Limitations of a 2D/3D RPG game?

Raijinn

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What do you think the limitations of a 2D RPG compared to 3D?
Of course, the other way around as well, what kind of limit does 3D have compared to 2D?
 

The Stranger

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In all seriousness, trying to use different camera angles is much more difficult to do in 2D games. If I want to show a different angle in my game, for example, I'd have to redraw everything in order to do so; 3D objects can be viewed from many different angles without needing to recreate the object from scratch. It can be done, it's just far more time consuming.
 

EpicFILE

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Visual:
It's easier to make unique and stylish 2d visual.
3d requires more work to look unique.

2d Face vs 3d Face (Front Mission 4 & 5)
maxresdefault.jpg

2d faces (Front Mission 4)

gfs_59067_2_1.jpg

3d faces (Front Mission 5)

I think the 2d faces have certain "magic". It looks charming and lively.
The 3d faces? Not so much. But can be good if there's more effort.


Gameplay:
2d movement is not as flexible as 3d movement

That's what I can think of for now. :D
 

xilefian

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I talk about this quite often. The barrier of entry for 3D is higher, but in terms of production 3D is a lot faster than 2D in the medium-long term.

For 2D characters you have to sprite every frame, and each time you add an action that's new frames for all characters with that action in all directions that action can happen. In 3D it's a new animation that automatically works for all characters that share the skeleton and works in all directions due to being 3D.

With 3D you can easily zoom the camera onto a character and see their fine-movement and expressions close up. It's way easier to choreograph a cinematic effect. One example is a battle-system, a 3D camera can move around the battle stage and point at various targets and special effects. It can make battles far more visually exciting, 2D is much harder to emulate this.

For producing maps, with 3D you get real-time lighting that automatically applies to your surfaces. You make a texture, then you can scrub up a wall with that texture and add some lights to get the shading you want. In 2D you need to work extra hard with the lighting due to it not being physically accurate. 4/3 2D orthogonal perspective is not physically representable: dynamic lighting Plugins often just apply a light map to the top of the screen and multiply that in, rather than attempt to respect the confusing nature of walls, ceiling and occluded geometry.

2D has its benefits, the ability to go in and decide exactly how your game looks without being slave to a lighting system is very powerful - if you chose to wield it (having the choice alone is a big factor, I think). It's much harder to make a pretty 2D game, as with 3D you can just slap more shader effects into the scene, add more lights, increase detail on your high-resolution textures, add some physics objects - but I will argue that a pretty 2D game is far more deliberate than a pretty 3D game. The amount of labour that went into Cuphead is huge, they chose exactly how that game will look and pursued it - recreating that in 3D is very difficult - but I believe somewhat possible: Guilty Gear Xrd is an excellent testament to dragging 2D values into the flexibility of a 3D world.

A lot can be said about the merits of beautifully created hand-drawn 2D "parallax" maps.

3D also brings expectations along with its perceived visual quality; if you have extremely realistic looking characters, then most players will expect voice acting and lip-syncing. A brief look at the feedback to the game Overgrowth shows that many players feel it needs voice acting to match the characters. If you want to avoid this issue, then it is easiest to dial back to an era where 3D graphics did not carry this expectations due to limitations - but then it is very obvious when you violate these limitations. If you have PS1 quality 3D graphics, then you probably shouldn't have 2017 era 3D effects such as high resolution frame-buffers, anti-aliasing and screen-space effects. Many indie 3D games violate these limitations and end up looking like terrible 3D graphics, rather than evoking an era of 3D. It's difficult to balance.

2D does have a similar issue with expectations; if you have high resolution sprites then you should push the boundaries of what you're doing with them as much as possible, such as have sprite rotation, scaling, transparencies, special effects - otherwise your game looks visually flat and dull (like 99.99% of all RPG Maker MV games, unfortunately). The alternative is dial back to an era of 2D where these expectations don't exist - and things get a little easier with retro-style aesthetic (incorrectly called 8-bit a lot of the time) - but once again when you violate the limitations it's very obvious, I'd say a vast majority of retro-style indie games violate limitations of the platform they're trying to evoke (off-grid pixels, 2x MV assets violate this, sprite-rotation, transparency, too many colours in the odd sprite).

In both cases of these expectations, it's hard work to go either side of the line, but super easy to just be lazy and take the middle option of mix-and-match, which is what majority of indie games do and end up looking visually similar with violations of their era on one side and poor graphics on the other side.

---

All these decisions depend on your project, not every project should look the same or be 2D or 3D.

Without showing off too much, here's a sneak preview of my RPG Maker MV game that is currently in early development planning. I'm trying to push the expectations of 2D presentation in RPG Maker MV as much as possible, including the use of 3D models. I'm trying to take advantage of everything 2D is good for and avoid the limitations as much as possible - at the same time I've also got basic PlayStation era 3D objects within the 2D world and I am trying to take advantage of 3D graphics in this regard too, being mindful of its limitations (particularly in a 2D world). Personally - and I stress this is my personal opinion - I think this hybrid approach fits RPG Maker MV best.
 

Raijinn

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All these decisions depend on your project, not every project should look the same or be 2D or 3D.

