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unreason

2D versus 3D

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I'd like to make an isometric game, and I'd like the levels to be reasonably detailed, in a way that pretty much mandates at least some 2D background stuff. Basically, I have a few ideas on how to balance 2D versus 3D. 1. All 2D. This allows a lot of nice 2D pictures, but makes lighting, and character animation a bit more difficult. 2. 2D, with some 3D for characters. This would let me use 3D models for the players, allowing easy rotation, interchangable parts, etc., while having a nice looking 2D background. 3. All 3D, with really nice textures. This allows easy 3D lighting, and because I'm planning on using a fixed isometric viewpoint, I can make my objects knowing what viewpoint they'll be seen from. Does anyone have any advice on this? Which of these methods should I use? Are there options and issues I'm missing? Thanks!

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Pure 3D is going to lose all the mystique, beauty and niche of pure 2D.

3D models on 2D might not look so good, I'm not sure. I can't think of any examples that use it.

Pure 2D is a little bit of work (more so on the artists than the programmers, I can only imagine) but ends up with the most "classic" look in my opinion.

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As a gamer, I love pure 2D games.

If you look around here, you can get many ideas on how to do dynamic lighting in 2D engines.

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I would design my engine so that I could try all three and decide what I liked best. Try as much as possible to use either RAD disposable code or something that is quick but redeemable if you decide to implement further in that technique. After prototyping you may find other nuances and ideas that you not first considered.

Since you are locking your isometric view you may be able to cut some corners and get a 2d/3d architecture to work. If I was going to blend the two together, I would handle the terrain (just the land) in 3d - this allows you to build vistas and edit height pretty easily and would also allow some data points later on for path finding (ie - if slope > a certain amount then it cannot be crossed..). Terrain features such as trees and plants could be 3d and then billboarded in the distance/background. Meaning, the first few visible layers of your tree line could be a procedural tree and everything behind it billboards. Structures, troops, and all the other implements of war would be 2d with a fixed view angle for structures. Then you could look at having a number of "shadow" maps that could be blended on the sprite depending on where your light source was coming from - sort of a crude sprite lighting technique.


Again, however, I would try to design an engine that allows you to prototype these ideas very quickly and decide what YOU like. I can understand the nostalgia for a pure 2d game - but on the other hand Dungeon Siege looks completely stunning - and has no load times.


Hope that helps -

#dth-0

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Does anyone have any advice on this? Which of these methods should I use? Are there options and issues I'm missing?


Just do whatever's easiest and will have the game done sooner.

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Original post by unreason
2. 2D, with some 3D for characters. This would let me use 3D models for the players, allowing easy rotation, interchangable parts, etc., while having a nice looking 2D background.
Total Annihilation does this.

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Sacred uses 3D models on 2D background. It looks pretty good,
but I would prefer 2D all the way If I didn't have to do the
graphics ^^

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