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The Comparative Value of 2-D Vs. 3-D Graphics In Games 107

Posted by Soulskill
from the tetris-vs-quake dept.
GameSetWatch is running a feature discussing the value of graphics styles in games. The authors point out that while certain genres, such as first-person shooters, benefited immensely from the advent of 3-D graphics, some types of games didn't handle the transition as well. A player's perspective, and his interaction with the game's camera, can often make or break an otherwise excellent release. "Before making the full jump to 3D, many genres made a move from classic 2D to isometric 2D as an intermediary step. For example, the original Civilization had a traditional top-down grid view while Civ 2 had a three-quarters isometric view. While this new perspective gave the game world a more life-like appearance, the change did come at a cost to the user's game experience. Namely, distances are much more difficult to judge on an isometric grid as the east-west axis takes up twice as many pixels as the north-south axis. To solve this problem, for Civ 4, our 3D perspective actually hearkened back to the original game as we showed the game's grid straight ahead and not at an angle. The easier the players perceive the grid through the graphics, the better they can 'see' their possible decisions."
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The Comparative Value of 2-D Vs. 3-D Graphics In Games

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  • Oh, come on...

    ---edit

    I am SO glad I decided to doublecheck before I hit the post button. Who knew I'd been wrong about how to spell a word for the last 20 years?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RuBLed (995686)
      Well it seems that Soulskill is keeping up with his Bible reading...

      Joking aside, here's the definition [merriam-webster.com].
      • I know many people don't like their rts in 3D, but Homeworld is an utterly amazing game. That being said I could imagine the game being just as fun in 2D, though it would loose its artistic value, and would thus be slightly less appealing. Then comes the sequel with jacked graphics and features, but a loss of that nostalgic feeling that the old one had. Not long after I started pondering why, I came with a very quick conclusion. Although I was playing a 3D rts, the controls and interface had turned it into

  • 2D gameplay is generally best when playing on a 2D surface. All the problems come about from the discrepancy between 2D gameplay on a 3D surface. -Keith -www.expensiveplanetarium.com
  • by pipingguy (566974) * on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @12:54AM (#25881823) Homepage
    ...distances are much more difficult to judge on an isometric grid...

    This is great fun to try to solve when a 3D CAD user moves an element "only" 500 feet away (temporarily, so s/he can re-use it later, and then forgets it) in the X-Y plane, but it goes 6 billion kilometres away in the Z dimension, making the graphic environment slightly larger than the solar system.

    What usually happens then is that the wildly out-of-proportion 3D model is appended into visualization software (along with hundreds of others) and it's near impossible to figure out why the designed facility is so hard to find in the blackness of space.
    • by KlaymenDK (713149)

      Oohh I wish I had mod points for you! (And I'm so glad I'm alone in my office just now.)

      Thanks mate, I can always need a good laugh.

    • by deniable (76198)

      It happens with 2d CAD as well. People leaving dots and bits of crap out in the middle of space mean that you may have to print a couple of hundred drawings and can't just say plot extents. At least the vendors fixed the issue where the center of very shallow arcs caused the same problem.

      I've seen most of the evil people can do to CAD designs. I once threatened to replace a guy's machine with crayons, but was told he'd think he was a design checker and cause even more damage.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ovoskeuiks (665553)
      CAD people shouldn't mix metric and imperial measurements like that. Unless of course you work at NASA
  • by not already in use (972294) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @12:55AM (#25881829)
    Metroid was better as 2D. I thought Zelda was too. I can understand if they want to throw most of their weight behind 3d titles because they sell better, but I think new 2d titles of classic series would be cash cows on something like the virtual console, and cost a lot less to develop. Your only option to play good 2d games is on a hand held. No thanks, the last thing I need is to start at a 4 inch screen a foot from my face after 8 hours of looking at a computer monitor.
    • by corsec67 (627446) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:00AM (#25881853) Homepage Journal

      One thing I hate about the transition from 2D to 3D is, especially in 3-rd person games, how controlling the camera becomes as important as controlling the character.

      Look at how many Playstation games have one stick for controlling the character and the other stick for controlling the camera, which just isn't an issue with a 2D game.

