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Do Next-Gen Games Have to be 3D?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the good-game-play-does-not-need-a-z-axis dept.

Software 211

sudnshok asks: "Last week, an article was posted where an EA executive discussed the high cost involved with next-gen game development. While I agree that sports games do benefit from a high-resolution 3D environment, do all games have to be developed that way? Why can't game companies develop 2D games for these systems? I would assume the development cost would be much lower. As a gamer who grew up on the NES, I'd love to see a new 2D side-scrolling installment of Castlevania or Zelda. I'm curious if other gamers would buy 2D games for next-gen systems."

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Cloning Clyde (2, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234648)

Cloning Clyde (in the XBox 360 Marketplace) is a blast, a great side scrolling platform game. I wouldn't call it 2-D in the Super Mario Brothers sense... its sort of 2.5D. You're definitely looking at narrow depth 3-D space, but you can only move in 2-D.

Its got good 2-player action, too!

I think the XBLA games are good proof that you can have a lot of fun HD next-gen gaming without 1st or 3rd person 3D photorealistic mega-rendering.

Re:Cloning Clyde (1)

dj961 (660026) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234876)

It's still 3d. It's not about in which axis you can move.

Re:Cloning Clyde (2, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235618)

Now that depends if you're discussing graphics or gameplay.

Metroid (2, Insightful)

Grey Ninja (739021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234650)

I'm still waiting for the promised 2D Metroid for NDS. Or better yet, 2.5D, as is the case of the New Super Mario Bros.

Of course there's still a market for sidescrollers. The New SMB proved that quite well with astounding sales. The problem is that most developers are completely stuck on 3D graphics still. You know, in some ways 3D graphics are a bit easier than 2D though. With 3D, you have to create models, animations, and textures. With 2D, you have to hand draw each and every frame. It seems like a bit more work to me.

But the programming side of a 2D game is MUCH MUCH less strenuous.

Re:Metroid (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17234686)

Remember when 2.5D meant the game had an isometric perspective?


No... oh, okay...

Re:Metroid (3, Funny)

pipatron (966506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234884)

Heck, I remember when 3D meant isometric.

Re:Metroid (1)

erbbysam (964606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234756)

Look at the Crash Bandacoot(probably misspelled) series, they were a really good 2.5D game with truly next gen graphics(for the time) because they were able to restrict the perspective and use some nasty arthrograms to compress it down the PS1 pipeline.

2D from pre-rendered low-detail 3D (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17236322)

With 3D, you have to create models, animations, and textures. With 2D, you have to hand draw each and every frame.

With Donkey Kong Country style 2D using prerendered 3D cels, you have to create comparatively low-detail models with low-detail textures, as they won't be seen close.

But the programming side of a 2D game is MUCH MUCH less strenuous.

Unless the programming department blocks on the marketing department's negotiations with the console maker's approval department when the console maker wants to focus on games using real-time perspective projection of 3D models (as has been the case for Sony since the original PlayStation).

Fisty Prost Bitches!!!1!!1! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17234652)

Shut yer piehole! There's a 2D game for ya!

Frosty Piss For Everyone!

Simple (4, Interesting)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234654)

Most people won't pay $60 for a 2D game.

Re:Simple (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234682)

Maybe, but I personnaly won't play most 3D games currently produced even if I didn't have to pay for them, they're just not entertaining.

Re:Simple (4, Interesting)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235022)

It's hard to feel entertained when I feel motion-sick...so I guess I could say the 3d games aren't entertaining for me, either.

Re:Simple (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235548)

Absolutelly, among many other drawbacks...

From my recent experience:
HMM5: 3D, poor visibility of the ugly user interface, no feeling of immersion. the 4 was far better looking.
NWN2: 3D, simply too slugish on my AMD X2 + NV7600
Metal Slug 5: 2D, great
Yoshi's island: 2D, great
Disgeae2: isometric 2D, great
Runaway2: 2D great, except the many bugs in the cutscenes
Dragon Quest IIX: 2/3D, absolutely great

I have absolutely no problem with the people who want to play driving or sport games on the 360 and I agree that high quality 3D is needed for those kind of games, but 3D is very expensive so when it is not required, it is usually a drawback since it usually reduces the ergonomy takes financial resources that could be usefull in level/quest design.

Re:Simple (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235690)

The graphics card thing is important. Most graphics cards were fast enough for 2D games years ago. They'll never be fast enough for 3D games, so you'll always have to keep spending £300 every 2 years if you want DirectX 10...11....12, which you'll need if you want to play new games, even if you don't need that sort of power just to run the game.

It's possible that enough people will get sick of the pointless upgrade cycle that games will have to be released in 2 flavours - one requiring the latest graphics hardware/directx, and one which works adequately (no impediment to game play) using a card capable of 1280x1024x32bitx70hz and some suitable minimum of polygons per second/anti-aliasing/etc etc. No matter how good a game released in 10 years will look, can it not still be played using `merely` the graphics quality of modern games (ie 'pretty good').

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17235720)

Well, then 4D games will make you puke! Luckily, since you still play basically in 2D space (moving on surfaces) with depth perspective, 3D projection minimaps helps orientation a bit. After a while you get the grasp, but still have to rotate camera like mad on the intersecting planes... 4D Interstellar flight simulators are however too hard to navigate.

Spacetime games are really mind-boggling. OTOH usually no need for saving your progress, ever.

Oh wait, this is 2006, right? I guess then they are still not selling multidimensional GPUs... nor realimage displays...

Missing the OPs point. (3, Insightful)

splutty (43475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234874)

The whole point of this was the question whether it wouldn't be *cheaper* to develop 2D games (I'd like an Aleste/Zanex/R-type kind of game), thus actually reducing costs, thus actually making it cost *less* than $60.

Re:Simple (1)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235226)

Most people won't pay $60 for a 2D game.

It also begs the question of whether they would feel cheated if they were playing 2D after spending $600 for their game console.

I really like Loco Roco on my PSP, even though it's not using all the capabilities of the machine. It's fresh, and that's not easy to do these days. But if the majority of games I played were 2D, I'd feel like it was a waste to buy the PSP. I think the guys buying Xbox 360s and PS3s might really enjoy a small number of 2D games, but they'd start to question the next gen creds of their box if they saw too many. Lets face it, the term next gen implies that you have something new. If you don't have a slick new controller and you're not playing graphically high end games, what exactly is "next gen" about your fancy new box?

The system that could probably get away with this best is the Wii, because everyone knows it's not as graphically powerful as the other two. But, ironically, that new controller is so well suited for 3D space that I'd be surprised if anyone even tried to do a 2D game. Then again, I was also surprised anyone made a fresh, new 2D game for the PSP.

TW

Re:Simple (1)

haddieman (1033476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235324)

The system that could probably get away with this best is the Wii, because everyone knows it's not as graphically powerful as the other two. But, ironically, that new controller is so well suited for 3D space that I'd be surprised if anyone even tried to do a 2D game.
Trauma Center is 2D.

Re:Simple (1)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17236388)

Interesting game. 2D in a 3D space (you are the 3rd dimension). Folks are really pushing this Wiimote in some interesting directions.

TW

Viewtiful Joe... (2, Insightful)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235282)

Most people won't pay $60 for a 2D game.

Maybe. But Viewtiful Joe came out for $40 and sold pretty well on the Gamecube. (Awsome game BTW)

Re:Simple (3, Insightful)

CDPatten (907182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235374)

You really missed the point here.

Development costs would be much cheaper and the game wouldn't have to be $60.

That said, I'm not sure you have any reason to make such a bold statement. If the game play was really good than people would buy the game...

Re:Simple (4, Insightful)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235520)

Do you think any fewer people would have bought Guitar Hero or the latest Dance Dance Revolution if they had the occasional 2D dancing character in the background instead of the occasional 3D dancing character in the background? GH probably has the fret markers come at you in 3D but they could have done it in 2D just as well. I doubt it would have taken anything away from the game.

One game genre that I genuinely miss having in 2D is the fighting game. Most of them have moved to 3D and IMO most of them were better left in 2D. I miss cool fighters like the older Mortal Kombats, Killer Instinct, Primal Rage, etc. Capcom and SNK still make some in 2D but I've never been that big of a fan of their fighting franchises.

I believe it's foolish to think that all games have to be in 3D today, I definitely think that certain game types lend themselves to being either 2D or 3D, some of the worst games IMO are those that are better suited to 2D but were squeezed into a 3D framework... just because. Worms, Lemmings, Frogger, Mortal Kombat, Sonic, etc. Some games handled the transition well (like Mario) other's didn't (like Worms). Not everything needs to be bigger and better, some things can do well just being fun and I think they would still sell well on that premise rather then one based on 3D graphics.

Absolutely (1)

Deathscurge (798757) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234656)

While the PSP and the DS are not considered "next-gen" (anymore anyways) there have been great great 2D side scrollers for them. LocoRoco and new Super Mario Bros. anyone?

Re:Absolutely (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#17236180)

Agreed. I played Castlevania: PoR for 3.5 on a plane yesterday and loved every minute of it.

Hmm? (1)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234662)

First, the only Zelda game I can remember with any side-scrolling elements was Zelda-2 for NES.

Now my opinion, one of my favorite game series of all time (Mega Man / X) was 2D. I would love to see another version in the future, though I doubt it would live up to some of the best games of the series (My fav being MMX2)

I do think 2D graphics are basically up to indie developers now though as there is basically too much hype behind 3D. The consumer market would probably almost immediately reject it just because of the fact. Though I can think of one amazing recent game, Super Smash Brothers: Melee that is 2D...

Re:Hmm? (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235214)

First, the only Zelda game I can remember with any side-scrolling elements was Zelda-2 for NES.
Link's Awakening for GB also had some side-scrolling elements. I know what you mean though; Zelda as a whole is not a side-scroller series. But I think what the OP meant was side-scrollers and other 2D games like the old Zelda games.

Besides that minute quibble I do agree with your post. :)

For what it's worth, most of my favorite games are not 3D.

Re:Hmm? (2, Funny)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235732)

There's also Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon for the Philips CD-i.

Re:Hmm? (1)

theCurse (1019716) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235998)

He has spoken aloud the names of the evil ones!

fucken idoit. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17234664)

yes you dumbfuck they gotta be 3d.

