Thread: 2D or 3D?
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Old 09-12-2003, 08:09 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Hamumu HQ
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Default 2D or 3D?

To clarify for the less geeky: 2D means the game is done without using a 3D card, everything is just an image slapped on the screen, like all of our existing games. 3D means everything is a shape made out of polygons in a 3D world, and would require a 3D card; like Unreal Tournament, Quake, Warcraft III (not Warcraft 2 or Starcraft, which are 2D), pretty much every Playstation game.

Pros and cons:

Speed/Compatibility: 2D runs much better on much older computers. 3D is much more computationally intensive. It is also much less broadly compatible - a 2D game will run on any PC, though slower on a slower computer. A 3D game may not run at all on your specific 3D card, or may have funky glitches. Obviously, we'd do what we can to prevent that and get it working on as many systems as possible, but really old computers are pretty much certain to be left in the cold. An alternative is to use software-rendered 3D. That will run on any PC, just like 2D, but it will be insanely slow on older computers. It requires a semi-decent computer. And it doesn't look nearly as nice as hardware 3D.

Gameplay: 2D is much more limited than 3D. Any 2D game can be implemented in 3D, but 2D can't do any game that involves looking around freely or, well, 3 dimensions I guess! That's not entirely true, for example a game like Dr. Lunatic is really 3D in gameplay, even though you can't normally jump, things move in the vertical dimension. But it's very limited. If it had been 3D, the view could turn with your character, and walls could be tall enough to block your view, making exploration more interesting (and there could be multiple levels, staircases, etc).

Visuals: Depends on your preference. Think of something like Dr. Lunatic - all the characters ARE 3D, but I rendered them beforehand in a program, so they are able to be very detailed characters (okay, they're not detailed, but the spheres they're made of have many many polygons and thus look smooth), which couldn't be done in real-time 3D. However, 3D has a visual appeal to it in that you can look around things and see them as if you're in the real world. Mainly it's smoothness - 2D is nicer images that are kinda jerky (because each frame has to be stored specifically) while 3D is blockier stuff that moves very smoothly and can be rotated around smoothly (because the hardware transitions the shapes smoothly from frame to frame). And while 3D technology is rapidly getting more powerful and allowing smoother shapes, you can bet that the 3D things I make will be fairly blocky - because I want them to run on as many computers as possible!

Development: A 3D game is a little harder to make than 2D generally... but not necessarily. These days it's kind of a toss-up for the sort of work I want to do. It really depends on the design. Trying to shoehorn a 3D design into a 2D game makes it harder. Doing software 3D would definitely be significantly tougher (the first time) than hardware 3D or 2D.

Control: Just wanted to throw this one in. I know 3D games are often complex and incomprehensible. NOT HAMUMU ONES. If we make a 3D game, it'll be just as simple as our 2D games. Fun, simple, dumb games are what we do.
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