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2D vs 3D


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#1 Aardvark Sam   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 09:11 PM

I'm new to game design and have been reading many of the recommended links here, trying to get a sense of what all I will need to do to eventually create a game.  One issue I've continually come across is the 2d vs. 3d one.  I don't necessarily need high-end graphics for the game I want to create, so I'm trying to understand each a little bit better.

 

I understand that old Nintendo games were 2d.  I also understand that top-of-the-line modern games like Call of Duty, Halo, and Skyrim are 3d.  But what are some of the most complex 2d games and some of the simplest 3d games? 

 

How about old PC games like Tropico (the original)?   Railroad Tycoon 2?  Sim City 4?   Are they 2d or 3d?

 

My main goal here is to figure out what the maximum potential are with 2d graphics.  It's obvious in the extremes, but I'm curious to see if I can create what I want with a 2d engine.



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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 20250

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 10:21 PM

There is not much difference when it comes to the game design, nor is there much difference when it comes to programming.

The big difference is in the art assets.

In 3D you have modelers who make a 3D model, and animators who make 3D animations. These models and animations can be viewed from any direction and at any scale. Late in the project if something needs to change size or change shape or change color, the change is easy to make.

In 2D you have pixel artists who make sprite sheets. These models and animations can be viewed from only one direction. They cannot easily be scaled. Late in the project if something needs to change size or shape or color, the artists may need to redraw many thousand sprites to make the change.


Most modern games prefer 3D not because just because it looks good, but because it is usually many orders of magnitude easier to create and manage art assets over the project.
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#3 David Perfors   Members   -  Reputation: 228

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 01:40 AM

That being said, more and more projects who use 2D art, are starting to use 3D modelling software and some scripts to translate the 3D art to 2D sprite sheets.



#4 Andy474   Members   -  Reputation: 675

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 01:45 AM

Personally, my decision maker for 2D vs. 3D is: "What type of game is it? and how will that affect the art / look"

 

I don't have a  whole lot of time, and would rather spend it programming than in a 3D modeler such as blender or 3DS Max.

 

Also, my art skills suck, so I try to stick with 2D as the assets are so much simpler (for me) to make, and animations are fairly simple.



#5 Cardeira   Members   -  Reputation: 381

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 03:22 AM

The best way for me to do a simple game is 3D models with 2D mechanics, for example: A 3D pacman, 3D bomberman, 3D pong, 3D tetris, etc



#6 Aliii   Members   -  Reputation: 1445

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 04:05 AM

Simplest 3D graphics: Proteus

The physics are 2D (despite the heightmap), even square objects like the house are circles in the physics engine:) The game eats half of my CPU. If it would be written in the proper way it should only use 10-20%. Despite of this this its a great game.

(I dont think you meant as simple as Wolf3D, or Doom1)

 

More simple 3D:

DuBlox

Ranger

 

Complex 2D:

Limbo,

Luminesca,

Knytt Underground,

Feist

 

If you are just "trying to get a sense" then you shouldn start with an engine, ....or with a 3D game. Almost every 3D has simpler 2D versions. (Minecraft -> Terraria)



#7 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17969

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 04:06 AM

It sounds like you're specifically interested in games that are rendered in 2d but appear to be 3d.

 

 

There are two main categories these fall into: "2.5d", typically used for first person views (Wolfenstein 3d for example), or "isometric" (or similar view) games as you might commonly see in strategy or role-playing games (such as Diablo).  You can achieve some pretty impressive results with these techniques, although for certain situations it can be easier to use 3d graphics from a fixed perspective rather than faking it with 2d.  Also note that as mentioned above, it's increasingly common to use 3d assets to produce 2d versions for use in-game.

 

How impressive can 2d look?  I believe the original Starcraft is 2d, and Diablo II certainly is (although I believe the graphics are produced from 3d models).

 

 

frob gave some excellent advice on how you might decide between the two.

 

 

Hope that helps! smile.png



#8 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4688

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 04:53 AM

As far as simple 3D graphics go, I would take a look some SNES games and PS1 games. Two that comes to mind are Starfox and Tomb Raider, respectively.

 

Though it's not the most complex 2D game, SMB3 and Sonic (1 and 2) are normally considered the creme de la creme of 2D games. Other high quality 2D games are Odin Sphere (PS2) and Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii)


Edited by Alpha_ProgDes, 16 May 2013 - 04:53 AM.

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#9 mawigator   Members   -  Reputation: 375

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 01:26 PM

I am making my first "big" game in 3D (with my own engine). Now, I am finishing it. 

One problem which I encountered are assets, much more assets per game object.

In 2D game you have animated sprites. In 3D you have models, textures and animations.

The engine is much more complicated, as well. These things costs time and/or money.

So, it is easier to make a good appealing 2D game.



#10 Aardvark Sam   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 03:34 PM

Thanks for all the advice and info to everyone that responded.  It's been very helpful.



#11 Jarwulf   Members   -  Reputation: 222

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 01:52 PM

I'm new to game design and have been reading many of the recommended links here, trying to get a sense of what all I will need to do to eventually create a game.  One issue I've continually come across is the 2d vs. 3d one.  I don't necessarily need high-end graphics for the game I want to create, so I'm trying to understand each a little bit better.

 

I understand that old Nintendo games were 2d.  I also understand that top-of-the-line modern games like Call of Duty, Halo, and Skyrim are 3d.  But what are some of the most complex 2d games and some of the simplest 3d games? 

 

How about old PC games like Tropico (the original)?   Railroad Tycoon 2?  Sim City 4?   Are they 2d or 3d?

 

 

 

My main goal here is to figure out what the maximum potential are with 2d graphics.  It's obvious in the extremes, but I'm curious to see if I can create what I want with a 2d engine.

 

 

Tropico is isometric and can be rotated simcity 4 is a limited 3d approach that approximates isometric. Never played railroad tycoon.



#12 Plethora   Members   -  Reputation: 679

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 05:37 PM

For an interesting look at this question, look at JRPGs made by Nippon Ichi, they've been around for a bit, have offerings on PS2, PS3, PSP, and DS that I'm aware of.  The most popular franchise they put out is Disgaea.  Disgaea 4 came out for PS3 about a year and a half ago.

 

They are noteworthy to this discussion because their games invariably use hand drawn 2d character sprites which move around in 3d environements.  In Disgaea the movement is grid based, however in games like Phantom Brave and Makai Kingdom there is free roaming movement (yet they still use 2d sprites for characters).


I'm working on a game!  It's called "Spellbook Tactics".  I'd love it if you checked it out, offered some feedback, etc.  I am very excited about my progress thus far and confident about future progress as well!

 

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