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camelot

2D OR 3D Graphics

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hi, i have very limited programming experience in visual basic. i have decided that i want to make an rts (real time strategy) game using C++. Although i am not sure if im capable of learning C++ and may have to pay someone to program it for me. i have read the quick guides for beginners on this website but still am unsure whether to use 2D or 3D graphics. i will have characters moddelled and animated in 3d and then either have a 3D game... or take snapshots of the model in about 32 different angles to be used in a 2D game. this method may take its toll on system or graphics memory?, especially if there are many units? the one feature that my game MUST have is for the characters to have interchangeable head, body, arms, legs, weapons, shield etc, just like you find in most dungeon adventures. ie when you pick up and equip a new piece of armour or weapon the model then visually reflects this change. is there away to have this feature in a 3d game?... in a 2d game?... and how?... is there open source software that would allow this, like a graphics engine/renderer. are there various that could do this to choose from? ...or would it be easy to make this feature in code from scratch? thanks in anticipation

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I can tell you from experience, any given game in 3D is going to be 1000x more complex to code then the exact same game in 2D.

Stick with 2D.

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Why not use the language your familiar with no reason you can't use visual basics. From what I gather C++ is only the common language among professions as they know how to program and the language is irrelevant they choose C++ due to it's power which is more likely to cause more problem than it solves. once your familiar with visual basics learn directX or OpenGL don't let the windows specific stuff put you off though it's the first thing you need to learn it's also the most difficult to get you head around or was in my case.

As for the features you want they are all possible in both 2D and 3D for 3D id just create joining points on each part and have every part use the same shape and size at the point it joins to the next. As for 2D I'm not so sure I don't do any 2D stuff.

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This post won't help you a whole lot, as I don't know much about RTS games. but I can say that you should definitely start out with 2D if you are just starting. It will make things so much easier. I know that when I was beginning, I underestimated the difficulty of working in 3D, so my advice is to definitely start working in 2D. It is actually easier on the graphics if you work in 2D.

In fact, when Blizzard was making Starcraft II, they had a poll where people on whether or not they wanted 2D or 3D units. If they had 2D units, then they could handle many, MANY more units on the screen (in fact, if they chose 2D, they said they would have no food limit) and render them faster, not to mention it would also decrease the video card requirements and everything. If they had 3D, then they wouldn't be able to have as many units on the screen (they would introduce a food limit), and there would be higher video card requirements. In the end, the public chose 3D.

Also, are you sure you mean RTS? I think you might mean RPG. Below is an example of what kind of games fall in which catagory.
RTS: Warcraft, Starcraft, Supreme Commander
RPG: Diablo, WoW, Everquest, Baldur's Gate

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thanks for the replies...

i mean RTS, a game of fixed units of men in regiments.

but i want my men in the units to be able to swap parts (just like in an mmorpg/rpg) like spears, swords, shields, armour etc whilst still retaining the same body look that they have.

ALSO would it be difficult to create a way of merging character weapons, armour in 2D. Noting that there would be about 32 different angles and for each angle there would be an animation of x frames long. merging a new weapon to each frame may be difficult?

ANOTHER question / faeture is this... whether i should have 2D or 3D terrain... i guess 3D terrain would be more difficult to code? should i make terrain that interlinks, ie segments of a river- would that also work for a hill or mountain.. having different segments.


i would like to have the game written in 2d rather than 3d.

[Edited by - camelot on November 2, 2007 5:28:23 AM]

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Quote:
Original post by camelot
i will have characters moddelled and animated in 3d and then either have a 3D game...

or take snapshots of the model in about 32 different angles to be used in a 2D game. this method may take its toll on system or graphics memory?, especially if there are many units?

...

is there open source software that would allow this, like a graphics engine/renderer. are there various that could do this to choose from?



If you read the Age of Empires postmortem at gamasutra (here), they made the 3D models like you said, and took snapshots from all the angles and stored them as 2D images. 32*32 images are quite small anyway, so even considering you may have 20 units with 32 different angles, and different armor overlays, modern hardware should be able to handle this easily.

The whole 3D v 2D thing is upto how much you want to learn, and whether or not you think youd be able cope with the massive learning curve 3D requires. Id personally recomend 2D, just because you can create a playable prototype a lot quicker, and this always helps motivate me. You can still make games the compete with bigger titles if the actual gameplay is still fun.

If your looking for Open Source APIs to help you, Im not sure about any for VB, but for C++ Id recommend SDL (http://www.libsdl.org) with OpenGL for rendering. Lazyfoo has just written an article on using the two together, and also has a whole series of SDL tutorials from the ground up, though they do require a wee bit of C++ knowledge. Although boring, Id probably spend a bit of time learning C++ basics before you tackle SDL or anything game based.

Im currently spending my time doing something very similar, so PM if you want a bit of help with anything C++/OpenGL/SDL related. Im still learning myself though.

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