The InXile team has updated the Kickstarter blog for Torment: Tides of Numenera, revealing the first environment screenshot from the successfully crowdfunded spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment --accompanied by some commentary from the game's Lead Environment Artist:
Much like Project Eternity, our goal is to craft an experience that diverges from the common path of world building. We hope to strike a distinct style while achieving levels of detail often difficult to present in 3D game space with a small team, through a process of pre-rendering major portions of in-game assets. As you have seen in the published concept pieces, geometry varies greatly from location to location. We look to incorporate the organic nature of many of those structures into our asset creation pipeline while avoiding the often processor taxing in-game meshes.
The big debate: playing games in 2D vs. 3D – I know many of you are interested about our decisions regarding the art direction. There has been much talk about the costs associated with "2D development," the quality and scope that can be produced by a small team, and the impact that this might have (for funding) of other departments. And trust you me, I understand from where these expectation emerge. But to be clear, what we are really talking about here is not a 2D game, but what you might call a 2.5D game, with just a portion of art production that is 2D in nature. Bear in mind, any extra time we spend noodling in 2D will be made up 10-fold when we get to our beta build and we are not ripping our eyes out trying to figure out how to get all that geometry to render efficiently on screen. Our early tests are showing very promising frame rates for our 2D assets, freeing up additional processing power for characters, FX, lighting, post-processes, etc.
After all, characters are not 2D, rather 3D seen through an isometric camera. And particles, well, they’ve actually always been 2D, but you know that. I’ll admit, lighting in 2.5D was a concern of mine early on, but after some initial experiments, I feel confident that 3D lighting can and will be used to considerable effect, grounding the characters in the scene through dynamic lighting and some shadow casting. These issues, among others, simply require a mind shift in the creation process, and it’s quite liberating.
Hit the image below for a closer look, and if you still feel like throwing some scratch at InXile, the Kickstarter project
still has 4 days left on the clock, now with almost US$3.3M; well beyond it's original $900K goal.