Are 2D games dead?

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

  1. Game Producer

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    Was thinking the same.

    I think it's really strange question.

    Perhaps sofakng comes from 3D world of gaming? Playing more on the mainstream AAA titles side?:D
     
  2. Nikster

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    since no one has said it, no, 2d games aren't dead, just look at any portal...

    well 2d ever die ? I don't believe so, even if it's the 2.5d / 2d in 3d type stuff, some games need it, think of lemmings for example, I don't think that ever worked, or could work in true 3d. my opinion of course.
     
  3. hippocoder

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    1. The artwork is not easier, not at all. It is often harder to get something looking as cool using 2D technology these days.
    2. Hahaha no way? just no.
    3. Sub par is going to look sub par in 2D or 3D, no matter your choice. 2D artwork can't be sub-par. Its easier to make a 3D game look good with poor 3D models than a 2D game with crap art.

    Nah, 3D has been doing its stuff in 2D for many years now. Its the style that counts not the technology.

    Well, a lot of 2D you see is pre rendered 3D touched up in photoshop. I'd have to disagree its harder getting 3D assets to be honest. Depends if you're paying or not...

    My take on this:

    The fact is, 3D games or 2D games, are irrelevent to the extreme. For almost 20 years we've seen 2D games take use of 3D technology. You can go right back to using 3D hardware to rotate and display 2D graphics if you want older than 20 years.

    Lets look at some recent titles. How about playstation shootemups using 3D graphics to represent a totally 2D world. It looked better. Anyone played Ikaruga?

    The mindset that you need to use 2D technology or 3D technology isn't important: the game style is important.

    For the OP, he argues that using 2D *technology* will allow him to make a game look good easier.

    In actual fact there I must disagree with him. Stuff animates better, looks nicer and generally is easier to make if you just throw a few 3D models around using an easy framework like blitz3D or darkbasic or whatever, on a 2D axis.

    If you want to go really basic, you can look at balloons, a flash game. Now that looks shit, and its 2D and yes it was easier to use 2D graphics to make it.

    What you want to do is set a bar for quality:

    0% Balloons
    25% quality - use 2D, 3D isn't going to help
    50% quality - now 2D and 3D can look equally good here
    75% quality - using 3D hardware and techniques will look better
    100% AAA titles on consoles

    Thats a sliding scale at around 25% of AAA quality, you find you don't really gain anything from using 3D graphics as they will look worse. As you go up in production quality, you find 3D slowly but surely takes the lead.

    By 3D here, I mean either techniques in drawing to the screen (sub pixel movement, lighting, great animations & transformations etc) or just using 3D models attached to a 2D plane.

    My own game would 100% benefit from using a 3D engine and 3D models, I know that it would look far better yet retain the 2D "look & feel" however I am restricted by the technology I am using (flash). Interestingly, 95% of the game is actually derived from 3dsmax artwork.
     
  4. Nikster

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    @hippo


    2D isn't easier to program than 3d ? is that sarcasm ?

    TBH, it'll probably make little difference using some gamemaker type tech, but from the ground up.
     
  5. Ciardhubh

    Ciardhubh New Member

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    A big plus of 2D is that it runs on old computers and you can reach more customers. In 2D you can render all the effects into sprites and it can look good. 3D on an old computer just looks pathetic in comparison, due to the lack of extensions, computational power and old 3D APIs.

    3D isn't "just 2d with a z-axis". A 3D game is more complex. You need a very firm grasp of mathematics. Camera setup, matrix manipulations, shaders, texturing and whatnot are challenging compared to pushing a sprite around a 2d surface.
     
  6. hippocoder

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    Lets establish some groundwork.

    a) what indie in their right mind, builds a 3D engine from the ground up when you can just use production proven libraries.

    b) using a 3D engine means a shitload of work is taken care of. We are talking in the context of 2D right? ok lets continue in the context of a simple shooter:

    2D: create a map editor, make dozens of fiddly tiles, work out collisions, sliding collisions against bitmaps, backgrounds, much more work in the actual content management like making the levels etc, a lot of hard work to bring a 2D game up to the polish of...

    3D: load a mesh for your level, use library features

    Having made many 3D and 2D games in easier development environments (think: unity, blitz, darkbasic etc) I really can't see how 2D is easier.