      • by famebait (450028)

        Amen to that. But it's mainly a question of bad design/ignorance.

        The (necessarily 3rd person) 2D levels have always been specifically designed for easy viewing from a 'static camera'. Otherwise you would hardly ever see your character. Somehow people manage to forget this aspect of level design when they move to third-person 3D.

        Unless you have some amazingly awesome automatic camera controls, or are willing to spend on levels that are well-designed for well-placed static 3D cameras, you better stick to th

      • by Hatta (162192)

        So? You can control your head and feet independently, what's wrong with implementing that in a game?

        • by corsec67 (627446)

          So? You can control your head and feet independently, what's wrong with implementing that in a game?

          That would be a FPS, and that does work well.

          I don't usually run around with my eyes 10 feet back and 10 feet in the air with the direction that my feet move based on where my "eyes" are.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Look at how many Playstation games have one stick for controlling the character and the other stick for controlling the camera, which just isn't an issue with a 2D game.

        I'm not replying to dispute your point, but your comment here reminded me of something that's semi-on-topic, here. 2D scrolling games did have a camera, and that camera did cause problems. We never really percieved it as a camera because a.) it was 2D and the metaphor didn't really make sense until it we saw it in 3D and b.) the problems were far less prevalent in 2D than they were in 3D. Still, though, they were there, and we noticed them. Remember when Super Mario 2 came out and everybody oo'd and aa'

    • Agreed on Metroid, but at least they're still making 2D Metroid games. I want more 2D Mario, 3D Mario was a fscking travesty (I know they made New Super Mario Bros, but that's one game in the past 18 years. Hardly adequate.).

      I don't agree that Zelda was better in 2D, though. I enjoy Zelda in 3D much more than I did in 2D.

    • by 7Prime (871679) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:36AM (#25882041) Homepage Journal

      I agree and disagree. In the case of both series, my favorite games are 3D, but the 2D games really had their merrit, ESPECIALLY metroid. Metroid Prime is probably my favorite game in the series, however, it's the only 3D Metroid that I thought was anywhere close to being as good as Super Metroid or Zero Mission. The other 3 3D metroids (if you want to even count Hunters) were pretty terrible (well... Prime 3 had it's moments).

      Zelda, I have to completely disagree. I think the nature of that series really made it shine in 3D. Since it's a more epic, cinematic adventure game, with less attention on action, and more on problem solving... adding a third dimension really opened up a lot of new possibilities in their puzzle creation and navigation... not to mention expanding the epic/cinematic feel. Twilight Princess, Majora's Mask, and OoT far surpassed their 2D counterparts, and I think the team really learned a lot about good storytelling as the series progressed (especially Twilight Princess), while Link to the Past and Minish Cap have their charm, I've been forever greatful for the mainstays of the series going 3D. The exceptions were Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass, which I thought took the series in an unbelievably boring direction.

      All-in-all I think that Nintendo has been the best company to make the transition from 2D to 3D. I really trust their judgement in the matter. Metroid is Retro, who as creative as they are, do not have the 3 decades of experience behind them in game production, and sometimes end up tripping over themselves. However, Mario Galaxy, and the Zelda series really proves to me that they really know how to make the jump from 2 to 3 dimensions while a) keeping the games as easy to control as in 2D, and b) knowing what to change and what to keep when making the transition.

      That's the thing. Some companies throw everything they've done previously in the series away, and basically create a new series with the same characters. This means that the series suffers, once again, from the same basic learning curve as any new series. Other companies try to keep everything EXACTLY the same... and in the process make a game that is completely out of its own dimension. The wise game designers are able to pick and choose elements that work well in the transition, and throw out the old.

      RPGs don't count, however... pretty much every RPG can be done well in 3D, since the lack of timed action means that precise control is not an issue. Not that every first in an RPG series to go 3D is great (I'm not a huge fan of FF7 when compared to the games on either side of it, for instance), but there's no reason why 3D should hinder that genre. That pretty much goes for adventure too, with some exceptions.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by KDR_11k (778916)

        I don't think Zelda was very cinematic before it turned 3d, it was less linear and more about exploration.

