June 25th, 2012
So you may remember, we started a project in the middle of 2010 called ‘Slime City’. It was an isometric RTS/Tower defense game where the villain is an ever-growing, destructive slime. The player would be tasked with defending an established city from the evil slime.
We kind of barreled in full force without thinking through the requirements of an RTS; One of those requirements is the ability to see the battle field. We soon realized that a locked-camera isometric city game necessarily obscured large portions of the field of play with, well, a city. We considered a system that would occlude buildings obscuring game-relevant objects. But in a game where the enemy is an expansive slime, that could mean occluding most, or all of the city at some point.
The other challenge was the amount of time it took to create isometric assets. We (Black Jacket Games) are a two-man production team. And we had just finished Metal Drift; a 1st person 3D action game. We assumed that anything 2D would be faster to produce than that. But it turns out that meticulously building detailed pixel art takes a hell of a lot of time.
So we’re giving it another go in 3D. We’re attempting to retain the charm and precision of the pixel art, just slapped on low-poly frames. We’re experimenting with low field of view to keep a sense of isometric perspective. But we’re giving the player the ability to fully rotate, pan, and zoom the camera. Already a few weeks in, progress has been several times faster. Letting the computer handle perspective makes the work load a breeze. The building in the example (from downtown Portland) took a week or more to finish in iso-pixel art. While the 3D replacement went together in hours.
I look forward to being able to show examples of the new direction as the game comes together.