Without showing off too much, here's a sneak preview of my RPG Maker MV game that is currently in early development planning. I'm trying to push the expectations of 2D presentation in RPG Maker MV as much as possible, including the use of 3D models. I'm trying to take advantage of everything 2D is good for and avoid the limitations as much as possible - at the same time I've also got basic PlayStation era 3D objects within the 2D world and I am trying to take advantage of 3D graphics in this regard too, being mindful of its limitations (particularly in a 2D world). Personally - and I stress this is my personal opinion - I think this hybrid approach fits RPG Maker MV best.

Wow, I love the esoteric look, can the map rotate as well?
 

Kes

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Please note, as this is the official forum for engines released by Degica, discussion should be about games which can be made with one of those engines. At the moment, because of Xifilen's post, it is just about staying within that parameter. If it wanders off elsewhere I shall have to close it.
 

Raijinn

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Just realised this thread isn't in the off-topic section, can you move it, please? @Kes
 

Kes

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Okay, will do.

[mod]Moving to General Lounge.[/mod]
 

xilefian

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Wow, I love the esoteric look, can the map rotate as well?
Whilst 3D maps are entirely possible in RPG Maker MV (and we've seen lots of 3D demos and examples) I've opted to go for 2D hand-drawn background - very much for the reasons I gave earlier. The 2D isometric view that you see here is the development placeholder for maps as they are developed, to get their geometry, functionality and flow down before passing it over to the artists.

There is a lot of work required to get good 3D maps done in MV, I've discussed it a few time in other threads (and I get private messages every now and then from people about it, so there's still some interest). As I want to produce an actual game project, rather than a 3D maps Plugin (at this time) I've opted for hand-drawn 2D maps, to exploit the benefits of 2D (that we all know can look great in MV) whilst pulling in some of the merits of 3D (3D models, some kind of perspective in the 2D via the isometric layout).

You can probably see why I find the discussion between 2D and 3D RPGs interesting. Particularly in the context of MV as that has much easier support for 3D via WebGL (although my project supports 3D via Canvas 2D as well!).


Hopefully this gives people some good insights into my thought process towards my project. I'd like to see others attempt to push MV a bit further with this kind of approach to the presentation.
 

Poryg

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3D brings one pretty decent pain though - collision system. Of course in 2.5D a collision system is not too hard, but in full 3D it can be a real pain.
 

Ellie Jane

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The main issue is the lack of depth. Moving backwards is usually the same as moving upwards, and moving downwards the same as moving towards the player. So all cliffs are flat even if the tileset itself isn't. If you have a tall building or cliff facing Northwards, you lose several tiles in reality as the player can't see or go down there. You can't turn corners and can't jump around as much.
 

chungsie

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with 2d you dont have to rig and capture movements of a model, which is impossible for me.

ie https://sketchfab.com/models/c1f3b6c6ba8844138c293b419ac0aa16

compared to the deer in my assets page. I think we are all discussing top down 2d compared to 3d. which you can always use scaling to show falling through or down. which is what 3d does anyways. and they are both the same for a computer to display in most 2d and 3d rendering programs, they have to draw what is seen either way. with things like layering and depth you can emulate 3d in 2d easily.
 

Andar

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Only one poster so far has even mentioned the biggest limitation of 3d: the work load and skills for creating new models.

All those advantages of 3d listed above, like ease of use, skaling or better looks, only work as long as you have the models ready. And a lot of indie 3d programs are beginning to catch the same flag about stock resources that has been discussed with the RTP-use of the makers for years.

However, it is a lot easier to create a new sprite or a new tile for a 2d graphics than it is to create a new model for 3d graphics.
Anyone can try to learn gimp, and you'll find offers for sprites in the classifieds forum that go around 10$ depending on quality and style.

Please try to get something similiar for a completely new 3d model, especially, if it should be animated.
 

Amarok

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Being both a 3d and 2d artist i can say, it really depends on the art direction.

Making low poly 3d models with simple animations and textures is hundreds of times faster than doing polished hand draw sprites. And making simple 2d sprites is also hundreds of times faster than doing complex 3d models for games with current generation graphics.

True, there is definitely a lot of learning to do in regards to 3d (modeling, rigging, animation, texturing, rendering...) but i would argue that being actually good at sprite art or 2d in general is no easy task at all. (Maybe even harder imo) Doing sprites like those of disgaea is not the same thing than doing sprites like those of undertale. (Not saying one is better than the other just comparing in terms of complexity)
 

Matseb2611

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I'd say this though from what I noticed - early 3D hasn't aged anywhere near as well as old-school 2D. If you make a game in early 3D style, most people will call your visuals dated, but if you make a game in NES style 2D visuals, most people will treat it as a stylistic choice. So there's a lot more snobbery when it comes to making something in 3D. People are a lot more critical and picky of it if it does not match the standard of AAA companies.

With 2D, I'd say one big limitation is how lack of 3rd dimension can make a lot of mechanics obsolete and unable to fit into your game. For the most part, 2D games can either be made as top-down view or as sidescrollers, and there are only so many gameplay mechanics you can add that can work well with each of those. There's a lot more freedom and potential with 3D.
 

gstv87

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3D brings one pretty decent pain though - collision system. Of course in 2.5D a collision system is not too hard, but in full 3D it can be a real pain.

not a problem if you design the levels as a top-down view.
look at games like Team Fortress or Overwatch..... their maps can be represented as a 2D image without overlaps.
even though, they're probably the culprit of 3D engineering for games..... especially multiplayer games.
 

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