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Unity Isometric not dead yet

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Greetings all, I thought I would make it known to all here (since there was much talk to the contrary early on), that much like Morning's Wrath our next game (currently: Project2) is going to be isometric as well. So if anyone is feeling down, thinking isometric is out of date, know that Ethereal Darkness Interactive just tossed it's hat back in the isometric ring. You can keep up to date on the game's progress via my development journal Any and all comments or questions are welcome!

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I must agree that exploiting and taking forward 'older' 3D engine technology can be the right choice for some projects. At the risk of mixing metaphors, it isn't 'flogging a dead horse', there can be 'life in the old dog yet'.

After looking into Direct3D hardware accelerated polygon engines in the past, we are still looking into software only 2.5D raycasting engines for some of our future projects.

Abstract Worlds Ltd.
www.abstractworlds.com

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Guest Anonymous Poster


Since they are making games for PDAs and Celphones, isometric still has a demand.

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I would hate to see a day when any method or genre in the video game industry is declared "dead". We should always keep our options open!

Thanks, Raymond!!! :D

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IMO isometric games look just as good as 3D games as long as the models/sprites look good. 3D games with crappy modellers look TERRIBLE, but isometric games don't look too bad as it gives a retor feel.

Good job, I'll be sure to follow your dev journal.

Good luck!

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I've just been convereted to 'isometricism' after playing Populous 2, and I must say that its great. I must agree, isometric games really can look just as pleasing as 3D games, if done well. Judging from Morning's Wrath, we won't have to be worrying about the quality of "project2"'s graphics.

As for the engine that Troika is implementing, well, they sadly have declared bankruptcy, or died, or something.

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Quote:
As for the engine that Troika is implementing, well, they sadly have declared bankruptcy, or died, or something.


Andrew Meggs, former lead programmer of Troika Games posted this on No Mutants Allowed in february this year, shortly after the company was dissolved:

Quote:
Everyone's talking about what the ex-Troika people are going to do. The reality is that for the past several months Troika has been on a skeleton crew. The real layoffs happened in two waves at the start and end of November, and a lot of people have already moved on. I know of ex-Troika people working for all of these companies:

Activision
Day One Studios
Mythic Entertainment
Obsidian Entertainment
Point of View (2)
Seven Studios (2)
Sony (2)
Supervillains (2)
Swinging Ape
Tiger Hare (2+)
Turtle Rock
Treyarch


Here's more about the break up from Gamespot:
http://www.gamespot.com/news/2005/02/17/news_6118792.html

Bloody shame.

EDI: Morning's Wrath looks very nice, has a UO feel to it (good thing); oh, and ask your artists to write a tutorial on how to render good iso tiles and objects! :) All my attempts with Lightwave have turned out badly. :(

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Hell no it's not dead. Isometric games offer a unique and extremely powerful combination of important things: good perspective on large-scope action, and (comparatively) simple implementation versus full 3D engines. For all the hype of full 3D in bird's-eye games these days, most people still end up playing in a more or less isometric view. Losing a couple degrees of camera freedom makes the technology immeasurably more accessible to developers who aren't Blizzard (or similarly funded). Heck, if you play your cards right, you can even implement a little bit of Z-axis zoom.

The Habanero project (as is starting to be chronicled in my own journal) is designed specifically to capitalize on those strengths, and with any luck it will provide a useful platform for others who are interested in the technique. Like Tok said, it'll be a dark day when any technology that is still highly applicable and powerful is officially declared "dead."

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i'm suprised no one has mentioned that the game world works in cycles. now that we have powerful 3d hardware and s/w engines, the industry has branched back to 2D games. ie flash. ie mobile phones.

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There are a few articles concerning psuedo-isometric tiling using 3d engines but losing the perspective. Does this count as isometric for us too-lazy-to-draw-sprites people?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by bringiton
i'm suprised no one has mentioned that the game world works in cycles. now that we have powerful 3d hardware and s/w engines, the industry has branched back to 2D games. ie flash. ie mobile phones.


Unforunately both of those platforms start to gain 3d support. (shockwave, opengl es) This will effectively bring them to the same level as the pc platform and again drive out of business smaller companies and lone programmers who can't afford to make full blown 3d games.

Imho the 2d games only area of pc-s lasted much longer and I see more and more pc games recycled on mobile phones. Even the first 3d ones have arrived to mobile phones (Tomb Rider 1 for example).

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I have a bit of a problem with sprite based tile games at the moment and there are tons i want to still play but have trouble with them on my LCD screen. Diablo 2 for instance looks terrible on my screen, mainly becuase it scales to fit with the ATI radeon card I have. Looks good if I leave it at default res though and plug a CRT monitor in (pain in the neck though). If Iso games support 1280 pixel width I'd still play them.

Maybe I should go an Nvidia card I heard they can display the actual game in it's proper resolution and not scale it to the monitor res of my lcd screen.

