2.5D Engine

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by KG_Brad, Sep 14, 2007.

  1. KG_Brad

    KG_Brad New Member

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    I was wondering, is there still a place for Doom style graphics engines? It seems like a lot of indies try to start a 3D project only to realize that 3D coding is difficult and a hassle for a one person team. A solution would be to program an engine similar to the old Doom. Would this work? Could an indie game that uses coding techniques that are 14 years old stand out and have any success?
     
  2. Mikademus

    Mikademus New Member

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    I'd say that some mobile platforms are getting the beef to handle a Doom/Hexen-ish system. With BREW getting increasing penetration into handheld platforms you could in fact be onto a very nice niche.

    What we see in games development is not that older technical models disappear to be replaced by higher-end technology, rather, they percolate downwards into more restricted hardware. ZX48-level, then C64/NES-level, then Amiga level games had renaissances on handhelds (GameBoys, mobile phones, etc), and now is the time for MCGA/XGA 80386-level PC games on the "lesser platforms". In fact, a sprite/2.5D game might be more suitable than (or at least virtually indistinguishable from) a full 3D-world on small screens.
     
  3. Rainer Deyke

    Indie Author

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    3D coding isn't difficult, and besides, there are plenty of free 3D engines available. The bottleneck is content production, and 2.5D offers no advantages over 3D there.
     
  4. Bad Sector

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    Actually it does and it does A LOT!

    I can produce a complete 2.5D map with lots of detail at the same it it will take me to produce two rooms in a 3D map (given that both editors are not usable of course - my definition of usable when it comes to 3D maps is around the level of Qoole and Valve's Hammer and for 2.5D maps is around the level of Doom Builder... definitelly not DEU and for god's sake no QuArK... although the only map i released was made with that :p).

    That's when it comes to maps. Now when it comes to entities, making 2D art is for sure easier than making 3D art (at least for me). Textures are somewhat the same though. For "pseydo3d" characters, you can do what Duke Nukem 3D's artists (and most games' artists from that era) did: just create a rough model in some 3D package, render it from different angles and do some post-editing on the final images.

    I had a similar question some time ago too (although i found myself an excuse for doing so :), so you may also want to check the answers there.

    Of course, you don't have to do only 2.5D as Doom did. A very good -imho- shooter, Cube, is actually a 2.5D game (that is, it uses a 2D grid -not vector map- for the world) but looks good enough. I tried to replicate it. Worked ok, but not good enough (actually the method i used doesn't scale well).

    Tomb Raider used a similar method too - yes they didn't had full blown 3D. Like Cube, they used a base 2D map (grid) for the world and extra "in-world" geometry for additional detail. Check this video showing the tomb raider level editor.
     
  5. Rainer Deyke

    Indie Author

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    A "2.5D" map is merely a 3D map that respects the limits of a particular not-quite-3D engine. There's no reason why such a map couldn't be loaded into a normal 3D engine. If a Doom map editor makes you more productive, use it! Then again, you could take a Doom map editor, add some "true 3D" features that Doom doesn't support, and get the benefits of "true 3D" without losing ease of editing.
     
  6. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    Well, when i'm talking about 2.5D engines i mean engines that use 2D maps to produce 3D renders.

    What you descibe is what the games i mentioned in my next paragraph actually do :). Check this screenshot from ActionCube, it's actually a 3D engine that uses a 2D map format to save some editing effort. Yet, using 3D objects and stuff the 2D-ness isn't very obvious (even 3D world ticks can be done - check the small platform at the right part of this image).
     
  7. KG_Brad

    KG_Brad New Member

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    I downloaded Cube a long time ago and when I found out that it wasn't a true, fully 3D game, I was very impressed. I have a fully 3D engine up and running, but it's kind of slow. That's why I'm thinking about making a Doom/Cube-style engine. I've also thought about writing a Wolfenstein-style engine, but I scrapped that because of it's many limitations.
     
  8. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    Introversions latest game, subversion had a nice blog about using a bunch of doom maps to create geometry for their buildings. It certainly looked pretty neat.
     
  9. Nikster

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    What platform are you targetting that a 3d engine would be slower than writing your own raycaster ? does it have no drawing hardware at all ?
     
  10. KG_Brad

    KG_Brad New Member

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    I'm not a really great 3D programmer, so my engine isn't all that great either. I have a high end machine, but my engine only runs at about 15-20 FPS. I've done many raycasting and BSP engines before, which is why my skills in that area are much better.
     
  11. Bad Sector

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    Well, then improve your 3D skills :p.

    What kind of game are you trying to do?
     
  12. KG_Brad

    KG_Brad New Member

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    I don't have anything specific in mind yet. I've considered pretty much every genre, though.
     
  13. Bad Sector

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    Well, since you can do raycasting, do something like what the Chasm: The rift people did, that is mix raycasting with 3D. Raycasting provides very tight information on what is visible and what is not (whatever is inside the empty cells in the grid, is visible - everything else is not). And then go beyond that and instead of doing software rendering, if a ray hits a filled cell, mark the side it hit as "visible wall side". Then in a later stage render all marked wall sides using OpenGL and on top of that, render whatever is inside the empty cells. Since nobody forces you to use cubes for the cells, you can use double-heighted columns and use 3D models for the middle ground. Or you can stack 3-4 grids one on top of the other, put portals (holes) in grounds and ceilings on a few and mix the raycasting :). Mix some "world geometry" (made in an external tool, like Blender, or just in your editor) for more detail in the world and you're set.

    EDIT: this discussion makes me want to work again on my Alithia engine (that Cube-like engine i was working on) :p
     
  14. KG_Brad

    KG_Brad New Member

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    Somebody on rome.ro posted screenshots of that game before. I still have to find a copy of it somewhere!
     
  15. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    It doesn't work in modern computers, even if you find it (try the demo from the page above) you'll need an old computer to play it (last time i tried, it was unplayable with dosbox). My pentium1 laptop was ok with it, but it doesn't have sound :p.
     
  16. KG_Brad

    KG_Brad New Member

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    :( That sucks. It looks cool.
     
  17. Bad Sector

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    Yeah, i like it's quake1-iness from a graphics point of view (dirty, brown, etc :p) but the level design (from a gameplay perspective) is horrible.
     
  18. KG_Brad

    KG_Brad New Member

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    Quake1 probably has the best level design I've ever seen. There's so many tricks and secrets I still don't know about!
     

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