I'd like to suggest having a isometric view of buildings that can be toggled on and off that is a *separate* setting from the 'isometric view' for hills, so hills and buildings could be toggled independently.
Reason for the Suggestion:
I play MegaMek on MMNet where city battles are a fairly common occurrence. I consider myself a veteran city player and can usually navigate cities quite well with the current 'flat' buildings. That said, it would definitely be very useful to have isometric buildings in certain situations. Here's a couple situations that spring to mind:
- During deployment - Often when you're deploying, especially in densely urban areas, it takes a while to get a sense of where the tallest buildings are near your deployment zone. Being able to see isometric buildings would make it possible to determine this quickly, at a glance.
- Checking for major barriers to LOS - Especially in a very densely urban environment it's possible to think you have LOS to a target from an elevated position, but you've overlooked the fact that there's a cluster of even taller buildings, often some distance from you, that blocks your LOS. Isometric buildings would make it much easier to see this kind of 'wall of buildings.'
- Noticing opportunities for partial-cover - Sometimes there are nice locations where, say, a level 3 building is immediately behind a level 4 building, allowing a mech to get partial cover while also having a nice rooftop position from which to spot an opponent's units. Isometric buildings would make these strategic locations much easier to spot.
- Faster artillery placement decisions - Another thing that can really slow down play in a city is having to really analyze the map and determine strategic locations where the enemy might go. Being able to better see some of the strategic *rooftop* locations (such as the tallest buildings near your opponent's deploy zones, or rooftops with partial cover) might help to speed up artillery placement.
I think isometric buildings would be a significant improvement to MegaMek and would help players—especially newer players—to much better visualize a 3D city environment. In fact, I'm of the view that if players had a better feel for a city's layout without having to work so hard at it, more players would enjoy city fights.
It would also look REALLY COOL which is almost a reason to do it, in-and-of-itself.
What Could Go Wrong:
The main potential problem with isometric buildings, especially with taller buildings, is they might 'cover up' units that are just behind them, making these units impossible to see. I can think of a couple ways of solving this issue:
- IsoBuilding Toggle - The first, probably easiest way of solving this issue would be to make isometric buildings toggleable, independent of the standard 'isometric view.' That way you could turn IsoBuildings ON when it's helpful, and turn them OFF when it's not helpful.
- Transparent Buildings - You could also make buildings on the map somewhat transparent, or at least make any obscured units 'show through' the building layer. That way you'd know if there were units hidden behind buildings.
- Both of the above – Probably the best solution is to have buildings that can be toggled on and off AND which are transparent to units. That way you'd have a visual clue that you need to toggle the buildings so as to be able to better see some obscured units.
As an experience city fighter, I can definitely get by without isometric buildings. That said, it would be a welcome tool that would be VERY helpful in certain situations.