Inspired by Minecraft and LEGOs, we created an app to promote creativity on smartphones. Many people like being creative but find a blank canvas daunting. "Recipes" inside the app let users create like the most talented individuals -- similar to how a cooking recipe lets anyone cook like Thomas Keller.
The problem so far is users say the app doesn't look "3D" enough.
Here's the relevant code that creates the scene and creates blocks: https://gist.github.com/panabee/dca88a591f94a3904023dacabd020ad9.
What they mean is they expect the app to look more like apps like this:
With encouragement from one of the admins, these screenshots from our app illustrate the disparity in "3Dness":
We're using SceneKit on iOS, but are having trouble identifying what is needed to make the app look more like the images above. We played with lighting and textures, but are new to 3D graphics as well as SceneKit and are unsure what to do.
We have tried to find consultants on StackOverflow, LinkedIn, Github, but this expertise appears not so common.
A few questions:
1) For iOS, is SceneKit capable of producing the images above, or do we need to use something like Metal?
2) If SceneKit is capable, what are the key concepts to learn?
3) (Happy to strike this question if it's considered off-topic) Which websites/forums could we find people to help provide advice if we get stuck?