Wednesday, 13 January 2010

3D Is Dead, Long Live... 3D?

Okay, so in an earlier blog post I denounced 3D games as a cheap fad, and stated that 2D is clearly the future. It's important to note that what we were dissing was fake rubbish 3D (the kind where you rasterize polygons to a 2D surface), not the REAL AWESOME kind of 3D that is THE FUTURE:

PaintWorks has been on a month-long hiatus over Xmas and New Year, due to the TIGSource Assemblee Competition which we've entered. We wanted to do something that might make us feel a bit more involved in the indie community, maybe get a bit of recognition, maybe scope out some artists and musicians which we might want to pester to work with us. Also, it seemed to be a good proving ground for the Lemon Scented Engine, which has been in development for a couple of years but up until now has not been pushed to actually complete a game (which is a great way of showing up weaknesses and forcing us to find ways to improve on them). Mostly it seemed fun. Anyway, the deal is that it's a two-part competition, with each part lasting a month. In the first part, artists and musicians churn out art, music and sound effects without much idea what they're going to be used for. In the second part, programmers and designers pick and choose from those assets (and only those assets) to make a game.

A month to make a game is a pretty tall order, and given that we were up against guys making games using Game Maker, XNA, Flash and the like, whilst we were toiling over our good-but-not-finished C++ engine, we didn't get as many levels done as we would have liked. Maybe we'll revisit this game at some point in the future and flesh it out with more levels. Still, we got it done, and inadvertently got a lot of work done in the engine in the meantime. Big parts of the camera, renderer, controls and file I/O got tweaked, rewritten, or fixed. The inefficiencies in the workflow were highlighted, and although we didn't have time to fix them during the competition, fixing them is now top of the priority list going forwards, since that will make production of PaintWorks levels an order of magnitude faster. And working with different sprites, music, sounds and animations on a completely different game concept was a brilliant experience.

So, what was the game? Well, we were very impressed by some sprites featuring rabbits (with some nice background elements in the same style), and some funny fruits and vegetables, and we got ideas stuck in our heads about 3D cinema and Avatar, the idea that 2010 is supposed to be the year that 3DTV finally happens, and the amusing clunkiness of the techniques from the 1950s, and we came up with a game called Free Dee, which looks like this:

Here's where you can download and play it ... (don't worry if you don't have 3D glasses, there's an option to play it in old-fashioned 2D, and it plays just fine that way)

And here's where you can read about it.

I guess at some point soon we'll put up a link to where you can vote for it, but in the meantime try looking at the other entries here. We're not going to hassle you for votes (there are a lot of brilliant-looking games up there, so if you do vote, vote for what you like the most), but I guess if you do happen to think Free Dee is the best then that's all good :)

Normal service will be resumed on PaintWorks (and on this blog) soon, and hopefully you'll see the fruits of what we've learned and fixed playing a part in the future progress of the game, although I'm not sure we'll be requiring 3D glasses to play...