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Lance Mazon

Side Scroller vs Top Down

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I am currently working on a game that pulls elements from Minecraft, Terraria, and the old Ultima series, as well as some personal ideas of my own. I have no plans to make this game a 3D game as I've never done 3D and don't have the resources to do it currently. It will be 2D. I am trying to make a decision on the viewport of the game. Currently I'm considering top down, or side scrolling. I really like the idea of a top down Ultima-IV style game with Minecraft elements. Having said that, I fear that "building" in a top down environment will not be nearly as fun as in a side-scrolling environment. So I have decided to put it to you, the amazing users of GameDev for opinions on the viewport. Which do you see as being the most fun? Thanks in advance. Apologies if I put this in the wrong place. (It seems to fit as this is an initial design decision.)

Lance...

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Building in side scrolling view lets you do multifloor buoldings with elevators and other interesting things.

However, it limits how you can move in the world because if its earth like, you now move on a line instead of a plane. You can help this by having multiple layers but its confusing. And if you had a player in the middle who builds a giant defensd wall, nobody is going to get to the opposite side of the world.

Top down also has easier physics (no gravity, no ugly floating pieces of terrain you need special code to get down etc)

But with side scrolling you get caves and mountains unlike in top down unless you have many many layers.

I would prefer top down for sandbox style world simulation but sidescrolling for single player or something where you dont build.

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How far upwards could I build, and how would you solve any occlusion issues ("This object is behind that skyscraper and I can't see it, now what?") without a way to rotate the viewport? I'd probably go with top-down, especially since you favor Ultima.

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As far as how many levels you could build, I'm not sure at this point. I'm going to start with the ground level, and the level above that to start, then add on levels after that. I hadn't anticipated having a ton of levels. I was going to have limited flight available which I figured I would simulate by just scaling the levels down as the player goes up in the air, and then scaling them back up when they land. The question of how to find minerals was next on my mind, but I thought I would just handle that by making say, iron deposits worth a certain amount of iron, and have them regenerate at certain speeds depending on game level. But I digress... Any other comments on the top down vs side scrolling viewport?

Lance...

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So what is the purpose of building things in this game?
Is this design single player only?
Top-down 2D building with no layers can be a lot of fun. The old Rampart arcade game is a good example of wringing a ton of fun from very simple building mechanics. It has a building phase where you surround areas with walls to claim territory for yourself and to keep marauding tanks out of your fortress, then a battle phase where you shoot cannons. Then the phases repeat.

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