Dynacat is an isometric game, so let's take a look into the details of what this means and how the game is designed around it.

What Is Isometric?

For the purpose of video games, isometric is a way to view the game where the world is seen from above and rectangular things are generally aligned to a grid which is diagonal to the camera.

A projection is a way to show 3D things onto a 2D surface like a screen. In the standard isometric projection the X, Y and Z axes are equally spaced apart by 120 degrees and the size of objects never changes no matter how far away they are.

To provide a better experience, Dynacat doesn't follow these rules perfectly.

An image comparing true isometric projection at the top to the alternative perspective below
Above: A true isometric projection.
Below: The perspective used in Dynacat.

The first difference is that in Dynacat, objects appear smaller the further they are from the camera. This makes it much easier to know where you are in 3D space.

The second difference from standard isometric is that the camera is tilted more horizontally so that you can see further into the distance. This makes it so that the X, Y and Z axes aren't all equally spaced apart which would be expected by the isometric projection.

Designing for the Isometric Projection

When the player gets behind things it becomes difficult to see nearby obstacles. To avoid this, stages are designed so that higher ground is generally further back in the stage so that it doesn't obscure the player.

Another design consideration is that you can see much further in the top half of the screen than at the bottom. This means that it's favorable for the player to be towards the top of the screen when going fast so that they can see upcoming obstacles sooner.

An stage section illustrating how stages are designed for the isometric projection

Why We Chose Isometric

While isometric is a 3D projection, in video games it's like a middle ground between 2D and fully 3D games, taking good aspects of both of them.

Like in 2D games, you can clearly see the environment that surrounds you in all directions, even what's behind you. Unlike 2D games, you have the advantage of being able to move anywhere in 3D space.

Gameplay screenshot

Aside from any technical advantages, the main reason we chose to make an isometric game is that it's a nice perspective to look at. Unlike games where the camera is down at ground level, you don't need to climb to a high place to get a nice view.