3 reasons to choose 3D

The idea of making a game with a Baldur's Gate II style look and controls, that takes heavy influences from games like Fallout or Albion is certainly an appealing one. You can do pretty amazing things with this type of game, and I believe that it is on the more technologically simple end of how videogames go. But there are also a number of inherent traits of this kind of RPGs that could be considered downsides for the kind of things that I would really like to see and express in a game of my own.

The first thing is that they are either very heavy in combat or dialogs to make up the bulk of the gameplay, often both. A big combat game is something that I explicitly don't want to make. While the degree of violence in most RPGs is pretty tame, the sheer amount of it is almost always staggering. Your average 16-year old RPG protagonist has killed more people with his hands in his two weeks of adventure than the most brutal warlords in all of history. I find violence to be an extremely interesting topic with incredible depth and complexity. But that depth is not in the action of running someone through with a sword, but the really high stakes social interactions that precede the fighting, and far reaching consequences that follow it. Aspects that the typical videogame usually doesn't touch upon at all. It trivializes and banalizes violence and killing in a way that just hasn't been sitting right with me for a very long time. When these games are not about fighting, then the gameplay generally revolves all around dialogs. These games often include incredible amounts of writing, especially when they are low on combat. And I really have no idea if I have any talent for videogame dialog writing. And when it's the meat of your game, it has to be really high quality to make the game worth playing. While there is fairly little skill and experience needed to use specialized software to make dialogs, the actual amount of work required could still be massive, leading to no net time savings compared to less talky first person 3D games, and I don't have the confidence that I'll be able to learn the skills to become sufficiently good at it.

Another thing is that one thing I personally enjoy greatly in many of my favorite fantasy games is the experience of quietly roaming around, taking in the sights and feel of an evocative world. The world Kaendor that I've been working on as an RPG campaign setting for over 15 years now has always existed in my own mind as primarily visuals of environments, much more than as stories or specific characters. Which doesn't really make it that great for use in a campaign as a gamemaster, but which I think goes together really well with first-person, open-world exploration CRPGs. This is of course an aspect where full first-person 3D will be a lot more labor-intensive compared to a far zoomed out isometric perspective, and require me to learn much more advanced skills  with 3D modeling and animation. But unlike dialog writing, I feel that the degree of skills that will be "sufficient" to be good enough is considerably lower. And these are things that have a right way to do them that you can look up and learn to master with persistent practice.

And finally, I am a huge believer the philosophy that RPGs of any kind are all about interacting with a world in organically emerging situations that happen unplanned through complex system of interconnected mechanics and procedural generation. You have the players roaming around on paths of their own choosing, at their own speed, with whatever equipment they decided to bring, the abilities that their characters advanced, and the current reserves of health, stamina, and magic power their characters have. All of which are greatly dependent on what happened in previous encounters. With monsters and NPCs roaming around on their own in patterns unknown to the player, which encounters will happen during play and in which locations they will happen, and what state the players' characters will be when they happen is completely unpredictable, but also the direct consequence of choices that the players made earlier. I feel that this is really the core experience of what an RPG is. And an aspect that both iso-RPGs and Final Fantasy-style RPGs only touch upon quite lightly. These are game styles that are really all about the zoomed-out detached tactical combat encounters and the dialog writing. Which absolutely can make for very entertaining and impressive play experiences. But these can be incredibly labor intensive as well, and they create a pretty similar experience for all players on every playthrough. As someone who has been running TTRPG campaigns for the last 20 years (and much of those as my primary hobby), this is an aspect that always feels a bit disappointing and leaving amazing potential unused.

A first-person 3D game with real-time gameplay certainly looks considerably more daunting than an isometric, turn based, 2.5D game. But I'm seeing other people who are making games all by themselves showing off screenshots and videos of such games that have a degree of detail literally orders of magnitude higher than what I am hoping for in my wildest dreams. I think the key to pulling this off would be to keep the game very simple and conventional as technology is concerned. I don't think I could make Skyrim-style weapons animation that appear to hit specific spots, could be blocked by shields, and all of that. But a simple animation of a sword swinging up and down into empty space in front of you like in Morrowind would be entirely sufficient for what I am hoping to accomplish. I don't need any physics. Hit boxes can be a single person-sized box. I don't need alterable terrain. I think something that would have taken 20 people two years to make from scratch back in the late 90s should be possible to make by just one guy in 10 years in Godot now. Even when I'm starting at 0.2.

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