Forsaken: Year One goes 3D
I] Why use 2D at first?
4 years ago, before starting Forsaken, I was toying around a few different ideas for the game that I wanted to develop. I was thinking about a rogue like game, a multiplayer arcade racing game and a few other ideas amongst which the idea which became Forsaken: Year One. Since I am a solo developer, financing everything from my savings or from contracts I encounter along the way, I wanted to be able to choose a project that would allow me to complete it entirely alone or as close as possible. So I chose the city builder idea amongst all the other because it was programming heavy and it was a project that would be less dependent on graphics to be fun.
I also thought that hiring a 3d artist to model everything from buildings to trees to characters would be a lot more expensive than working with a 2d artist. I had worked with a few 2d artist that could produce a quality assets in a very short time so it seemed like the best choice.
Here are a few screenshots from the 2D version:
II] Why go 3D, how long it took and what has been integrated?
Almost a year ago, after settling on the art and working with an artist friend I went to a conference in montreal called MIGS: Montreal International Game Summit (read about it here) and had the chance to showcase an early version of the game complete strangers. Even though the idea interested a lot of people, most of them seemed to be turned off by the graphics and the fact that it all looked so static. To continue my investigation, I posted a few times on reddit, the unity forums and here on indiedb, and it feels like the vast majority didnt enjoy the art style.
I also started looking into adding moving shadows, implementing time of day, seasons and other effects and it seemed increasingly difficult to find 2d solution to these problems whereas I could find asset store packages handling this problem for a fraction of the cost. I also started looking at different art packages (as low as 5$ for some assets) and realized that either I could find an art style that would fit my needs or that I would hire an artist to homogenize everything and thus reduce costs. And so, in february 2017, I decided to completely switch over to 3D.
Here are a few screenshots from the new 3D version:
III] What is left to integrate
It took about 6 months to change the engine to properly handle 3d, add animations, gather and integrate different packages, properly handle camera and make the game more fun and less buggy. There is still work to be done to get rid of the old 2d elements and art style, but I am currently happy with what I have.
I have also started doing devblogs, and you can see them here (Subscribe to youtube if you want to hear about them as soon as they are available). Here is the second one about the graphics improvements: