ACE Team talks 2D vs 3D in Rock of Ages

In addition to just now cluing me in to the fact that the titular Rock of Ages has an actual freakin’ face,  ACE Team’s latest blog post on their art history hopping tower defense & destruction game gives insight into how the developer incorporated a 2D art style into a 3D game space.

After deciding on a Terry Gilliam-inspired paper puppet aesthetic, ACE Team was faced with the challenge of “finding how much 2D vs. 3D we would be using in the game” according to Edmundo Bordeu.

For those of you who’ve had the pleasure of sitting through a humanities class, you know that Medieval art was all about the bold colors, gold halos, dainty hands, and total disregard for a little thing we like to call 3D perspective. The trick for ACE Team was adding said perspective without losing the “charm of the [2D] style,” as no amount of bouncing Byzantine soldiers could make navigating a ginormous boulder through a totally depth-free environment anything but frustrating.

Bordeu discusses some of the development team’s early efforts to strike a balance between 2D and 3D, one of which culminated in a scary naked cardboard man who will forever haunt my dreams. He also discusses Rock of Ages‘ finished and admittedly fantastic look, which relegates the 2D to anything not getting rocked and/or rolled by the 3D boulder.  “Things away from the boulder’s reach can be 2D like scenery [and] people [because] a soldier can’t really affect the path of the giant rock,” he explained, adding that limiting use of 2D didn’t diminish its presence.  “We [went] crazy with the interface…We have used more minimalist approaches to interfaces before, but in Rock of Ages there will be plenty of things ‘happening’ in the interface, with little comical scenes and characters doing stuff as you navigate.”