Sega Saturn (1)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234666)

After the sega saturn no one is going to release a system that is designed to do 2d games better than 3d games (they added a second processor to the saturn as so it could do 3d games well but it was much harder to program for.) Sony has spent so much money marketing 3d games as being better that I am afraid that 2d games may never be as popular again. If you want a good 2d game get a used saturn (with the 4 meg ram cart) or dreamcast and go nuts with imported games. If you buy popular games from Sony, Nintendo, or MS then I am afraid you may find yourself stuck with 3d games.

Re:Sega Saturn (2, Interesting)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234692)

On handhelds they are... some of the Nintendo DS games already have made it in the top 10 list of games with most sells ever...

Well.... (0, Redundant)

mr_jrt (676485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234696)

...yes.

No. Next Question. (1)

LewsTherinKinslayer (817418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234702)

There's of course nothing stating that next-gen games have to be 3D. But its kind of within the idea of next-gen systems; you upgrade the technology to allow for more complexity in your graphics/sound/interface/control scheme/etc. Of course, you'd also want video game companies to still deliver with excellent storylines and interesting characters, innovative concepts as much as possible. Typically however, the market is driven by old franchises being continued by sequels and massive upgrades in graphics.

That's not to say however that they all have to follow that line. A good example of a good 2d-ish game from what was previously a next-gen console was Paper Mario for the GameCube. Its certainly not a strict necessity that games by 3D for next-gen, but you'd figure almost all would be.

Re:No. Next Question. (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235138)

"There's of course nothing stating that next-gen games have to be 3D."

The problem is cultural, the suits think that all games have to be 3D, but if you look back in time many of the most popular games before the advent of 3D systems were 2D and it in no way hampered their fun or saleability.

Re:No. Next Question. (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235344)

I'd argue that the only reason it didn't hamper their saleability back then is because there were no 3D game systems to compete with.

2D graphics have their advantages, but they are limited to an extent. I'm not even saying I don't enjoy 2D games myself. But at this stage in the game, there's little cost to stick a 3D chip into a system. Sure, the best chips cost a lot but 'decent' ones don't these days.

Anyway, I'm not sure why a lot of people here seem to be (at least somewhat) opposed to using 3D graphics to render traditional sidescrolling or top down style games. If you want to do any large amount of animations for a character the sprite approach leaves you with a lot of art work to churn out. The code may take longer to write, but I'd argue its more adaptable once its done.

Re:No. Next Question. (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17236546)

I think the costs into 3D modeling and increased texture amounts at the VERY least offsets (or, maybe, MORE than offsets) the cost and effort into do much simpler 2D animation.

Re:No. Next Question. (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235490)

many of the most popular games before the advent of 3D systems were 2D

Which ones weren't?

Re:No. Next Question. (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17236098)

Come on, don't you remember those great 1D and 1.5D games ?

Dot and Isometric Dot ruled

Re:No. Next Question. (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 7 years ago | (#17236132)

many of the most popular games before the advent of 3D systems were 2D
Which ones weren't?
Pseudo-3D games, maybe? Those that used all sorts of scaling and rotation to make a fake 3D out of 2D sprites. Pretty much every game on the Sega Y-board [system16.com] was pseudo-3D. What about the SNES' famous Mode 7 [wikipedia.org] ? It was not actual 3D either, but it allowed for amazing 3D-like effects.

Re:No. Next Question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17236148)

Yes there is (or was anyway). Sony. It was a technical requirement that all PlayStation games must be 3D to "show off the hardware". 2D game designs were rejected.

Perhaps they have ditched that like Nintendo did with their "think of the children" censorship rules for US releases (on the NES and SNES) which were relaxed for "Conker's bad fur day".

You want 2d games? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234708)

buy a DS. 'Nuff said.

Re:You want 2d games? (2, Insightful)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234856)

Yes, there's plenty of 2D games on the DS, but I sympathize with the original point. You could do some drop dead gorgeous hand painted games in 1080i. There's so much more detail that could be squeezed into games.

Personally, I'm holing out for a true sequel to Symphony of the Night, fully hand painted, in 2d. 3D effects, sure. Maybe even 3D medusa heads and bats.

When I play games, I play to escape reality...not look at something that tries to mimick it. If I want reality I can go outside. I'd really love to see more abstract 2D games out on the market for consoles. I guess we have the new Paper Mario game on the Wii to look forward too....

You need an idea (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234712)

Why 2d for the next gen consoles?

Pretty much everything could do a 2d game today, but gamers don't want them.

Go to yahoo games and see the large amount of simple 2d games available. I don't see people paying big money for them, although I did enjoy Zuma.

Re:You need an idea (4, Insightful)

Duds (100634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234830)

There's plenty of 2d doing very well on XBLA.

Geometary Wars and the massively superb Assault Force for example.

Re:You need an idea (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235176)

"Pretty much everything could do a 2d game today, but gamers don't want them."

That is a huge load of crap, 3D was forced on gamers from the PS1 era. Many 2D games survived on the PS1 platform (i.e. fighting games, Streetfighter 2 comes to mind).

If gamers don't want 2D games then you have to blame the developers that shoved 3D games down our throats, after all they are paradoxically in control of what games get released. I don't think 'the market' can be blamed, it was more a problem with game dev's and publishers they've helped create and re-enforce a culture paradoxically that may be 'anti 2d game' but we'll see how that pan's out with the Wii or other games on the Xbox 360.

