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2D Isometric Graphics (Warning: Large Pictures)


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  1. 1. Would you like to see graphics like this in Project Eternity?



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I was fine with the way the IE games looked and the ones posted by the OP. I don't want to get too into the 3d vs 2d argument that seems to have taken over the discussion the 3d games posted by zeckul also look great but what kind of budget did they have? The witcher 2 undoubtedly had a much larger budget then Eternity ever will (not sure about Trine or Anno). They might have chosen to go with 2d because it's much cheaper and easier to implement (just a guess? I'm really not sure).

Edited by zlarm
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Creator Obsidian Entertainment about 3 hours ago

 

@Shatterbrain - We are going to pre-render, but we are pre-rendering at 1920x1200/1080 at the least.

 

Creator Obsidian Entertainment about 3 hours ago

 

@Shatterbrain - And characters will be real-time 3D.

 

From the KickStarter page under update 6.

Yeah, it will be pre-rendered... just like the original infinity engine games. :)

 

I would prefer realtime 3D, but pre-rendered 3D is also fine and will look good if it is done right. I just wonder how they are going to solve the scaling problems with 2D backgrounds.... render in different resolutions? Well, we will see. :D

Edited by dlux

:closed:

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Creator Obsidian Entertainment about 3 hours ago

 

@Shatterbrain - We are going to pre-render, but we are pre-rendering at 1920x1200/1080 at the least.

 

Creator Obsidian Entertainment about 3 hours ago

 

@Shatterbrain - And characters will be real-time 3D.

 

From the KickStarter page under update 6.

Oh well that closes the discussion then. I'm curious to see how well real-time rendered characters will blend with pre-rendered backgrounds; I don't find previous examples of this approach very convincing* (Beyond Divinity, Rise of Nations, ToEE). We'll have to wait and see. I hope they pre-render at way more than 1920x1200, seeing how that's the native res of most displays today, so as soon as you zoom in you'll already lose quality.

 

* to illustrate: notice how the models look sharp and high resolution compared to the backgrounds when zoomed in close in Beyond Divinity:

2-BD01-bts01.jpg

Edited by Zeckul
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I was fine with the way the IE games looked and the ones posted by the OP. I don't want to get too into the 3d vs 2d argument that seems to have taken over the discussion the 3d games posted by zeckul also look great but what kind of budget did they have? The witcher 2 undoubtedly had a much larger budget then Eternity ever will (not sure about Trine or Anno). They might have chosen to go with 2d because it's much cheaper and easier to implement (just a guess? I'm really not sure).

 

The full budget for The Witcher 2 was less than 10mln USD... That's not that much more, when you consider the amount of work done... Full 3D, full voiceover, development of a completely new engine for the purpose of the game, etc...

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The choice between a pre-rendering and a real-time rendering approach is a technical one, because these are different technical means to produce graphics. Anything that can be done via pre-rendering can be done in real-time, given the proper techniques and computing power. What's so difficult to understand about this?

 

That's really quite simple, with real-time rendering you have to make compromises, as it, understandably, requires a lot more computing power.

At a certain point, you get something which is just too complex to render in real-time. So, no, you cannot always achieve the same effect in real-time as you would in pre-rendering.

 

As for the details - pre-rendered backgrounds are made to look the best at a particular angle and distance, so understandably more time can be spent on ironing every little nook and cranny, so it'd just look perfect.

You also have to make compromises with pre-renders; it becomes almost impossible to do dynamic lighting and shadowing; it is very difficult to represent depth convincingly with the orthographic projections they use; every animation has to be isolated, looped and pre-baked which makes it much harder to get good-looking stuff that moves like water, foliage, clouds, haze, etc., leading to unnaturaly static scenes. I think at the point we're at today, we get better-looking graphics, with more detail and artistic freedom, by going with a real-time than a pre-rendered approach: plus of course we get camera freedom and resolution independance.

