Right, so we're making it a priority to create a camera system that is not a barrier to enjoyment - that would suck. It's typical for developers to NOT want you to notice the camera, they just want it to silently do it's job and go unnoticed. We'd like to accomplish this basic functionality, but also have it ADD to the adventure experience. I'll come back to this goal.
When talking about "camera issues" we often think of third person action games (i.e Tomb Raider, Ninja Gaiden, Prince of Persia, etc) as the primary culprit. But top-down action RPGs are not free of guilt either. With an isometric view, players often find their character hidden behind the landscape while trying to battle off a horde of zombies, or run for cover (stressful, not fun). With a pure top-down view, players sacrifice a sense of depth and the world tends to look flat (not attractive).
On the flipside, both views offer benefits. An isometric view allow for a better sense of depth and viewing full objects/characters within an environment. A top-down view can be advantageous when navigating through the world (hence the helpfulness of a "mini-map" feature).
Our solution? Allow for both - choosing the best camera angle for a particular situation. I've always liked having the option to see the world from multiple points of view - I was the guy who played Oblivion over and over testing out the first person view versus the third person view. Not because one was really "better" but because I was getting twice the experience and could mess around with how different scenarios played out. I realized how much the different views created new enjoyment. This often holds true for racing games as well.
Back to Ophidian Wars, the two screenshots shown here are a preview at the two in-game views and you can see for yourself what each one has to offer (exact zoom level is still being tweaked). We're also considering adding a "dialogue view" for up close conversations so we enjoy close ups of our [hot] models. :)
Thus, we hope to accomplish a camera system that is certainly not a hindrance, more than just functional/effective, AND adds to the experience. We're confident that we'll get there.
AND AS A BONUS, we've snuck in some new graphics in to these screenshots just to see if you're paying attention. As always, feedback is welcome.