This week, we got rid of the top-down camera, and replaced it with a player-centric third person camera. Here's how it looks:
One reason for the removal of the top-down view was the tremendous response to some of the landscape shots I've posted recently on Twitter. I can't express how grateful I am for the amazing reception I've gotten, from people simply liking or re-tweeting the post, to PMing me or emailing me with kind words or questions about the scenes. Thank you all so much.
Aside from the very clear demand for a better point of view in the world, I've also been wanting to move to a third person view to continue my attempts to make Woodbound not look like a totally different game, but play like a totally different game. In brainstorming things that set games apart for me personally, one of the things I landed on was animation. Shadow of the Colossus is one of my most favorite games of all time, and the long awaited but brilliantly created spiritual successor The Last Guardian immediately jumped onto that list as well, and among other reasons, the animation in those titles is what really sells the experience for me. Subtle, nuanced movements and mannerisms really make the people and creatures in those games their own entities, which is something another great inspiration of mine held true to; Hayao Miyazaki. There is a fantastic documentary on YouTube that covers what makes Studio Ghibli's works so iconic, which delves deeply into the animation techniques and theories that Miyazaki and his team espouse. I'd highly recommend watching it.
Simply put, spending time and energy on a wide range of emotional, responsive animations seems like a waste of time if you're only going to be able to see them from one particular pitched angle above the character. So third person made a bit more sense. And yes, that does mean that the little cloak guy is getting an overhaul. I'm not quite ready to show what he'll look like, so have some landscape screenshots to hold you over in the meantime:
An unfortunate side effect of moving off of the top-down model is that a ton of gameplay stuff is now broken. I spent some time this week fixing much of it, but basebuilding needs a bit of an overhaul. It works in third person, but it's clunky when compared to the pointer placement from the top-down view. I have a plan though, and I'll showcase it in a future post.
That's about it for now, there'll be more to discuss in a future post, but I'd like to keep this one short and sweet. See you all soon.