 

Apparently Obsidian has decided otherwise, and I'm quite curious as to why.

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The full budget for The Witcher 2 was less than 10mln USD... That's not that much more, when you consider the amount of work done... Full 3D, full voiceover, development of a completely new engine for the purpose of the game, etc...

 

Yeah, but I'm guessing the production costs were also much lower.

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Oh well that closes the discussion then. I'm curious to see how well real-time rendered characters will blend with pre-rendered backgrounds; I don't find previous examples of this approach very convincing* (Beyond Divinity, Rise of Nations, ToEE). We'll have to wait and see. I hope they pre-render at way more than 1920x1200, seeing how that's the native res of most displays today, so as soon as you zoom in you'll already lose quality.

 

 

What!

How can you say this?

 

ToEE looks beautiful.

(remember to set at 720p, ignore the reviewer)

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You also have to make compromises with pre-renders; it becomes almost impossible to do dynamic lighting and shadowing; it is very difficult to represent depth convincingly with the orthographic projections they use; every animation has to be isolated, looped and pre-baked which makes it much harder to get good-looking stuff that moves like water, foliage, clouds, haze, etc., leading to unnaturaly static scenes. I think at the point we're at today, we get better-looking graphics, with more detail and artistic freedom, by going with a real-time than a pre-rendered approach: plus of course we get camera freedom and resolution independance.

 

Apparently Obsidian has decided otherwise, and I'm quite curious as to why.

 

That's quite right, pre-rendered backgrounds also require certain compromises.

Let me clarify - I enjoyed Witcher 2 graphics a great deal, they looked fantastic. But at the same time, I love the "painting" look - it may look static and sometimes unnatural, but it can be quite atmospheric. Not a good choice for every type of the game, but I think it can work marvelously if used right. Obviously not everyone will agree :)

Edited by Karranthain
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Apparently Obsidian has decided otherwise, and I'm quite curious as to why.

Nostalgia. I am curious if this will feel like a 2014 game paying homage to games from 2000, or if it will feel like a game from 2000.

 

It better not feel like a post 2003 game.

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I was fine with the way the IE games looked and the ones posted by the OP. I don't want to get too into the 3d vs 2d argument that seems to have taken over the discussion the 3d games posted by zeckul also look great but what kind of budget did they have? The witcher 2 undoubtedly had a much larger budget then Eternity ever will (not sure about Trine or Anno). They might have chosen to go with 2d because it's much cheaper and easier to implement (just a guess? I'm really not sure).

 

The full budget for The Witcher 2 was less than 10mln USD... That's not that much more, when you consider the amount of work done... Full 3D, full voiceover, development of a completely new engine for the purpose of the game, etc...

The salaries and other costs (rent, heating, whatever) are much higher in the US than in Poland. Don't forget that.

:closed:

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You also have to make compromises with pre-renders; it becomes almost impossible to do dynamic lighting and shadowing; it is very difficult to represent depth convincingly with the orthographic projections they use; every animation has to be isolated, looped and pre-baked which makes it much harder to get good-looking stuff that moves like water, foliage, clouds, haze, etc., leading to unnaturaly static scenes. I think at the point we're at today, we get better-looking graphics, with more detail and artistic freedom, by going with a real-time than a pre-rendered approach: plus of course we get camera freedom and resolution independance.

 

Apparently Obsidian has decided otherwise, and I'm quite curious as to why.

 

That's quite right, pre-rendered backgrounds also require certain compromises.

Let me clarify - I enjoyed Witcher 2 graphics a great deal, they looked fantastic. But at the same time, I love the "painting" look - it may look static and sometimes unnatural, but it can be quite atmospheric. Not a good choice for every type of the game, but I think it can work marvelously if used right. Obviously not everyone will agree :)

PE is going to be completely pre-rendered in 3D and not hand painted. It will only have that "painting look" if that is the artisitic style they are looking for.