        Phantom Hourglass was way better than the 3d Zeldas though too damn easy. Then again, all somewhat recent Zeldas are too damn easy since the damage you take doesn't grow much while your HP and the healing items you carry increase a lot and in any Zelda after the first two there are tons of breakable things to get hearts from instead of having to beat up enemies to get health back.

        • by 7Prime (871679)

          First of all, I don't see Zelda's difficulty coming from the action elements, but more from the puzzles and problem solving. After the first two games, the creators were obviously more concerned with making an interesting adventure game with action elements, than the other way around. As a long time RPG and adventure game fan, I tend to agree with their direction. However, the action is intrinsicly tied in with the problem solving, which makes for a lot of interesting and difficult gameplay.

          I thought Phanto

          • I have to agree, Phantom Hourglass is the first Zelda in a long time that I didn't finish.

            Two things that really irked me:

            1. There was no obvious forward progression. I kept having to go back to the same damn dungeon too many times to count, and every time it was the same dungeon with a few more levels accessable, and a clock to annoy me. No, I don't mind going back to a dungeon again if say a large event occured in-game that changed everything. But Hourglass is just repetitive for the sake of making the

            • by 7Prime (871679)

              Hell, I'd finish Zelda II before Hourglass.

              Hey, don't go dissin' my Zelda II, boy... that game had it's charm. You gotta give them credit for originality at least. It was like Zelda meets Dragon Warrior.

            • I have to agree, Phantom Hourglass is the first Zelda in a long time that I didn't finish.

              Two things that really irked me:

              1. There was no obvious forward progression. I kept having to go back to the same damn dungeon too many times to count, and every time it was the same dungeon with a few more levels accessable, and a clock to annoy me. No, I don't mind going back to a dungeon again if say a large event occured in-game that changed everything. But Hourglass is just repetitive for the sake of making the game seem longer.

              ADDENTUM: if you're going to make a game THIS damn repetitive, do us gamers a favor and put in a quest log. If I so much as put the game down for a week, I had no freaking idea where I needed to go next.

              2. The touch screen control is a bad idea for a top-down Zelda game, PERIOD. The problem is, some items benefitted from the interface (boomerang, bow and arrows) while others suffered (swordplay, movement), but overall the gameplay got worse. I say leave in the drawing gimmicks, and give me back my buttons.

              Hell, I'd finish Zelda II before Hourglass.

              Actually the touch screen controls worked way better for me than the buttons. I guess YMMV in this case. But I think everyone agrees that the temple of the ocean king was the thing which ruined this otherwise excellent game totally.
              It was annoying, only made the game longer than it really is and was totally pointless except for making the game longer!

        • I don't think Zelda was very cinematic before it turned 3d, it was less linear and more about exploration.

          Phantom Hourglass was way better than the 3d Zeldas though too damn easy. Then again, all somewhat recent Zeldas are too damn easy since the damage you take doesn't grow much while your HP and the healing items you carry increase a lot and in any Zelda after the first two there are tons of breakable things to get hearts from instead of having to beat up enemies to get health back.

          Actually phantom hourglass is the only Zelda I have finished so far. The reason time. I would not count it as the best, but definitely among the best handheld Zeldas so far. The main issue with PH is the temple you have to reenter again and again and again, that really sucked the life out of the game. This is one of the most annoying aspects of the game. But I have yet to play a Zelda without any annoyances, it seems to be one of the cornerpoints of the series, that they usually almost make the perfect game

      • Not that every first in an RPG series to go 3D is great (I'm not a huge fan of FF7 when compared to the games on either side of it, for instance), but there's no reason why 3D should hinder that genre.

