Some ideas about a space theme:
- Simpler to animate. While we can still have beautiful and complex animations with any thing, inorganic stuff (like spaceships) tend to be quicker and easier to animate than organic characters, since you don’t need to deal with bone influence weights, etc. for the most part.
- The WASD-based movement as specified in the original idea works very well with vehicle-type characters. It makes more sense for humanoid characters (such as in LoL) to move with mouse-based controls since having legs lets you move more freely.
A similar solution could be terrestrial, and feature war machines of some sort (kind of like tank battles, but with customizable, futuristic vehicles). The only problem I can see arising is clunky controls that don’t mix with more enclosed environments. I’m sure that could be tweaked to work, though.
BTW, this post is more-or-less stream of consciousness, and the more I think about this direction, the more I like it. I think we could have less restraint with a land theme.
The biggest issue with a space theme is that it’s difficult to populate, especially in top-down. It’s very easy to make it look empty and devoid of life. A terrain with minor details and shading often looks great on its own. Landmarks and map boundaries are easier to define, and game plans are more calculated and less random.
Honestly, this is kind of funny. I sat down at the computer fully expecting to defend my view of a starship shooter, and it seems I talked myself out of it
Part of the drawbacks of stream-of-consciousness writing at midnight is that I write a lot of stuff that might not make sense to anyone else. So as a summary:
- Space theme is great for movement mechanics
- Land theme lends itself to more options
- I’m leaning towards a terrestrial theme after fleshing out my thoughts
Notes on terrestrial style
I’m happy @khskarl brought up NGE - it’s one of the few anime I’m familiar with. It’s a little silly and even pretentious at times, but the parts that I love about it are the absurdity of the unknown & the fun of discovery. The antagonists of NGE operate under completely different rules of reality which makes it consistently intriguing. I’m not set on mech stuff per-say (because it often comes off as hokey in video games if not done very well) but I love the feeling of that sort of atmosphere. It’s the same fantastical environment that drew me into games like Halo or shows like Star Trek.
Definitely I’d like us to keep this discussion open so we can get everyone’s thoughts. I’d also like to suggest some actionable goals we can work towards.
Style & Mood boards
I come from a design background where these methods are used constantly. The same stuff is helpful for visual direction as well. Basically, it’s a compilation of inspiration from anything. Games, movies, books… assembled into one spot it can help us understand what we want to build. I would suggest after this conversation has reached a conclusion to compile several different styles, and then pick one to run with.
After doing some light research, I found this exceptional article on game art direction. It suggests to create visualizations of what the completed project is to look like. Of course, we can’t predict everything right off the bat, but I believe it would be useful in unifying our direction. After we assemble a style & mood, we can create some comps.
I also propose that once we decide on a theme that we have at least some light worldbuilding in place. It’s much easier to create a cohesive visual style when that style is dictated by the story of that environment.
I’m probably getting a bit ahead of myself here, so I’ll leave it at that! I’d really like to hear thoughts about the space vs. terrestrial thing, or know if anyone has a completely different idea that I didn’t even think of.