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DnaCowboy

Why Did Isometric 3D Rpgs Fall Out Of Vogue?

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Hey everybody

 

I am SO hyped to discover that Obsidian are working on a new rpg especially one that ISN'T first person which leads me to wonder...just why did isometric 3D rpgs fall out of vogue?

Darklands, Wasteland, Ultima, Dungeon Seige, Fallout, Planetscape: Torment all had one thing in common; they were isometric.

 

I suppose you could argue that as technology improved it was a natural progression to move to first person; however, I disagree, why weren't the advances in technology  applied to isometric 3D?

 

This article indicates that the genre is back in a big way, so why exactly did it fall out of favour?

 

Best wishes

 

 

 

 

 

 


No matter how many times cats fight, there's always plenty of kittens.

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Partially it had to do with consoles becoming the preferred platform of choice for publishers. Isometric rpgs don't work well on console, so third person rpgs got a lot more focus with games like KOTOR, Mass Effect etc.
Another reason is the shift towards cinematic experiences in gameplay. Isometric RPGs may be many things, but a cinematic experience (outside of cutscenes) is not one of them.

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When in doubt, blame the elves.

 

I have always hated the word "censorship", I prefer seeing it as just removing content that isn't suitable or is considered offensive

 

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That makes a lot of sense, isometric on consoles has been a tide of woes....wait didn't Diablo 3 come out on the PS3?

Be interesting to see how that looks and plays, I gather they added roll to the mechanics.

 

 


No matter how many times cats fight, there's always plenty of kittens.

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Yeah, what GhoulishVisage said. Also, as part of the streaming process the industry's been going through to make all games appeal to a wider audience. The whole isometric thing is mostly found in niche games while blockbuster games like Call or Duty and Uncharted rely heavily on a character centric view of the expensive 3D environment surrounding them. Since publishers apparently want all their games to be huge blockbusters (however illogical that goal might be), they want all their games ape the visual experience of their flagship titles.

 

Personally, I do enjoy games with first person or over the shoulder view, but I am glad to see a return to the 90s style, isometric RPG. We definitely need more diversity in gaming.

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@DnaCowboy  There are probably many reasons, one of them is for certain fashion which also exists in gaming industry. For example, years ago very popular were FPS taking place in WWII scenarios and now we have modern or futuristic shooters. When one developing studio succeed with their product instantly you will see more devs going the same road.

 

It might depend also from change in the generation? Youngsters wanted more dynamic and fast pace games without a lot of thinking because these are TV/internet standards. And now many people are rediscovering games like D1, D2, Fallout, BG, IWD, Planescape etc. I think that best explanation you will find in these video.  http://youtu.be/r4NkADMQwzg?t=20s

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Largely because today's graphics can "fill in the blanks" of RPGs of yore. I think it would be fair to say that when cRPGs of the 90's came out they kind of supplanted the old pen and paper RPGs since the players no longer had to rely upon figurines or their own imaginations to complete the visual and aural experience of their fantastic adventures (especially with NWN when friends could play their campaigns in a totally 3D world with the great toolbox it had).


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"Turned wrong way round, the relentless unforeseen was what we schoolchildren studied as 'History,' harmless history, where everything unexpected in its own time is chronicled on the page as inevitable. The terror of the unforeseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic.”

 

-Philip Roth, The Plot Against America

 

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I do like the rotatable isometric view in Wasteland 2 though--it has the viewpoint advantages of 3D games with a minimal level of camera management frustration. (Just use the arrow keys to turn.) If future publishers could combine that CRPG approach with the artistically enhanced details in IE and P:E, it could make for some very nice game play.

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Because isometric view just isn't a particularly good option over first-person perspective for action RPGs (TES), and a free-moving third-person camera for "tactical" party-based RPGs (NWN, KOTOR), if you can afford either of those. Sorry, but that's the simple truth. (not that I won't enjoy PE having an isometric view)

Edited by mcmanusaur
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I'd pretty much bet my life on the idea that if they had a big publisher behind them and a $150 million+ budget Obsidian would have gone on to make Eternity a game that matched the likes of Skyrim and Dragon Age 3 in scale and production values.

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Quote
"Turned wrong way round, the relentless unforeseen was what we schoolchildren studied as 'History,' harmless history, where everything unexpected in its own time is chronicled on the page as inevitable. The terror of the unforeseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic.”

 

-Philip Roth, The Plot Against America

 

Quote
"Always write angry letters to your enemies. Never mail them."

 

-James Fallows

 

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Because isometric view just isn't a particularly good option over  a free-moving third-person camera for "tactical" party-based RPGs (NWN, KOTOR)

BS. Strategy games without a fixed view are a pain in the ass. The same applies in RPGs. If i'm spending more time fighting the camera than the enemies something isn't right.

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I think it's mostly because of this whole "everything must be cinematic" thing. Personally, if I want cinematic, I'll go for a movie. Cinematic is really not what I'm looking for out of most games, and especially RPGs. First-person I consider especially poor for RPGs; I don't play Elder Scrolls first person, either (well, except Arena and Daggerfall, since there's no choice there). I only really like first-person for shooters and perhaps the occasional adventure game or such, not tht I play much of those.

