character from a distance, you could even get away with a small number such as 800 triangles, and get an equal amount of detail that mornings wrath had.

The only issue would be getting artists to do that work, since realtime polygonal stuff with texturework is quite different from the highpoly stuff.



I'd guess..

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The fact that the team is only 2 people (excluding me) we don't have time to waste on modeling, texturing, and animating 3D objects. We're not going to just go out and add 10 people to the team so that we can achieve something so small.

We all want AAA graphics in the end but that is where many indie developers fail. As an indie developer we have to make things easy on ourselves and the 2D route is easiest for us.

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True, but artisticly they're just both as hard.. even though it might seem that 2d is easier to do, they'll end up just as bad or as good. Both of them.

Graphics(and music) is that important third pillar in a game, next to the programming and the design, and should not be neglected, and a good artist should be able to make all the art for the game. But I will agree that finding a good one that'll work for just a small sum is quite hard.

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