    If you're used to torque then of course you'll be forgiven for thinking 3D is hard. because torque makes it hard.

    Mike Boeh used blitz3d to create a large number of his best selling titles (including spongebob port). Those are real 3D games. It would have been a walk in the park for him if they were 2D using the 3D capabilities.

    My current game is 2D in flash. If I had 3D tech, I wouldn't need to jump through hoops to get it to look as good as it does right now.

    Making a 3D technology game in 2D style is the same difficulty, if not EASIER than making a 2D game in 2D style. For real.
     
  7. Nikster

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    erm, what has creating tilesets and mapping them have to do with coding ? :D seems you mixed in the whole dev part rather than "easier to program".

    you can also use a 2D engine.. so.. like I said below the part you quoted, they can be pretty much the same, code wise if you use a pre-built engine.

    asset wise, that's a different story, however, as a programmer, making a map and graphics like aquaria rather than using the x by x tiles would be a doddle than creating 3d assets, unless I create cube world. or teapot land if I can get a copy of max.
     
    #27 Nikster, Feb 5, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  8. hippocoder

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    Everything?

    You need to work out tile maps, clipping, scrolling, layers of parallax, decent performance, its not EASY coding a decent 2D game. (its easy coding a really SHIT 2D game though).

    For 3D, just throw the mesh at the GPU and it'll probably run faster than the 2D version with 1 line of code.
     
  9. Nikster

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    but you're comparing doing 2d from scratch and 3d using premade libraries and what not ?
     
  10. hippocoder

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    Everything?

    You need to work out tile maps, clipping, scrolling, layers of parallax, decent performance, its not EASY coding a decent 2D game.

    For 3D, just throw the mesh at the GPU and it'll probably run faster than the 2D version with 1 line of code.


    [edit to reply to new fluff :)]

    There's nothing stopping you from using your 2D stuff in a 3D engine. I am sure you will enjoy all the rotations, scaling, transformation and lighting that comes with it. Instead of having different frames for left and right you just transform and its done.

    3D has come a long long way since the old days when "3D was harder". I don't think you've tried unity either? :)

    I'm playing devils advocate in a way here because I know for sure (from my perspective) that developing my game using a robust 3D engine would take a hell of a lot of pain out of some of the programming I've had to do to polish my 2D game up to the same standard.

    This is my point in the sliding scale post up above, when you are making crappy 2D games it is easier to stay 2D, but when you want something even remotely ambitious, 3D becomes easier.
     
  11. Nikster

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    I've not tried unity, but I'm guessing it's not much different to the tools I work with as is, with the exception it not being a closed app and tried to be more generic and has a mac editor, I guess your downfall is flash right ? :) recent 2D engines all sit on a 3D backend anyway, the coding point where 2D is easier, is when you actually have to code something yourself.
     
  12. Game Producer

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    I partially agree on hippocoder... and partially disagree.

    Here's some points: the 3D pipeline is more complex than 2D pipeline.

    In 3D you need to have model, then sometimes export it (even twice or three times). To display the model on screen you need to load the model & materials.

    In 2D you save the image file and use load the image on your game - no exporters needed, no messing up with materials (or shaders).

    ---

    I'm not saying that 3D necessarily is very difficult, I'm simply suggesting that it can be bit more complex to get stuff on the screen due content pipeline (of course this varies depending the engine).
     
  13. vjvj

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    For some true 2D hotness, check out the upcoming Muramasa for Wii:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woRLv3dqaBY

    Practically a must-buy for me...

    True, but remember that we had to go through a period of "limited 2D" before we finally reached a point where 2D art would hold up for an extended period of time. Not many titles prior to the Genesis/SNES/Neo Geo era really hold up well these days (sure, there are exceptions, but we're not talking exceptions here). If we were to extend the analogy to 3D, I'd say Magic Carpet falls in the "before 3D got good" era and is not really a fair comparison.

    However, I do think we are entering that era now where "decent 3D" is the norm and a certain bar has been set that should hold up over time. The fact that the Wii is producing graphically-relevant games in this day with Gamecube/GeForce 3 technology is a sign that this is finally happening. I think we will be able to look back at Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime, and Twilight Princess 10 years from now and say "yeah, these graphics have held up well". And it's about time.
     
