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3D game, but drawn like a 2D game

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I'm designing this game for the past three months, and it was meant to be 2D as I don't think it would look well with modelling, especially made by an amateur. I know how to draw with a tablet well enough, so I figured I'd do something like the art-style of games like Hollow Knight by Team Cherry and Castle Crashers, art by Dan Paladin. I have almost four years of experience with a Tablet.

However, the game that I really want to make would work much better in a 3D environment, and the more I figure out the design phase, the more I think 3D would be perfect.

Here's the question: Is there a way to make a 3D game that has all of its assets drawn instead of modelled? Like, something that looks like the game Borderlands, for example.

Let's say I actually go through the 3D modelling phase to make a character, but then I slap my drawing in the surface of that model for it to look 2D while being a 3D with X Y and Z. Makes sense? As if Minecraft was made with a bunch of cubic models and then someone slapped pixel art in the cube's surfaces...

Do you guys know any game dev who achieved something like that?

Any comments are welcome, thank you.

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"The Last Night" - http://oddtales.net/

I don't know if this is the 2d/3d thing you were going for. It is similar to the Elysian Shadows game posted up above. You would essentially take your sprites and just render them in a 3d environment. You'd have to just make sure to line up your camera against the flat sprites to create a 2d/3d effect.

Also in terms of achieving an effect like Borderlands, you may have to play with your shaders. Maybe this can help. https://youtu.be/3penhrrKCYg Part way in the video there is this Borderlands type effect that may give you some ideas for your project.

Good luck!

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1 hour ago, Andress Martin said:

However, the game that I really want to make would work much better in a 3D environment, and the more I figure out the design phase, the more I think 3D would be perfect.

There are lots of ways to do this.

First you can use 2D sprites in a 3D world. This is very easy, just load your sprite image to a flat plain.

 UDKSpriteSheetExample.png

 

Second is shell shading. This is what your thinking of. It's 3D models but by using a shader you make it look 2D. A outline is rendered in composing or by using the old mesh flip trick to get black edges. The Naruto, DBZ and some Zelda games use this.

It's mostly special shaders. The shaders are easy to make or find already made.

naruto-ultimate-ninja-storm-20080416040601929.jpg

 

Matcap shaders can be used for this also, but have lot's of problems that make them less than ideal. I am researching this at the moment.

shader_base_drone-1024x439.png

 

Then there is hand painted models, these are my favorite as they look really amazing. The problem is that making them needs both skill in 3D modeling and Digital painting.

For this you will use a shadless shader, all the light info is drawn in by hand.

001kFJBxgy722GjKhGNa1&690

Last is stylized rendering or composing. What dis means is that the rendered image of the 3D scene is adjusted to look 2D. Most modern games, including borderlands use this.

Where all the other examples are easy to do from the artist part of production, they are easy to implement, composing requires a lot of know how and often coding skill. It's the same as shaders for most part but often a bit more complex and not easy to find.

PostStylized.jpg

 

You are not limited to one form. Lot's of games combine these with each other for great effect. Have fun making these.

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4 hours ago, rlyeh said:

"Elysian Shadows" ( http://www.elysianshadows.com ) has/does. Its been quite for some time, now that I mentioned it.

I think that is going to be a vaporware product.  They've not updated the website since this time last year.

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Wow so many great answers.

@Scouting Ninja your post was very helpful, I will dig into those. Thanks for the tips!
 

13 hours ago, vama89 said:

Also in terms of achieving an effect like Borderlands, you may have to play with your shaders. Maybe this can help. https://youtu.be/3penhrrKCYg

I hadn't watched the Unite series yet, thanks!

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16 hours ago, Mike2343 said:

I think that is going to be a vaporware product.  They've not updated the website since this time last year.

Yes, unfortunately. Very chaotic team as well, but that was the one I actually know about:)

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