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I certainly hope 2D and isometric games don't disappear. Realism is nice, but there is something more than just nostalgic about a 2D isometric view game which makes the game pleasing to the eye. Maybe it's just because I grew up playing endless hours of Ultima games, but I will miss them if they drop out of the race.

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Quote:
Original post by MatrixCubed
I certainly hope 2D and isometric games don't disappear. Realism is nice, but there is something more than just nostalgic about a 2D isometric view game which makes the game pleasing to the eye. Maybe it's just because I grew up playing endless hours of Ultima games, but I will miss them if they drop out of the race.



I just simply find 2D games more fun to be honest. 3D games are nice and all, but just because you add another dimenion to a game doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to be more fun than if it was only 2D.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Another example that 2D is not dead yet:
http://www.sunage-the-game.com/index.php?section=screens

But the term "2D" sounds a little too low for this game, I think a more correct term would be "prerendered 3D" :)

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For Role Playing games, isometric is just fine, imo..
I wouldn't mind if it was even in 2D from above, if the story is compelling and innovative, the artwork well done- i'm in. :D Are you designing all your models in full 3D, and render it to '2D'?

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Quote:
Original post by MatrixCubed
I certainly hope 2D and isometric games don't disappear. Realism is nice, but there is something more than just nostalgic about a 2D isometric view game which makes the game pleasing to the eye. Maybe it's just because I grew up playing endless hours of Ultima games, but I will miss them if they drop out of the race.


Often I find 2D more realistic than 3D... Sprites are often rendered with higher detail than most 3D engines can handle on the fly, a sprite could even be real photo-image.. Personally, I often prefer 2D games. For instance, the gameplay for Warcraft 2 was alot smoother IMHO than dealing with the camera and blocky 3D in Warcraft 3.

For years 2D was the only choice, because of hardware.. Now that everyone has 3D-specialized video cards it seems 3D games are actually easier to make (isn't that bizare?) Just take a model and go, compared to rendering 1000's of sprites...

[Edited by - Daramiz on February 3, 2006 12:51:28 PM]

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I'm not a big fan of 3D strategy games, mainly because I feel it is unnecessary when 2D works fine. I have Civilization 3(2D-Isometric) and Civilization 4(Super uber 3D thingamajig), and I prefer Civ 3 because the game is great looking and it doesn't cripple my computer to play.

So yes, for games like RPGs and strategy games, I think Isometric needs to live on.

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See games like Sunage are great examples of how 2D can outdo true 3D games. Sure they take a little more to work out, but they look smoother than you could get if you try to do all the math to display stuff as full models. You can also do a bit of hybrid work, using concepts from old and new to get even better stuff.

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I personally like the idea of doing full 3D with isometric perspective (and locked). You can do a lot of more eye candy in that way, without cheating with gameplay, as game mechanics still stay the same as if everything was pixeled.

Don't get me wrong, I tend to focus on gameplay more than on eye candy, but it's like a good cocktail: you need a bit of everything in it, or it simply sucks.

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I just can't imagine playing a 3D game on my cell phone. They'll have to start getting bigger instead of smaller. I don't think that application will ever sail...but I could be wrong. I agree that games coming out are TOTALLY lacking in gameplay.

*SIDETRACK*
Take the recent Star Wars Empire at War game. Everyone talked about it, I saw commercials while watching Stargate (most of you probably saw the same ones!), I had to go to 3 stores to get the last copy even though their system said they were out! I get it home and the graphics are totally great! Yeah, that's it. I get to build 5 ground units and like 10 space units. woohoo. I have to finish the whole game with the same units I had nearly at the beginning. Talk about getting old fast. And the storyline, well I already know that. By the way, for anyone who likes the game, I like it too. It is addictive, but I wish it had a lot more units and buildings. Only 2 things you can build in space, I mean come on.
*END SIDETRACK*

Anyway, I think while the big dogs are out making the top of the line blooming graphics video games, it'll give us indies a chance to make fun ones. Just my 2 cents worth.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Supernat02
I just can't imagine playing a 3D game on my cell phone. They'll have to start getting bigger instead of smaller. I don't think that application will ever sail...but I could be wrong. I agree that games coming out are TOTALLY lacking in gameplay.


Using 3d graphics on a mobile can be good. Many phones ship with pda sized screens, and for example sony-ericsson supports two 3d apis on most of its phones (java and mophun). Imho the most important use of 3d graphics on a phone is to make the objects animate smoother. Rendering them realtime instead of storing all possible frames requires less memory and bandwidth on download. The only thing is that the artists have to use low poly models. The original quake and tomb raider games were written for 320x200 displays. Many mobiles out today have the same screen sizes. (sometimes even larger) Since the games were written for low resolution, you can play them on small screens. The same is true for the gameboy micro, which has a very small screen but it's still usable.

Viktor

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