Look no further.. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17234724)

The handheld market is still chock-full of 2D games, including the new installments of Castlevania and the like that you seem to be after. It's a helluva lot cheaper and doesn't waste the 3 gigahertz processors and state of the art GPUs the home consoles are built with nowadays. Buy a Nintendo DS and you are guaranteed access to a couple hundred good 2D games (counting that the machine plays GBA games as well). Looking at handheld console sales, it's a golden age right now for these machines - the DS is selling better than just about everything else, and even the underdog PSP has sold more machines than the original Xbox by now. Bottom line: there's just no point in spending $250-600 on a new system to make games with graphics the same as a $40 SNES.

That's not to say that there aren't those games such as the Xbox Live Arcade hits that aren't in 2D, but for the most part that's just a bonus feature, and not the reason the system is selling. Chances are if it's a retail game and it's 2D it's going to be handheld. And that's okay.

2D more expensive? (2, Interesting)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234734)

As I learned in this [grumpygamer.com] discussion, apparently it's cheaper to do a game with 3d models than to actually do it in 2d with decent animation and artwork (at least for a graphic adventure.. but I guess It'd be the same for a platform game).

A Shame, really. When Street Fighter 3 came out I was really happy to see it wasn't some 3d-shit like virtua fighter (which I dislike.. a lot), and the animations clearly take advantage of the updated hardware.

Can any game developers confirm this?

Re:2D more expensive? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234930)

Not a game developer, per se, but I did spend a couple hundred hours poking at the source code and game data for the original Quake, and I've spent more time than that chatting about such things with actual developers.

Yes, it takes a while to pixel paint sprites for 2D games, and to develop levels for them. However, you spend more time trying to build 3D models that will have the same level of on-screen detail when rendered. And you spend more on tools aimed at making that process easier.

But again, I'm not a professional, I'm just a hanger-on.

Re:2D more expensive? (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235534)

The 3D models, particularly these days, do take a good deal of time to create I'm sure. (I'm not professional either so don't take my word as gospel) But, consider that the sprite character has to be redrawn for each step of its animation...do that in a higher resolution like some here seem to want and I'll bet you'll find you need expensive tools and a lot of time as well. Consider this...you don't get to draw just one set of animations either. You might get away with that in a side scroller by just mirroring the image, but in top down you've got to draw your guy swinging his sword facing up, facing down, etc.

Now imagine this, after you've done all the sprites for the characters animation some one decides that the main character needs a backpack on. Or he has a tail. With 3D, to some extent you can just open the old model and stick a backpack on it and you're done. With the sprites, you'll have to fix all images.

Sure, it was easy enough to do sprites in games like mario where he had like a 3 frame run animation, a fireball animation, and a jump/brick punch/swim animation. But you start doing this for lots of high resolution characters and its probably going to turn into a lot of work!

Now, understand I'm not saying 3D games are easier then 2D games. I'm just saying that I don't think its say 10 times easier to make 2D games.

Re:2D more expensive? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235738)

The same multi-image problems apply to 3D models as well, if your engine doesn't support skeletal modeling. And, really, vector motion systems are already available for 2D modelling. Just look at all those flash animations out there.

Re:2D more expensive? (1)

miyako (632510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234984)

The solution to that problem, as some other posters have mentioned, are games like New Super Mario Bro's. which use 3D graphics to create a 2D game.
I think New SMB showed that there is a lot that can be done with 2D gameplay using the power of the new systems (of course, NSMB is for the DS, but the DS is quite a bit more powerful than the SNES was) and it also enable companies to take advantage of the ease of working with 3D.
I agree that well animated 2D games can be absolutely beautiful (along with the afore mentioned SF3 look at Legend of Mana, which was a PSone game, and had some of the most wonderful looking animated graphics I've ever seen) and the success of a number of cell shaded games (Windwaker looked nice for the parts of it you saw something other than a blue screen, and Dragon Quest VIII was amazing) goes to show that the style won't mean that a game will necessarily fail.
I hope that Nintendo's promise of new games written for the virtual console happens, it might allow us to see some new great 2D games.

Re:2D more expensive? (1)

Grr (15821) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235046)

Confirmed :)
- 2d pixel animation is becoming a lost art. If it's done at all it's probably by rendering and postprocessing 3d models, which actually adds an extra step in the production pipeline
- 3d is simply an extra degree of freedom for gamedesign. 2d and 2.5d worlds have a bunch of stuff you'll have to figure out exceptions for (tunnels, tall buildings)
- complete engines are 3d engines which have things like 3d sound and collision detection integrated with the 3d graphics for optimization reasons. you don't want to pay for the engine you also have to do all the minor stuff yourself.

well I can think of more minor reasons and of course there are solutions for all of this, but it's all extra hassle that's only worth it if you specifically want to make a 2d game or if you're a hobby/webgame developer.

Re:2D more expensive? (4, Insightful)

donaldm (919619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235342)

The costs associated with developing a game are getting more expensive because most modern games are getting to the stage were they require a Hollywood style budget. I think gone are the days when you could get a few programmers together and churn out a simple innovative game that would sell well. Now you have to think storyline, concept artists, modelers (both physical and digital), testers, managers, continuity, level designers, actors (voice and motion capture), ..... the list goes on. If gaming houses don't adopt the above strategy then the game will most likely be bad or mediocre at best resulting in poor sales and this affects the company.

