I am trying to develop a game that is top down. Now what I have come to realize is that there are two types of top down games. One like this:
And others like this:
Now what I am going for is the mouse control of the bottom one, but the visibility of the players whole body in the second one. I want the mouse control because it is a shooter game, but I also want the visibility of the players body so that the user can customize and see the other player's customization when online. So is there a way I can easily see customization with the full- top down approach (second one)? Or possibly more than 4 way control (using the mouse like in the full top down)?
I realize that for the partial top down approach (first one) people usually have 4 different images of the player but would I have to have 360 images for full 360 degree player movement with the mouse? Please help
If you want completely smooth aiming, then there is no simple solution. The best I could offer would be rendering actual 3D models but that requires considerably more work, both for programming and creating the art. Even more work if you want to stay in the graphic style of the first screenshot because the shaders will not be completely trivial.
That said, do you really need complete smoothness? I would guess at the size of those sprites eight pre-painted directions would be completely sufficient on the visual side. Movement and shooting could still happen completely smooth, just display the character sprite closest to the direction.
Mouse is a fine device for aiming and shooting for a top-down game. For your specific issues, it's going to be difficult than you think. If you want your player to be running while shooting, you'll need the 8 directions, plus the running animations (say 5/stride), which is 40 frames for a single character.
Using the 2nd image's technique, you'd only need the 5 running animation frames, and you could rotate the images for direction.
FWIW, in my old blog (also linked in my sig), I detail the steps to make a simple top-down game using the mouse as the aiming device if you want to see what i did. However, my "characters" are simple circles, and no animations were used.