  14. vjvj

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    3D is maturing to the point that "old 3D" still looks good, now. WoW looks good and is using 10 year-old tech. Hell, all the UE3 games like Bioshock and Gears of War are using 6 year-old tech. I don't think this sentiment that old 3D looks bad really holds up well much anymore (and is getting better by the day).

    Also, the complexity of 3D is mostly upfront. Once you clear that barrier (and it's FAR less complex than most people think; matrices/quaternions/shaders are actually quite simple), things often become much easier than they would be if you were doing a 2D game. I personally find 3D to be much, much easier than 2D games (ignoring pipeline woes, as Polycount has mentioned), for this reason.
     
  15. hippocoder

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    Well in blitz3D with a good app like 3dsmax, you export and you are done. Thats it! Then to move it, its a case of PositionEntity ent,x,y,z

    I don't think its fair of me to say its "easier" unless I can present the context, which is comparable visual quality using a 2D engine.

    If you're just doing math, then 2D will be easier, but if you're trying to raise its overall quality visually, I find that 2D is harder - I need a ton more code to handle a lot of stuff that 3D gives on a plate.
     
  16. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    2D games will never be dead.

    Did video games kill chess and checkers? Dominoes? Card games? No, no, and no. Likewise, 3D will never kill 2D. There will always be someone drawn to it, even if it's the promise of simplicity or just that tendency that appears in some individuals to get motion sick from 3D games.

    While I don't think that any form of gameplay exists in 2D that couldn't be done in a 3D type environment, it's just a matter of preference. Each has their fans.
     
  17. Game Producer

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    So you don't need to "adjust rotation, scale or wonder why texture isn't showing or anything like that"... or wonder why animation is not working and why some bones are messed up? ;)

    (Speaking from experience.... seriously, you gotta admit that there's at least a BIT more potential pitfalls in 3D than there is to draw 2D image (even animated))
     
  18. vjvj

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    As a guy who had to do an importer overhaul last year, I can agree with this. But this must be weighed against the explosion of work that can result in a seemingly minor change in 2D. In 3D, changing a camera is changing a number. In 2D, changing a camera can lead to the question: "Do we need to redo all of our art, now?".

    In fact, the complexity and cost of 2D sprites was why we didn't upgrade the character art for the Meridian Evolution expansion. I'd argue that the animation system in Meridian was more complex than the standard skeletal animation systems you see in most 3D games, LOL.

    It basically boils down to different problems for each domain... I still prefer to always work in 3D, and even for our 2D games are done in 3D and just made to look like they are 2D. It's a much more comfortable domain for me.
     
  19. hippocoder

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    Well it all depends on your platform. 2D usually remains a fixed scale of complexity no matter which engine you use. Usually you will be blitting and have to take care of the rest yourself.

    With 3D you can range from the obscenely difficulty (making your own 3D engine) or having it all done for you so you can only concentrate on content.

    We've seen the pros and cons but I think we all agree on one thing:

    2D isn't dead and in fact it isn't dying either. More 2D games are released every year, than 3D games, and this figure is going up not down. Thanks to flash, portable gaming etc.
     
  20. nadam

    nadam New Member

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    I agree, that the artwork of 3D modeling is not necessarily harder than 2D drawing.
    But I think as for programming 3D is harder.

    Look at the complexity of a 3D engine and a 2D tile engine: there is orders of magnitude difference in complexity. Even if you use a 3D engine off the shelf, you still probably write your own shaders, etc...

    As for physics: Physical simulation in 2D is a piece of cake compared to 3D. Yes that one more dimension complicates things to hell. Orientation is a number (angle) in 2D. Orientation in 3D is a quaternion OR a Matrix OR euler angles: you always have to think about which representation to use. 'moment of inertia' is a number in 2D, a tensor in 3D. More or less they teach 2D physics in high scool, real 3D physics needs much more complex mathematics. In fact in my foosball game I make my life a bit easier by cheating: In special cases, when possible I make some calculations in 2D as the ball is always on the floor (but I display it in 3D)

    For the topic opener question: If you are not a good graphics designer, but an excellent programmer, than you can 'compensate' somewhat the lack of artistic ability by going 3D and using nice shaders, and programmatic effects. If you can draw very nice things, and you don't want to be much involved with linear algebra and stuff like that, then go 2D.
     
    #40 nadam, Feb 6, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009

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