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mypel16000

2D Top-Down Map

6 posts in this topic

Hello everyone, me and my game designer are having some problems while thinking out how to design our game. Our game will be a top-down shooter in a post-apocalyptic scenario. We were looking at having one part of the map as a city ( Like new york, tall buildings aligned in a Manhattan style, many in a sort of grid )

 

We don't want it to be like those games with a bit of perspective from a corner where everything is seen like that. We wan't our "player" to be seen straight down (its a 2D game), we don't want there to be 4 positions, one forward, one backward, one to either side, we want a full 360 spin, so we do it as it's seen from above. Now, the problem is that we can't give the game a good perspective of the city with tall buildings because if they are seen from above they will just look like back-gardens, you will just see the top. Do you guys have any ideas on how to give the map an impression of height without adding perspective from one side?

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Tier the city in horizontal slices - so that you can for example roll the mouse wheel and each horizontal slice of the city is added (note if you each level you rise up you show the open floor plan until the roof of that particular view caps it). Also you might consider roof designs as an indicator as well.

Edited by Stormynature
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There was a thread about this topic recently. In essence, you can use shading and shadow to hint at depth. This would be good for small steps of depth, but you are talking about large steps (sky-scraper sized steps) so it might not work quite as well, considering the shadowing is only a hint and not a solid indicator of relative depth. Frankly, by taking a full dimension out of the equation you limit yourself quite severely and if it is vital to your game that players know they are in a city full of  buildings ranging from skyscrapers to one-stories, you might want to reconsider your decision as far as viewpoint and perspective.

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If the character is surrounded by tall buildings, he'd also be coved in shadow right?

Perhaps you could portray the height of buildings by the level of darkness the character is standing in?

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Or you could just add perspective even if its top down.

 

So a building at the center will only show the roof, but the buildings at the sides will show their walls.

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Or you could just add perspective even if its top down.

 

So a building at the center will only show the roof, but the buildings at the sides will show their walls.

 

 

IIRC this is how GTA 2 worked (http://cdn1.spiele-umsonst.de/gta21.jpg), with buildings in 3D but all the cars in straight 2D.

 

Overall, I would say that it's very hard to make pure top-down look good, partly because we rarely see anything from that perspective day to day. Even GTA 2 had to stylize the crap out of the cars in the game to make them distinguishable and looking back on it, they still look kind of weird.

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You could look into enginnering various "situations" that would allow you to show some depth.  As you said, all gameplay is strictly top down, but you could have some bird's eye view fly-ins at the beginning of a level for example.  It would be a lot of extra work no doubt... but possibly worth it.  If you keep the art style consistent between the fly-in and the gameplay portion it could definitely convey scale that wouldn't exist if you "just" had a flat map.  You could have scripted events, like say a boss fight where the boss flies in and smashes through the top of a skyscraper, which you could show from a different angle, maybe you could do it with comic book style panels flashing by, to limit the amount of animation you'd need.

 

I think the general idea is that you can leave the gameplay relatively flat but use something surrounding the gameplay to bring some more life to your setting.

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