Saturday, March 17, 2012

Isometric engine options

I had seen some neat work done with dealing with depth (down) in an isometric view and I had high hopes for getting something to work for my game.  The seeming simplicity of using tilesets and tilemaps and an engine that supported them well would give me a real boost.  Plus...all the Zynga 'ville' games are isometric.

The Crafty engine has an isometric appears to be fairly primitive and limited to 45 degree viewing.    I did a little playing with it trying to deal with multiple layers of height as one of the premises of my game is expected to be the ability to dig down.  I got frustrated pretty quickly as the 45 degree angle made it difficult to tell where certain blocks were in relation to others, plus I wasn't impressed with the rendering speed (simply adding 2 additional layers of tiles to the demo they provided gave me performance fits.
Isogenic (commercial engine) appears to be a bit more robust.  The documentation is nearly non-existent.  It appears to be phenomenally performant (as evidenced by the demos on their site) but the lack of documentation and examples had me stymied very quick.  I still couldn't see how my terrain deformation would look/feel in an isometric-only environment until I caught wind of some work they were prepping for a future release.

  "Jan Klopper who runs our Netherlands office has been hard at work integrating height-based maps into Isogenic and has shared the latest progress with us here in the UK so we thought we’d share it with you too!
Take a look at the procedurally generated, height-map based terrain in this beautiful screenshot. Isogenic Engine has never looked so good!"    This was exactly what I needed...isometric but with heightmaps.  The dates on those posts was almost a year ago and I saw nothing in the docs on them nor any updates, so I emailed the Isogenic team.  Sadly, this was the response:
"Regarding the height-map stuff it hasn't moved forward that much. I had a second guy who I brought on to write the height-map based stuff and he kinda disappeared on me for a while which made it difficult to proceed. It's a feature that I do really want the engine to support but right now it's just not there.
Really sorry about that... I'm keen to support all the most awesome features that people want but as you have pointed out, I'm a one-man show and my time is so limited because of that I have to focus on the low-hanging fruit and iterate in smaller stages to maintain any sanity! :)"

No comments:

Post a Comment