Isometric Art - What is the best route to take?

Community Forums/Developer Stations/Isometric Art - What is the best route to take?

blackwater(Posted 2012) [#1]
Hi friends, I would love to get some expert (non expert are welcome too) opinions on this topic because I could use some help. I am currently in the very early stages of making an old school isometric tactical RPG, think Fallout 1 and 2.

Now that's established, I don't have much experience or talent in the way of creating isometric art. I'm not interested in hand painting tiles which will be too costly in terms of time. I also don't have high expectations on art quality... *Read* It's ok if it's a little cheap looking, after all, this is an old school RPG.

What I'm looking for is a somewhat easy solution to "mass produce" isometric art, eg get together a bunch of textures and paint them on walls and floors. Also, something that isn't going to require me to spend 5 hours to make a single isometric character or fixture.

I've looked at World Creator 2.5, which seems to be pretty decent software for creating isometric walls, doors, objects, etc. It's not really meant for creating characters. I think it has a lot of potential, if used correctly, you can make an old school looking game without a huge time investment. Does anyone know of a better solution out there, to make 2d walls, floors, fixtures, etc without a huge learning curve and detailed hands on approach?

For creating terrain, I heard Bryce mentioned a few times, is this true? Once again, my requirements wouldn't be a super detailed tile and 100 ground textures for variety, just something that looks decent that wouldn't require tedious, hand touched work for each step.

For character creation, I hear that Daz 3D and Poser can be used for this purpose, anyone have any thoughts? I have used Daz 3D in the past, to export a character into tile sheets for 2D animation. I haven't used Poser yet. The characters wouldn't need to be detailed at all, especially facial expressions, etc.

I think that sums it up, thanks for reading this far. Can anyone share what they think might be considered the tools of choice of creating isometric art in those 3 areas without committing a huge amount of time and resources to create it?

Kryzon(Posted 2012) [#2]
Hi. Since you don't have artistical experience, you have two tasks here:
1) Find 3D and 2D tools you are comfortable with.
2) Create your game's content and solve any artistic\technical requirements using those tools.

You're somewhat behind right now, because you don't have enough experience to have gone through task #1 already, and you can't proceed to #2 without it.

Notice I'm talking not only of 2D tools, but 3D as well, which is the direction I think you should go. 3D can be cheap and fast while still looking moderately good, because a big part of the work is done by the machine.

Regardless of 2D or 3D: you still need talent to create something convincing and aesthetic.

With 3D you can go two ways: real-time or pre-rendered graphics. Which one to choose? the one that looks best for your game.
If you don't know what these terms mean, please research on them. GameDev.Net is a great resource for isometric game making, having articles, an exclusive subforum for this genre and art sections where this subject frequently comes up.

How to create isometric content in 3D: model your environments and characters in any modelling package you have (3DS Max recommended, but use your favorite). Make sure everything is scaled and fits together.
Texture and optionally animate the subject (texturing comes before animating).
When you're ready to shoot the subject (be it a tile, a character, prop etc.), create an orthographic camera at a 45 angle, center the view-target to the subject and render the scene.
This is one isometric frame that you should save with whatever organized file naming convention you can come up with - I can't tell you what to use, just make sure it's something that makes sense to you.

Then open this frame in Photoshop (or other) and make any touch-ups you want. Most of the time a simple "Contrast" filter can really shine some light to boring texture work.

Twinsen's Odyssey
A game to use as reference. This game has lots of isometric views with pre-rendered backgrounds populated with real-time characters:

Last edited 2012

daaan(Posted 2012) [#3]
In Blitz3D/BlitzMax+MiniB3D use the flat camera projection mode and using textured cubes and sprites create your tiles and save the back buffer to an image file for future use. Or if you don't want to use pre-rendered, do the exact same thing and make a 3d game with the tiles your created that renders with an isometric projection. Not sure if that made sense...

josk(Posted 2012) [#4]
A nice tool is Spriteforge

Last edited 2012

*(Posted 2012) [#5]
I would definately give spriteforge a look

D4NM4N(Posted 2012) [#6]
I have been toying on and off with making an old skool RPG too. I came up with a PS script "recipe" for turning seamless textures into walls and floorbits.,118.0.html

Doggie(Posted 2012) [#7]