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Guest Anonymous Poster

Whats your idea of the ultimate Iso engine?

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There really is no answer to that question. A kitchen sink iso engine isnt necessarily a good thing. Yes, there are some aspects of an iso engine that are the same no matter what the project, but the more advanced features are project based.

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REVENANT!!!

- DarkMage139
"Real game developers don't change the rules. Real game developers don't break the rules. Real game developers make the rules!"
"Originality (in games) is the spice of life!"

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I think that taking advantage of hardware accelerated D3D, where present, is a feature that should be in any ''ultimate'' isometric engine. Anything more specific than that would have to be taken on a game-by-game basis, I think.

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I wanted to jump in and agree with Kylotan. I think D3D (or OpenGL) will play a more crucial role in coming iso engines. It opens up a lot of doors for you as far a speed, capabilities and special effects go.

Sieggy

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I think the future of all engine is full 3D and I think the isometric engine will all go that way too (Someday).

A good exemple of very good "isometric" engine is the one used with Warcraft III. Even if it''s not a real iso-engine, I think it''s the way an engine should be done these days.

Darkening

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Nah, you totally dont need 3D at all for a good isometric engine. I just optimized my engine and it now runs at over 60fps in 1024x768x16 on a P200 w/ only 32megs ram. It does however use the voodoo3 2000 w/ 16megs ram, but its 2D, not 3D. You can make an extremely fast engine using a 3D accelerator card but have the engine be 2D, because the 3D card is still optimized for 2D aswell as 3D.

Darkening, you must not have a clue. War3 is totally not isometric at all, its 3D, just like Quake3 and TombRaider (the latter one being the better example since its not first person).

Possibility



Edited by - Possibility on June 7, 2000 11:47:37 PM

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Possibility,

Don''t forget there is much more to 3D than just speed. I can take the same art I use for a flat plain and use it to create slick looking rolling hills and valleys. Since you are actually dealing in 3D space you are open to a lot more manipulations without having to draw flat tiles, sloping tiles, etc. that you had to do in 2d. Also, things like lighting, special effects for fog, spells. explosions, weather, or whatever and can add a whole lot.

Sieggy

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Hey, guys, look at the date of the first two posts...

---

Comes from needing to learn as much about Isometric engines as possible...

- DarkMage139
"Real game developers don't change the rules. Real game developers don't break the rules. Real game developers make the rules!"
"Originality (in games) is the spice of life!"

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Warcraft 3 had a low camera system at first but now the designers change it to have an over view of the map. So it''s more an isometric than a third-person engine.

And Possibility, I never said it was a real isometric engine. I just said it was a kind of iso-engine. And I think it''s the way isometric game will be done in the future. 3D gives more freedom to the developper and the gamer.

Darkening

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No, 3D doesnt add that much, and it also takes alot away. Games like Age of Empires, civ2, and Age of Wonders should never go 3D. They will lose a 100x more then they will gain by going 3D. Alpha Centauri is testiment to that. The 3D graphics in that game just sucked as and did nothing to add to the game.

The main problem with 3D acceleration is that 3D is still slower then directdraw, and can lead to worse graphics. There are many situations where it can be good, but also many where it does nothing but make the game worse, take that latest Star Wars RTS game that just came out (Force Command I beleive it was called). The 3D aspect of made it just suck total ass, if it was done 2D like RTS games should be, it could have been a half decent game.

Possibility

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Possibility, as of right now iso games created totally in 3D both adds and takes away from the game. The part it takes away, is the graphics. Right now 3D cards still can''t push enough polys to make perfectly realistic looking people/troops/whatever without any straight edges or sharp corners. However, it''s starting to get very close to that. Fairly soon you will be able to make 3D games with the overhead camera that looks just as good as any 2D iso game, plus having it 3D gives you many, many more options for game developers.

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I don''t think there is a single accelerated card on the market that does 3D triangle rendering slower than it does a DirectDraw blit. I wasn''t suggesting making all the terrain have elevation (although I did actually like this in Alpha Centauri), just to draw the graphics. This gives you speed, dynamic lighting, bilinear filtering to remove aliasing, etc. Also it simplifies things such as rotating the view or zooming in and out. But it could still be 100% ''2D'' in terms of how the game was made. Just because you use 3D acceleration doesn''t mean you have to make everything as models, etc

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I agree with you Possibility that 3D adds and takes different aspect to your engine. Some type of game would be simply impossible to do in 3d. Baldur''s Gate would be impossible to do totally in 3D but I do think that all type of game a going to be more and more 3D. That''s the way of the future.

Darkening

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Actually, I believe directdraw is faster. If you take an image and blit it to the screen with direct draw, or you use D3D and create 2 triangles and then use that same image as a texture to display the image, the simple directdraw will be faster.

