What? 3D 2D!? What is this sorcery!? Allow me to explain 🙂
It occurred to me that it may not be obvious in screenshots that Eden is in fact a 3D world represented in crunchy 2D pixels. The worlds of Eden are three dimensional, each world supports the traditional X/Y planes (width & height) as well as the Z plane of depth or elevation. This has a profound effect on what is possible within the game and the game play mechanics and decisions required of the player.
2D Representation of a 3D World
Eden attempts to display the third dimension of elevation or depth by a kind of white fog, the idea is that layers of the world that are lower than the current camera are rendered in a more ghost-like way to represent that they are in fact further from the current camera level. In the screenshot above, we are looking down upon the world from the highest elevation, the more saturated colors are terrain that is visible at the top of the world (or mountains in this case) and the less saturated areas are locations lower in the world all the way down to the surface of the world. Beyond that, you can see there is water represented which is transparent and shows the physical seabed below it, which is even more ghost-like.
The player has the ability to move between the layers of the world from the very bottom to the very top through the UI so having this ability to easily reference what is below the current level is important to the player as they will be able to see activity happening at the surface of the world or along the various layers up a mountain.
Eden is not just a simulation of a slice of the world but a simulation of the entire world at all elevations and depths.
3D Game Mechanics
As the worlds in Eden are 3D, a plethora of options become available to the player both in terms of game play as well as story telling. Players, through their minions are able to alter the terrain of the world by digging out locations, creating channels, rooms, hallways etc. into mountains. They can create basements, caves, etc. This will of course require a substantial amount of mining, but mining is also an important part of the game. The player will need to make decisions on which parts of the world to mine out, both for resources, for building, expansions and security. Additionally there are inherit dangers that come along with mining in general and careful decisions will need to be made to keep the colony and its occupants safe where is concerns the effects of mining. Mining into a lake may instigate a violent rush of water into the colony, or open into a network of caves home to hostile creatures, etc.
A 3D world offers rich and interesting scenarios where it concerns the flow of water, the mining of veins of ore, the possibility for intricate traps, complex structures and buildings and overall realism. Do you wish to create your colony in the safety (or danger) of the underground or would you rather settle on the surface along a river or perhaps higher yet up into the mountains far and away from the on-goings of the surface?
Desperately needed resources may be discovered high in the mountains or deep underground away from the established settlement. The worlds of Eden are dangerous, hostile and unpredictable. How will you exploit those resources? Will you found a small camp with modest defenses or will you send out a party of miners to mine and exploit those resources and bring them back to the colony at their peril?
The takeaway from this post is that Eden is in fact a 3D world that is simply represented in a 2D style. This was done in order to create a more believable world with which to challenge the player to survive and thrive in. Three dimensions ultimately provide a rich canvas on which to tell a story to the player or allow the player to witness and create their own stories. What will you do in the worlds of Eden?