@schrodinger : Very interesting. I'm wary of wading into such new territory for the engine, but I'm definitely intrigued. Part of me is screaming No - scope creep - stay away! You'll never finish Spryke if you keep this up! while another part is quite excited that this might be a workable and attractive solution.
Performance-wise, it's all fine on this end. Everything runs smoothly, including displacement maps and resampling. Without resampling, there's too much pixel-jitter for my liking, but resampling solves that nicely - except for the edges. The edges don't appear to be affected by AA, and still tend to be jaggy. You can see this most clearly on the displacement map area and the fiery sphere, though you can also find it on the platforms. I don't think I would use the displacement maps anyway, as they seem like they would conflict with the 2D aesthetic which I want to keep. I'm ok with augmenting the platforms with a little carefully implemented P3D, but not with shifting the style itself. So I'd probably be looking at keeping all background and foreground layers 2D, with just the middle platform layer 3D.
I'll buy P3D in a moment. Could you send me the MFA so that I can play around with your example, and try and put some of my current graphics into it . And yes, I still have plenty of questions/comments
---I need to see this in a 1920x1080 environment. Partly to see the effect on performance, and partly to see how the 3D looks with more pixels. I wonder if the perspective will get more extreme with more horizontal resolution.
---Is it possible to adjust how much the sides of the platform tilt? Perhaps with a POV adjustment or something like that? I can imagine I might want a more 'subtle' effect that doesn't necessarily use a realistic perspective, but just tilts the platforms slightly.
---One of the biggest questions is how feasible this is with the 'organic' platform shapes I intend to use. Below is a shortlist of shapes I'm currently considering. I'd say that this is pretty close to the type and variety of non-square shapes the final game will have
Is this likely to end up being prohibitively complicated, trying to get these shapes to work? If I paid you, would you be able to write code to make these shapes work, the way you've done for spheres, or is there simply a mathematics and/or performance barrier that puts that out of the question?
--by the way, there's a bug when you jump off the uppermost platform (the one that almost comes on-screen at the end of your gif) - the platform face moves with you
--Is there a way to add AA (or stronger AA, if there already is some AA) to the edges?
--I also don't have any understanding of how the editing process would work, and how well it would fit in to my current engine. I guess I can only learn that by playing around with P3D myself, which I'll try and do today.
--Would using P3D for platforms this way open the door for any new lighting possibilities?