I could not say if 2D games are more expensive to produce than 3D games but once you take all the costs into consideration then there probably would not be much of a difference.

Like it or not the current trend of gaming is 3D and that is were the money is. It is no good saying "Microsoft or Nintendo or Sony prefers/forces the developer to design 3D games" these companies are not saying this to to be domineering they are saying this so the developer will make a game that will sell on their console and a game that sells means more revenue for said console supplier.

I still have nostalgia for some 2D games going back to the NES days but those days are over although it may be possible that some interesting 2D games can come from home-brew developers but ask yourself "would you pay for them?" and there in lies the dilemma.

The best case for 2D... (1)

dosboot (973832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234760)

The best case for 2D over 3D is the Fire Emblem games. The GC version graphically is worse than the GBA's.

Point 1 is that a 3D view of a 2D battlefield is far less useful than a 2D view of a 2D battlefield. What is the use of the 3D when the player is just going to use the highest possible camera angle? False perspective is flat out superior to staring at the helmets of every enemy unit and trying to distinguish them based on that.

Point 2 are the battle animations. The 2D sprites are fluid and snappy. The 3D animations are clunky and very slow. Take for example the pegasus knight and wyvern attacks in both games. With the GBA versions you are treated to your character swooping across the screen hitting the enemy as they go by. The GC animation on the other hand looks like you put the wyvern on a swing or pendulum and the "attack" consists of your unit bumping into the enemy with no arm swing what so ever.

Re:The best case for 2D... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17234774)

Sounds to me more like a bad design by the Fire Emblem dev teams who have no experience in 3D development, than a flaw in 3D graphics itself.

Re:The best case for 2D... (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234868)

Those do not actually compare 2D and 3D. They only compare how poorly the 3D was implemented and how well the 2D was implemented. It could easily have been the opposite.

At one point, 2D 'animation's consisted of 2 frames. Now they can consist of dozens to make it 'fluid'. Those 3D animations were poorly done, and in low resolution, so they look choppy and cheap. If they had been done well, they would look as good or better than the 2D animations.

What's the difference if you are looking at a 2D helmet or a 3D helmet to distinguish the characters? Or maybe you are saying that the 2D view provided an additional way to recognize the characters. 3D can do that also.

I say we go back to the horse and buggy because cars are louder and more dangerous. In fact, let's go back to having to walk everywhere, because horses stink and they bite. The whole 'wheel' thing was a bad idea. In other words, you can't compare the poor implementation of 1 tech to the good implementation of another.

The 3D wasn't badly implemented because it HAS to be.

Opinion (1)

GMC-jimmy (243376) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234794)

good-game-play-does-not-need-a-z-axis

I beg to differ. I miss my jet pack [fileplanet.com] .

Combine the mechanisms (1)

bestinshow (985111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234796)

Use 3D models and environments, but limit movement to 2D.

You get the smoothness of animating 3D characters rather than frame-by-frame 2D animations, and free depth of field and scrolling effects. Don't forget proper lighting, animated features like water via pixel/vertex shaders and the like.

Something like Viewtiful Joe, that was a left to right beat-em-up but in full 3D.

And yes, there's a large market for something like this.

Re:Combine the mechanisms (1)

Lordpidey (942444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235110)

Yeah, that reminds me of megamanX7/X8 I've played both, and X8 is much better since it goes back to a 2d type stage which is rendered in 3d. X7 on the other hand, is utter crap, this series was meant for 2d. Thats not to say however that all series that were previously 2d shouldn't go 3d, in fact, some will do really well in 3d (Metroid).

Mod Parent Up! (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235192)

several of the posts around here are suggesting that 2d games require much more effort because they require drawing sprites and such. Er. no.

the line between what i'd call a 2d and a 3d game is not as clear cut aw sprites vs polygons. let's start with the classics: Doom, a 2d game made to play like a 3d game by the use of FPS and clever use of height and Goldenaxe, a 2d sidescroller but with depth, you can move in and out of the field of play, occasionally yielding different routes. Whilst Doom fits a 3d game into a 2d setting Goldenaxe does the reverse.

Taking goldenaxe, there's no reason that the same gameworld view and approach couldnt be taken today with NG arcitecture, but instead of sprites and clever z-axis trickery it would just be a long, thin, but "true" 3d gameworld with a fixed aspect camera.

Next, what about a top-down game? such as the suikoden series or zelda on the gameboy, again height, set pieces and seperate-insides-of-buildings-to-the-outsides play a role here but the same gameplay feel can be replicated again using a camera mounted up high with perspective turned off.

Next, FPS, i've already mentioned doom, but Dungeon Master was most definately 3d, but used 2d tools to create each view, sprites of varying sizes to create the illusion of depth.

What I'm getting at here, and what i suspect the poster is getting at is that what we call 3d is not always what is actually 3d, when we say 3d we probably should say FPS or chasecam and when we say 2d we should probably say platform or top-down.

As a final thought, you can play GTA3 in "classic" mode, with a top-down view, i wander how fps's might fare with a top-down view, you'd need vertical autoaim and sniping would be troublesome but it's not the giant leap you might think it is.

Better question... (3, Interesting)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234806)

Do games have to be 'next-gen' to be fun?

