I am approaching OpenGL and general gaming-development. I want to start by coding a simple 2D game in Java (lwjgl) but, since I can create models with Blender, I don't want to use 2D sprites, but a semi-flat environment. My target is to remake a classic game but with some cool stuff like particle emitters, bump mapping, lighting and so on... The basic idea is to make something that looks like Super Mario Bros Wii (or Kirby's Adventures Wii, or Super Smash Bros. etc...).
Do you think I have to use JavaMonkeyEngine? Some hints,code snippets, tutorials, links? Do I have to handle a "z-fixed" camera or set-up OpenGL to render in 2D mode? What about the HUD? Sorry if my question is too generic, but I would like to have a clear idea of what I have to do before starting writing code. As always, thanks for your help!