And it becomes clearly evident when playing 2D games. I get far far faster frame rates playing 2D games then I do 3D games, and I often have the 2D games at higher resolutions then the 3D games.

But I will agree 3D does have many good things to ofter, but it wont ever replace 2D for certain things. It will be many years yet before you can be playing Age of Empires 2 in 1280x1024 resolution in pure 3D and have identical looking graphics quality as there are in the game now. But in those 3 to 4 years before 3D graphics reach that quality, 2D graphics quality will also have advanced. In those 3 - 4 years, you will have games like of Age of Empires 2 but you will be playing them in 1600x1200x32 bit (and possibly higher) 2D graphics.

The best examples of this are comparing the graphics of Star Trek Armada to those of Age of Kings. My roommate has a 400Mhz + voodoo3 AGP and can easily play AOK in 1280x1024 but can only play armada in 1024x768. And the 3D rendered graphics of armada look bad when compared side by side to the 2D graphics of AOK. And thats the way it will always be. If the game is 2D, then 2D directdraw blitted graphics will look better and be faster then 3D rendered ''2D'' graphics.

But as some of you pointed out, 3D does have its advantages, and some of those advantages can be very good ones. But dont be an idiot by blindly thinking 3D is the best and dont be a fool by saying its the wave of the future for ALL games. There are and will continue to be many circumstances and genres where 2D is the best way to go.

Possibility

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quote:
Original post by Possibility

Actually, I believe directdraw is faster. If you take an image and blit it to the screen with direct draw, or you use D3D and create 2 triangles and then use that same image as a texture to display the image, the simple directdraw will be faster.


I doubt this. Graphics hardware and drivers are optimized for texture storage. Generally the reason you get higher framerates in 2D games is because they are doing far less work: a 3D game is generally rotating the entire world at least once per frame. Some manufacturers may be implementing DirectDraw in terms of Direct3D but I doubt they would do it the other way around.

Other little tricks such as lighting and alphablending are also going to be faster than doing it in software. Not to mention having arbitrary zoom levels, which is nice for certain games.

But this is drifting slightly offtopic for this forum.

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No, a directdraw blit from video memory to the back surface which is in video memory is faster then a 3D rendered ''2D'' surface.


Plus, if your making a 2D game with current technology you should stick with 2D graphics. I would love to see someone try and make Age of Empires 2 completely 3D rendered in real time, you would need a fricken super computer, literely. The buildings alone in that game have thousands and thousands of triangles, plus you will usually have 20+ of them on the screen at once, not to mention 100-200 units for just your self on the screen at once along with those buildings. It would be completely impossible for a even a top of the line 1GHz Thunderbird Athlon w/ the most expensive 3D card available to render aoe2 in realtime 3D.

You can clearly see this by comparing the games of AOE2 or Starcraft with that of games like Star Trek Armada. If you have played that game, the first enterprise class ship you make you will see that it is like a hexagon, not a round oval like it would be if it were 2D.

So yes 3D does offer stuff, but it doesnt offer any performance boost over a 2D blit, and when the day comes 3 yrs from now when AoE2 can be totally rendered on the fly in 3D, 2D will have also advanced by an equal amount. 2D becomes especially fast when you can fit all the images into the video memory. If you have a card with 32megs video ram, it will be very fast for 2D because it wont have to move any images from system ram.

Possibility
P.S. If you havent ever noticed, all 3D cards are infact 2D cards aswell, they are 2D/3D cards.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Possibility, you are assuming that if microsoft did use 3d to display AoE2, they would render the worlds.

Assuming though that they just made the entire image just a texture, and made the 3D engine completely isometric, a 3D isometric engine would be several times faster than 2D.

This of course depends upon the video card, the fill rate, and the texture sizes.

A low end 3D card can show around 15k triangles at once and keep a decent speed. A high quality video card can display several million.

3D graphics take up a lot less memory than 2D graphics. The main reason 2D games don''t require a 3D accelerator is because many people don''t have one.

Newer 2D games are also starting to incorperate 3D graphics to handle processor intensive jobs. Take Baulder''s Gate 2.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I am currently investigating using ray casting to draw an
ISO world. Ok I won''t be able to take advantage of the hardware
so much but I need cross platform.

Anybody know if any engine has contempleted this? Certainly
would get rid of overdraw.

Cheers

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Personally, I am a fan of the Myth engine. Part 3D part 2D. It''s a nice mix. It could use some extra features for lighting, but overall its my favorite.

Dino M. Gambone

Good judgement is gained through experience. Experience, however, is gained through bad judgement.

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