The geek in me wants next-gen, 3D HDMI-enabled toys. However, yesterday the misses and I pulled out Super Mario 3 for an evening of retro-gaming, and it was a blast. Great graphics, 3D gaming on a HDTV are great to impress your friends, but this dinosaur craves for the simple fun games you can play together for a few hours and be done with them.

Now get off my lawn!

Re:Better question... (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234834)

You are not a dinosaur, your just not seduced by the whizz bang flash of modern games. Good for you. I like some whizz-bang myself, but only on top of a decent, deep, well designed game. Sadly this is rarer and rarer. Oblivion was a good example of balancing the two.
Generally, I prefer 2D games, more thought and care seems to go into them, and they tend to be more niche games, which I enjoy.
And as a developer, I can assure you there *is* a market for 2D games, despite what the marketing droids and l33t k1dd13s think.
If people didn't buy 2D games, I'd be starving.

Re:Better question... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235576)

Of course games don't have to be next-gen to be fun.

My two favourite games of all time, both first time through and for replay value, are still the Baldurs Gate series and Total Annihilation. In the several years since these were released, I've encountered no RPG with better plot/characters, and no RTS that was better for all-out action combined with genuine strategy.

My other half is a big fan of puzzle games. She has spent many hours enjoying the games from PopCap [popcap.com] , and spent more money buying the full versions of her favourites from them than on any trendy 3D FPS.

Sure, funky 3D graphics and a rocking soundtrack can make some games more atmospheric. It's not like there's much comparison between Gears of War and Wolfenstein 3D (or perhaps more fairly, Quake) in the presentation department. But much as I have enjoyed many FPS games over the years, the gameplay is still pretty close to the original Wolf3D/Doom/Quake model that popularised the genre all those years ago, even if I can now use different weapon types, lob grenades with my other hand, and drive vehicles.

Where I personally find the gaming experience lacking is on-line competition/collaboration. Many games I've played are no doubt much more satisfying against real people, but IME pretty much all of the on-line services suck if you're not in the US (lag issues) or not willing to spend silly amounts of time waiting around for an opponent. The only games I've ever played on-line for long and truly enjoyed were Quake and Quake II in my university days, when there was an active student population and getting a good deathmatch game going was easy. For TA, it was too hard to find an opponent of a similar skill level and to set aside an hour or two for a good game. For Neverwinter Nights, I never even worked out what on-line facilities were available, as I'd lost interest because of poor single-player. Lots of people seem to enjoy things like World of Warcraft (and I notice they've been running ads for it on TV here in the UK in the run up to Christmas), but I also hear a lot about powergamers who can arbitrarily spoil it, which puts me off trying it given the cost involved.

Of course, my system is a little long in the tooth now -- it's about time to build a new ueber-PC but I haven't got around to it yet -- so I'm not running much from within the last year or two. Do the latest "next gen" games have good player-matching for on-line competition as well as the snazzy graphics? If they do, then maybe next gen games are the future after all. :-)

yes/no (1)

Mini-Geek (915324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234816)

On the wii I'm going to get soon, I'm going to buy the NES super mario bros. for $5 (in the form of 500 wii points) on the virtual console.
On the 64, gamecube, and wii, the super smash brothers games are 2.5D (3D characters that only move left/right/up/down). But good luck finding a Wii, 360, or PS3 game that costs the standard amount and is only 2D!
So to answer your question, yes and no. Yes because nobody would want to pay $50/$60 for a next-gen game that is only 2D, and no because people don't mind paying $5 for the old ones or $50/$60 for a new, fun, 2.5D game.
IMHO.

Re:yes/no (1)

Mini-Geek (915324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234936)

My mistake, there is no super mario bros. (only mario bros., which I mistook to be the side-scrolling super mario bros.) available right now for the wii...but you still get the idea of what I mean.

What about "retro"and Mobile Games (1)

problemchild (143094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234822)

There must be a market for 2D games if you consider the constant mentioning of "retro" gaming especially within Slashdot. Companies are regurgitating old game models and making money with them particularly with Mobile games. the problem here is that they are well within the sub $10 a pop range so no one is going to get rich form a small volume of games. Having said this we have already seen that big name Game companies are complaining about the large upfront costs associated with new 3D games. Maybe lower budget games will come through as a viable undercurrent .. making money but not been the latest technology. Hopefully this will mean that games creators will think more about game play rather than pretty pictures.

they don't have to be... (2, Interesting)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234826)

...most people do expect it though. I would say that it is highly possible to make great 2D games, or more old-style games with some 3D elements. Take Ikiruga (I might have spelt that wrong), a great game with primarily a 2D action mode, or Paper Mario (if you can get hold of that I'd recomend it). These are "last gen" of course, but they do show well that even in a situation where people expect 3D you can still give 2 and have people happy.

If they make it, and make it well, people will buy it. Sure some ass-hats might not buy it because they think "it doesn't look good so it can't be fun" - but sod 'em.

Re:they don't have to be... (1)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235616)

Well, there's certainly a lot of games on the next-gen consoles' download stores that (new or old) are 2D. And the next Paper Mario installment on the Wii is going to remain 2D and it looks gorgeous [youtube.com] .

In general, handhelds and download stores are going to be the easiest way to get your 2D gaming fix, and do it for $5-$30, not $40-$60.

gameplay more important than graphics (4, Insightful)

reflector (62643) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234832)

good gameplay is what counts in a game, for me at least.

something like civilization with GOOD AI opponents and simple 2D graphics would be much better than flashy graphics and weak gameplay.

even something like nethack with ASCII graphics is still very playable.

