Are 2D games dead?

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

  1. vjvj

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    There are lots of reasons, but it basically boils down to the fact that GPUs have just become extremely good at what they do:

    • Deep pipelines - and with everything having gone unified a few years ago, we now have deep pipelines that can dynamically load balance.
    • Highly optimized shader units - tex->blend->fog in a single cycle, most intrinsic shader functions like dot products execute in a single cycle, etc.
    • Efficient culling - early depth rejection tests and hierarchical depth culling == cheap and brainless overdraw reduction.

    CPU boundedness can come from a lot of things; driver, physics, etc. Sometimes it can make more sense to NOT offload things onto the GPU (e.g. I'm not sure skinning on Intel integrated is such a good idea), which can contribute to the problem.

    You'd be surprised! Most GPUs for the past 5-6 years have pretty efficient depth culling, which dramatically reduces overdraw without any effort from the app programmer. And because it's so cheap (not just in terms of performance, but also in terms of die cost), pretty much every dumb, cheap chip has it. At least, for NVIDIA and ATI/AMD... I don't have much experience with Intel's hardware, but they'd be pretty crazy to not include it.
     
  2. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    what HAL layer do GPUs rest at in comparison with CPUs anyways?
     
  3. vjvj

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    Hmm... I'm not entirely sure what you are asking, but I'll take a stab at it.

    If you are asking how the CPU and GPU generally interact with each other, the basic idea is this: All rendering commands (DrawPrimitive, SetTexture, etc.) are accepted by the driver, converted to rendering commands, and are inserted into a DMA list somewhere in memory. When you swap buffers to display the image, the driver caches the DMA list and somewhere around 1-3 frames later the DMA list is finally sent to the GPU for execution. This means that yes, all rendering is deferred (and you generally want that, but it's a choice like anything else).

    If you are asking at what point in the pipeline the hardware becomes engaged, it's generally from attribute fetch on. I think the only exception here is with some Intel GPUs, where apparently they CPU-emulate various parts of the pipeline on their cruddier chips. Unfortunately, Intel hardware is what I have the least experience with, so someone else will have to chime in with actual product numbers...
     
  4. hippocoder

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    GPUs are generally much faster than CPUs, just they have specialised instruction sets. They aren't limited by x86 compatibility either. They also do far more work per frame than any CPU could dream of.

    Nvidia is moving into the cpu market now so lets see how things pan out.
     
  5. Nikster

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    TBH, you're all bonkers, why go from 2D->3D->2D ? :p
     
  6. hippocoder

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    Because 3D hardware rendering looks a million times better than 2D hardware rendering?

    2D using 3D hardware gives you so much more its not even funny. Look at cletus clay for example.
     
  7. Nikster

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    Must be a record, 2 full minutes to get someone to bite :) my bait was, whatever you do, you're renderig in 2D :) unless of course you're uber rich and have a R2D2.
     
  8. cliffski

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    That doesnt make someone a n00b. I can't write a 3D engine. Am I a coding n00b?
    A lot of people would struggle writing an AI behaviour system or a neural network., It doesn't make them a n00b, just someone who concentrated on different stuff.

    Theres nothing special about 3D coding that means its any more important a part of games development than multiplayer, AI, sound or any other subsystem.
     
  9. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Very valid point. That's like saying anybody who can't use a paint brush isn't an artist.

    Even in AAA studios, they don't have one programmer that does the lot. The AI programmer won't know how to write a 3D engine. The 3D engine programmer won't have much clue about the physics side of things. The physics programmer won't know much about AI.
     
  10. Applewood

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    There are indeed people in AAA studios (and for that matter tiny B Isle of Wight studios) who *could* do most, though they usually don't for practical reasons, and that's the big difference.

    But if they can't do the lot, or at least most, how on Earth do guys arrive at the idea that working alone is gonna be doable?!? You need to be as flexible as possible, not limited to a lowest common denominator.

    Edit: Unfair comment removed, I misunderstood.

    Actually there is. You need to know 3D to render all that other stuff. If you're an AI programmer as opposed to a 3D engine guru, then that's fine, but that's not what I'm on about. If you can't even *use* a 3D engine to write a 3D game then that is pretty newbie tbh. I don't know one other person in the entire professional trade that gets away with not knowing this stuff, including all the fresh grads I've seen and a couple of specialist AI people who never go near the screen.

    I know damn well that you're a good programmer and I sure couldn't write AI like you do, so why not just plug this gaping hole and move on - you'll never look back.
     
    #130 Applewood, Feb 15, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  11. cliffski

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    I've done ok so far. Why spend a year learning to become mediocre at 3D, rather than the same year becoming better at what I'm really good at?

    I don't see it as a gaping hole, any more than the guys who write RPGs see their lack of multiplayer as a hole, or the guys who write diner dash see their lack of behavioural AI as a gaping hole.

    I don't make games for people who only buy 3d games. They aren't my core audience. They tend to play gears of war on consoles anyway, or to only play games with trilinear bump mapping and phong shaded chest hair.
    When they actually pay for them... :D
     
  12. Applewood

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    We're going round in circles here. I'm not advocating you do any of that stuff.

