Here is Part Three of the 3dification of the Strange Days top-down 2D town into a fully 3D world. The previous instalments are linked above.
Phase 3 has taken a while, as we have been busy on a few other projects, but the 3D graphical overhaul of the Strange Days town is now mostly complete!
This phase, in some ways, was the most daunting, requiring the construction of all the 3D furniture, shop fittings, shelves, and shelf items. The Town of Newton comprises ten houses and twenty shops and businesses, each with complete interiors, along with several other buildings that don’t currently have interiors but may do in the future.
In terms of furniture, there was a lot! Beds, chairs, sofas, tables, drawers, shelf units, kitchen units and white goods, arcade machines, pinball machines, lamps, TVs, video players, wardrobes, shop counters, bins, musical instruments, pictures, posters, and loads more. There are currently over 700 furniture/item 3D models with dozens of pixel texture maps.
I am delighted this phase is now complete; it is a huge relief! However, I would say that the peripheral items, such as furniture, make a 3D approach significantly more time-consuming than the top-down pixel tile-based maps. Ultimately though, we are pleased with the results, and the extra time and investment were definitely worth it.
As always, I have included screen-shots and examples below and you can also check out the following Portfolio page link to see all the shots in one place:
3D Town Shots
I have also included some VIDEOS, showing the 3dification in action (in the Player Movement section below)!
Furnishing the Town
Recreating the 2D tiled furniture into 3D required dozens of pixel texture maps. These were created from the 2D tiles and sprites, adding extra parts for the sides and back of items as necessary.
The examples below are from the Furniture texture sheet and the Shops texture sheet. There were several other sheets for things like the miscellaneous items (shop items, video covers, game covers, magazine covers, cups, glasses, etc.).
All of the textures were created first, before building the models. After that, the models themselves were constructed to have a low poly, slightly chunky look, to match the pixel textures.
Some of the items I retained as sprites rather than creating 3D models. Looking at the sheet above, the guitars and bikes are rendered as flat 2D sprites in the game, as are the glasses and bottles.
Interior Decoration 101
Once the fixtures and furniture were finished, they needed to be positioned within each of the buildings. The aim was to stay close to the original 2D room layouts, adapting to the revised 3D building interiors. When you build a house in 3D, you realise the top-down 2D room layouts were impossible, with things like stairs disappearing off into walls. As such, particularly within the houses, some layout changes were required.
I furnished the houses and buildings in three phases. (i) Furniture placement, (ii) Details, such as books, shelf items, magazines, and (iii) lighting (still WIP), and in batches of similar buildings (for example, the convenience stores and video/game stores were similar, sharing some shelf models and items, whereas the arcade required a whole new set of models).
So, how does it look? Here are a selection of interior shots, with the original 2D room plan included as reference (click to view each full size image):
The other part of the puzzle was the movement of the player. I experimented with a few different approaches and eventually settled for a hybrid first and third-person system.
When the player is out and about, exploring the town, the view is third person, behind the player sprite. However, the camera pans forward upon entering a building and becomes a first-person view.
This fixed the issue of third-person collisions with the camera within confined spaces, where you end up clipping into the player model, or occasionally, through geometry.
IMHO it works well, feeling nice and immersive when you enter a building.
Here is a video showing the system in action:
One unexpected side effect of the new camera system is that I have created ‘Slasher-Cam‘ (AKA ‘Peeping Tom Camera’). Midway had Ghost Cars, Reset now has this! What am I talking about? Just look at this – searching for the next victim!
What Do You Think So Far?
Thanks for reading 🙂 We would love to hear any feedback or thoughts on the 3Dification via the comment form below. RichardHW
A stroll through town: