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Graphics Software Entertainment Games

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

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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  • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:07AM (#25881907) Homepage Journal

    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 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.

  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @02:57AM (#25882649) Journal

    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 matter of taste. I do, however, find myself agreeing with the sibling poster that 2D games, rendered in 3D, work very well -- Beyond Good & Evil worked very well as a 3D game, but I doubt I'd want to play the little air-hockey minigame in 2D. Maybe I'm just spoiled by fancy graphics, but it just seems right in 3D.

  • 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.

Variables don't; constants aren't.