Edited by dlux

:closed:

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Regarding dynamic lighting with prerendered backgrounds:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtYvNEmmHXE

 

That building has 3 art assets, all of which are 2D images:

1) The actual image

2) A normal map

3) A height map

 

The normal map + height map provide the game with enough information to provide dynamic lighting and calculate which pixels will catch snow and which pixels won't.

To get a better look at the dynamic lighting, watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Q6ISVaM5Ww

The heightmap is also used to intersect 2 images correctly.

 

The technologies aren't very advanced and are widely used in 3D renderers today. This video combines those technologies with 2D pre-rendered images.

Edited by Alkalurops
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Apparently Obsidian has decided otherwise, and I'm quite curious as to why.

Nostalgia. I am curious if this will feel like a 2014 game paying homage to games from 2000, or if it will feel like a game from 2000.

Well, maybe it'll save time. With a fixed viewpoint you only have to make the game look good from one angle.

 

If this means less resources spent doing graphical design and more into gameplay and other content, it might be a good tradeoff after all. They better make it really high res though.

Edited by Zeckul
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Well, maybe it'll save time. With a fixed viewpoint you only have to make the game look good from one angle.

 

If this means less resources spent doing graphical design and more into gameplay and other content, it might be a good tradeoff after all. They better make it really high res though.

Yeah, not a big deal if it's going to mean a bigger and more content-filled game.

Maybe it's even for the better, because any half-competent artist can make 2D background look reasonably pretty on a low budget, while just the most talented can achieve a stunning 3D scenery.

As I said previously in this thread, I'm far more concerned about characters models/monsters/animations, as they can have a huge impact in how pleasant to the sight a game is going to be and so far Obsidian never shined much in that aspect.

Edited by Tuco Benedicto
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I was fine with the way the IE games looked and the ones posted by the OP. I don't want to get too into the 3d vs 2d argument that seems to have taken over the discussion the 3d games posted by zeckul also look great but what kind of budget did they have? The witcher 2 undoubtedly had a much larger budget then Eternity ever will (not sure about Trine or Anno). They might have chosen to go with 2d because it's much cheaper and easier to implement (just a guess? I'm really not sure).

 

The full budget for The Witcher 2 was less than 10mln USD... That's not that much more, when you consider the amount of work done... Full 3D, full voiceover, development of a completely new engine for the purpose of the game, etc...

 

To be fair, it was made in Poland. In my experience North American costs of production are much higher (for whatever reason) than production costs in most other countries. Red Cliff, for example, is the most expensive film ever to be filmed in China and cost $80 million. Compare that with $220 million for The Avengers, which while on the high end, is hardly extraordinary for an American blockbuster.

"Understanding is a three-edged blade."

"Vivis sperandum: Where there is life, there is hope."

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And The Witcher 2 budget was bigger than budget of most hyped polish movie last year (1920 Bitwa Warszawska - 9mln USD). Moreover, after fall of communism in Poland (1989) there were only two movies more expensive than The Witcher 2 PC game.

 

I believe that this speaks for itself.

Edited by Michał
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Well, maybe it'll save time. With a fixed viewpoint you only have to make the game look good from one angle.

 

More importantly - static viewpoint eliminates free camera. You don't have to constantly bother with angeling the camera caorrectly when placing characters or aiming spells, and that only improves gameplay - the less you have to worry about the UI the better the game.

 

NWN2 and DA:O would have been far more enjoyable with a locked camera.

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The choice between a pre-rendering and a real-time rendering approach is a technical one, because these are different technical means to produce graphics. Anything that can be done via pre-rendering can be done in real-time, given the proper techniques and computing power. What's so difficult to understand about this?

 

That's really quite simple, with real-time rendering you have to make compromises, as it, understandably, requires a lot more computing power.

At a certain point, you get something which is just too complex to render in real-time. So, no, you cannot always achieve the same effect in real-time as you would in pre-rendering.