Re:gameplay more important than graphics (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234878)

civ is a great example of a good game spoiled by an obsession with making it as 3D looking as possible.
WHY?
its a 2D game design. Don't be so ashamed of that. Adding a 3D animated 'virtual sid' put me off buying the latest one. Pure techy willy-waving, and a map that was actually HARDER to use.

A 2-D side-scrolling Zelda? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234844)

... You might want to rethink that. Last time around, it didn't go down too well. All the other 2-D Zeldas are top down.

Personally I loved Zelda II, but most people didn't. And even I would be loath to play another game like it. It was so utterly evil. Even many years later, playing through the Water Temple in Ocarina, it affected me badly. Shadow Link. Oh God. The memories are coming back! I was slashed to pieces repeatedly because I was simply too terrified to make a fight of it. Ended up tanking up on green potions and setting off Din's Fire whenever the bastard came anywhere near.

Twilight Princess suits me down to the ground. It's so easy. I've only been killed twice so far, and that was while working out the deal with those kill-all-three-at-once beasties right at the start.

Re:A 2-D side-scrolling Zelda? (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235448)

Personally I loved Zelda II, but most people didn't.[citation needed]

Seriously, I think Zelda II is one of the better Zeldas, and I'm sure we're not alone!

Re:A 2-D side-scrolling Zelda? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17236456)

If you get the urge to play through Zelda 2 again (a very fun game) and get stuck on shadow Link, remember this:
Stay ducked at the far left corner of the screen, if he jumps at you up-stab, if he walks at you, stab while still ducked. He has no way to hit you. It's pretty weak but you can't lose.

Next-gen games don't need to be 3D... (3, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234886)

... but 2D games don't sell next-gen consoles.

Re:Next-gen games don't need to be 3D... (1)

hungrigerhaifisch (938532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235528)

Exactly....you see we are facing a conspiracy here. The gamedevs don't WANT to write all these shiny 3D-Graphics-engines which require ridiculous amounts of memory, horse power and of course disk space, not mentioning that huge graphics card, its just their employers. And guess on whose payroll they are...

But seriously, I think a legitimate question to ask is,
Has the explosion of progress in the 3D-Graphics area (and thus the exploding costs for development and for playing ) not left behind something...
or am I just getting old ? (I'm 21)
And regarding the original question, I would welcome it if someone would prove it, by making a good 2d-game, or at least a 3D-game that 'looks' 2D :)

Graphics begone! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17234902)

A pox on your graphical tomfoolery I say! I'd rather stick to my text based gaming for true quality. While I may dabble in 2D or even 3D entertainment on occaision with my console systems I still return more often to Discworld MUD than any other game. It's totally free, has no graphics at all and has a level of detail and depth that would make the average game developer blush and make excuses. Graphics maketh not the game! Gameplay is not measured by frame rate or polygon count and you can ram your vertex shaded gouroud lightsourcing where nothing but the lightsourcing shines.

These developer chappies should damn well consider gameplay first and consider presentation later. It is an add-on; window dressing and nothing more. If a game would be poor without its graphics then it is a poor game that has been disguised in a deceitful mantle of polygonal lies!

*fumes*

Re:Graphics begone! (1)

nsmike (920396) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235276)

Oh, go get ye flask.

No. (1)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234916)

(This should have been a poll as well.)

3D games like first person shooters and strategy games have their place, but I have a place in my heart for 2D puzzle games, like Marble Drop or Lemmings. I'd like to see more of them, and more sophisticated ones. (Of course, I prefer Quake 2 to anything newer because the shinier graphics in the newer ones--especially Quake 3--are actually distracting.)

Actually... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17234966)

2-D Animation is more expensive (if you want it to look even passably good). There's a lot more work that goes into drawing and clean-up for all of that in-between animation versus moving a few 3D points.

That being said, there's nothing wrong with making 3-D graphics more simple to cut down costs. Let me tell you about a little game called Katamari Damacy...

Examples can't get much worse than Zelda (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17234968)

If you are desperate for modern 2D Zelda titles, get a handheld console. However, for living room consoles, "Ocarina of Time" has shown that, if there is such a thing as a perfect Zelda game it probably has to be 3D. There are games that are just meant to be 2D, but Zelda is not among them.

Re:Examples can't get much worse than Zelda (1)

BishonenAngstMagnet (797469) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235174)

> However, for living room consoles, "Ocarina of Time" has shown that, if there is such a thing as a perfect Zelda game it probably has to be 3D.

I beg to differ [wikipedia.org]

Re:Examples can't get much worse than Zelda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17235296)

"Ocarina of Time" is a bland boring blurry mess on the N64 (my worst buy ever), on an emulator with high-res textures it's actually quite pretty - but still bland and boring. Fortunately I've heard the Minish Cap is descent, I'll probably shell out for it one of these days.

What is the question here? (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235196)

Is it technically feasible?

Yes, an Xbox 360 or PS3 won't PREVENT you from writing a 3D game.

Is it feasible in a business sense?