        FF7 seemed like an example of 3D graphics, not of 3D gameplay, imo. The movement environments were all essentially 2D, but instead of sprites with a top-down or isometric view, we had polygon-based models and a viewpoint that varied between scenes (isometric, "behind the head", angled, etc) without feeling ja

        • by 7Prime (871679)

          Actually, I want to take that a step backwards. I think that FF6 was actually fully 3D gameplay with 2D graphics. The game attempted to portray a very real 3D world on a 2D plain... sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. But I think that 3D gameplay was already there before FF7. These are RPGs we're talking about, so the difference in gameplay between 2D and 3D isn't exactly going to be all that noticable in the first place. But I would say that there's more difference in the presentation of a 3D world b

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nkh (750837)
      And I'd like PETA to create Meatroid, a Flash game where Samus would cook parasites from different planets. The hentai version would have a few takoyaki recipes for tentacular action. THAT would be great!
    • by MogNuts (97512)

      I have to say I agree completely. The new Bionic Commando, which is 2D but utilizes 3D, ends up being the perfect implementation. That's what I hate about the new 3D games--always dealing with the camera. Another one--Castle Crashers--is a nice 3D RPG that is 2D. That said, anybody have any recommendations of any more good games (for the PC preferably, and definitely no handhelds like the OP) that meld 2D and 3D like the aforementioned? Especially RPGs or strategy games with a good story?

      • anybody have any recommendations of any more good games (for the PC preferably, and definitely no handhelds like the OP) that meld 2D and 3D like the aforementioned? Especially RPGs or strategy games with a good story?

        Well, I don't know how much 3D-2D "melding" you're looking for, but The Witcher for PC uses the Aurora engine (same one which powered Knights of the Old Republic) with some significant modifications. The game lets you play in over-the-shoulder mode, for a closer-to-the-action perspective, or you can zoom out and play from an isometric perspective, making it more like an old-school PC RPG (Ultima series, e.g.). The whole game is 3D and has an excellent story, non-linear gameplay and lots of choices to make,

    • by KDR_11k (778916)

      Metroid Prime was very good, I didn't like the sequels much though (Prime 3 is pretty much like Fusion in terms of linearity and the containers you could get kinda sucked since you use the E tanks for almost everything and the missiles and ship missiles were practically useless after the first few packs). Zelda suffered a lot from going 3d IMO, the puzzles got much dumber since it turned into matching the item to the special thing on the wall though maybe a bit of that is the age of the franchise too (shoot

    • Who remembers that game, IIRC it was a 2d game however there were some minor 3d aspects to it, and it was one of the best platformers I've ever played
    • Mega Man 9

    • I think new 2d titles of classic series would be cash cows on something like the virtual console, and cost a lot less to develop. Your only option to play good 2d games is on a hand held.

      Or, as I'm sure you must be aware by now, on something like the Virtual Console?

      Mega Man 9. Geometry Wars.Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (...Alpha Championship Edition Zero Alpha II). They're all newly-released 2D titles playable on the big screen, made possible by the reduced development and distribution costs of a 'bu

  • Worms (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ozphx (1061292) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @12:56AM (#25881837) Homepage

    The Worms series suffered greatly from 3D. The extra degrees of freedom made craters and other hazards much less of an obstacle (side-stepped!) - and stray ordnance was much less likely to hit anything hilarious.

    I've been playing around with Entanglar [dunnchurchill.com] lately - which is a 2D physics / multiplayer library. Hopefully I'll be rich off the next Geometry Wars, and I will donate my considerable riches to the person who can troll twitter in the funniest way possible.

    • actually, 'geometry wars' is some of the most fun i've had on my NDS.

      its also a perfect example of 'game-play first' kind of game design. the particle effects make the visuals interesting enough to hold their own against today's FPS, but its still button mashing greatness.

      zelda: phantom hourglass (also for the NDS) is, in my opinion, another example of 3D done well in a game. it is a 3D game, but its overhead view is almost 2D.

      i'm sick of playing games that look fantastic, then get horribly boring after 15

      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        Most games get boring way faster than 15 minutes because the first hour or two consists of the intro and tutorial. Once you get through the slump of a story that shouldn't have thrown so much at you so early and a more time consuming version of the manual that seems to be insulting your intelligence you can finally start learning how to play the real game (which tutorials never teach you since they seem to be so occupied with buttons that they won't bother with strategies and other things that go beyond wha

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @12:59AM (#25881849)

    The advantage of 3D graphics, even without zooming the camera, is that it means you've gone away from the limits of the sprite sets. Consider how silly top-down flying games like Star Control looked when the ships could only point in eight directions. You fire your gun and the shot passes to the right of the target, turn one click, now it passes to the left. Ridiculous. IF this ship were rendered, you would have a true 360 degrees of rotation without creating an intolerable number of bitmaps.

