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pretty lame question but was wondering..

I am developing a 2D game using Cocos2D for iOS. The art work till now is all 2D (is a shooter game) but some of the characters would benefit of complex animations (eg. 20 frames). I feel a bit stupid because I came across only now that there is the chance to do 3D to 2D frames exporting and then to use them in Cocos2D.

The thing that put me off on 3D gaming at first was that it takes more than one person in a team to do so properly (Illustrator, 3D modeller, 3D animator and programmer). Now I feel a bit stupid because having a 3D model I could do and modify the poses whenever I wanted (I should ask to the 3D animator which I guess would be time expensive).

Instead now is me and two illustrators (as I require many frames per character).

Is my impression that it would have been much longer right or not? Are there any other project management considerations that can be done on this?

Sorry if for some this might be trivial but is my first "indie game developer experience".

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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

There is no correct answer to your question. It depends on several things, like:

  1. How close is your release date? (You have one, right?)

  2. How much faster would you be able to finish your game with this newly discovered method?

  3. How much extra value would the new graphics add to your game? Would it look better?

  4. How much existing content will you have to remake if you decide to go with the 3D models?

  5. Do you have the right tools (licensed or free) to create 3D models with animations?

  6. Do you have the skills to make the new graphics look at least as good as the current one?

During a project, you'll run into many many many "I feel a bit stupid because I came across only now..." moments. As a team leader / game designer, you have to consider many things before deciding to switch to another technology, or to stick with the existing one. Just keep in mind, that you software has to be finished at some point. Techniques and technologies come and go, and you'll feel on many occasions, that you are doing something stupid by not following a great new technique. If you're really not sure, then the best advice would be just finish your current project with the techniques you're already familiar with.

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This depends on a lot of factors and cannot easily be answered, like:

  • How fast or slow are the 2D artists, how detailed drawings do you require of them
  • How detailed a 3D model and how complex rigging would it require to fulfill your needs
  • Just animating a complex 3D model like a human walking requires skill and time, though animating something mechanical like a spaceship turret rotating really don't

As you've noticed, doing a 3D model with all the work behind it including texturing, rigging, a few key poses and so on will likely take a lot more initial time, but with the possibility to pay off in the end if you can reuse it often to render new sprites/frames. But only if it's good enough to work for all the poses you realize you require along the way.

I would consider this more of a question of art design, as both methods has the potential to be equally time consuming - what kind of looks should the game have? Regardless of shading, 3D rendered sprites almost always look and animate differently from hand-drawn sprites.

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