Are 2D games dead?

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

  1. nadam

    nadam New Member

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    I've wrote my own real time soft-shadow shader for my upcoming foosball game. It is optimized for speed for the scene I have in my game. The game is not a big deal, but it is nice to have this effect (rendered efficiently).

    I've also wrote my own small lightweight 3D engine for simple indoor scenes used for example in a foosball game. Yes, it is crazy that I wrote my own engine, but it has its advantages. (It knows exactly the features I need, I can very easily customize it, I know how to optimize for speed in it, there are no 3rd party obstacles, the 'content pipeline' is exactly what I need, etc...)
     
  2. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Don't let em draw you into that one nadam. There's a lot to be said for grabbing something off the shelf, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with rolling your own either. It's another thing that once you know how to do it, it's easy enough, but those that don't know how to do it will often mask that by saying it's pointless nih work.

    I've always rolled my own and never once regretted it, ever. It helps if you enjoy it though, I guess.

    Short version: Both ways are valid and it's a personal choice.
     
  3. Applewood

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    And for that reason it's probably harder to use than shaders. I remember the fixed-function pipeline very well. It was buggy, messy to use and counterintuitive in all but the most simple cases.

    If they solved this (I don't use 3rd party stuff) by having "effect types" and dealing with the FFP internally, then it's limiting you to what the authors have been bothered to code up.

    I'm not against the "material effect" method; I do it in my GL ES codepath, but this is because there is no other choice. It would never be the best one if there was. My argument is that shaders are easier to use than the FFP and far more flexible than any black-box-o-tricks, but if you want to stick with an API that's many, many years old then that's a different debate.

    I would disagree with you on this one. There wouldn't be so much "3D is hard", "3D is pointless", "3D is not what people want" if it were true.
     
  4. KNau

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    I think the major challenge one experiences in 3D is the tendency to want to bloat the complexity of the project unnecessarily. We forget those two golden rules: TLAR - "That Looks About Right" (also read as "If it looks right, it is right") and YAGNI - "You Ain't Gonna Need It"

    I'd wager most games in the 3D casual / arcade space don't need fancy shaders, bloom effects, HDRI lighting, whatever the latest buzz is and that an old DX7 engine will do just fine for 99% of projects.

    Assuming your game is great and everyone wants to play it (which we all do) and the fancy visuals are not essential to gampleay (they rarely are), is there a competitive sales advantage to using those tools? Especially in the non-hardcore download space where the average user is probably running craptastic onboard Intel video?

    2D kind of limits your focus to art and gameplay. 3D is still evolving so quickly that it's easy to get lost in the latest features and optimizations until you've been working on an engine for 2 years and find out you have to scrap it all because the "next big thing" was just announced. I still say they're pretty equal in difficulty, but perhaps you need more personal discipline to develop (and actually ship) a 3D game.
     
  5. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I'm kinda bored with this old argument tbh. The answer is yes. Otherwise games would all look like pong. And you wouldn't have people making "3D look" menu buttons etc. There'd be no shadows drawn into your background imagery, etc. etc.

    You can have a good game with bad graphics, but why would you want to stop at that? I only buy games that have good gameplay *and* good graphics, and I'm sure I'm not on my own.

    And just before you say it, no I don't think that all 3D games look ace and nor do I think that some 2D games looking boring. You should pick a scheme that will show off your game to be all it can be. That means 3D in pretty much all cases, even if you don't go as far as making it a first person version. See my example HO game above for example.

    You should know that right now I'm working on a 2D game. I made it 2D because it really has to be that way, not because I was limited in my rendering choices, and I think that's what many of the decryers are really stuck with - lack of options.

    ok, I missed this bit the first time. You're probably right - if you're targetting soccer moms with yet another punch the monkey game, then is all probably moot. But we're not all doing that. I'm talking about game programming generally, not a minor subset of it.
     
    #65 Applewood, Feb 8, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  6. PoV

    PoV
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    Even the DirectX 7 debate is moot these days. Intel GMA, while shite compared to nvidiA/Ati, is still modern graphics hardware. The GMA 950 series is all you see these days, it's even in NetBook's. Intel themselves even claims the hardware supports some degree of pixel shaders. They skimped on the vertex shaders, but that's what you can use your SIMD for.

    If you want a very real minimum spec machine, throw down $300 for a Netbook. If it runs full (or even half) framerate there, you can serve every reasonable PC today.
     
  7. Applewood

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    You'd think so, but it's just too good an excuse when people want to put their head in the sand! :)

    I've given up on this one - some battles you just can't win.
     
  8. vjvj

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    I see what you're saying, but I just meant it in terms of pure programming capabilities, not attitude. I've been trying to avoid generalizing, but I suspect that the above statements are being made by people who just don't WANT to put the time in to learn it. As if it's some kind of denial/comfort zone thing. With the right attitude, I think most programmers on this board would not find 3D to be very hard. Because... it isn't... :)

    Another thing people are forgetting (and you alluded to this in a prior post) is that most reasonably experienced 3D programmers in this day and age grew up playing 2D games and started out with 2D graphics programming. So it's not like we don't know what the hell we are talking about...
     
  9. Applewood

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    Indeed. I don't consider anyone a real games programmer until they can write an assembler blit function that does a rotate as it goes, complete with clipping. But that's just me being an old fart! :) Youth of today, etc. Don't know they're born...

    They don't have to write one, though I did yet another last week, but they should be *able* to write one. And that's a much bigger headfuck than a couple of poxy matrix transforms and a common 2D problem.
     
