Are 2D games dead?

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by sofakng, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. sofakng

    sofakng New Member

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    I've always wanted to create a game and it seems like 2D has a lot of advantages over 3D:

    1) "Easier" artwork (eg. you don't need a mesh plus a texture, etc)
    2) Easier to program
    3) Looks better when graphics are sub-par (ie. not developed by a 30-person team)

    Of course it has some disadvantages too:

    1) Camera is locked to one angle
    2) Animation must be captured/drawn frame-by-frame instead of using keyframes, etc.

    It seems like all the new AAA games use 3D (even if it's 3D with a locked camera simulating 2D but they still use 3D models, etc), but what is the market like for 2D games with sprites?

    Does anybody agree/disagree with my comment that if artwork is sub-par than a 2D game will be more forgiving about it? (eg. if you can't make an amazing looking 3D game then just use 2D)
     
  2. Maupin

    Original Member

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    No. Go to any casual game portal and you'll find that the majority of games are 2D. 3D may be somewhere in the content pipeline, but the actual games are pure 2D.
     
  3. JGOware

    Indie Author

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    I suggest you visit any of the popular casual game portals. 90% of the games are 2d.
     
  4. Dark Octave

    Dark Octave New Member

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    2D has it's own charm that 3D may not be able to duplicate for a long time.

    Also, if you look at the new King of Fighters game (I believe XII) they are still doing 2D after their 3D attempt was pretty much a bust gameplay wise.

    That's only one example. I have a million more. And with HD so common these days, now is a great time for 2D games. We can finally play 2D games that look as good or better than what we grew up watching every saturday morning.
     
  5. KNau

    Original Member

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    It's a common belief that 2D is easier than 3D but I don't think that's true.

    Once you've modeled and textured something in 3D it's done. You can show it from any angle you want, you can redo animations without changing the source model, you can resize effortlessly - all of which require redrawing / rerendering for 2D games.

    As for programming I've found very little difference between 2D and 3D.

    All the core logic that makes a game: positioning, collision, AI, variable tracking, etc. are identical regardless of whether you're developing 2D or 3D. Really, you're just tracking 1 new variable (the 3rd dimension) which most 2D developers have to track anyways as z depth or render order!

    The only real difference are the handful of commands for displaying / rendering objects, textures and lights: your display loop. Otherwise, moving a sprite on the screen and moving a 3D model on screen are pretty similar.
     
  6. undergrowth

    undergrowth New Member

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    As a counter point, although when Street Fighter first went 3D it was pretty so-so (Street Fighter EX), the latest Street Fighter (IV) uses 3D models (moving on a 2D plane) and looks terrific, and (IMHO) is now far superior to the old 2D drawings. SF IV keeps the old hand drawn style, while taking on the smooth animation, lighting and effects of 3D.

    2D's not dead yet, but for big budget games it seems 3D gives the most flexibility and efficiency, so (with some exceptions) 2D is fading fast.

    For indie developers, I can't see 2D going away any time soon, especially for its conceptual simplicity (shallower learning curve) and ease in which you can creating novel and compelling graphics in 2D.

    So basically, I agree with the OP, except I don't think it's that 2D is more forgiving, just that it's easier to get up to par with 2D. Perhaps that's just two sides of the same coin.
     
  7. Game Producer

    Moderator Original Member

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    2D is thriving. Most of the portal games are 2D (or rendered 3D displayed in 2D).

    Check out some game sales stats to see that 2D games are selling there as 3D games.
     
  8. vjvj

    Indie Author

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    I agree. The beauty of 3D is that everything generally falls into the same framework. So once you have the definitions in place, you can use them for almost everything. 3D just has a steeper learning curve (and a lot of the concepts seem much more complex than they actually are; skeletal animation, shaders, etc.). I have yet to meet a person who has spent the time with 3D to get things done yet still thinks 2D is easier.
     
  9. Game Producer

    Moderator Original Member

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    Getting 3D assets might be bit more tricky than 2D (the content pipeline can be much simpler with 2D)
     
  10. vjvj

    Indie Author

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    Very true. That's probably the worst part of it... :(
     
  11. moose6912

    moose6912 New Member

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    Nope, I still get a kick out of Metal Slug and that that game is full 2D
     
  12. vjvj

    Indie Author

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    Yup and they just shipped Metal Slug 7 (just picked it up, myself). I wonder how well it's selling...

    Amazing when you consider that some of the art for that game has held up for YEARS.
     
  13. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    We had the whole 2d/3d debate back at team17 many years ago.

    No, 2d isnt dead. 2d is absolutely bloody fine.

    Frankly, some things work better in 2D anyway.
     
  14. Andrej Vojtas

    Andrej Vojtas New Member

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    AAA 2D game for PS2, 2007, Odin Sphere:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=FR&hl=fr&v=wmbEVHI5_MQ&feature=related

    The developer works on a 2D game to be released 2009.
    Are 2D games dead? Far from it.

    Is it easier to make a 2D game look good? If you have characters in it: definitely easier.

    2D assets are more accessible + there are some things real time 3D still doesn't handle as well as pre-rendered 2D: e.g. cloth/hair/fur simulation
    + you can have pre-rendered high-poly objects with LOW hardware req.

    coding issues in 3D: path-finding. AI bots can't get stuck around a corner in a 2D game ;) e.g. Blackthorn from Blizzard in 90's had a well implemented take-cover-and-shoot gameplay. Most 3d games struggle to achieve that level even today.
     
  15. 320x240

    320x240 New Member

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    But looking at the works of Vanillaware it's quite obvious by the 'shortcuts' they have designed their style around that producing a 2d game today will cost you more than producing a 3d one, if you are competing in the same market. What I'm getting at is that most of Vanillawares animations aren't 'hand-drawn' but programmed; they try to cut out as many frames of animation as possible. The same is true for most of the animations in Aquaria.
     
  16. moose6912

    moose6912 New Member

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    And I still enjoy playing the old Mega Man(the 2D, not 3D version). 1 thing I like about 2D games is that the graphics age very well compared to their 3D counterparts. I look at Magic Carpet and go bleah when I see their low poly art (Although gameplay is pretty nice)
     
  17. Andrej Vojtas

    Andrej Vojtas New Member

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    @320x240: Yes, Odin Sphere uses a "2D skeletal animation system" as does Aquaria. If someone needs to implement one, there is one open source implementation with editor and good code documentation: GRIM: http://www.allegro.cc/forums/thread/591322/670913

    The point is you don't have to do this in a PC/OSX game in 2009. PS2 has 32 MB RAM. I think you can count with 10-15 times more for your game in the PC/OSX indie market. So even if you are into HUGE character sprites, you should be good with classic pre-rendered key-frame animation.
     
  18. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Bit of a weird question this - of course 2d games aren't dead. Go and look at the portals, go and look at most of the well known indie games.
     
  19. hddnobjcttmmngmntmtch3rlz

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    I like how people apparently respond without reading the thread, and say the exact same thing that 10 other people have said. I think I will do it now:

    2D is not dead. Go to any casual games portal and you will see that almost everything is 2D not 3D.

    There, now I have joined the "say the same thing as everyone else in almost exactly the same words" club.
     
  20. JGOware

    Indie Author

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    Speaking of 2d, with the economy the way it is and the recent price reductions on reflexive, think it's time to see a shift in lower media costs as well?
     

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