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TANSTAAFL

Iso vs. 3d

21 posts in this topic

Rendering a 3d world isometricly isnt a problem, as that's just one of many method for projecting the scene onto screen. What 3d gives your isometric engine is the true 360 degree freedom, hardware alpha, lighting, filtering and multitextureing support. I dont think its there is any point in developing a 2d isometric engine anymore. With rudimentary knowledge of D3DRM one could get a reasonable isometric engine up. The benifits outweigh the cost in going 3d for your isometric engines. Perhaps we could start an open source isometric engine project, i dont think it would be too difficult. What do people think? I know i dont have the time to make one from scratch right now, but if everyone contributied alittle we could complete it in a reasonable amount of time.
-ddn
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It's all in the matter of detail. 3D engines uses textures while 2D uses images. There's a world of difference in detail there.
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Standard isometric is cool. 3d isometric is pretty cool, too. I could be wrong here, but it seems to me that a 2d iso engine is more effective for slower paced games. As you start adding 3d elements into the engine it adds more of an action theme.

UO is pure 2d, and it works just fine. Revenant (I think thats it) is a 3d iso game and it looks like it plays more like a 3d action shooter.

I would say that it depends on what you are using your engine for that determines if you should be using 2d or 3d.

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Yes, i neglected to address the detail part. Many 3d game designers are thinking in the quake mentality, of using repeatbale tilable textures to cover large expanse of space, thus they usually make their textures smaller than the visible screen area they usually occupy. Then on top of they they throw in mip mapping and bilinear filtering which pretty much makes any fine detail moot. Thats the reason why all the FPS games look so similar. Even when they arnt making a FPS game, many designers emulate the most successfuly and well known model the FPS, in their texture designs. The trick to getting really good 3D textures, as good as 2d, is to match your screen pixel area and texture detail as much as possible. This is easily achived, its just a matter of recognizing the problem. Oh, also i dont think being 3D forces your game to be fast pace, just more flexible 8^)

-ddn

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I'm not saying that 3d forces your game to be fast paced. It just seems like thats the pattern they all follow.
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IMHO making a 3D iso engine is a great idea. It allows you to make all kinds of cool effects and allows access to nifty features in the hardware (assuming your using Direct3D or OpenGL).

What I'm wondering is where you draw the line with 3D usage? Do you make the characters and items 3D objects, or do you just keep them as sprites? And do you limit it to and Isometric view, or can you use a first person view or a behind the back view?

Thoughts?

--TheGoop

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I think from the other threads, its a known fact that 3d hardware has trouble with textures changing quickly. This might change in the future but unlikely, so the best bet is to go all 3d, characters, animation, backgrounds, lights, the whole enchilida, taco and bean dip too!

-ddn

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Good point, I wan't thinking about the overhead of state changes. Still, if your careful drawing sprites wouldn't cause too many state changes. I personally think that using 2d sprites in a 3D Iso engine would work well: you get detailed images without a huge amount more overhead.

BTW, when I say 2D Sprites, im really talking about textured quads (made from two triangles).

--TheGoop

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er... what about the other way around?

i'm currently trying to develop an iso with 2d tiles for the scenery and 3d (without perspective correctness - tis quicker) scenery and objects. i see little point in swivelling the landscape.. if you want this you may as well go the whole hog and use 3d - cose imho 2d sprites look poo in 3d landscapes.

3d objects (cos theres not that many) can be quite detailed... throwing around the scenery in 3d would take *ages*. it also means smooth movement and adaptable objects (real time transformations and the like).

anyway, just a thought.

dom

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I completely agree with tanstaalf in this matter, 3d is great for some kind of games but the detail you can achive using 2d iso engines is beyond the current state of the art in 3d engines. Also isometric view is great to me for many games, not only RTS or pseudo-RPG ones, also for arcade (any one remebered Zaxon, Sigma-7, etc..?)
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The major problem of using 2d backdrops, tiles, etc... with 3d objects (characters, props, trees etc..) is the clipping problem. Most cards use a zbuffer to sort their polygons, but this requires you to draw the polygon ( it can be completely alphaed out so you dont actually have to see it, but it will write to the z buffer, and this will allow you to clip 3d objects against the 2d scenery). Now if your actually going to use this technique your still taking the hit of drawing the backdrop with invisible polygons, then blit on your 2d tiles, then draw your 3d objects. Many people dont advocate mixing 2d and 3d routines since it stall the 3d hardware, but i dont know if you can get around that unless your going all 3d. Good luck!

-ddn

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Hi,
you normally should do all the 3d stuff before using the blitting routines. It's just that the hardware normally renders faster than blitting the stuff.

3D ---> AI ---> 2D Blitting

If you don't do it this way, you can get some bad results, I never had this problem, but a guy of Creative Asylum told me, and he never told me something wrong, so I believe him.

It's easy to do, believe me. We use 3D to created craters and stuff like that, it looks nice, and the buildings on it look nice because they're pre-rendered.

CU

------------------
Skullpture Entertainment
#40842461

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I just thought of two games that combine 2d and 3d, quite well. Think of FF7 and Resident Evil. Instead of creating an isometric view using tiles you could use big pre-rendered bitmaps and draw your 3d objects on top of it. I don't know the specifics of how those games work, but it seems to work well.
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Both of those games, had to manage their own zbuffer or clip their polygons to the scene in some other way. Same problem, im not saying it cant be done, just you'll have to be aware of it. Furhter to the point how would you go about making a 3d isometric engine?

There isnt any point in writting a new engine, since almost any 3d engine which supports hardware acceleration would do. I would suggest using D3DRetained Mode, with acceleration and some smart management of frames, you can get quite reasonable frame rates and effects. There are many other issues involved ofcourse, but we can discuss those in another thread as this one is getting kinda long.

-ddn

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Hello everyone,

I've written a small 3D isometric engine which currently has support for floors, walls, and objects. It's by no means complete (just a preprealpha), but should give people some idea on what can be done. You can download at:
http://members.xoom.com/mutex0

Included is a Readme, be sure to read it to get the keys. You can also switch between fullscreen and windowed by pressing 'D' and Alt+Tabbing works without crashing. I don't want to spam the board, so if you want more info posted, just ask =)

- Bao Nguyen
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Bao, you should know that defyengine.zip at your site is messed up.
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I'm so sorry about that, just a bad link. It should work now (I downloaded it and ran it). Thanks for the notice =) I also found out one of the files (DDFVIEW.EXE) was debug, fixed that. I'm so messy =)
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Tried your demo, but it said it couldnt run unicode atl on win 95. The strange thing is im on win98. Might want to take a look at that, looking forward to seeing your demo!

-ddn

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i dont know about the rest of you, but i certainly prefer looking at beautiful pre-rendered images. the current 3d stuff isnt quite "there" for me yet, although i feel it has improved by leaps and bounds in the last few years.

also, i've noticed a lot of posts about "3d iso engines".... now this is just silly.

there is, IMO, a clear difference between iso and "3d". iso has no perspective correction, and 3d does.

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sorry again, i uploaded the unicode version of ATL.DLL, which probably caused that problem, assuming you downloaded it. anyway i uploaded the ANSI (95/98) one, all you need to download is the ANSI ATL.DLL (~30kb)
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