    Like anything in games, you can use too much and too little of the right tools. Dawn of War was pretty neat to look at but most of the capabilities of the engine were wasted. Yes, it's very cool to do in-engine cut scenes and yes, it's cool to be able to zoom right in and look a unit in the eyes but there's simply no time to do that when playing a frantic battle. There's not even a playback feature so you can see the results of your handiwork from the ground. No, you zoom in like that and you lose the ability to play properly. In the end it is a cool yet useless feature.

    The thing that developers have kind of forgotten from time to time is that some play mechanics work in 3D, others don't. Others disagree with this but I never thought Sonic worked in a 3D format, it was always meant to be 2D. You can use 3D to render it but the camera should remain fixed and it should be a side-scroller. Was never a Mario fan so I don't know how they feel about the classic versions versus the 3D ones but I would imagine that they feel like entirely different games. Of course, we know why this happened in the PSX/N64 era. 3D graphics were the new thing and management pushed the mandate that everything should be 3D, period, just like Ted Turner colorizing old classics.

    I like that they brought up Advanced Wars. The beauty of that game is that it looks great on the small screen and does it using techniques familiar to us from the SNES days, just with higher bit depths. But the core gameplay is there, the graphics look great, and the game accomplishes exactly what it set out to do and looks good doing it. I can just imagine some designer coming into the sequel and getting all gaga over making it 3D. Nope, it ain't a 3D game, never was and never should be. There's many good 3D combat games that could be made but they wouldn't be Advanced Wars. If that's the game you want to make, go make it and leave AV alone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by X0563511 (793323)

      There's nothing wrong in using 3D where 2D usually goes. The problem appears when you try to use the mechanics wrongly, as you note.

      Take star control. Render said ships in 3D, but keep the view mechanics the same... problem solved! And the game looks better now too!

      • by grumbel (592662)

        One however has to be careful with that. In games like Contra or similar games using 3D models instead of sprites can make the collision detection pretty unpredictable and using 3D backdrops in combination with 2D gameplay can often feel very restrictive and unnatural, something that you don't get with classic 2D sprites. Of course much of that trouble can be avoided when handled with care, but I have seen quite a few 2D games with 3D sprites that I would have preferred with 2D sprites instead.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This will reinforce and reiterate the above. If you bring it down to the basics, it's mostly a question of style vs. functionality.

      You can have a 2D game that looks 3D. (Pre-rendered sprites, etc.) And game play will still be pretty much as it was without the 3D look. So it's a style choice, and if done well it can make things look nice.

      Likewise, you could have a 3D game that has the render engine set up to produce cartoon lines and cell-shading. Yet it's obvious from the mechanics and gameplay that it's bu

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I would imagine that they feel like entirely different games.

      That much isn't always bad. Not a great example, but Duke Nukem 1 and 2 were kind of "meh" for me -- could never really get into them. Duke 3D was a whole different story, and if Duke Nukem Forever does come out, I'll play it.

      And for some things, like Zelda, it really feels like an evolutionary change -- like yes, this is the same game, but that's the natural direction for them to take it. Ocarina of Time is still one of my all-time favorites.

      I don't disagree about some play mechanics, but it is somewhat a

    • by asb (1909)

      The advantage of 3D graphics, even without zooming the camera, is that it means you've gone away from the limits of the sprite sets. Consider how silly top-down flying games like Star Control looked when the ships could only point in eight directions. You fire your gun and the shot passes to the right of the target, turn one click, now it passes to the left. Ridiculous. IF this ship were rendered, you would have a true 360 degrees of rotation without creating an intolerable number of bitmaps.

      The things you

      • by tepples (727027)

        Why should we care about the number of bitmaps? If the game works, then it works and the number of bitmaps should not be an issue to anyone.

        Having to hand-draw more bitmaps means less time to work on other parts of the game.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by im_thatoneguy (819432)

      I have to disagree with you.

