Tycoon Camera

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 10.39.38 PMI made a major modification to MMORPG Tycoon 2′s edit-mode camera last week;  I took out the first-person view, and replaced it with a more Tycoon game-ish camera.  I said at the time that I really liked it — that it’s the first 3D-tycoon-game camera which didn’t intensely annoy me (including a few ones which I implemented before this one).

To fairly judge it, I decided to stow the camera away for a while;  continue development without it, and then after a week or so, come back and look at it again to see if I still liked it.  Well, after playing with it for a while today, I’m very certain that I like it.  Much better in almost every way to what was there before.  I do like the way that zooming in brings you down to a ground-level view, in which you can freely look around.  But seeing as the player can “log in” as a character in the game world, maybe that’s superfluous, and I should leave the edit mode camera as down-only.  Still thinking that over.

The camera still needs some polish (most critically, it needs to scroll faster when zoomed out than it does when zoomed in).  But overall, it’s much, much easier to lay down structures and roads, and get a birds’ eye view of what’s going on this way.  This view finally feels “right” for the game, and immediately starts pointing at game mechanics which aren’t right, currently.

A few issues which I need to deal with:

  • I should suppress clouds when we’re viewing from above;  they just get in the way of the view.
  • I still think those trees should be changed to something that reads better from above.  Maybe X-trees, instead of umbrella-trees.  Conifers won’t have this problem, so I should really get around to putting those in as well.
  • From this overhead view, buildings and NPCs aren’t going to be tremendously easy to recognise.  I need a strategy for making things recognizable.  This could be as simple as a SimCity-style upward-pointing icon on top of buildings.  Quest Givers definitely need a camera-facing sprite, as is done in most MMORPGs, so maybe that approach would be appropriate for buildings as well.