As you will probably recall, we have been deliberating whether we should implement the game as a fully sprite-based 2D game, as a 2.5D mix or a complete 3D implementation.
I have covered some aspects of the respective implementations in my update An Overview from a few days ago, and today we have come to a final decision.
Iíve been a champion of the 2D approach because I love the level of detail that 2D sprites allow you to implement. Always have been. They can be beautifully crafted and every frame can be tweaked to perfection. The big drawback is, however, that sprites take a lot of time to do and are by their very nature very costly because you need a lot of highly specialized artists to create the assets. In addition, the sheer amount of data can be overwhelming and most importantly perhaps, the fact that everything has to be prepared in advance, limits what you can do in terms of to movements and actions, since every single frame that makes it onto the screen has to have been prepared by an artist during the development. 2D sprites are extremely memory hungry on top of things, making them sadly unfeasible for high resolution desktop games of the scale we are trying to create. Therefore, the 2D approach has been abandoned.
Instead, Thorvalla will be implemented as a 2.5D hybrid. Backgrounds will be pre-rendered and polished by the artists in an isometric view to make sure we can add a high level of detail to these graphics. Characters and monsters will then be layered on top of these backgrounds as 3D models. While perhaps not as perfectly crafted and polished as 2D sprites, the benefits of this approach are undeniable.
We just wanted to bring you another brief update today, giving you a first look at the character art of Thorvalla. Please meet Dyrfinna, a warrior from the Frozen North.
Painted character portraits like this one by Thu-Lieu Pham serve a number of purposes. For one, they are used to base the 3D models on that you will control in the game. In addition, these portraits will be used for things such as a Cast of Characters overview in the game, as well as the character descriptions and biographies. Naturally, paintings, such as this will also go straight into the Art of Thorvalla Book that is part of our pledge rewards.