      I'm a VFX artist so I use a lot of 3D to solve problems. And I also use a LOT of 2D to solve problems.

      First. You can have one sprite rotate an infinite number of degrees without ever entering the third dimension. If it's an isometric top down view. Just rotate the sprite. There. Done. A "Sprite for each direction" has been outdated for decades. Next you're going to be saying we need a unique sprite for every screen position. ;) I kid I kid.

      Secondly. I think that we're ex

      • by dwarfking (95773)

        I'm a VFX artist

        Good, I need your help. I'm a coder, not an artist.

        I've been recently (last year or so) playing around with various game programming, so maybe you can help me with one of the problems I'm encountering with sprites.

        I have a game framework that allows for character movement in any one of the 8 cardinal directions. I would like the appearance to match the direction.

        Outside of of having 8 different views of the sprite pre-rendered, how could you make use of sprite rotations to do the same? A character facing

        • by SteevR (612047)

          Firstly, if you have a bilaterally symmetric character, you only need 5 facings for 8 way movement as you can mirror left/right and the associated diagonals. If the characters aren't symmetric in this way, then it can lead to funny behavior (imagine a knight whose sword and shield swap hands when he turns from left to right). I can remember this happening in at least one game on the Genesis, though.

          There isn't any way to do that without cheating a bit...

          1. Render top down. Use sprite rotations to do just th

      • by tepples (727027)

        We have gigs of ram and 7200rpm hard drives.

        No console has gigs of RAM, and very few PCs are connected to a TV that's large enough to allow four people to sit around it as opposed to buying three more PCs and three more monitors. Worse, over the past decade and a half, Sony Computer Entertainment America has shown itself likely to reject proposals for 2D games on its PS1 and PS2 consoles.

        Another advantage of 3D is that it's more amenable to user-generated content. Say the player wants to make a new costume for a character. The Animal Crossing game

    • by KDR_11k (778916)

      Dawn of War had the sync kills which were long animations that made the attacker invulnerable while they were playing, that's a critical gameplay feature at high-level play and wouldn't be feasible with 2d graphics (since they can be performed into any direction and against a large variety of targets). In fact a huge advantage of 3d is simple skeletal animation, being able to run an animation with different models without needing to redo the animation, with sprites every frame only works for exactly one vie

    • by MacTO (1161105)

      > The advantage of 3D graphics, even without zooming the camera, is that it means you've gone away from the limits of the sprite sets. Consider how silly top-down flying games like Star Control looked when the ships could only point in eight directions. (...) IF this ship were rendered, you would have a true 360 degrees of rotation without creating an intolerable number of bitmaps.

      Actually, 3-D gives you 4*pi steradians of rotation.

      As someone previously mentioned, it is possible to "render" in 2-D as wel

      • Do you want to simulate a light source in a 2-D environment? You can't do that by simply rotating a sprite. You would need multiple sprites.

        Or one sprite with a bump channel [wikipedia.org].

    • by vertinox (846076)

      Dawn of War did have a play back feature, but I don't know of anyone who bothered watching the game over again.

      There was a planned instant replay window in the Winter expansion for sync kills but nothing ever came of it. Hopeful DoW2 will handle it better.

    • by Madsy (1049678)
      The technique of using eight directional sprites like in Star Control, has nothing to do with 2D vs 3D. What you suggest as superior smooth rotation, is just 2D vector and matrix transformations applied to either texture coordinates or the vertices themselves. Where the vertices for simple sprites can be just four points to define a quadrilateral. Even the old SNES supports proper individual rotation of sprites.
      Just because you use transformations and/or a polygon rasterizer doesn't mean that your game is
    • I like that they brought up Advanced Wars. The beauty of that game is that it looks great on the small screen and does it using techniques familiar to us from the SNES days, just with higher bit depths. But the core gameplay is there, the graphics look great, and the game accomplishes exactly what it set out to do and looks good doing it. I can just imagine some designer coming into the sequel and getting all gaga over making it 3D. Nope, it ain't a 3D game, never was and never should be. There's many good 3D combat games that could be made but they wouldn't be Advanced Wars. If that's the game you want to make, go make it and leave AV alone.

