$55,764 pledged of $665,000 goal
By Ed Annunziata
$55,764 pledged of $665,000 goal

Gameplay: POV

Here is some more on gameplay. I will go into detail since many keep asking about the details. This may be a bit too much for some who aren’t that interested in the reasons for my decisions. But if you are interested, read on. I’ll try to answer your questions and respond to your comments below.

2D or Not 2D, that is the Question

The Big Blue is a full on 3D game. The water surface, ocean floor, creatures, and everything will be modeled and animated in 3D.

However, the control of the creatures will be 2D. Similar to side scroll game and the original Ecco the Dolphin. In this game the point of view and controls are much more dynamic.

Zooming for a Sense of Scale

By zooming in and out, the game will be able to clearly show scale. The immensity of the giant sea creatures will be clearly experienced. For example imagine swimming along as a dolphin and then coming upon a Leviathan, which is hundreds of times your size. As you approach this enormous creature, the camera will smoothly zoom out to include both the leviathan and your dolphin on screen at the same time. If the Leviathan fills the screen, then dolphin will be only a few pixels across. The smooth transition between your dolphin filling the screen to the giant Leviathan filling the screen will make the scale between the two creatures crystal clear.

Surface Interactions

The most magical place in this this game is where 3 worlds meet: Below the surface, above the surface, and the glass of your screen.

This is visually striking because you can see both above the surface and below clearly. The thin line between is very dynamic because of the motion of the water.  Also, this is where the physics change. Below the surface there is buoyancy and above there is gravity. Interacting between these two worlds is fun and feels realistic and satisfying.

There is a heavy emphasis on surface interactions especially with Dolphins and Sea-Dragons. These creatures are designed to breach the surface and temporarily fly through the air. How high and how far they go depends on the speed and angle they are when they hit the surface.

All Who Wander Won't Get Lost

The ocean is a big place and most of it is empty water. In a full 3D underwater game you will get lost, a lot. There are many reasons for this. First your cochlea in your inner ear does not feel you turn and change direction so your brain cannot feel the direction you came from. In truth, 3D games are FAKE and only can be represented on a 2 dimensional screen. If the 3D game is about exploring a city, for example, it would be easier to NOT get lost, since there are blocks and landmarks. But in the vast ocean you will find yourself saying, “where the heck am I,” a lot.

Restricting the controls to 2D allows us to construct the game so it is not so easy to get lost. Even in huge open section of pure blue water, you will always know which direction you came from and where you’re going.

Aquascaping Focus

The 2D mechanics also allow us to focus all the art where you’re going to be. This constraint allows us to focus all the cool looking elements along a path that you will will likely travel. I.e: 100% of our artistic efforts will be experienced by you. In full 3D we would have to rubber stamp objects and you may miss many of the more interesting bits just because you didn’t zig-zag your way through the environment.

A sense of Speed

Swimming fast into the Z axis in a 3D game will NEVER FEEL FAST. We would have to throw a lot of bubbles and plankton in your face to make your forward motion feel fast and not like you’re swimming in molasses. Swimming fast from a side view will feel VERY fast. In the side view fast is simply fast. No tricks are required to make you feel the motion. When building speed to make a high jump in the air, you will feel it and it will be very satisfying.

Questions and Comments?  


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    1. Tyler McMartin on April 18, 2013

      I can picture you being able to swim inside the leviathans and it being sort of like a bio-organic into the machine level and make it part of controling one.

    2. Missing avatar

      Draikin on April 17, 2013

      Thanks for the update. A few questions that come to mind:
      - Will there be actual "levels" like in Ecco, and how big will those areas be compared to those in the Ecco games?
      - is there going to be a world map which we can use to quickly move between ocean/seas? I could imagine the Super Pod serving as a central hub for example.
      - You tweeted about receiving the Oculus Rift dev kit and mentioned using it for The Big Blue. I was wondering how you'd use the device for the Big Blue, since the gameplay isn't first person 3D?

    3. Kévin Le Helley on April 15, 2013

      Thanks for the update(s), the lack of news regarding The Big Blue had been worrying me. Nice to have some more information about the game. :) Jumping around when playing the Ecco games on my Megadrive back in the days I found extremely fun (and I still do! ;)). I am pretty confident it will be the same with The Big Blue, and am not worried at all about the 2D controls.

      I am not too sure about the pretty extreme use of zooming you are talking about (i.e. using it to the point that on some occurrences the creature we play is nothing more than a small bunch of pixels). When there is so much of a size difference, wouldn't it be more awe-inspiring to deny the player the ability to see the biggest creature in its entirety? While zooming out a bit of course, the use of a 3D engine and the power of nowaday devices allowing for that to be done easily. Plus it'd probably make it more rewarding for the player when they are finally able to play as a Leviathan. Though the biggest problem I have really is the size of the dolphin on screen, as I imagine the inability to see it properly (or at all if it doesn't stick out from the background) would be an annoyance, especially if there are a few dangers around at the same time.

      I am sorry if it feels like I am taking your example too literally, I can imagine these are things you have been thinking about for some time now and already have answers to. ^^;

    4. Andrew Darovich on April 15, 2013

      @Dycus, Yeah, I felt similarly, but after thinking about it, and play Defender of the Future again yesterday, I think this will work out fine.

      Defender of the Future is pretty great, but there is some tedium and frustration to the controls, especially because you can't rotate the camera on the Dreamcast!

      This sounds like it will control very similarly to Ecco 1 and 2 for Sega Genesis, only it will be much more atmospheric because of the graphics and camera work.

    5. Missing avatar

      Dycus on April 15, 2013

      Hmm... I'm not sure how I feel about the 2D control scheme. I was really, really hoping for a "Defender of the Future" game type. I'm sure you guys can make it work, though. I'll just have to wait and see!

    6. Stiler Orion on April 15, 2013

      @Kolma I hope it does as well, but at this rate it's not likely. Will probably have to relaunch the kickstarter and either come down on the goal or get a lot of things more prepared. Showing early concept footage, writing a more clear detail/picture of what the game actually is /how it plays/what it's about.

      Do hope to someday play this game though.

    7. Kolma on April 15, 2013

      Really hoping this game gets backed, it sounds better and better