Since the dawn of gaming, the top-down view has been a staple. From Chess to Pandemic, players view the world from above and traverse the board in two dimensions. There are many approaches to this art style, but which one will work best for Far Away?
Everyday, we exist on the surface of a 3-dimensional world. Buildings and trees tower above us and the horizon is off in the distance. What happens when we change that perspective? What does a tree look like from above and how do we make explorers feel immersed in this world?
Games like Archipelago have tiles that fit together like a puzzle. This means that some pieces will not fit with your current board, however this a mechanic of the game. The artwork of the tiles work together beautifully, creating a seamless world.
Similarly, Far Away utilizes H.E.X. tiles to form the planet you've landed on. These tiles are randomly generated and represent a variety of biomes. We wanted to encourage players to explore the planet and therefore, movement is relatively unrestricted. The planet you've arrived on is incredibly diverse and different biomes can exist side-by-side.
For now, we have decided to keep things simple. A lot of our decisions are informed by play testing and input from our fans so the art and system is still subject to change. We've gone with a isometric style which will keep the artwork between biomes consistent creating a "bottom" without making the tile orientation crucial. Using different color schemes will reinforce the different biomes and make them quickly recognizable.
Each part of the game provides a function and, that function should be clear and intuitive. Far Away is an in-depth game and it's important that it's easy to learn and feels natural. As we approach the prototyping phase, I am excited to see how players will interact with the game.
Let us know what games you think accomplish this well. Who's art style has blown you away and what games do you think do a good job of immersing the player in that universe?