    #69 Applewood, Feb 8, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  10. 320x240

    320x240 New Member

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    I'm with Applewood on this one, even though (or perhaps because) I use Gamemaker 5 and Flash CS4 currently. When most of the top games, causal or otherwise, use shaders and similar techniques customers will come to expect, consciously or sub-consciously, the kind of effects and polish that such techniques give, even soccer moms I would guess. I'm pretty sure that when I start doing 2d in 3d and utilize shaders and the like I will never look back.

    Of course, some games end up good because the author either chose or were forced to focus on just a few key points, but can there be any doubt that those same games would have ended up even better if said author had more options at his command? Always having to limit yourself to be able to finish something does point to a certain degree of amateurism. True, that's where I'm at myself at this moment in time but not for long I plan.
     
  11. Applewood

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    Just ftr, they do do vertex shaders, you just have to ensure you don't ask for a pure device.

    (They provide a software backend to do this and the reason for that is with shared UMA memory it's not actually much slower than doing them on the hardware.)
     
  12. Applewood

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    Most of physics makes sense when you make a 4D vector with the time component in the 4th position using the same explanation above without the need for 250 pages in Hawkings book.

    Your motion in the universe is a 4D vector made of XYZ and T. It's kept normalised and it's magnitude (1) is the speed of light. If you're sat reading this, your current normal is [0,0,0,1] ie moving through the T component at lightspeed. If you start shuffling to the right, the X component goes up and then you need to renormalise, which shaves a bit off the T component. And thus it all falls into place in one easy paragraph and explains why FTL ships aren't gonna happen and why LS ships would apparently stop time for you.

    Yeah, totally off-topic I know, but I love that little explanation because I thought of it myself. :)

    As you were... (And cue that astrophysics guy we have here to come and declare it as bullshit) :)
     
  13. ChrisP

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    I love that explanation. :D Not sure it really explains time dilation properly... in your model, if your T velocity is 0.9 then although that does mean that you're not moving through time as quickly as the guy who's standing still, nobody will actually notice since your thoughts, actions, and ageing process will occur at the same rate relative to the other guy as they would if you were standing still - i.e. time itself is still fixed-rate irrespective of your "time velocity"... but I still love it. :)
     
  14. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    My vector is in "world-space", though that should really by "universe space", I guess.

    That's only true when you specify which observer you're looking at. I can feel a George and Gracie moment coming on, but I don't know how to draw the vectors :)
     
    #74 Applewood, Feb 8, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  15. cliffski

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    All games are shipped half finished and are limited in some way. That includes AAA titles made by huge companies like my ex-employer Lionhead.
    There are always limits, and if you ever want to ship vaguely on time you need to set yourself artificial constraints.
    I've shipped a lot of 2D games, and am working on another one. I'm sure my brain can cope with 3d maths if it had to, but why bother? I know 2D, and my customers don't seem to mind it.
     
  16. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I was waiting for you to chip as a guy who's my argument's polar opposite - someone who actually makes proper money from 2D.

    Firstly, I would've done your games largely as 2D myself too, though making those sims in kudos into proper models that animated would add a lot imo and reduce art load. But the key thing I wanted to ask you is:

    Given you're big on market research, A/B testing etc., have you done a similar game in 3D and compared them?

    My argument goes that if you did kudos 2 in 3D, it wouldn't go all FPS and frighten off your audience, it wouldn't take longer to do, with some things actually getting shorter/cheaper, and it would look way better if you put some nice lighting in etc. Even if it didn't sell extra, I'm saying it wouldn't take longer so its a draw. But it might easily be a big win - good graphics matter to some if not all and that might have been the tipping point in a lot more almost-solds.
     
    #76 Applewood, Feb 8, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  17. Sybixsus

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    Yep, you all caught me. I have no idea what matrices or shaders are, I'm making a game in DX7, and I'm doing so because I think that modern cards can't use a modern API. I'm trying to actively discourage people from learning shaders and matrices, and I'm just clutching for excuses to explain why I refuse to learn anything new.
     
  18. Applewood

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    Actually, modern cards and even several year old cards will fair much better under DX9 than DX7, for any level of 'D'.

    I mean, of those choices, which driver got the most testing last year do you think?

    DX9 is 13Mb as an optimised install and you won't find many machines that don't have a DX9 card in them, if any. It was once a valid argument to stick on DX7 for 3D, but it just isn't anymore.
     
  19. vjvj

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    Well, I think I've already made a fair case for people who choose 2D for understandable reasons (they prefer the aesthetic, or feel it fits their game better, etc.). My beef is more with people spreading misinformation about something they haven't taken the time to understand (which is usually pretty evident because the statements are flat-out wrong). Cliffski's post is another example of how to champion 2D without pointlessly (and often ignorantly) trashing 3D in the process.

    So your sarcasm, while funny (I have a soft spot for sarcasm), is a couple days late ;)
     
  20. KNau

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    I didn't realize anyone was "trashing" 3D. The OP made the assumption that 2D was easier and a number of people stepped forward to say that wasn't the case. As far as I can tell we're all on the same general page...

    1) 3D isn't much harder that 2D
    2) Ultimately it's up to the developer to choose what they feel works best

    Everything since those points has been us nitpicking details, stating biased opinion as fact, not providing supporting evidence and refusing to deviate an inch on our worldview - which is what the indiegamer boards are all about! :)

    And you're all wrong because Flash is teh awesum and maekz teh best gamez!
     

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