    That teaser of your newest game looked like it was 3D. If you'd actually written it in 3D I'm sure you would've halved your art budget and shaved off quite a bit of graphics programming time too.
     
  13. vjvj

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    Dude, relax. You're confusing "don't" with "can't". He didn't say that people who "don't" are noobs, he said people who "can't" are noobs. And I believe it was only to further the point that writing a 3D engine is pretty easy these days, despite the people here who keep arguing against it for some reason. I know you said you "can't", but I think you're underestimating yourself. Based on what you're doing with DX9, you're already doing a large chunk of the work without realizing it.

    And no, I'm not saying you "should" switch to 3D. I'm just making a point.

    Guys, sometimes we really mean exactly what we say and there is no additional drama to extrapolate from our words. Like I said before, 2D and 3D are not enemies. We're just trying to lay out the facts for people who might be interested, since there's an obvious bias towards 2D programming here in terms of experience (no, that is not a knock on 2D; what did I just say about there being no drama to extrapolate? :D).
     
  14. hippocoder

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    mate why the fuck are you putting bait out? is this a game to you? Is no-one straight in the head these days?
     
  15. Moose2000

    Moose2000 New Member

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    Actually, the last job I did rendered to true 3D. Well, 2.5D if you want to be arsey about it:

    http://flickr.com/photos/moose2000/tags/pukaha/

    It's a map table for a visitor centre. The table is built as a physical relief map of the area, and content is projected onto it - voila, 3D. (Meanwhile, the actual 3D hardware in the PC is put to work in making the text swoosh about excitingly, and in a totally gratuitous and almost unnoticeable fluid dynamics simulation for the river.)
     
  16. Nikster

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    @Moose

    If I want to be arsey, I'd say, that's still not 3D is it ?

    or, if I took a picture of a human subject and sent you a jpeg, I could argue it was 3D ;)


    It wasn't initially meant as bait, maybe I used the wrong emoticon, it was an arsey way of saying, while you're all cock fighting, you're all rendering 2D anyway.

    Yes, it will be available on PC and MAC in March.

    I think you've answered your own question with your last post, I suggest you get some fresh air, and try not to get offended when people say 2D is better than 3D, or anything that differs to your beliefs.

    I'm sorry I upset you though, I should have realised there are some sensitive folk on the forums,


    kiss and make up ?
     
  17. Moose2000

    Moose2000 New Member

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    I wasn't claiming that the accompanying photos were 3d, I was claiming that the thing itself is 3d. Which it is. You can touch it, you can walk around it, each eye sees a different view of it, parts of it occlude other parts depending on your position, it occupies a space which extends in three dimensions. It's 3d.

    Are you now going to claim it's just a bunch of ASCII text describing something?
     
  18. Nikster

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    ok I apologise, given images from one angle I can't tell what it is what you were showing, so the images you showed, were they 2d images, projected onto a real life 3d surface, or was it some cool tech which you could render a perfect sphere and touch any part of it (R2D2 tech) ?

    I'm guessing the former.

    My point with the photo, not saying the photo itself is 3D, but as a process of creating the image to be displayed, it was taken from a 3d source, hell, you could even say 4D, the point with that is, it's all well and good saying we no longer use 2D really, because all SDK's do it in 3D, but yeah, it still ends up on a flat 2D image, X by Y cells :)

    I was trying to be anal and add a bit a lightheartedness to the thread as it was going downhill very fast, but it seems it's gone way past that.
     
  19. jetro

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    Have been resisting posting to this thread for a while, but couldn't anymore...

    I just want to point out that there's still new successful games released which are very much 2D-like, for example Braid, Crayon Physics Deluxe and World of Goo.. plus almost anything made by PopCap/Bigfish etc, as well as majority of flash games.

    Sure, all of them (except the flash games) actually use 3D hardware to render 2D stuff with some polygons. The content itself is essentially 2D anyway.

    I believe that those kind of games would have been more work to create in a "more 3D"-like way, both technically and artistically. Remember that cheaply done 3d looks ugly as well - making stuff in 3d doesn't guarantee solving anything. Some games have their own distinct style which is harder to achieve with 3D rendering (or at least pushes the hardware requirements up!).

    It's best just to think about it case by case and not worry if something is dead or not... Good game is always a good game. :)
     
  20. Applewood

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    And you waited this long to add nothing? ;)

    3D makes development easier, the art pipeline cheaper/safer and most of the time, the game look better. You don't need all three of those wins at once, any one at a time will do for me.

    And also just because people are doing it doesn't mean it couldn't be done better. Many of the games on BFG etc would gain something from a 3rd dimension imo. Most of them have fake 3D in their presentation already. I'll state again that 3D doesn't have to mean first person and usually shouldn't.

    Worms and Lemmings (and possibly world of goo) would be worse in 3D. I'm sure there are some other examples too. But for each one of them you can name, I'll show you 1,000 other 2D games that could be made to play the same and look better in 3D...
     

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