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Isometric question

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Ok here''s an obvious question that for some reason I dont know the answer to. I am currently working on a 2d engine and i''m not exactly clear on the the theroy side of things. When isometric objects are made are they 2d tiles mapped to 3d objects or are they just 2d objects with their physical attributes?

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Here's the ambiguous answer: whatever works for you.

Here's a more detailed answer:

Generally, I try to keep the physical attributes separate from the rendering attributes. You could treat all objects in any 2D game in a 3D fashion, manipulating their orientations, moving them around, collision detection with polygonal volumes, etc.

When it comes time to render, you could render them as 3D objects with polygons (with or without a perspective projection), using 2D bitmaps, or whatever. Same goes for wall decorations, floor tiles, etc. Floor tiles could be textures rendered on quads, or pre-generated bitmaps simply rendered as tiles.

Buildings in town could have a 3D volume for collision detection against objects, but each could be rendered as a huge bitmap.

One thing I noticed about StarCraft and Diablo is that the ramps and staircases aren't really handled in a 3D fashion. The engine knows you are at a higher or lower altitude, but the ramps and staircases are really nothing more than irregularly shaped barriers. They could have just as easily been rendered as barriers and we would think we are just running around a totally flat level. Because they look like staircases and ramps, we get the sense that we are moving up or down a sloped surface.

You could also just treat all objects as 2D square shapes for purposes of 2D collision detection and then render them any way you like.

[edited by - Waverider on June 3, 2003 3:04:29 PM]

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