Originally posted by Boba Rhett:
Why did you decide on modeling the game for an above camera veiw instead of a veiw more like JK?
Long story. LEC was very insistent that we make this game MUCH more easily playable for a novice gamer than JK was, so that meant keeping the controls easy and the gameplay easier. We looked at Loaded on the PSX, which had an above camera angle, and realized that it sort of reminded us of Zelda. This reinforced the perception that a FPS game is more for the hardcore gamer, but 3rd-person games are more accessible to the casual gamer.
We (Big Ape and LEC) thought that the focus of the game should be on the 'look' of the game, to make you 'feel' like you're seeing some movie locations. The best way to do that is to keep the camera at some distance, so you can't see the pixelization of the textures etc. Anyone who has done the 'naughty naughty' cheat knows what I mean, we were able to get away with a lot with very few textures because the camera was so removed. Because of that, we were able to build levels that had a pretty good framerate because we didn't have to spend polys on making the levels look 'exactly' right, the camera distance let us cheat out a little bit of detail. For instance, chairs could be made out of 5 or 6 polys instead of the 40 or 50 that would be spent if the camera could be zoomed-in close.
Also, JK was VERY much being about blasters, and it was pretty clear to us that in the MOVIE, it was all about the lightsabers. In first-person, if you saw a Battle Droid standing WAY off in the distance, well, you grab your blaster and become a sniper. Kyle Katarn was primarily a mercenary, so it was completely acceptable for him to rely on a blaster. The Jedis were totally different, and from what we knew of the movie script for Ep1, they were really into close-combat. Thus, by keeping the camera looking down, we kept all combat fairly close. This is NOT to say that we didn't make a number of screw-ups with people firing at you while they were offscreen. We made a pass or two at adjusting the different 'active' ranges of the AIs, but while we got many of them, we missed a number of others.