Dark Solstice revives 2.5D
Oct 26, 2005 21:31:00


Two and a half dimensions? Yes. A soon to be released MMORPG by the name of Dark Solstice has chosen 2.5D as the perspective of choice. Brave? New wave? Foolhearty? Or simply a sign of a lack of development power?

For those wondering, just what the heck 2.5D is, the all knowing Wikipedia defines it as:
"One use of the term is to describe a style of graphics in computer and video games with 2D gameplay, but with a limited 3D appearance, popular in the 1990s. A collection of 2D sprites moves independantly of eachother, and/or the background, using the theory of parallaxing to create a sense of depth. A number of games also uses the closely related concept of parallax scrolling, which creates a sense of depth between the actual interactive game elements, and the background. Because of this method, the effect only works when the game character is in motion."

In this case, I'm going to secretly choose to believe that this is a sign of a marked lack of development power within Black Masque Games, Inc. but publicly state that I applaud the bravery and diligence applied by this skunk-works1 organization. Creating something is indeed far better than sitting on the sidelines. Of that, I am sure.

So what does this look like? See for yourself.

Reminds you of the days or yore, doesn't it?

Dark Solstice will be a play-for-play, but its price will be half of the going rate for MMORPGs today, which to me, seems about right for an effort of this scope. The development team has done a very good job of marketing their efforts by keeping us up to date on beta timing (sign up now) and holding contests among the growing throng of fans. The most recent contest involves choosing the names of the 5 starting villages within the game. I think this is fairly brilliant, because naming stuff is hard. One might as well employ an army to help with the effort, and they have done just that.

One of the most intriguing aspects of play is a turn-based combat system. The turn-based system has been employed to enhance the depth of strategy that is possible during combat. Reach way way back in your memories to the days of X-COM. Combat was very strategical. How about the D&D games of the late 80's such as Curse of the Azure Bonds? Combat was a hoot! And who can forget Bard's Tale? Ok maybe I just killed my rep with the old-guy routine, but I have to admit, turn based games can be fun and very strategical in nature. Wait, I can one-up myself. How about these two: 1985 & 1981

(Disclaimer: I am in no way saying Dark Solstice reminds me of any early-80's game that I spent hundreds of hours playing until finally I hacked the code to give myself a million hitpoints. But, I will secretly harbor the belief that the turn-based combat system within Dark Solstice is also due, at least in part, to a lack of development prowess, OR, realistic expectations surrounding the development effort. Both of these are respectable reasons to go this route, as is the strategical-combat explanation.)

At this time, Dark Solstice is scheduled to enter beta in late 2005, and I for one will be keeping my eye on this one. I'm not precisely sure why. It could be because the webmaster has a very honest and friendly tone (the site is quite effective). It could be because I like seeing underdogs succeed. Or it could be because when I saw the screenshots, I tilted my head and said, "Awww, cute." Whatever the reason, keep an eye on this one, it could very well be a pleasure.

Long live Mangar and Werdna!2

1 skunkworks: A skunkworks is a group of people who, in order to achieve unusual results, work on a project in a way that is outside the usual rules. A skunkworks is often a small team that assumes or is given responsibility for developing something in a short time with minimal management constraints. Typically, a skunkworks has a small number of members in order to reduce communications overhead. A skunkworks is sometimes used to spearhead a product design that thereafter will be developed according to the usual process. A skunkworks project may be secret. The name is taken from the moonshine factory in Al Capp's cartoon, "Lil' Abner."

2 If you don't know...

Submitted by Brent on Oct 26, 2005 21:31:00 CST (comments: 0)


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