 

As for the details - pre-rendered backgrounds are made to look the best at a particular angle and distance, so understandably more time can be spent on ironing every little nook and cranny, so it'd just look perfect.

You also have to make compromises with pre-renders; it becomes almost impossible to do dynamic lighting and shadowing; it is very difficult to represent depth convincingly with the orthographic projections they use; every animation has to be isolated, looped and pre-baked which makes it much harder to get good-looking stuff that moves like water, foliage, clouds, haze, etc., leading to unnaturaly static scenes. I think at the point we're at today, we get better-looking graphics, with more detail and artistic freedom, by going with a real-time than a pre-rendered approach: plus of course we get camera freedom and resolution independance.

 

Apparently Obsidian has decided otherwise, and I'm quite curious as to why.

 

 

The difference of a fixed point vs free 3d is huge and depends on the game you want to make.

 

Roaming cam "problems":

Even the witcher 2 gets silly if you put the cam on certain places: enemy's, structures or things (columns, trees, stairs etc..) can block your view in the middle of a combat, small interiors are a pain in the ass to navigate and the developers cant control 100% what the player sees, so you can miss things that are happening while you are looking at other side. Thats good for immersion, but not for a story-wise or strategic approach's: 2 things that a good RPG must have.

 

Resources-Budget problem

Working in 3d means that every object MUST be made in 3d, thats FAR more work (you have 6 sides to work at) than just make a 2d (and even 3d) object which will only will be seen from 1 perspective.

 

Movement and light

As it can be seen on the videos on this thread, these 2 things are not a problem today in 2d with the right art direction.

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I was fine with the way the IE games looked and the ones posted by the OP. I don't want to get too into the 3d vs 2d argument that seems to have taken over the discussion the 3d games posted by zeckul also look great but what kind of budget did they have? The witcher 2 undoubtedly had a much larger budget then Eternity ever will (not sure about Trine or Anno). They might have chosen to go with 2d because it's much cheaper and easier to implement (just a guess? I'm really not sure).

 

The full budget for The Witcher 2 was less than 10mln USD... That's not that much more, when you consider the amount of work done... Full 3D, full voiceover, development of a completely new engine for the purpose of the game, etc...

 

To be fair, it was made in Poland. In my experience North American costs of production are much higher (for whatever reason) than production costs in most other countries. Red Cliff, for example, is the most expensive film ever to be filmed in China and cost $80 million. Compare that with $220 million for The Avengers, which while on the high end, is hardly extraordinary for an American blockbuster.

 

The only production costs that are higher in US are the salaries... those are 3-5 times higher than in Poland. Equipment costs less. Licenses for software cost approximately the same.

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Baldur's Gate Trilogy/Planescape/Icewind Dale and even Fallout still look great to date with High Res Patches:

 

BGMain%2B2011-07-20%2B15-26-33-25.JPG

BGMain+2011-07-24+07-51-28-72.JPG

pstlarge9.jpg

pstlarge6.jpg

download.phpid1352678vkbib.png

 

Compare those with some of the isometric/top-down 3D-based games coming out later with low-poly characters and backgrounds, which look absolutely horrible today.

One thing they should do is keep that background art and assets safe under lock and key if produced at higher resolution, even if they decide for 1080p withing the game. 10 years from now it may just well be in demand for a rerelease in regards to 4K/8K screens. The artists really have the chance to create some great, timeless art here :p

Edited by D3xter
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I voted NO, because most of these Pictures look like they were constructed as 3D models. It might look good, but depending on Obsidians approach to

creating areas it could be too time consuming and result in fewer content. Eternity is after all still a "low-budget" game - and (I hope) we all want it to be big.

 

If that is not an issue for Obsidian I am all for those graphics, but I don't want to loose focus here.

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Baldur's Gate Trilogy/Planescape/Icewind Dale and even Fallout still look great to date with High Res Patches:

That makes a nice desktop wallpaper but not a particularly playable experience, with everything scaled down to a fraction of its original size.
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