I'm in the process of developing a 'Zelda'-like Adventure game. Actually, I have been in this process for years but I still haven't given up on the idea.
After trials and failures I'm deciding to start anew and attempt using Java 3D. I had a working engine using a top-down 2D tile system but it was too sluggish for my liking and required me to produce about ten thousand .gif animations for everything I wanted in the game, and since I do not have the production impetus of Square or Blizzard I bagged the idea.
What I want to do is have a three dimensional 'ground' surface the player walks on. The camera will be at a set angle - above and tilted slightly over the main character. I imagine it will look something like the World map portions of the later Final Fantasy series (7,8,9). My question is: What is the best way to do this? Would it be relatively simple to use something like SceneGraph or would I be better off using one of the third-party APIs? Also is there a really good tutorial/guide on this? The run-of-the-mill Sun tutorial gave a pretty good introduction to the 3D Java system but proved pretty much useless for making a game as advanced as this.
Anyone who might have an interest in this project is more than welcome to join the circus. We have a lot of great ideas, artwork, music, sound, and such. Now comes the task of putting it all together and doing the nasty task of designing and building the engine.
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.