Hello everybody. I am looking for any opinions - just got one of those decisions to make without any clear answer and some extra opinions may be nice.
I am brainstorming lots of ideas for next game project. I've settled on a survival game set in alaska that is meant to be relaxing, not stressful. Think The Long Dark but realistic - you aren't going to freeze to death in the next five minutes and wolves won't kill you. There is lots of chores to do, but there is always enough time to do them at relaxed pace. Imagine you play the game for pure escapism, and you keep playing it because you are building towards goals in the game slowly (i.e. collecting logs one by one and then stacking one by one to build a cabin over course of a summer). I dunno if there is any other games exactly like this but I imagine the audience could extend even to filthy casuals as far as farmville players.
I am trying to decide between a top down look like this:
or first person, like this:
I've done a bit of experimenting to figure out what the technical and production pro's and con's will be for either style. In general, I think top down is going to make life easier for a solo developer like me. But I don't want to focus on that here. Instead, I want to try and imagine the players experience with either perspective.
Immediately, i see top down as being more unique and eye-catching. Its like looking through a window into a little world - I feel that it really emphasizes the romance, which for an Alaska survival game might be a perfect compliment.
First person is more mainstream friendly, i suppose. More immersive perhaps? The biggest attractor is that we can see the sky. I feel so much character of the game could be in the sky, and its kind of a shame that in top down, you never see it!
With top down we have to have animations for the character. I've always preferred to see my character in games but i honestly can't explain why. Somehow it feels more immersive to me. I suppose in a first person game you might technically be looking through the eyes, but you have no kinesthetic awareness of your body. In third person or top down, you have that kinesthetic sense (i.e. you know what is around/behind you.)
I also feel that for the role playing minded person, it's great to see your character, see their clothing, see how they react to the world, etc.
with top down i can also design it such that you can play with only the mouse. I am big believer that the simpler a game is to control, the better it is. With first person, there is no choice but to use WASD/controller input. That is no problem of course but I feel it might not be as relaxing as click-to-move.
With topdown I think I'd follow Project Zomboid example above and use detailed 2d sprites with a 3d character and 3d terrain. No rotation in camera obviously.
With first person I'd probably do a no-texture, cell shaded style. I try to keep it as detailed looking as possible - shouldnt feel cartoony - but I'd like to keep materials and textures as light and simple as possible - both technical-wise and authoring-wise.
Well, thanks for reading if you did and if you have any thoughts please share. Even if it seems random or pointless it may help a lot - only so many ideas one brain can consider.