as for iso, the engine itself would be designed as easy to add on to as possible, it would basically be topdown, and then the engine 'displays' iso graphics based on the top down (the assets would be 3d obj/sprites depends what). It wouldnt be crazy complex, but for the advantages and look i think we should consider it (and it wont be too hard to explain and use since ill make a real conscious effort for USABILITY while making it, and some fine documentation to go with it aswell)
really the reason i think it would be good is
-you can get a better feeling of the world since it has physical comprehensible depth.
-with the '3D' iso, buildings and big terrain objects can easily "phase" into one another, and assets will look a lot less repeated if theyre viewed from different angles etc., which is super easy in 3d
-game world will be way more readable, buildings dont exactly look very different when viewed from above.
-if instead of 3d objects we opt for 'primitive based' iso, buildings can be lit dynamically, allowing for day night cycle/lighting to look really awesome.
-with multiple programmers the extra work wont be ridiculous. anyway, the base display struct of the engine will probably not need much work after its initially built. iso wont change much with the: randomization (if anything there can be way more, and you can be lazy since ordering and intersection becomes much less important): anything at all with inventory or ai.
-it'd be cool to make huge open grass lands or dessert with vehicles to travese them that bump all over 3d rocks on the terrain and are physics-y and awesome.
as for art what style are we going for?? i can always help out with graphics too, whenever need be. gritty pixelly could look good, and would severely cut back on the time required for individual assets, opening up lots of time to make TONS of gibs and graphics for other stuff, instead of wasting all our time focusing on getting animations to work we can work on gameplay (especially if we want lots of variour injury states for zombies). not to mention pixelly leaves more to the imagination so you can get a rich mental picture/atmosphere of the world (think impressionist painting vs classical)
Those were some of my ideas and a little bit as to why. i have like a bajillion more to tell so, here are a few i already wrote down in ramble.
The graphics could sort of look like this but more serious, higher res, but same type of ambiance
thats an old version of the engine with no support for object phasing tho.
now heres a newer version (looks uglier atm cause it has no terrain stuff) that has object phasing, you can drag and drop the pieces in both demos to see what i mean. (right click) the lighting can be changed on the fly, all the objects can be defined etc.
as of now, the second one can be a bit laggy, but thats because all events that should be ran only once on generation/rotation change/lighting change are running every tick, for every object, in a completely non optimized (but highly optimizable) way.
if we were to go with these objects (cubes, pyramids, going to add ramps and triangular prisms and stuff) then id probably make a simple tool for building "objects" and texturing them, which then our engine would load for the random values etc. theres A lot that can be done, and even simple as they are untextured the buildings looks pretty great. also the engine supports movement over the objects flawlessly, so you can, if you wanted to, climb to the top etc. anything meant to interact physically with the terrain would simply have to be added to a family, and its 'type' defined through a variable.
anyway, yea. tell me you guys' thoughts. im sorry for the general crappiness of my writing in this post in advance.