Have some questions for making a turnbased RPG

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Sorry if in wrong board. Will try to make it quick and understandable.

Helping someone (artist) get started on an rpg game they want to make. They want to hire 1-3 programmers (they prefer 1 -_-) to make the game once everything is designed and fleshed out (creating as much as possible on paper first, even the math and battle calculations.) Since I am trying to make sure they succeed, I would like help understanding the situation better. Mostly the limitations with using that few of programmers.

Graphics wise, what should we be aiming for that is possible? Some examples of existing games would be great :) They want 3d, which I'm not sure will work. But, I don't really know anything about tricks and stuff. Also, in terms of difficulty in programming for, how do the different sub genres of rpg's generally rate?

Sorry for being sort of an outsider in this environment. Even though I am not the project lead, I was brought in as the designer and writer so I would like to start understanding each part of the development stage.

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For 2D, a single programmer would be fine. For 3D, the work increases dramatically because players expect more from high-quality 3D games than they do from high-quality 2D games. In general single programmer could make a high-quality 2D game, or a poor-quality 3D game - but it'd depend alot on the skill of the programmer, what tools he has available, what platforms it's being released on, and most importantly what features the game requires.

Here's a small example in difference. To move an NPC around the screen:

2D) You move a image in x and y coordinates, and you (based off the passage of time) swap between several frames of animation.

3D) You move a 3D model in x,y, and z coordinates, and you (based off the passage of time, and physics) calculate automatically the positions of thousands of vertices of the triangles that make up the 3D model, moving them based off of the positions of the 'bones' of the rigged model, and the positions of the model's 3D animation, interpolating between their current positions (which might've been halfway through one animation) and their desired positions (for the now-current animation), while making sure the 3D model's bones don't do anything that is unrealistic (turning a leg the wrong direction or bending the arm backwards).

Now a good engine will handle alot of that for you, but it helps illustrate the difference between 2D and 3D - it's not just adding one more dimension of movement, it's adding hundreds of player expectations and thousands of tiny complications. And since players expect more from a 3D game than they do from a 2D game, cutting corners is much more noticeable.

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Thanks. Helping a lot.

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Hmm what are the advantages from having a set camera in towns and stuff, but a free camera on the world map? Would that make it easier to make a 3d game? What defines a 2d or 3d game has been confusing me lately with so many different views from other people.

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Doesn't generally have a set cam In most games annoy people tho even if it is just in a city?

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A 3D game is a game that renders triangles at certain perspectives. The triangles may face any direction.

A 2D game is a game that renders squares always on a flat plane, always facing directly at the camera.

The 3D game may have a camera angle that makes everything look flat - that doesn't stop it from being 3D, and requiring 3D work.

The 2D game's squares are actually broken into triangles and rendered using the 3D system anyway - but that's a technical detail that isn't bothering the programmer, since it is usually hidden away and not something he has to deal with anyway. The 2D images used might look like they are 3D, but that doesn't concern the programmer - he's just drawing flat squares. Making the 2D art look like it's 3D is an artist's concern.

Here's two images I found online to illustrate the point:

A poorly done castle in 3D: (most 3D games look way better than this - this was just the first image I found)

Everything seen in the image above is triangles in 3D space (being projected onto a 2D monitor) with 2D images 'texturing' the 3D triangles.

A not-too-shabby castle done in 2D, even though it looks 3D-ish:

Everything above is 2D squares (which will each be later broken into two triangles per square, but that's not important) and completely flat against the screen. The shading of the characters' clothing, the shadows of the trees, the shading on the curved castle towers, that's all drawn by artists and not something the programmer needs to deal with. All the programmer needs to deal with is where to draw the squares, and what order to draw them (draw the people behind the castle walls first, then draw the castle wall to cover the people, then draw the people in front of the wall to cover the wall again - but draw the flooring before all of that).

This is just talking about the art side of things, so when I say "all the programmer needs to deal with", I mean, "all the programmer needs to deal with on that one part of a large game project"; I don't mean to imply that programmers choose 2D because they are lazy, but because it lessens an already overwhelming load.

There are not multiple different views of what's considered 2D or 3D - find some pictures of a game that looks similar (in appearance, not in gameplay) to the type of game you want to make, and any programmer on this forum can tell you whether it's 2D or 3D, in the majority of cases, just by looking at the image. Occasionally there's a really good 2D game that looks (when not viewing it in motion) like it's 3D. Sometimes, 3D is used to just do 2D - but that's just using the 3D engine to do 2D, so it technically counts as 2D anyway (if all the triangles are draw on the same plane, or entirely parallel planes).

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Bah haha. It is going to take awhile for me to understand this better

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What would you like explained better? Perhaps my wording is just confusing.

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Maybe visually this will help: I drew over the two images I posted above, where the triangles and squares could possibly be. This is not their exact locations, but it is reasonably accurate for illustrative purposes.

2D castle - showing how it's composed of non-oriented squares, with images applied to those squares. I used a different color for different squares, to make it easier to see. One square is a single image draw by an artist, and the shadows and curves are drawn into the square image.

See how I have the tower as a single square? It's probably one image. Maybe two: the tower and the tower's roof. The banner on the towers look like a separate image. Some 2D games, like my own, use only images of a specific size, and let map makers recombine the images (called 'tiles') to build the world.

3D castle - showing how it's composed of oriented triangles with images applied to the triangles. The shading/lighting is calculated by the nature of it being 3D. To make curves, you just use more triangles to make it look smoother (see the archway) or the base of the tower roofs).

I didn't bother drawing every single triangle - and often the really large triangles will be broken into a few smaller ones - but not many small ones.

Edited by Servant of the Lord

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