      Fun Fact: They already did that. If I recall correctly the Battalion Wars series is an offshoot of Advance Wars, in 3D.

    • Consider how silly top-down flying games like Star Control looked when the ships could only point in eight directions.

      Kill the heretic. 8 directions is a FEATURE that helps immensely versus the computer and to a lesser extent other players.

    • 2D games are often cheaper to make, which means that you can make more niche games that wouldn't be justified with a big team of modellers and artists and a 3D engine.
      republic: The revolution was a political strategy game (niche) that took about 50 people 5 years to make and cost millions (I worked at Elixir). On the other hand I made Democracy [positech.co.uk] on my own in under a year, purely by doing away with the (largely irrelevant) 3D world and going back to a 2D style of gameplay.
      This means that Democracy made a prof

      • by SteevR (612047)

        If you are a programmer who can't do art (most of us), conceiving a product that will be competitive enough to sell (or even generate ad impressions in the flash space), you need budget for an artist (or you need to find a decent one that will work for free)..

        I personally find it easier to fire up a 3d modeling tool and knock out low-poly spaceships or simple trees, than to have sat down with paper and pencil and done the same thing (god forbid I try 2D art on the computer, it still looks like I'm 7 and toy

  • LBP is an interesting modern example of mashing 2D and 3D together. It's essentially a 2D platforming game implemented in a 3D environment with 3 2D planes which your character can move between.

    The creators chose this design because they thought it was more enjoyable to play. A full 3D world was too complex, and detracted from the simple fun they were aiming at.

    Having played the game, I think they made a good decision. It's got the simplicity of a 2D platformer, but the extra depth provided by the multil

  • Case in point: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Trogre (513942) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @02:24AM (#25882397) Homepage

    Lemmings 3D

  • I think the transition doesn't work because most of the time either the developer is trying to milk the popularity of an old game or they're trying to reproduce the gameplay of the original without properly taking into account the 3d medium. The former, of course, is almost always the case.

    But there certainly have been exceptions. I think the Metroid Prime series is one. It might not have the charm of the 2D version, but it certainly is great in its own right.

    I think the games that make the transition well

  • Well, 3D games require a heck of a lot more work, thus making the development more expensive.
    For some reason, managers consider 3D to be the Latest And Greatest - why? Some games certainly require 3D (flight simulators come to mind, and I'm sure STALKER looks better in 3D than 2D), but on many others it's simply completely wasted. An commenter mentioned the great (2D) game 'Worms' - lovely and very funny in 2D, boring in 3D.

    Many games (strategy) are simply easier to view, judge and control using 2D. And, in

  • by azgard (461476) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @04:45AM (#25883301)

    I found Warcraft 2 (2D) a bit easier to play than Starcraft (isometric), but Starcraft looked a lot better. I didn't like the Warcraft 3 at all. Not only it looked worse than Starcraft because of jagged 3D graphics, but you also got to control the camera. And you know, I do want to control the strategic aspect of the game, not to fumble with the camera during the battle. It's just stupid micromanagement.

  • I can think of few scenarios where 3D isn't going to be better but the issue is a lot of 3D games simply have bad implementations.

    Whilst some games are far better in 3D as the summary suggests- FPS, RTS again as the summary mentions, some not so. For me platformers spring to mind here, a lot of platformers that went 3D absolutely suck- Sonic the hedgehog in 3D was never any good imo for example. There are however some that work well, there are those that went third person succesfully such as Mario 64 and fr

  • Would love to see more 2d games. I think it says something that the 2d art on the box of games often looks better than the 3d gameplay art.

    For me the golden age of gaming ended when the playstation, with it's fairly crappy 3d art (remember cloud strife and his yellow triangle head?) replaced the SNES, which had pretty nice art considering the limited resolution and color palette.

    Since then gaming has become a technological race, with not enough attention payed to gameplay and art, and too much payed to pixe

  • Personally, i prefer RTS games to be in 2D. It is much easier to perfectly place and build my cities and palce my armies.
  • then what nD doesn't mattter.
    Ok 2 exceptions: 1D and DD

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