No, nobody's going to buy the damned thing. The last 2D game I saw on a home (non-portable) console was Metal Slug 3. I don't know how well it sold, but I only saw it in stores for a couple of months... and of course it was like 80% a port from another platform anyway. Writing a 2D game from scratch is not feasible from a business perspective.

Re:What is the question here? (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235976)

Writing a 2D game from scratch is not feasible from a business perspective.

Probably not as a boxed retail game, no. But XBox Live Arcade has many popular 2d games. They're priced much lower of course, and I think the fact that every XBLA game has a demo really helps sell them.

The Virtual Console seems to be doing well with classic games and there's no reason original games can't be introduced there. Sony is also doing something very similar to XBLA from what I've seen.

I think the real answer is "No, next gen games don't have to be 3d but the ones that aren't will be developed with an entirely different business model."

Sonic 2D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17235278)

Sonic is one of the games I would like to see go back to 2D as all the 3d Sonic's suck.

The engine has to be 3D, but the gameplay doesn't (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235286)

You have to draw a distinction between what you mean by "Do next-gen games have to be 3D?", do you mean "Do next-gen games have to use a 3D engine?" or do you mean "Do next-gen games have to play in 3D".

In the first case I'd say yes, next-gen games should always be built in a 3D engine, there's simply no reason to do otherwise, you can offer far more animations, a near infinite amount if you include rag-doll physics in your game than you ever could draw each object frame by frame.

In the second case, what this means is whilst your game is 3D, your gameplay doesn't have to be. Anyone who's ever played Cloning Clyde or Assault Heroes on the 360 knows what I mean - these games play from a side scrolling or above scrolling perspective like the games of old however they are entirely 3D.

To answer the question, there's little point not building a game in a 3D engine, it really offers little benefit not to in 99% of games however there's still plenty of room for 2D gameplay in a 3D world.

Five words: (1)

adam613 (449819) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235432)

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Back in the early days of 3D, everyone predicted the end of 2D side-scrollers. Who knew the best game for the PS1 would be a 2D side-scroller? And it's being released in HD on the XBOX 360.

Re:Five words: (1)

kattphud (708847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235662)

Hear! Hear!

C:SotN and Super Metroid are quite possibly the best 2-D side-scrollers evar!

No, they don't (1)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235460)

Just the games I buy do. Shouldn't this be a poll, not a story?

Hands tied behind backs (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235610)

Why stop at 3D? I think next gen games should be played on line printers using the postal system for turn based gaming.

Slowly the industry is realizing... (1)

Flailmonkey (1018430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235712)

This question, about trading off a lot of extra work to implement a 3D environment instead of putting that work into gameplay in a 2D game, has been sitting in the back of my mind (and the minds of many others') for quite a while. The cry that comes up about 2D seems to be this idea that all "those 2D games" have already been made, get an emulator, etc etc. I for one can see one area where a great improvement can be made to the world of 2D games, and I think that a lot of people will start realizing it. Online multiplayer. If Sony and Nintendo want to really make all their retro games kick some new-gen ass, they should start finding ways to make online multiplayer additions. I even worked at a company that focused on making lobbies for online games, it really should not be that hard. I will see a lot of people stop complaining about "paying for the same game again" when they can play SNES Mario Kart or Street Fighter 2 Turbo against their friends online. Here's hoping that this idea is viable and gets picked up!

On the DS (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235762)

I'd love to see a new 2D side-scrolling installment of Castlevania or Zelda

Well, if you consider the DS to be the next gen of portable gaming (the PSP being the portable's space Jaguar), then you will find your 2D Zeldas and Castlevanias in there, looking better than ever.

Yes (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235784)

I for one miss the old school 2d scrollers.

Gameplay (1)

arachnoprobe (945081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235842)

To answer the question: No. In the end, it comes down to having fun, which is mainly influenced by the gameplay. Of course, an ugly graphics is bad for gameplay, but even simple 2D-Interfaces can look good. Example: DEFCON (http://www.everybody-dies.com/ [everybody-dies.com] )

According to developers they do... (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235886)

A lot of developers somehow feel compelled to make games 3D even if they don't work in 3D, for example Castlevania. A clip from this review of 3D Castlevania [gamefaqs.com] says a lot about the problem:

The real problem with Castlevania: Curse of Darkness is that Konami tried to do too much, too soon: they pushed for another 3D game before they figured out how to it right. Everything that made Castlevania a popular franchise--the platforming in the older games combined with the intricate detail and endless exploration of the castleroids--was completely lost when the transition was made to 3D. The cost of filling up that empty space may have been too high for the CoD budget, but that's no excuse. If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing right. Either make 3D work or go back to what you know you can do.

Metal Slug Anthology (1)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 7 years ago | (#17235962)


Keep in mind, Metal Slug Anthology is being released for the Wii shortly, which contains 6-7 different 2D Metal Slug games.

So there's some 2D still coming out...

Re:Metal Slug Anthology (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17236258)

Someone else mentioned this, these arent new games, but a collection of arcade games.

As for the topic at hand. 2.5d is where its at. I have a wii and a DS, and my DS and New Super Mario Bros gets more play time than anything else (since i beat zelda TP and am taking a break from FFIII). Its just fantastic classic mario and i'd love to see a return to platformers like that. Maybe start with a new sonic game that doesnt suck.

clay animation (1)

tezbobobo (879983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17236234)

clay animation rocks. Of course it is easier to render in 3d...
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