 

Because isometric view just isn't a particularly good option over first-person perspective for action RPGs (TES), and a free-moving third-person camera for "tactical" party-based RPGs (NWN, KOTOR), if you can afford either of those. Sorry, but that's the simple truth. (not that I won't enjoy PE having an isometric view)

I prefer an isometric view for both of those, but especially party-based RPGs. I've yet to see a free-moving third-person camera that isn't more of a hindrance than a help. Neverwinter Nights as problematic for this, Neverwinter Nights 2 was even worse (and made it very difficult to control the whole party in Storms of Zehir), and Knights of the Old Republic to my memory wasn't free-moving (or maybe I just used an option for it not to be).

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I wonder if there isn't something to be said about the quality of the visuals in the switch from 2D to 3D figures. I am just thinking out loud here, and I know it is a different genre and not exactly the same thing but case is point is the jump in the HOMM series from 2D to 3D (it was from the 3rd iteration to the 4th iteration I think). The 3D figures were just freaking horrible. They were so much uglier and had less character than the previous 2D versions. The rush before the aesthetic side of 3D caught up could have resulted in company's being less willing to take risks on these sorts of things. 

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Console

 

and over the shoulder is more action oriented

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Because isometric view just isn't a particularly good option over first-person perspective for action RPGs (TES), and a free-moving third-person camera for "tactical" party-based RPGs (NWN, KOTOR), if you can afford either of those. Sorry, but that's the simple truth. (not that I won't enjoy PE having an isometric view)

What he said, but to be more anally specific.

 

Tactical games are better served by a free 3d camera, period.  A camera you have totally control over is always better "tactically" than one you do not.  You can cite examples like NWN2 and said "no it isn't" but I can simply counter with "Yes it is, it isn't the cameras fault it was programmed badly and poorly implemented.  Blame the designers.  A well made and properly done free movement 3d camera will always be better."

 

Secondly, games are getting more and more graphically detailed.  It is hard to see graphic details from a fixed view 30 feet in the air looking down at a 5'5" tall human.  As games start to look more visually impressive it is only natural that you would want to move to a style of camera that takes advantage by showing off the superior fidelity.

 

Lastly... Even the modern versions of chess lets you rotate the camera to look at all sides of the board.  Being stuck at one view from one angle is by definition not as helpful as having any view you want from any angle you prefer.

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Malekith and Remmirath raise one of the main issues, though: the common camera hassles in 3D RPGs, including infernal zooming issues and unwarranted rotations of the camera. I think it comes down to the 3D first-person view in computer games failing to portray our stereo vision with corner of the eye capability and all. Perhaps some gaming helmet with a neat goggle interface will solve at least that particular issue in the future. 

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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Well, those of us that grew up with isometric rpgs grew older and possibly busy, resulting in less sales for those types of games while the new generation arrived and was fascinated by graphics over story (IMO)  Consoles also became a larger and larger market compared to the PC and isometric rpgs on a console are...just wrong in most cases so companies shifted their focus and justifiably as they are here to make money.  Them coming back is probably because we have been starved from them and of course the cost as doing games in fantastic looking 3d is just getting terribly expensive which lots of companies are not willing (or cannot in the case of smaller studios) to risk especially on new iterations that don't have a following already.

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@Karkarov, I disagree. A controllable camera adds another thing to control, however well it's implemented. That control demands attention and action that could otherwise be focused on controlling your units.

 

Naturally a fixed-camera game has to be designed taking into account that the camera is fixed, but that's a bit of a "duh" IMO. Although, to be fair, many of the classic isometric RPG's failed significantly in this respect. Fallout, for example, had the scenery hiding enemies and loot where your characters would have been able to see them. That problem has a number of obvious solutions many of which have been used in other games, of course.

 

Now, which is better and why, isometric or top-down? Discuss.

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I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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You can cite examples like NWN2 and said "no it isn't" but I can simply counter with "Yes it is, it isn't the cameras fault it was programmed badly and poorly implemented.  Blame the designers.  A well made and properly done free movement 3d camera will always be better."

The funny part being 'A well made and properly done 3D camera' has yet to be made... IN 15 YEARS.

Which to me, makes it seem it's simply impossible. We made so many strives in those years, but still there can't be good 3D camera points?

And as modern games showed, over-the-shoulder isn't exactly good for tactical gameplay or controlling a team.

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^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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@DnaCowboy  There are probably many reasons, one of them is for certain fashion which also exists in gaming industry. For example, years ago very popular were FPS taking place in WWII scenarios and now we have modern or futuristic shooters. When one developing studio succeed with their product instantly you will see more devs going the same road.

 

It might depend also from change in the generation? Youngsters wanted more dynamic and fast pace games without a lot of thinking because these are TV/internet standards. And now many people are rediscovering games like D1, D2, Fallout, BG, IWD, Planescape etc. I think that best explanation you will find in these video.  http://youtu.be/r4NkADMQwzg?t=20s

 

@FacelessOne

 

Great video lol, thanks for your input

 

@Everyone else 

 

Thanks for your feedback


No matter how many times cats fight, there's always plenty of kittens.

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isometric rpgs you need good game to attract players. Niche players only also, even most old school do not find isometric games visually appealing. And the main market of gamers now which consist of mostly young generation are all about good graphics and isometric doesn't cut it as good. They don't even care about rpg elements and are more about pure action. I seen how multiple younger gamers play games like fallout new vegas and the latest dues ex. They care very little about role playing and the games story, They kill everything in the game.

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It's because Doom, WoW and CoD are first/third person. And developers play follow the leader.


I made a 2 hour rant video about dragon age 2. It's not the greatest... but if you want to watch it, here ya go:

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